Nursing Degrees and Certificates in the Health Career Field
The healthcare field continues to grow.
While there are many career options available in the health care field, nurses are in high demand at clinics, hospitals, nursing homes and more. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for RNs will grow at about a 16 percent rate from 2014 to 2024.
You can begin your career in nursing right out of high school by becoming a certified nursing assistant (CNA) or develop your career to the highest level of nursing through years of school to become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN). The options are endless and depend on what your goals are when it comes to your career. Each level of nursing comes with its own education requirements. The good news is that you don’t have to wait until you qualify to be an APRN before beginning your career!
Nursing certifications vary according to level and specialization. For example, a nurse who is just beginning his or her career would be able to get the certified nursing assistant certification or a state-tested nursing assistant (STNA). Neither certificate requires more than a high school diploma and some required training classes. These certifications in nursing may jumpstart your career.
More advanced certificates in nursing are meant to establish a degree of specialty to supplement a nurse’s education. Certificates in adult-gerontology or ambulatory perianesthesia are specialized certifications for nurses who have already completed or are working toward an LPN or RN degree. Specializations allow nurses to have a focus in which they can become experts. Nursing certificates will vary by state, but there are more than 200 nursing specialties available for registered nurses.
Degrees in nursing also include license practice nurse (LPN), registered nurse (RN), advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), and doctorate level nursing (DNP, DNS, PhD). LPNs will often complete a 12-month program to earn a diploma in nursing, while RNs need either an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree before becoming a registered nurse. An APRN requires earning a master’s degree. Nurses who decide to get a doctorate in nursing can improve patient outcomes or contribute to research.