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What Are the Different Types of Nursing Higher Education?

Nurse practitioner programs are graduate level, with graduates earning either a master's degree or doctorate.
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  • Written By: Susan Grindstaff
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 11 November 2014
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Many people begin their nursing careers as a certified nursing assistant (CNA). This is generally an entry-level position in the nursing field. Participation in nursing higher education programs could enable these workers to specialize and improve their salaries. Some of these nursing higher education programs include licensed practical nurse (LPN), registered nurse (RN), and certified nurse practitioner (CNP). Though some people begin these programs as CNAs, this is not a requirement, as many people enroll with only a high school diploma.

In some instances, people who enroll in nursing higher education programs can receive some credit for their CNA training. This may enable them to complete their education a bit more quickly than those who enter with only a high school background. Education requirements for most nursing programs may vary greatly, depending on location. Those who wish to begin nursing training should check with area schools to find out about awarded credit programs and entrance requirements.

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LPN curriculums are nursing higher education programs that usually take about a year to complete, depending on whether the student enrolls full or part time. LPN programs are available at some universities, but more often are obtained through technical or nursing schools. Many schools require entrants to pass health and drug screening tests. This is because part of the training requires dealing directly with hospitalized patients. Entrance to an LPN program usually requires passing a written exam designed to test applicants in areas of vocabulary, science, and math.

RN programs are typically two-year studies resulting in an associate's degree in nursing, however in some locations, becoming an RN may require as much as four years of education. As with other types of nursing higher education programs, the education requirements to become an RN may vary greatly depending on location. In some areas, people who have already undergone LPN programs may be able to accelerate their training. Most of the time, an RN makes a much better salary than an LPN.

A CNP, also referred to as a nurse practitioner, is generally considered the highest level of nursing. Nurse practitioners perform many of the same duties as doctors, including diagnostics and prescribing medications. Education requirements for a CNP typically involve obtaining a master's degree in the field of nursing. Usually, to become a CNP, entrants must first be qualified as an RN. Earning potential for a CNP in the United States averages around $90,000 US Dollars (USD).

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