Nursing How Long Does It Take
We’re often asked how long it takes to become a nurse. It all depends on your goals and the career path you choose in nursing. If you want to work as an RN or LPN, then you need an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or diploma program. If you want to earn a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), then it will take four years after high school or one year after earning an ADN/diploma degree. If you want advanced practice degrees, such as MSN or PhD, then those require two years post-graduate study plus clinical experience hours before receiving certification at each level (and passing the NCLEX exam).
The diploma program is a shorter route to becoming a registered nurse (RN). It takes approximately 18 months to complete the program and get the necessary certification.
The diploma program focuses more on practical skills than the bachelors degree. You’ll be able to work in many different areas of nursing, including critical care units, emergency rooms, and surgery centers.
Diploma programs are usually less expensive than bachelors programs because they don’t require as much time or money from prospective students.
A baccalaureate degree will take 4-5 years to complete depending on how you approach your program. This is a good way to get a general overview of the field and can be used to enter the workforce or to enter a masters program. It doesn’t prepare someone for a doctoral program, which requires additional training beyond that of an undergrad degree.
If you want to work in a hospital, the best way to start is by earning an associate’s degree or certificate. Your next step would be to pursue your bachelor’s, which will prepare you for licensure as a registered nurse (RN). If your goal is a clinical specialty like psychiatric nursing or gerontological nursing, an MSN may be required instead.
If working outside of hospitals is more appealing for whatever reason—maybe you’re interested in helping people who aren’t sick?—or if there are opportunities at one of these facilities within driving distance from where you live:
- Nursing home – A few years of experience as an RN with good references should get you hired here pretty quickly and easily. Some nursing homes have programs where RNs can complete their BSN degree and work toward getting board certified during their employment there; others offer tuition reimbursement as part of their benefits package.
- Clinic – In general, clinics do not hire new grads unless they have additional training beyond an associate’s degree (for example if they did their clinical hours through school). However, some clinics may hire new grads with just one year of experience if they do well on the interview process and pass certain tests such as the NCLEX-RN exam.
Masters Degree in Nursing
Masters Degree in Nursing
The Master’s Degree in Nursing (MSN) is the highest level of educational attainment for nurses. Its purpose is to prepare you for doctoral-level studies or practice as an advanced generalist. The MSN degree can be completed online or on-campus, depending on your needs, schedule and preferences. Upon completion of a master’s program at an accredited institution, students are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) for Registered Nurses (RN). A few programs also offer a nurse practitioner certification exam prep course for those interested in becoming nurse practitioners (NP). In addition to preparing students with entry-level knowledge and skills needed for professional nursing practice, most MSNs provide additional specialization areas that allow graduates greater flexibility when managing their career path throughout their careers. Some common specializations include:
- Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
- Family Nurse Practitioner
- Gerontological Nurse Practitioner
Masters Entry-Level MSN Programs
MSN programs can take a year or more to complete, depending on the program. Students with a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) who want to advance their career can apply for these programs. An MSN is an advanced degree that provides nurses with additional knowledge and skills to help them become leaders in the field of health care.
The average annual tuition for an MSN program is $43,000; however, costs vary depending on the school and length of study required. For example, Stony Brook University offers an online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) at its School of Health Technology & Management (SHTM), which has a total cost of $17,500 including fees as well as books and equipment/supplies; however due to financial aid options such as loans offered through SHTM’s Financial Aid Office and scholarships that are available through SHTM itself students do not necessarily pay this full amount out-of-pocket annually but rather over five years instead which decreases their overall debt level significantly compared with other institutions offering similar degrees at higher prices per year but only covering tuition costs alone (i -e no fees).
Doctor of Nursing Practice
DNP stands for Doctor of Nursing Practice. This is a terminal degree, meaning it is the highest degree that can be obtained in nursing. The DNP education program includes didactic instruction and clinical practice experiences in advanced nursing roles such as nurse practitioner and clinical nurse specialist.
The length of time required to earn a Doctorate in Nursing Practice varies depending on whether you are already an RN holding a BSN or currently enrolled in an ADN program. You must also take into account how many credits are needed at your university along with other factors such as clinical rotation hours, etc., which may lengthen your study time even further if there isn’t enough funding available through scholarships or financial aid programs like Pell Grants from President Obama’s administration implemented under his Affordable Care Act (ACA). However, if you have been working as an RN since graduating from college then you may qualify for accelerated masters’ programs offered by some universities that allow students who have completed their bachelor’s degrees within five years prior enrollment date into one-year MSN degree completion programs which combine both graduate level courses required for completing their undergraduate degrees along with graduate classes necessary before starting doctoral studies–allowing them to finish faster than those who do not hold these qualifications.”
Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing PhD Program
A PhD program in Nursing takes from 5-7 years to complete depending on the school, and it is research-based. This means that you will be studying nursing, but your focus will be on conducting research or teaching nursing. It’s ideal for those who want to become professors or work in a hospital setting and conduct clinical research.
It depends on your goals and the career path you choose.
But what if you’re not looking for a career as an RN? What if you want to get a BSN so that you can work in human services, or pursue an academic career? In that case, it’s important to note that your time frame will be longer than a typical four-year program.
Whether or not the degree is advanced and specialized (and thus takes longer), depends on the program and school. However, the more credits required by your program, the longer it will take: nursing programs require anywhere from 120-250 credits total. If you’re going back to school after many years out of college or even working already, consider taking some lower-level courses at first just to get back into academics again. Your goal should be finishing with enough extra time left over so that when registering for classes next semester (or quarter), there are still slots available!
The nursing profession is a rewarding one with many opportunities for growth and advancement. We hope you’ve found this article to be helpful in your career search and wish you the best of luck!