Nursing is a profession in which nurse help patients who need care and look after sick patients. Nurses also assist doctors and surgeons. Nurses usually work at hospitals and clinics but they also help in assisted living for elders. (1)

Types of nursing degrees

There are many pathways of nursing degree from ASSOCIATE to DOCTORAL Degree. Here is the level of degrees one can pursue.

CNA certificate or diploma in nursing. (2)

This is a non-degree certificate or diploma that is offered at vocational schools and community colleges. You can take physical classes or online classes. Clinical or lab hours must be performed at the approved location by school or college. If you pursue this certificate you will learn different services in healthcare for example how to help the patient with their needs. Some other duties you will learn are:

  • Bathing patients
  • Feeding patients
  • Maintaining patients record
  • Change bedding
  • How to communicate with family members of the patient
  • Noting the vital signs
  • Help in transferring patients in and out of the bed

If you want to increase your employment level you can specialize in some other volunteer certificates.

Who can earn this diploma

This diploma is for students who want to step into the healthcare field as soon as possible. You must have a high school diploma and GED to apply. Following groups can pursue this diploma:

  • Graduates from high school who want to earn this career without going to college.
  • Future nurses who want to apply to the more advanced program of nursing.
  • People looking for various possibilities in the field of healthcare.
  • People who want flexibility in their responsibility services schedule

Length of diploma

Earning this diploma is the fastest way to enter the nursing field. At least seventy-five hours of education and sixteen hours of clinical training under the supervision of a qualified trainer are required to complete this diploma. Usually, this program is completed in 4 to 12 weeks.

Careers with this certificate:

You can work under the supervision of a registered nurse according to the laws of the state. Other employment includes:

  • Healthcare services in home
  • Assisted living for senior citizens or elderly
  • Retirement communities
  • Hospitals

Earnings: average annual earnings for CNA is $30,720

LPN/ LVN certificate or diploma

It is also a non-degree diploma and the following duties are performed by the holder of this certificate:

  • Taking vital signs
  • Insert catheters
  • Change wound dressing
  • Improve patient comfort
  • Administration of medicine and injections
  • Help in testing, collection of samples
  • Report patient health.

Who can earn this diploma

Following groups can pursue this field

  • Graduates of high school
  • CNAs holder wants to increase their services
  • Career changers
  • Prospective nurse

Length time of diploma

This certificate can be completed in twelve months. Clinical hours should be completed as set by the state. This program can range from 7 to twenty-four months.

Careers with this diploma

Employment options at the level of clinical and administration include locations like:

  • Hospitals
  • Government agencies
  • In laboratories for diagnostic testing
  • In clinical research
  • Home healthcare services
  • In the physician’s office
  • Assisted living

Earnings: an average of $48,500 can be earned annually.

Associate degree in nursing

It is the basic and first minimum requirement for a student to become a registered nurse. This program is offered by community colleges and some four-year organizations. Some may offer an online nursing degree. Registered nurse with this degree has to perform the following duties:

  • Assist physicians and surgeons during examination and surgery
  • Analyze diagnostic tests
  • Supervise LPN and CNAs
  • Provide education on self-care to patients
  • Review treatment plans
  • Dress wounds

Who can earn this degree

This four-year program can be earned by following groups:

  • Graduates from high school and wish to pursue long term career
  • Career changers
  • Parents who want a career with financial security

Length time foe degree

It usually requires two years to complete these degree programs

Careers with an associate degree

After getting registered and earning the license you can pursue your career in:

  • Physician’s office
  • Healthcare services in an ambulatory
  • Educational services
  • Travel nursing organizations
  • Residential care facilities
  • Health insurance company
  • Military and government agencies

Earnings: registered nurses can earn a $77,460 average salary annually. Nurses who are working at a higher rank and government agencies can earn more. Salaries depend upon the experience and specialty a nurse has.

Bachelor’s of Science in nursing

It is a four-year nursing program for registered nurses. On-site clinical training and physical or online classes are required for the completion of the course.

Who can earn this degree

If you can commit four years to study and willing to pursue a career as a registered nurse then it is for you. You can also earn a master’s degree after your BSN.

Length time for this degree

It takes four years to complete a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Some colleges offer BSN that take only two years to complete.

Careers with BSN

After completing BSN you can qualify for the NCLEX-RN test to become a registered nurse. A wide range of career opportunities are present that include:

  • Parish nurse
  • Public health nurse
  • School nurse
  • Medium level Nurse administrator
  • Legal consultant nurse
  • Forensic nurse
  • Occupational health nurse
  • Case manager
  • Home health nurse
  • Nursing informatics specialist

Earning: registered nurses can earn up to $77,460 on average salary per year.

Masters of Science in Nursing

It is a post-graduate program you can earn this after completing can practice as an APRN after a master’s program. It is a more detailed study than BSN.

Who can earn this degree?

It is usually earned by students who have completed their bachelor’s degrees. The following groups are qualified for this degree:

  • Students with BSN
  • Career changers

Length of time:

It takes two years to complete the master’s degree program


  • Nurse practitioner
  • Clinical nurse specialist
  • Certified midwife-nurse
  • Certified aesthetic nurse

Earnings: you can earn around $111,840 annually as a nurse practitioner

Doctoral degree in nursing

A terminal degree is taught at the university level. It can be pursued after a master’s degree in nursing.

Length of time:

It usually takes two years to complete but it can take more depending on your interest.


  • Doctor of nursing practice
  • Doctor of nursing philosophy
  • Doctor of nursing science

Earnings: usually educational nurses can earn up to $83,240 annually