Bachelor's Degree in Nursing (BS/BSN)

A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides all the training and credentials necessary for a successful career in nursing. It is the degree most preferred by employers, and it opens many doors for career advancement and further education.

Individuals who earn a BSN are qualified to work in a wide range of professional healthcare environments, including hospitals, medical clinics, physicians' offices, schools, healthcare facilities, home health services, assisted living centers, and community health centers.

Compared to an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) degree, BSN degrees offer more opportunities for advanced positions, even for management or supervisory positions. Nurses with BSNs usually enjoy more opportunities for advancement than nurses with ASNs.

It typically takes four years to complete a conventional BSN program. The first two years are spent completing general education courses; the last two years delve deeply into the principles and science of nursing. After earning a BSN, students will be prepared to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam, become licensed as a registered nurse, and begin working in the healthcare industry.

The Different Types of Bachelor's Degrees in Nursing
BSN - This is the conventional, 4-year bachelor's degree in nursing program. It is the degree of choice among employers, and is considered the industry standard degree. Nurses who want to pursue a graduate degree in nursing, or who want to become eligible for an advanced practice nursing position (such as a clinical nurse specialist, a certified nurse anesthetist, or a certified nurse midwife), must first earn a BSN.

LPN-to-BSN - This is an accelerated program which culminates in a BSN. It is designed specifically for students who are already working as licensed practical nurses (LPNs) or licensed vocational nurses (LVNs). LPN-to-BSN programs take less time to complete than traditional BSN programs, and give LPNs and LVNs the opportunity to advance their education while still working their current job.

RN-to-BSN - RN-to-BSN programs are similar to LPN-to-BSN programs. They're designed specifically for registered nurses who already hold a nursing diploma or an associate's degree in nursing. These programs allow registered nurses to advance their education and thereby increase their opportunities for advancement, while still maintaining their current nursing job. RN-to-BSN programs offer flexible schedule, allowing students to take night and weekend classes and/or online classes.

Second Degree BSN - These BSN programs are designed for working adults who hold a degree in a field unrelated to nursing, and who want to start a career in nursing. Students can apply credit from their first degree toward their BSN, which can dramatically reduce the length of time required to complete the program. Often, Second Degree BSN programs can be completed in 2 years or less.

Accelerated BSN - Accelerated BSN programs are similar to Second Degree BSN, in that they allow students who already hold a bachelor's degree in an unrelated subject to apply their liberal arts credits toward the BSN. Accelerated BSN programs are more focused and move more quickly, allowing students to earn their degree in as little as one year.

Individuals who have earned a BSN are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam, which is a prerequisite for becoming licensed as a registered nurse. Individuals with associate's degrees in nursing (ASN) are also eligible to take this exam. While it is possible to start a successful career in nursing without a BSN, earning one will make you much more appealing to employers, as well as eligible for a number of advancement opportunities.

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