What is a Nursing Degree Called: Understanding the Different Types of Nursing Degrees

A nursing degree, or a degree in nursing, is often pursued by people who are looking to jumpstart their career in healthcare. Whether they are interested in working in hospitals, clinics, or private practices, a nursing degree provides aspiring healthcare professionals with the knowledge and skills required to excel in their field. However, many people don’t know the various types of nursing degrees available, or what they entail.

A nursing degree is an educational program that helps students understand the ins and outs of the nursing profession. From patient care to medical procedures, a nursing degree teaches students everything they need to know to be an expert in their field. But with different types of nursing degrees, such as Associate’s, Bachelor’s, and Master’s degrees, it’s important to understand the differences between them and what they can offer you.

In today’s rapidly evolving healthcare industry, a nursing degree has become more important than ever before. It not only equips aspiring healthcare professionals with the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in their careers, but it also helps them become leaders in their field. Whether you’re a recent high school graduate or a working professional looking to make a career switch, a nursing degree could be the key to unlocking new opportunities and greater success in your professional life.

Types of Nursing Degrees

There are a variety of nursing degrees available for those interested in pursuing a career in nursing. Aspiring nurses can earn anything from a certificate to a doctoral degree. Some of the most popular types of nursing degrees include:

  • Certificate in Practical Nursing (LPN)
  • Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD)

A certificate in practical nursing (LPN) program generally takes one year to complete and prepares graduates to become licensed practical nurses (LPNs) or licensed vocational nurses (LVNs). This type of program typically covers basic health care concepts such as pharmacology, anatomy, and physiology.

An associate degree in nursing (ADN) is a two-year program that prepares graduates to become registered nurses (RNs). ADN programs are available at many community colleges and technical schools and cover a range of nursing topics, including patient care, nursing management, and medical terminology.

A bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) is a four-year program that builds upon the curriculum found in an ADN program. BSN programs provide students with a more in-depth understanding of nursing theory and research and often include clinical rotations in a variety of healthcare settings.

A master of science in nursing (MSN) is a graduate-level degree that allows nurses to specialize in a particular area of nursing and gain advanced clinical skills. MSN programs typically take two years to complete and can lead to careers as nurse practitioners, nurse educators, or nurse researchers.

A doctor of nursing practice (DNP) is a terminal degree in nursing that prepares nurses to become leaders in healthcare. This program provides advanced clinical training and teaches students how to implement evidence-based practices to improve patient outcomes.

Degree Type Length of Program Expected Career Paths
Certificate in Practical Nursing (LPN) 1 year LPN/LVN
Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) 2 years Registered Nurse (RN)
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) 4 years Registered Nurse (RN)
Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) 2 years Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Educator, Nurse Researcher
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) 3-4 years Advanced Practice Nurse, Executive Leader in Healthcare
Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD) 4-5 years Nurse Researcher, Academic Faculty

A doctor of philosophy in nursing (PhD) is also a terminal degree and focuses on nurse research and education. This type of program typically takes four to five years to complete and prepares graduates to become nurse researchers or academic faculty members in universities and research institutions.

Overall, there are a variety of nursing degrees available to those interested in pursuing a career in this field. Each degree has its own strengths and career paths, so it’s important for students to carefully consider their educational goals and career aspirations before choosing a degree program.

Differences between LPN, ADN, BSN, and MSN

Choosing a nursing degree can be confusing especially with the various options available. Each nursing degree offers different levels of education, skills, and job opportunities. Here are the differences between LPN, ADN, BSN, and MSN:

  • LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse): It is the shortest and most basic nursing degree. The program takes about 12 to 18 months to complete and focuses on providing basic care for patients. LPNs perform tasks such as monitoring vital signs, administering medication and assisting patients with daily living activities. LPNs work under the supervision of registered nurses (RNs). Their job opportunities are mostly in long-term care facilities, clinics, and home health care settings.
  • ADN (Associate Degree in Nursing): It is a two-year program that covers the basics of nursing and prepares students for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). ADN programs are offered at community colleges and technical schools. ADN graduates work as entry-level registered nurses in a variety of health care settings such as hospitals, clinics, and long-term care facilities.
  • BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing): It is a four-year program that includes both the basic nursing curriculum and general education courses. BSN graduates are prepared for leadership roles in nursing and have more career opportunities compared to ADN graduates. They can pursue careers in advanced practice nursing, nursing research, and hospital management. Additionally, BSN graduates can enter graduate nursing programs.
  • MSN (Master of Science in Nursing): It is an advanced degree that requires a BSN. MSN graduates become advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) such as nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists, or nurse midwives. MSN programs focus on nursing theory, research, and leadership in the nursing profession.

LPN vs ADN vs BSN vs MSN: Which nursing degree is right for you?

The choice between LPN, ADN, BSN, and MSN largely depends on your career goals, education, and financial situation.

If you want to start working in the nursing field as soon as possible and have limited finances, an LPN program may be the best choice for you. However, keep in mind that LPN jobs have limited growth opportunities and lower salaries compared to other nursing degrees.

If you want to become a registered nurse and have limited finances, an ADN program may be a good choice for you. However, keep in mind that many employers prefer hiring BSN graduates, and the job opportunities for ADN graduates are not as varied as BSN graduates.

If you want to have more career opportunities, leadership roles, and higher salaries, a BSN may be the best option for you. Additionally, a BSN is required for many graduate nursing programs.

If you want to specialize in a specific area of nursing such as family practice, anesthesia, or oncology, an MSN may be the best choice for you. Keep in mind that MSN programs are more expensive and require a BSN.

Nursing Degree Program duration Skills and Knowledge Acquired Typical Job Settings
LPN 12-18 months Basic care for patients Long-term care facilities, clinics, home health care settings
ADN 2 years Registered Nurse skills Hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities
BSN 4 years Leadership, critical thinking, advanced nursing skills Hospitals, research, school nursing, nursing management
MSN 2-3 years (depending on program) Advanced Nursing Practice skills Specialty clinics, hospitals, nursing education, research

The choice between LPN, ADN, BSN, and MSN requires careful consideration of your career aspirations, financial situation, and education. All nursing degrees offer unique opportunities for personal growth and career advancement.

Nursing School Program Requirements

Before embarking on a nursing degree, it is essential to understand the program requirements that must be met. This ensures that aspiring nurses are fully prepared to meet the challenges of the nursing profession and excel in their studies.

The admission requirements for nursing school may vary from institution to institution and program to program. However, there are some general requirements that most nursing schools look for in applicants. These include:

  • A high school diploma or equivalent, such as a GED.
  • Minimum GPA requirements, typically ranging from 2.5 to 3.0.
  • SAT or ACT scores.
  • Letters of recommendation from teachers, employers, or other professionals.
  • A personal statement or essay explaining why the student wants to pursue a nursing degree and what they hope to achieve in their nursing career.
  • A background check and drug screen.

Additionally, nursing students must meet certain academic prerequisites to be eligible for admission. These may include courses in biology, chemistry, anatomy and physiology, and other science-related subjects. It is crucial to consult with the nursing school’s admission department directly to determine the specific coursework requirements for the program.

The nursing program itself is rigorous and may take anywhere from two to four years, depending on the degree level. Typically, nursing students must complete a combination of classroom instruction and clinical practice. Clinical practice involves hands-on learning in a healthcare environment, working alongside experienced nurses in hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and other healthcare settings.

Nursing Degree Level Program Requirements Clinical Practice Hours
Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) 2-year program 500-1,000 hours
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) 4-year program 800-1,000 hours
Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) 2-year program, must have a BSN 500-1,000 hours
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) 3-4 year program, must have an MSN 1,000-2,000 hours

Each state has its own requirements for nursing licensure, which include passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). It is essential to research and understand the requirements for the state in which you plan to practice nursing.

In conclusion, pursuing a nursing degree requires meeting specific admission criteria and completing a rigorous program that combines classroom instruction and clinical practice. Understanding the nursing school program requirements is critical to becoming a successful nurse and achieving your career goals.

Career Opportunities with a Nursing Degree

When it comes to career opportunities for nurses, there are several paths one can take. Some nurses choose to pursue traditional roles in hospitals or other healthcare settings, while others opt for more specialized positions such as nursing educators or travel nurses. Here are four common career paths for nursing degree holders:

  • Hospital Nurse – This is the most common career path for nursing graduates. Hospital nurses work in a variety of settings such as Emergency Departments, Intensive Care Units, Operating Rooms, and general inpatient units. It is a challenging and rewarding career that offers a variety of opportunities for advancement.
  • Specialty Nurse – Some nurses prefer to specialize in a particular area of nursing, such as obstetrics, pediatrics, oncology, or critical care. This requires additional education and training beyond a basic nursing degree, but it can lead to highly rewarding and fulfilling careers.
  • Nursing Educator – If you are passionate about helping others and have a desire to teach, a career in nursing education might be right for you. Nursing educators work in academic settings such as colleges and universities, or in healthcare facilities where they train and educate new nurses.
  • Travel Nurse – Travel nursing is a unique and exciting career opportunity for nurses who enjoy experiencing new places and cultures. As a travel nurse, you will work short-term assignments in various healthcare facilities across the country, gaining valuable experience and expanding your skillset.

No matter which path you choose, a nursing degree opens the door to a wide range of career opportunities in the healthcare field.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the outlook for employment in the nursing field is very positive. The agency projects that employment of registered nurses will grow by 7% from 2019 to 2029, which is faster than the average for all occupations. Additionally, there is a growing demand for nurses with specialized skills, which can lead to even more job opportunities and higher salaries.

If you are a compassionate and dedicated individual who enjoys helping others, a career in nursing may be the perfect fit for you. With the variety of career paths available, there is sure to be an option that aligns with your skills and interests.

Occupation Median Annual Salary (May 2020) Required Education/Training
Registered Nurse $75,330 Bachelor’s or Associate Degree in Nursing
Nurse Practitioner $111,680 Master’s Degree in Nursing (or Doctorate)
Nursing Educator $80,440 Master’s Degree in Nursing (or higher)
Travel Nurse $62,440 Associate or Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing

As you can see, nursing offers competitive salaries, as well as opportunities for growth and advancement. Start your journey towards a fulfilling and rewarding career by pursuing a nursing degree today.

Qualities of a Successful Nurse

Being a nurse requires a unique set of skills and traits that enable healthcare professionals to provide the best possible care for their patients. In this article, we will delve into the qualities that make a successful nurse.

  • Compassion: The ability to empathize with patients and provide emotional support is crucial in the nursing profession. A successful nurse is compassionate, caring, and shows genuine concern for their patients.
  • Communication Skills: Nurses need excellent communication skills to communicate effectively with patients, their families, and other healthcare professionals. They must be able to convey information clearly and concisely, listen actively, and ask questions to ensure understanding.
  • Critical Thinking: Nurses must think critically to assess patient needs, develop care plans, and make quick decisions to provide the best possible care. Successful nurses are analytical, strategic thinkers who are able to adapt to changing situations.

Furthermore, a successful nurse is also:

  • Resilient: Nursing can be a stressful and demanding profession, and successful nurses must be able to cope with challenges and adversity.
  • Detail-oriented: Nurses must pay attention to detail to ensure patient safety and avoid medical errors.
  • Team player: Nurses work in multidisciplinary teams, and a successful nurse must be able to collaborate effectively with other healthcare professionals.

In addition to these qualities, nurses must possess the necessary education and training to be effective healthcare professionals. To become a nurse, individuals must earn a nursing degree.

Nursing Degree Description
Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) A two-year program that prepares graduates to take the NCLEX-RN exam to become a registered nurse.
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) A four-year program that provides a more comprehensive education in nursing and includes general education and nursing courses.
Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) A graduate-level program that prepares nurses for advanced practice and management roles in healthcare.

In summary, successful nurses possess a unique combination of skills, traits, education, and training that enable them to provide exceptional care to their patients.

Continuing Education and Advanced Nursing Degrees

As healthcare practices continue to evolve, it is essential for nurses to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies. Continuing education can help nurses enhance their knowledge and skills, increase job opportunities, and advance their careers.

Nursing organizations such as the American Nurses Association (ANA) and the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) provide a variety of continuing education resources for nurses. Some of these resources include workshops, conferences, webinars, and online courses. Additionally, many universities and colleges offer continuing education programs specifically for nurses.

  • Workshops and Conferences: Attending workshops and conferences can be an effective way for nurses to learn about the latest nursing trends, research, and technologies. These events often feature prominent guest speakers, hands-on training, and networking opportunities.
  • Webinars: Webinars are online presentations that allow nurses to participate in continuing education from the comfort of their own homes. These can be especially useful for nurses who live in rural areas or have limited time to attend in-person events.
  • Online Courses: Many universities and colleges offer online nursing courses for continuing education. These courses may cover a variety of topics and levels of education, from basic nursing knowledge to advanced nursing practice.

Advanced nursing degrees are another way for nurses to enhance their knowledge and skills, increase job opportunities, and advance their careers.

Some of the most common advanced nursing degrees include:

Degree Description
Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) The MSN degree is designed for registered nurses who want to specialize in a particular area of nursing practice. It typically takes 2-3 years to complete and may require a thesis or project.
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) The DNP degree is designed for nurses who want to advance their careers in clinical practice or leadership roles. It typically takes 3-4 years to complete and may require a capstone project.
Ph.D. in Nursing The Ph.D. in Nursing degree is designed for nurses who want to pursue careers in research and academia. It typically takes 3-5 years to complete and requires the completion of a dissertation.

No matter which path a nurse chooses, continuing education and advanced nursing degrees can help them stay competitive, enhance their skills, and advance their careers.

The Importance of Ethics in the Nursing Field

Nurses play an essential and influential role in healthcare. They are responsible for caring for and promoting the health of their patients. To do so, nurses must understand and adhere to ethical principles and professional conduct guidelines. Here are seven reasons why ethics is crucial in the nursing field:

  • Protecting Patient Rights: Nurses must uphold their patients’ rights by respecting their autonomy, privacy, and confidentiality. They must also obtain informed consent before carrying out any medical procedures, ensure patients have access to all relevant information regarding their condition, and maintain transparency.
  • Preventing Exploitation: Nurses must not exploit patients for personal gain, such as accepting gifts, providing preferential treatment, or playing favorites with patients, as it undermines trust and fosters an unsafe and unethical environment.
  • Promoting Social Justice: Nurses must advocate for patients’ rights and be aware of issues related to social justice, such as access to healthcare, health disparities, and cultural diversity.
  • Maintaining Professional Integrity: Nurses must adhere to professional boundaries and avoid conflicts of interest that could compromise their ability to care for patients objectively. They must also maintain emotional and physical boundaries with their patients to prevent undue influence and boundary violations.
  • Ensuring Quality Patient Care: Nurses must prioritize patients’ needs to ensure their care is efficient, effective, and patient-centered. They must also collaborate with other healthcare professionals to promote interdisciplinary care and prevent errors.
  • Respecting Professional Relationships: Nurses must respect the boundaries of their professional relationships with patients, colleagues, and other healthcare professionals. They must also refrain from engaging in any behavior that could harm these relationships or impact patient care negatively.
  • Complying with Regulations: Nurses must adhere to the ethical and legal standards, codes of conduct, and regulations established by their professional associations and state boards of nursing.

The Impact of Ethical Breaches in Nursing

When nurses violate ethical principles, they put their patients, colleagues, and themselves at risk. Ethical breaches could lead to legal action, disciplinary measures, job loss, and even criminal charges. Nurses who violate ethical principles also compromise the safety, trust, and wellbeing of their patients, damaging the healthcare system’s integrity and credibility.

The Best Practices for Ethical Nursing

To ensure ethical nursing practice, nurses must follow established codes of conduct, guidelines, and best practices. They must prioritize patients’ needs and welfare, strive for excellence in care delivery, and continuously develop their knowledge, skills, and competencies. Nurses must also promote ethical awareness and engage in ethical decision-making processes when faced with ethical dilemmas. By doing so, nurses can ensure their patient’s wellbeing and uphold the highest professional and ethical standards.


In conclusion, ethics is a vital component of nursing practice. It guides the interactions, decision-making processes, and conduct of nurses, ensuring they provide safe, effective, and compassionate care to their patients. By following ethical principles and best practices, nurses can maintain professional integrity, prevent breaches, and promote the health and wellbeing of their patients and communities.

FAQs – What is a Nursing Degree Called?

Q: What is the official title for a nursing degree?
A: The official title for a nursing degree is a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN).

Q: Is there a difference between a BSN and an ADN?
A: Yes, there is a difference between a BSN and an ADN. A BSN is a four-year program while an ADN is a two-year program. Additionally, a BSN provides a more advanced knowledge of nursing concepts, leadership, and communication skills.

Q: Can a nurse have a degree in a different field?
A: Yes, it is possible for a nurse to have a degree in a different field. However, they will still need to complete a nursing program to become a licensed nurse.

Q: Are online nursing degrees valid?
A: Yes, online nursing degrees are valid as long as they are accredited by the appropriate nursing board.

Q: Can a nurse work without a nursing degree?
A: No, a nurse must have a nursing degree in order to work as a licensed nurse.

Q: What are the career opportunities for someone with a nursing degree?
A: Someone with a nursing degree can work in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, clinics, schools, and private practices. They can also specialize in certain fields, such as pediatrics, oncology, or emergency medicine.

Q: What is the expected growth rate for nursing jobs?
A: The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 7% growth rate for nursing jobs from 2019 to 2029.

Closing Thoughts

Thanks for taking the time to learn about what a nursing degree is called. We hope this article was informative and answered any questions you had. If you’re interested in pursuing a degree in nursing, be sure to do your research and find the program that’s right for you. And remember, the healthcare industry is always looking for dedicated and compassionate nurses to join their team. Thanks for reading, and we hope to see you again soon!