The Caring Support Blog

Different Types of Nursing Degrees

February 22, 2023

Nursing degrees are a great way for people to enter the nursing field and begin a career. Nursing plays a crucial role in providing high-quality healthcare services to society in an era of modern medical practices and advanced medical technologies. Nursing degrees are becoming increasingly popular. The exact number of people getting a nursing degree each year is growing. As one of the most widespread health jobs, a nursing role can be suited to anyone with the right skills and education in a large range of settings.

A nursing degree provides the opportunity to advance in this field of work. The degree is a general one but is aimed toward preparing students in the potential fields of nursing. When you put all the facts together, understanding what nursing degrees are and conveying it to your audience becomes very clear and simple.

This article is all about nursing degrees. There are several different types of nursing degrees, but what is the difference between them?

Ways of Getting a Nursing Degree

You can earn a nursing degree in one of four ways:

  1. Bachelor's degree. The most common type of nursing degree, the baccalaureate degree (or BN) is awarded to students who complete a four-year program that includes coursework in anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology, pharmacology and other sciences.
  2. Master's degree. A master’s program takes an additional year or two beyond the baccalaureate and allows you to specialize in an area such as administration or research; it also prepares you for doctoral work if you choose to pursue it later on down the road.
  3. Doctoral degree. To become an expert nurse leader who works with patients at all levels of care—from newborns to seniors—you'll need to earn your doctorate in nursing practice (DNP). This takes about three years beyond your master's for a total of seven years of schooling before becoming licensed as a DNP.
  4. Certificate/diploma programs are sometimes offered at community colleges or online schools as another way for new nurses to begin their careers with clinical experience while they're still working toward their bachelor's or master’s degrees. These certificates typically involve graduate-level coursework related directly back to areas like pediatrics or geriatrics so that by graduation time students already have some working knowledge about those specialties from which they will continue learning once hired by hospitals or clinics around town!

How Hard is Nursing School Compared to Other Degrees

Nursing school is very hard, and it's not for everyone. It's much more difficult than other degrees such as medical school or law school. If you have the passion and drive to become a nurse then you'll be able to succeed in nursing school.

The main reason why some students don't succeed in nursing school is that they don't have a passion for it. Nursing requires a lot of work, but if you love helping people and want to make a difference in their lives then nursing is the right career for you.

Here is some other information you need to take note of when comparing nursing school to other degrees:

  1. It depends on the school you go to.
  2. It depends on the program you choose.
  3. It depends on the workload.
  4. It depends on the amount of time you spend studying.
  5. And most importantly, it depends on how well you study (i.e., your grade point average).
Ways of Getting a Nursing Degree

What Degrees do you Need for Nursing

There are two categories of nursing degrees: associate degrees and bachelor's degrees. Associate degrees in nursing (ADN) can be earned in two years, while a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) takes four years to complete. If you decide to pursue the master's level, it takes one additional year beyond either an ADN or BSN to earn your master of science in nursing (MSN).

Most students who want to become nurses will pursue a BSN degree as part of their career plan because they'll earn more money over time as they gain experience. But if you're just looking for something part-time while working another job, an ADN may be right for you. What Are The Steps For Getting Into Nursing School In Canada?

What Degrees can you get in Nursing

There are many kinds of degrees that you can earn in nursing.

  1. Bachelors: A bachelor’s degree is the most common type of degree. It is typically a four-year program that provides an overview of the field and prepares students to work in hospitals, clinics, schools and other healthcare settings.
  2. Masters: A master's degree is an advanced level of study that takes two years to complete after earning your bachelor's degree. The curriculum includes more specialized coursework in topics such as research methods or leadership skills needed for managerial positions within the field.
  3. Doctorate: A doctorate (PhD) requires four years beyond your bachelor’s degree before you can begin coursework for this high-level professional certification. Once you have successfully defended your thesis, you will be awarded your doctorate certificate from whatever institution granted it.

What are the Types of Master’s Degrees in Nursing

You can choose from a variety of master’s degrees in nursing, each with its own specialties and career paths. There are many types of master’s degrees in nursing, each with specific requirements and fields of study. These include:

  1. Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) - The MSN degree is most often chosen by nurses who want to increase their knowledge and become leaders in the field. The degree prepares nurses to treat patients more independently, which means they spend less time with doctors and other medical professionals.
  2. Master of Arts in Nursing (MAN) - The MAN prepares nurses for leadership roles by providing them with advanced critical thinking skills that come from studying human behaviour, ethics and advocacy issues.
  3. Master of Education in Nursing (MED) — While all levels of education are important for nursing students, those who earn a MED often specialize in educational administration or teaching at the university level. These individuals may also specialize in clinical research or public health policy changes affecting access to health care services.
  4. Master's Degree​ ​in​ ​Nursing Administration (MNAD)- MNAD programs teach future administrators how to plan staffing patterns based on current trends within your organization while still maintaining patient safety standards

Other types of master's degrees in nursing that you can venture into:

  1. Master of Science in Nursing Science (MSNSc)
  2. Master of Nursing Administration (MNA)
  3. Master of Nursing Informatics (MINI), focuses on technology advancements in the field and how they can be applied to patient outcomes.
  4. Master NPs’ educational path is typically an MSN or MA program; however, there are some universities that offer DNP programs for nurses who wish to pursue an advanced practice role. The RN to BSN degree may also prepare students for additional education such as an MSN or DNP degree program.

What is the Hierarchy of Nursing Degrees

The hierarchy of nursing degrees is a simple one: BSN, MSN and DNP. An RN with an associate's degree can also pursue a diploma from a community college to become an LPN (licensed practical nurse). But we're not going to discuss any of those here because this article focuses on the three primary options for earning a Bachelor's Degree In Nursing:

  1. Bachelor's Degree in Nursing (BSN)
  2. Master's Degree in Nursing (MSN)
  3. Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Nurse Practitioner Vs Doctor


The value of earning a nursing degree is the great life you can lead with one. People don't become nurses to make money; they become nurses to help people, which earns them more rewards than compensation. Hopefully, we’ve answered all of your questions about nursing degrees. If you think we missed anything, let us know in the comments!

Read More:

Highest Paying Cities For Nurses In Canada

How Can International Nurses Become A RN Or PRN

How To Transition From PSW To Nursing

About The Author
Denson Natividad
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