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How Long it takes to Graduate from Nursing School

Higher Education Articles November 2, 2017

Diploma to doctoral programs are available in nursing schools. Students can advance their nursing careers by continuing education or gain training to enter the field of nursing.

Nursing Schools

Nursing schools offer numerous types of nursing education. A diploma, associate or bachelor degree would be suitable to the needs of an individual who wishes to start a career as a registered nurse (RN). A master’s or doctoral degree program would suit the needs of those wishing to pursue advanced nursing careers by specializing in a field of nursing.

Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) Programs

Many states accept the ASN as sufficient to qualify candidates to take the registered nurse test and work as a nurse. Community colleges, vocational schools, and universities offer this degree program. Students can complete it within two years and attend classes devised to train students to work as a nurse. These classes include biology, anatomy, nursing practice, psychology, pharmacology, behavioral health nursing, surgical nursing and microbiology courses.

Students may have to complete 72 credit hours in the associate’s degree program. Apart from the nursing courses, some business, writing, oral communication and humanities courses may be offered. Program graduates can seek careers as entry-level RNs and may choose to continue their education in nursing.

Nursing Diploma Programs

Those seeking entry-level careers may also choose to enroll in a nursing diploma program. Teaching hospitals typically offer the diploma program in nursing. The program features a combination of clinical and classroom courses in nursing topics.

Students enrolled in some diploma programs in nursing are required to complete general education coursework at a community college in the vicinity. Students take 2-3 years to complete this ‘learn by doing’ diploma program.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Programs

Students may take four years to complete a bachelor’s degree program in nursing. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as sociology, theology, English, science, and philosophy.

Coursework may also cover subject areas such as microbiology, chemistry, illness, wellness, mental health nursing, nursing process, nurse management, professional nursing roles, and nursing in a specialized setting. Program graduates may also seek a career as an RN. More options may be availed by bachelor’s degree holders – these may include attending graduate school for a nursing specialization, and a management role.

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Programs

Full-time students usually take two years to complete master’s degree programs in nursing. This program aims at those willing to move into specialized or leadership positions, as well as those already working as RNs. Nurses wishing to move up in terms of responsibility and pay should also look into these programs.

RNs can look into various specialization options, including nursing education, women’s health, mental health nursing, community health nursing, and oncology.

Doctoral Programs in Nursing

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Nursing, Doctor of Nursing Science (DNS), and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs are among the doctoral programs in nursing available. These programs usually take 3-5 years, though this depends on whether the student is enrolled part-time or full-time and the program itself.

Upon completion of a master’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing program, students may enroll in doctoral programs in nursing. An accelerated BSN to Ph.D. program also allows students to enroll in these programs. Students will be ready for various upper-level careers, such as a certified nursing midwife, nurse practitioner, nurse scientist, and clinical nursing specialist.

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