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LPN vs RN vs BSN: Types of Nursing Degrees

LPN vs RN vs BSN: Types of Nursing Degrees

When preparing to embark on your nursing career, you’ll probably experience a mixture of emotion.

You will likely be excited about entering a profession that allows you to help people and make a difference in their lives. You might be a bit nervous about the work that’s to come—but that’s okay, because your passion will help get you to the finish line! There are so many different ways to be a nurse, and multiple certification levels and education stages. Have you explored the options to decide what type of nursing license is right for you, right now?

Level One: Licensed Practical Nurse

For most programs, LPN schooling won’t require you to have any prior education other than a high school diploma or GED. Once you gain admission to this diploma program, schooling will generally take about one year.

Once certified, meaning you’ve completed your training and passed the state licensing exam, it’s time to get to work! LPNs work with doctors and other nurses, usually RNs or NPs (nurse practitioners), to assist with patient care and administrative work. They are able to perform vital health care duties including basic patient intake and observation.

LPNs might work in hospitals, rehabilitation and long- or short-term care facilities, or skilled nursing facilities.

Level Two: Registered Nurse

Registered nurses are a big part of the nursing field, and with good reason. These nursing positions require a two-year degree in nursing, plus successful completion of the state exam. This program often builds on the LPN education, so working LPNs who are craving more responsibility or more hands-on work may be interested in adding on to their education and becoming an RN.

RNs perform more health care related tasks than LPNs, and are often the primary sources of patient and family education and support. They operate under the supervision of doctors or NPs.

Level Three: Nurse Practitioner

To become an NP, you will need to obtain a bachelor of nursing degree (BSN). This program builds upon the first two, and may be a natural next step for working RNs or LPNs. BSNs are also an option for RNs who wish to continue their work, but want to increase their credentials or education or even refine their nursing field by a specific health care area.

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