how much education do nurses need

How Much Education Does a Nurse Need to Succeed?

Today, countless registered nurses (RNs) are close to retirement, and according to the American Nursing Association (ANA), it’s elevating a “critical shortage for nurses” in the United States.

If you’re looking to help close the nursing career gap and considering becoming a registered nurse, you may have many questions about returning to school. Common inquiries from prospective RNs include:

Typical Education Requirements for a Nurse

The typical education needed for nursing is an associate degree from an accredited nursing school.

However, educational qualifications for a registered nursing license are state- and employer-specific. While most states only require an associate degree in Nursing (ADN) to pursue licensure, many employers are starting to require a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Some states allow nurses with their ADN to practice under the stipulation that they obtain their BSN within a specific timeframe.

After completing the mandatory clinical hours and graduating from an accredited nursing program, all aspiring registered nurses must pass their state’s NCLEX-RN exam for licensure.

Although an associate degree can launch graduates into nursing careers, there are several nursing degree levels. Successful RNs are natural lifelong learners and can continue to advance their education, elevate their salary, and reduce the likelihood of unemployment by enrolling in advanced degree programs. Advanced nursing degrees include the BSN as well as a master’s degree in Nursing (MSN).

Read below for a breakdown of distinctive nursing degrees by education level.

Advancing Your Career with an ADN

An associate degree in Nursing is typically a two-year nursing program.

Career-focused institutions like Goodwin University offer flexible ADN programming, and core nursing classes can be completed in as few as 20 months part-time — allowing aspiring RNs to still work while earning their degrees.

An ADN curriculum covers the fundamentals of nursing through clinical experiences and courses like microbiology and nursing skill development.

Boosting Employability with a BSN

A Bachelor’s in Nursing (BSN) generally requires four years of full-time study, and applicants do not need an associate degree to enroll. However, outside of this route, there are a couple of professional pathways for students to earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing:

  • Those who are already registered nurses can complete an RN-to-BSN track, or
  • Graduates with bachelor’s degrees in non-nursing majors can enroll in an accelerated BSN (ABSN) program

An RN-to-BSN curriculum contains classes like leadership and management in nursing and healthcare policy and advocacy. Nurses attending Goodwin University have an adaptable academic advantage and can complete most of the RN-to-BSN program part-time within 12 months.

An ABSN program is a fast-track nursing program for graduates who have already obtained a bachelor’s degree in another field. Students of Goodwin’s ABSN program can complete core nursing classes in as few as 16 months full-time, and learners can take courses like mental health nursing and the wellness continuum for newborns, children, families, and women.

Pay And Projections for the Registered Nursing Profession

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that the national median wage for RNs in 2021 was $77,600 annually, while registered nurses residing in Connecticut made a median yearly salary of $88,530.

From 2020 to 2030, the registered nursing field is estimated to grow 9%, with 194,500 job openings projected each year.

Managing Your Healthcare Profession with an MSN

A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is a customizable graduate degree, and usually, it takes around two to three years of full-time study to complete.

The higher-level nursing designation prepares learners for professions as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), also known as nurse practitioners.

Graduate nursing degrees may be offered as an all-encompassing, general MSN or specialty tracks in specific areas of nursing. For instance, Goodwin University provides registered nurses with the following three graduate nursing programs:

1. Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Topics in the 20-month MSN curriculum include advanced nursing practice and leadership, communication and informatics, foundations of population health, and more!

2. APRN – Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

Themes in the 27-month FNP curriculum include advanced reasoning, complex cases, nursing research, and more!

3. APRN – Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

Subjects in the seven-semester PMHNP curriculum include advanced nursing practice, assessment diagnosis, mental health disorders, and more!

Pay And Projections for the Nurse Practitioner Profession

In 2021, nurse practitioners nationally earned an annual median pay of $120,680, while APRNs in Connecticut made a yearly salary of $125,360.

The nurse practitioner profession is projected to grow 45% from 2020 to 2030, with an average of 29,400 job openings yearly.

Start the Education Needed to Become a Nurse Today

Whether an RN or an APRN, nursing is a prestigious profession for those passionate about helping others. Nurses are proud of their compassionate careers and genuinely embrace making a meaningful, essential difference in their patients’ lives.

Are you interested in becoming a nurse in the near future?

Learn more about a holistic career that empowers hope and healing.