What Are the Different Types of Nurse Degree Requirements?

Nicole Etolen
Nicole Etolen
Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

The different types of nurse degree requirements vary depending on the degree program. There are several different levels of degrees, ranging from an associates degree all the way up to a Doctorate. Licensed practical nurses do not receive a degree, but are required to take college-level courses in order to be admitted into the program. The best way to find out the required nurse degree requirements is to talk to an adviser at the educational facility.

Those who wish to become licensed practical nurses (LPNs) typically start out working on their prerequisite nurse degree requirements. These typically include several basic psychology, biology, and anatomy classes. Most colleges require those applying to the LPN program to complete the prerequisite courses with at least a “C” average grade. This type of nursing program can usually be completed in about one year. The actual nursing classes in the LPN program prepare students to perform basic tasks, including dispensing medication, inserting urinary catheters, and caring for wounds.

Associates degree programs allow graduates to become registered nurses (RNs). The nurse degree requirements for these programs are a little more advanced that those of the LPN program. For example, while most LPN programs require just a basic overview of human anatomy, the associates degree program typically requires two separate anatomy classes that cover the entire body in more detail. Students in this degree program learn the basics that would be covered in the LPN program as well as more advanced nursing techniques, such as how to handle blood transfusions or work with critically ill patients.

A bachelors degree in nursing (BSN) is a four-year program that expands on the basics taught during the two-year program. It also prepares nurses to work in parts of the field outside direct patient care, such as in case management. In addition to all the basic science and psychology courses, the nurse degree requirements for a BSN often also include courses such as statistics and research.

Masters and doctorate degree programs allow candidates to continue to build on the management side of nursing as well as advanced practical skills. These programs prepare nurses to take on a higher level of responsibility, including overseeing teams of other nurses or working in the research field. Nurse degree requirements for higher levels depend on the nurse’s chosen specialty.

Nurse degree requirements for all degree programs include a certain number of clinical hours. These hours are usually performed in a combination of hospitals, nursing homes, and in some cases, home health agencies. The number of required hours varies between schools, as different areas have different requirements.

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