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Degree Overview: Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) Degree

Majors Overview August 17, 2014

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

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Degreee Programs

Students enrolled in Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree programs are provided with a well-rounded education even as they are trained to seek nursing occupations. Students typically take four years to complete the program. An accelerated training track has been devised to allow some students who have completed nursing courses, or already have degrees, to complete the program within two years. Higher learning institutions, such as colleges and universities, offer these programs.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma. However, educational requirements can differ according to the degree program and school. For example, there may not be prerequisites that are required to be fulfilled for admission to some major programs. In others, students may be expected to have completed courses such as statistics, philosophy, social studies, communications, and English, apart from particular sciences. In others, students may be required to have completed basic physiology and anatomy courses before they are allowed to start core coursework.


Schools typically divide BSN programs into classroom instruction, lab work and clinical experiences. BSN degree programs are more beneficial than associate’s degree programs in that the former features more extensive clinical experience offerings. Core coursework may include such topic areas as:

•Healthcare systems
•Research in nursing
•Special needs nursing
•Nursing and healthcare management
•Medical ethics
•Professional nursing practices
•Patient psychology

Career Choices

Those who complete a bachelor’s degree program may become registered nurses (RNs) and pursue careers in positions of greater responsibility, including leadership nursing roles in nursing education or healthcare.

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2010 – 2020 decade, a faster-than-average job growth rate of 26% has been predicted for registered nurses, with 711,900 more individuals likely to join the profession (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). Registered nurses with a BSN degree and in under-served locations, such as rural areas and inner cities, can expect better demand.

In 2012, these professionals brought home an average annual salary of $65,470, which translates into an average hourly rate of $31.48 (BLS). The average annual salary was paid to nurses in the top ten percent of earners. Home health care facilities, health clinics, and hospitals mainly employ these professionals.

Continuing Education Choices

Graduates from the bachelor’s degree program can seek continued education through passage of the National Council Licensing Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), offered by the National Council State Boards of Nursing, in order to become registered nurses. Alternatively, they may study to gain additional specialization within the field or to pursue higher education. Those who earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree can seek occupations in academia or advanced nursing positions, including nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist. It typically takes two years to complete MSN programs.

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