Get into Nursing – Diploma, Degree, or Accelerated Program?

Based on information from the U.S. Department Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for registered nurses is expected to increase. The rate that is expected is higher than the national average. While these groups of professionals are already the largest group of health care employees, the demand for this position is growing due to several reasons, not least an increasingly aging population.

To become a registered nurse today, the individual must pass a national licensing exam. However, there are many different kinds of routes into a nursing career. New routes into a nursing career are also opening up because of the expected increase in demand.

Due to changing needs, some hospital nursing programs are offering and awarding a diploma in nursing. However, the requirements for admission into these programs will often vary greatly and they are based on the institution. It takes approximately three years for most students to complete the courses contained in it. Once completed, however, the student may obtain an associate’s degree in nursing if the hospital is affiliated with community colleges in the area. By using this route, many RNs enter the field. However, advancement opportunities are often limited.

Another route into a nursing position is obtaining an Associate degree. Local community colleges offer programs to students who meet specific requirements. Some of the basic requirements include possessing a high school diploma or GED along with basic high school level English algebra, and biology courses. Students may take approximately two to three years to complete all of the requirements before obtaining the degree. Admission requirements are often very competitive because of the low costs of the programs, specifically when it is compared to bachelor's degree programs.

As stated above, additional routes are opening. One of the most recent routes is the accelerated degree. Accelerated programs are designed to allow students with non-nursing bachelor's degrees to enter the nursing field. The credits that they have earned can apply toward a nursing degree. Therefore, if they want to earn an accelerated bachelor of science degree in nursing these programs will allow the students to attend a fast-paced, rigorous full-time program that ranges from 12 to 16 months. Once the person completes this nursing program, they will have all of the opportunities of other RNs including career as well as educational advancements.

Choosing one’s route into nursing may not be easy, but now there are so many options getting into the field has certainly become less of a challenge.