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Nursing Degree: Nursing School, Nursing Program and Online Nursing Degree Information

With the growing demand for highly skilled and knowledgeable health practitioners from RN to BSN, a nursing degree can open up several career options and opportunities for students interested in the health field. Nursing schools across the country offer intensive and often competitive nursing programs that allow students to become registered nurses, nurses' aides or pursue research in the health and medical field. Nursing degrees can be completed at a traditional nursing school or over the Internet, and give students a chance to develop the skills and knowledge they need to work as a registered nurse. Online nursing schools give students a chance to complete training and education from any location, and offer a rigorous curriculum and educational opportunities.

What is a Nursing Degree?

A nursing degree program is comprised of science, business and liberal arts courses that enable students to undertake a role as a caregiver, healthcare manager, teacher or nurse's aide. Nursing degree programs vary by State and type of degree, but the curriculum is based on key course programs in social science, biology and physiology. Nursing degree students learn how to communicate with patients, how to work with doctors, and also learn about organizational technologies and systems used in the healthcare industry today. These skills are then furthered in everyday care and graduate nursing programs should you decide to take that path.

What Types of Nursing Programs Can Be Found at Nursing School?

Nursing programs provide in-depth training for a variety of fields in nursing, and can be a primary or secondary degree program for students interested in the medical field. Online nursing degree programs allow students to complete their educational requirements from any location around the globe, and are now becoming a popular option for many prospective students who want to complete their degree at their own pace. Students can pursue a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN), Associate's Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Diploma in Nursing. A Master's Degree in Nursing (MSN) is another option for students who want to continue their education after completing a BSN degree program. All students who complete their course of study must pass the national licensing examination in order to enter the career field of choice.

Nursing School Classes and Nursing Program Requirements

A nursing program is a comprehensive course of study in the medical field, and most of the degree requirements can be completed at a nursing school. Nursing schools allow students to achieve the status of a Registered Nurse (RN), and the occupation accounts for nearly 2.5 million jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2008 – 2009. The most common types of classes available at nursing schools include:

  • Nursing practice

  • Pathophysiology

  • Pharmacology

  • Growth and Development

  • Human Anatomy

  • Medical and Surgical Care

  • Chemistry

  • Microbiology

  • Maternal, Child and Neonatal Care

Online Nursing Degree Information

Online nursing schools offer an alternative option for students who prefer to study from home or cannot attend a nursing school in person. This is an attractive degree program for parents who need a flexible schedule to complete their training, students who wish to take courses outside of their state or city, or even those who may be working full time and want to complete a nursing program on a part-time basis. Online nursing degrees offer similar benefits as an on-site degree program, but course materials and content are delivered via the Internet. These degree programs may also require lab components that can be based in an offsite location, or completed via web tutorials and demonstrations. Online nursing schools can pave the way for an exciting and rewarding career in the health and medical field, and today's innovative e-learning technologies make it easy for many students to advance in their career after completing online training.

Nursing Degree Training and Qualifications

Students interested in completing a nursing program have three educational paths to choose from. A bachelor's degree in nursing allows students to become a registered nurse immediately after graduation and taking a national licensing examination; an associate's degree program in nursing allows students to take classes towards a bachelor's degree; and a diploma in nursing allows students a chance to enter into an approved nursing program for further education. Accelerated bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN) programs are also available for students who wish to complete nursing programs in under four years. All States and the District of Columbia require students to pass a national licensing examination in order to become a registered nurse, and nurses can be licensed in more than one State. A registered nurse can begin their career in the field as a licensed practical nurse or nursing aide, and then move up in their careers after obtaining additional training, work experience and education. Advanced nursing degrees allow students to move into roles in health services administration, home-based care, health planning and development, or medical research.

Job Options and Career Prospects with Nursing Degrees

Completing a nursing degree offers several job opportunities and attractive career options for dedicated students, and many graduates of nursing school can find work in medical facilities, doctor's offices, healthcare organizations and independent practices. The field of nursing is considered to be the largest health care occupation in the United States, and job opportunities look promising through 2016 as the demand for healthcare continues to rise. Registered nurses with at least a bachelor's degree can also move on to practice specialties as a:

  • Nurse practitioner
  • Clinical nurse specialist
  • Nurse anesthetist
  • Nurse midwife

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual earnings of registered nurses were $57,280 in May 2006, with the largest number of registered nurses employed in employment services and general medical and surgical hospitals. Related fields and specialties for registered nurses include: