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What Nursing Degree Should I Pursue After My LPN Certificate?

Higher Education Articles March 9, 2013

There is always going to be a need for nurses, and in recent years there has been a shortage of these professionals in the health care system. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for nurses grows every year. Many people start their nursing career as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), and this opens the door for them to advance in many ways. This is a one-year program, so you will be able to get out into the work force sooner, but you can continue your education while you are working. For many LPNs, the question is what degree program to pursue to advance in the nursing career field.

Bridge Program to Associate Nursing Degree

After the LPN designation, the next rung of the ladder in advancing your career is to take the program leading to an Associate of Nursing degree. In the LPN training, you take rudimentary courses in the science of nursing, physiology, mathematics and an introductory course in biology. Hands-on training in clinical work at a healthcare facility is mandatory for the program. Then, you have to pass a certification exam in order to work as an LPN.

The Associate Nursing degree is offered at community colleges and universities. It usually takes two years to complete this program. You do not need to have certification as an LPN to enroll in this program, if you do then there are bridge programs that you can choose. Through these programs, you can continue working as you study for the degree.

When you graduate from the Associate Nursing program, you will be eligible to take the NCLEX exam to become certified as a registered nurse (RN). The bridge program for nurses is different from other associate degree programs in nursing, such as the Associate of Science in nursing degree. This program is suited for a person who is just getting started in the nursing field because it deals with courses that are technical. With the Bridge program, you will receive credits for the courses you had taken in the LPN program.

Bridge from Associate to Bachelor of Nursing

The Bachelor of Science in nursing degree program is one of the highest level nursing programs. Similar to the standard registered nurse degree, the Bachelor of Science in nursing has a bridge program designed specifically for students who already have an associate degree in nursing. Students with a BSN degree are considered as a registered nurse, but with a four-year degree. The degree program target nurses who are interested in a management or supervisory role.

In the BSN program, students study all aspects of nursing in immense details. Some of the courses in this program include:

•Leadership
•Management
•Research
•Informatics

You do not have to complete an LPN or an associate degree in nursing before you enroll in a BSN degree program. There are separate programs for those who want to directly enter the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program. Similar to other programs, students must write and pass the NCLEX exam before they receive a license to become a nurse.

Specializing in Nursing

After completing a Bachelor degree, nurses have other options to advance in their career. A Master of Science in Nursing provides you with the opportunity to pursue positions that carry more responsibilities and higher pay. You can also pursue a Doctor of Nursing degree, if you are interested in conducting clinical research or opening your own clinic. Nursing is a growing field. As with any career, better opportunities will be available to you, if you have higher degrees and more education. An LPN is a good start, but nurses who are ambitious will want to continue advancing and continue their studies. The Licensed Practical Nurse certificate provides these individuals with the opportunity to work as they study and move forward.

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