Types of Nursing Degrees






Recently, I graduated from Nursing School with my 4th degree in Nursing. I was shocked to know people still do not understand nursing education. People would ask me, “Are you finally an RN.” What? I just completed a DNP in Nursing. I have been a nurse educator for the last ten years. People also ask, “Why do you need a doctoral degree to teach nursing?” There is a need to educate the general public on nursing degrees and programs. I have been a nurse for over 22 years.

Many people start their nursing career providing basic nursing care. You can start you nursing career with a certificate in nursing. There are a few nursing training programs available to complete.

Nursing Training Certificate Programs (CNA) (LPN’s take NCLEX-PN)

CNA – Certified Nursing Assistant – takes six weeks-6 months and developed by a technical school. Passing the state exam is required to be certified.

LVN/LPN – Licensed Vocational Nurse/Licensed Practical Nurse – takes 1-2 years and developed by a technical school. Passing the NCLEX is a requirement to practice.

In 1990 after returning home from Desert Storm, I decided to pursue nursing instead of medicine. I started out as a home health aide and a sitter. I did not take a course to do either. I wish I had completed a CNA program. I always knew I would pursue an education in nursing.

Many people may be ready to pursue a degree to become a registered nurse.

Entry into Nursing Degree Programs (upon completion can take the NCLEX-RN)

Diploma in Nursing – takes three years and the program was developed in the hospital setting.

Associates in Nursing (ADN) – takes two years and developed at the local community college.

Bachelor’s in Nursing (BSN) – takes four years and developed at a university or private college.

RN to BSN – takes 1-2 years and is developed by a university or private college.

Second Degree BSN – takes 18 monhts-2years and developed by a university or private college. For people with a college degree who want to be a nurse.

Direct Entry Masters in Nursing (MSN)

In 1994, I graduated with an ADN from the local community college. I took a year from school and passed the NCLEX the first time while working my first job. I started in Med/Surg and then transitioned to the Emergency Room.

In 1997, I graduated from RN-BSN program that was a form of a long distance learning opportunity. I continued in the ER (Trauma level 3) and acquired many certifications.

Many people who are already nurses may be ready to pursue an advanced degree in Nursing. I only listed a few MSN degrees on this blog; there are more.

 Advanced Nursing Degrees at a Master’s Level (MSN)

Nursing Administration

Nursing Education

Nursing Informatics

Certified Master level Nurses

                Certified Nurse Practitioner

                Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

                Certified Nurse Midwife

                 Clinical Nurse Specialist

In 2007, I graduated with my Master’s in Nursing Administration. With that degree, I was able to teach at a community college, HBCU University & two for-profit colleges. I enjoy teaching and hope to return to educating nursing students soon. Nurses are natural educators. Most colleges, university & state boards of nursing require nurses to have a master’s or doctorate to teach nursing.

Nurses who have completed Advanced Nursing Degrees (MSN) may seek Doctoral Degrees in Nursing.

 Doctoral Degrees in Nursing

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (Ph.D.)

In 2016, I graduated with my Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). Currently, I am working back in the ER. I am completing a nurse project which could have a major impact on the world of nursing in the future. My project is The Nurse Dolls. This could help decrease the 1 million nursing shortage projected by 2025. The Nurse Dolls provide education about the STEM career of nursing with picture books, animated dvds and 18-inch Dolls.

Also, I plan to pursue teaching nurses’ online and working on research projects. I would love to start a CNA school or a group home. The options for a nurse with an advanced practice nurse degree are endless.

 Check out the Nurse Dolls Website: www.thenursedolls.com.

Happy Graduation to ME!!

Dr. Nicole M. Brown, DNP, RN

Army Reserve Veteran (Desert Storm)

Founder: Nursing Success College, LLC & The Nurse Dolls, LLC

(863) 221-1778

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