Nursing Degree & Certification Programs

Nursing is the backbone of health care. They provide direct treatment, collaborate with other healthcare providers, and communicate critical information to patients and their families to achieve the best possible outcomes.

The function of a nurse also varies considerably—nurses can pursue various professional paths based on their interests and ambitions. Certain positions necessitate more education and training. Others offer the chance to work with unusual patient populations.

Popular Nursing Careers

There are numerous nursing job options available in the healthcare profession. Education and training needs vary by role, as do the duties and abilities required. Consider the following nursing career possibilities.

Nursing Assistant with a Certification (CNA)

Certified nurse assistants (CNAs) assist patients with daily duties such as eating and bathing in medical settings. Individuals interested in becoming CNA must complete an approved training program and pass their state’s competency exam. Community colleges, vocational schools, high schools, and health groups like as the Red Cross often offer CNA training programs. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classifies CNAs as nursing assistants by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and their median annual wage is $29,660 as of May 2019. CNA positions are predicted to expand by 8%.

Practical Nurse Licensed (LPN)

Under the supervision of senior nursing personnel, licensed practical nurses (LPN), also known as licensed vocational nurses (LVN), offer medical care to patients. With experience, an LPN may be able to assume supervisory roles and oversee other LPNs or CNAs.

Typical steps for becoming an LPN include the following:

  • Acquire a high school diploma or an education comparable.
  • Prepare for the National Council Licensure Examination for LPNs by completing a training program.
  • Pass a state-mandated licensing examination (only required in certain states)

According to the BLS, LPNs and LVNs earned an average of $47,480 in May 2019 and roles are predicted to rise by 9%.

Licensed Nurse (RN)

Registered nurses (RNs) are health care professionals who have successfully completed a nursing program and are licensed to practice nursing. The function of an RN varies according to their work environment, amount of experience, and specialty. The majority of registered nurses have both clinical and administrative responsibilities.

Typical steps toward becoming an RN include the following:

  • Accreditation of nursing education—RNs may receive an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree from an approved nursing school.
  • Pass the National Council Examination for Registered Nurse Licensure (NCLEX-RN).
  • Acquire a license in the state where they intend to practice.

According to the BLS, registered nurses earn a median annual salary of $73,300, and employment opportunities are predicted to expand by 7%.

Registered Nurse Anesthetist with Certification (CRNA)

CRNAs are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who deliver general and local anesthesia, sedation, epidural, spinal, and peripheral nerve blocks. CRNAs work in a number of settings, including hospitals, pain clinics, and physician offices.

Typical steps for becoming a CRNA include the following:

  • Complete a bachelor’s degree program.
  • Acquire a license as a registered nurse (RN).
  • A minimum of one year of nursing experience in a critical care setting is required.
  • Complete a nurse anesthesia educational program recognized by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists.
  • Pass the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists certification examination (NBCRNA).

Nurse anesthetists earn approximately $174,790 per year and are predicted to expand by 17%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Specialist in Clinical Nursing (CNS)

Another advanced practice role for nurses is that of a clinical nurse specialist (CNS). Nurses in this position are accountable for applying their expertise to a defined patient population (e.g., adult acute care). CNSs frequently serve as consultants to hospital staff, ensuring evidence-based practice and the greatest possible patient results.

Typical steps toward becoming a CNS include the following:

  • Complete a bachelor’s degree program.
  • Acquire a license as a registered nurse (RN).
  • Earn a master’s degree in nursing (MSN).
  • To achieve your CNS certification, you must apply to take the exam appropriate to your specialty.
  • Apply for state-level CNS certification in the state where you desire to practice.

 Practical Nurse (NP)

A nurse practitioner (NP) is a registered nurse (RN) who has completed a master’s or doctoral degree in nursing and is licensed by a nationally recognized licensing authority. NPs are directly responsible for patient care, including diagnosing and treating ailments. They can also specialize in specific patient demographics, such as acute care, pediatrics, or gerontology.

Several common approaches toward becoming an NP include the following:

  • Complete a bachelor’s degree program.
  • Acquire a license as a registered nurse (RN).
  • Earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a doctoral degree in nursing.
  • Pass the certification examination in your field of expertise.

50+ Nursing Careers and Specialties to choose from