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Degree Overview: Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Degree

Majors Overview August 26, 2014

Receive information about a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program and its education requirements, coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and licensure and continuing education information.

Bachelor of Science (BSN) Degree Programs

Students enrolled in Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree programs are taught about modes of caring for patients and providing assistance to primary care professionals. Coursework focuses on the sciences and humanities, and students learn about various forms of health promotion, medical treatment and health conditions. Students usually complete BSN programs in about four years. The program qualifies graduates to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma, in addition to completing prerequisite general education courses including topic areas in chemistry, microbiology, physiology and anatomy.


Coursework combines laboratory and classroom components with clinical training in healthcare facilities such as mental health agencies, public schools and hospitals. Opportunities to perform nursing research are offered to students enrolled in some programs. Core coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Public health nursing
•Gerontological nursing
•Medical terminology
•Reproductive healthcare
•Healthcare safety

Career Choices

Those who complete a bachelor’s degree program may seek entry-level careers as registered nurses (RN) in work environments such as physicians’ offices and hospitals.

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2010 – 2020 decade, job growth rates of 26% have been predicted for RNs, mainly in residential, long-term and outpatient care facilities (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In May 2012, these professionals brought home an average annual wage of $65,470 (BLS).

Licensure and Continuing Education Information

Graduates from the bachelor’s degree program can seek continued education by pursuing master’s degree programs that would enable them to get employed as healthcare managers, nurse educators, nurse practitioners, or clinical nurse specialists. Alternatively, they may pursue doctoral programs such as a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), which is suitable for a career in advanced clinical practice, or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), in order to seek careers in academia or research. Licensure is compulsory for RNs in every state. While licensure norms vary by state, standard requirements include the passage of the NCLEX-RN and completion of a state-approved nursing program.

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