Nursing Schools

The US is home to countless amazing nursing schools that provide aspiring nurses with the skills and knowledge required to succeed in this branch of healthcare. Nursing has rapidly become an esteemed profession with thousands of job opportunities and a massive earning potential. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual mean wage for Registered Nurses in 2020 was an impressive $80,010. The expected job growth for this profession was 7% in the years from 2019 to 2029.

If you want to become a part of this high-growth profession, the following guide on nursing schools would be of great use to you. Find out all you need to know about types of degrees available, common admission requirements and job outlook for nurses in the US.

Types of Nursing Degrees in the US

There are several levels of education available for aspiring nurses in the US. The program you enroll in depends on your prior educational qualifications and future career goals. Let’s have a look at the common degree options available at nursing schools in the US:

Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN): This is a 2-year long degree that covers basic topics in nursing, including acute and chronic diseases, maternal and child health and mental health.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN): This is a 4-year long degree that prepares students for leadership roles in the healthcare field. Common coursework includes medical ethics, legal issues and informatics, in addition to pure medical courses in anatomy and behavioral sciences. This degree also incorporates plenty of hands-on experience through clinical components.

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN): This is a 2-year long advanced degree which prepares students to take on advanced practice roles such as nurse practitioners, nurse educators or certified registered nurse anesthetists. Applicants to this program must have at least a bachelor’s degree to be eligible for enrollment.

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP): This advanced nursing degree typically takes around 2-4 years to complete. A doctor of philosophy (PhD) and a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) are the two most common degrees at the doctoral level in nursing. A PhD degree would prepare students for research positions or academics, while a DNP can lead to job roles as nurse practitioners, university professors or nursing leadership roles.

Career Opportunities with Nursing Schools in the US

After completing nursing school, students can go for a variety of job roles in the field of nursing. The following section gives an overview of potential career opportunities with different nursing degrees:

ADN Career Opportunities: Students who get an ADN typically find work in residential care facilities, hospitals or physicians’ offices.

BSN Career Opportunities: A BSN degree would open up numerous job opportunities in different medical categories such chronic health conditions or aging adults with complex. These professionals have a greater degree of responsibility as compared to ADN nurses.  

MSN Career Opportunities: MSN degree holders qualify for multiple roles such as nurse anesthetist, nurse practitioner or nurse midwife. The salary potential for these job roles is much higher, with BLS reporting an annual mean income of $189,190 for Nurse Anesthetists in 2020.

DNP Career Opportunities: This degree would qualify nurses for advanced roles including leadership roles in healthcare. 

Online nursing programs are available in nursing schools across the US to enable students to get relevant knowledge at their own pace and from their own homes. In order to become a registered nurse, students need at least an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN), which would be followed by passing the NCLEX-RN exam and getting your RN licensure. Aspiring nurses can also opt for higher level educational programs, such as a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree or a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Degree. All these programs are offered by various top-notch institutes in both online and on-campus formats. Please note that nearly all online nursing programs would have a clinical component that would require students to go to a nearby healthcare facility to complete the required number of hours.

National Estimates for Registered Nurses

StateEmployment 1Hourly mean wageAnnual mean wage 2Employment per 1,000 jobsLocation quotient 9
District of Columbia10320$43.29$90,050150.7
New Hampshire13840$36.52$75,970221.04
New Jersey78590$41.21$85,720210.97
New Mexico17100$36.40$75,700221.01
New York178550$43.16$89,760210.96
North Carolina99110$33.15$68,950231.08
North Dakota9970$33.47$69,630251.16
Rhode Island12150$39.81$82,790271.28
South Carolina45930$32.28$67,140231.06
South Dakota13130$29.31$60,960321.49
West Virginia19800$31.31$65,130301.42

(1) Estimates for detailed occupations do not sum to the totals because the totals include occupations not shown separately. Estimates do not include self-employed workers.

(2) Annual wages have been calculated by multiplying the hourly mean wage by a “year-round, full-time” hours figure of 2,080 hours; for those occupations where there is not an hourly wage published, the annual wage has been directly calculated from the reported survey data.

(9) The location quotient is the ratio of the area concentration of occupational employment to the national average concentration. A location quotient greater than one indicates the occupation has a higher share of employment than average, and a location quotient less than one indicates the occupation is less prevalent in the area than average.

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