Types of Nursing Majors | Where can I work with a Nursing Degree?

The nursing major is one of the most sought-after degrees in the world. This is due to the high demand for nurses globally. So, if you wish to pursue a nursing degree, then, you are definitely in the right place. This article covers nursing major salaries, requirements, career, and job outlook. Also, it aims at answering all your questions and other FAQs regarding a major in nurses.

These questions include the following and a lot more:

  • What are the types of Nursing majors?
  • What Does it Mean to Study Nursing?
  • Where can I work with a Nursing Degree?
  • What do you major in to become a nurse?
  • What Can You Do With a College Degree in Nursing?
  • How much do Nurses earn (Nursing salaries)?
  • Important Nursing Associations.

Nursing is one of the largest healthcare professions with more than 2.9 million registered nurses practicing nationwide. However, despite its large size, more nurses are needed into the foreseeable future to meet the growing demand for nursing care.

Also, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment for registered nurses will grow faster than most other occupations by 2026. Furthermore, nurses comprise the largest single component of hospital staff, are the primary providers of hospital patient care, and deliver most of the nation’s long-term care.

Before we go further, it will be good to understand what nursing means in its entirety and also, what it means to study it.

You can quickly scroll the table of content below to get an overview of what this post encompasses.

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What Is Nursing?

In the 21st Century, nursing is the glue that holds a patient’s health care journey together. Throughout the patient’s experience, and wherever there is someone in need of care, nurses work tirelessly to identify and protect the needs of the individual.

Nursing can be described as both an art and a science; a heart and a mind. Also, at its heart lies a fundamental respect for human dignity and an intuition for the needs of the patient.

Hence, this is supported by the mind, in the form of rigorous core learning. Due to the wide range of specialties and complex skills in the nursing profession, each nurse will have specific strengths, passions, and expertise.

How does Studying Nursing works?

To be a nurse, you must be compassionate, responsible, and meticulous. As a nurse, you must be willing to take control of stressful situations and seek help when necessary. Also, you need emotional stability to handle emergency situations and to engage with emotional and physical suffering, illness, and injury.

However, the profession has a unifying ethos:  In assessing a patient, nurses do not just consider test results. Through critical thinking, nurses use their judgment to integrate objective data with the subjective experience of a patient’s biological, physical and behavioral needs.

Thus, this ensures that every patient, in any hospital or healthcare center, receives the best possible care regardless of who they are, or where they may be.

What is the Nursing Process?

Irrespective of their major, field, or specialty, all nurses follow the same nursing process. The process is a scientific method designed to provide the very best in patient care, through five simple steps.

  1. Assessment
    Nurses assess patients on an in-depth physiological, economic, social and lifestyle basis.
  2. Diagnosis
    Through careful consideration of both physical symptoms and patient behavior, the nurse forms a diagnosis.
  3. Outcomes/Planning
    The nurse uses their expertise to set realistic goals for the patient’s recovery. Thereafter, they monitor these objectives closely.
  4. Implementation By accurately implementing the care plan, nurses guarantee consistency of care for the patient while documenting their progress meticulously.
  5. Evaluation
    The nurse refines the plan to achieve the very best patient outcomes by closely analyzing the effectiveness of the care plan and also, studying the patient’s response.
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Different Types of Nursing Majors And Degrees

Nursing school programs differ in length and intensity depending on the desired degree or certification.

Below are the different types of majors and degrees. Also, see what you can do with the nursing degree by reading the key responsibilities in each section.

Certificate and Diploma Programs in Nursing

In general, the design of the nursing certification programs is to teach students the skills necessary for entry-level vocational nursing jobs such as Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) or Licensed Practical Nurse or Licensed Vocational Nurse (LPN/LVN).

Usually, CNA programs take just a few months to complete, while LPN/LVN programs regularly require a full year of education. Also, both are likely to include some type of practical training component.

Furthermore, core courses might include:

  • Medical Terminology
  • Basics of Healthcare Systems
  • Fundamentals of Nursing Arts
  • Introduction to Geriatric Nursing
  • Pediatric Nursing
Key Responsibilities
  • Check vital signs and look for signs of deterioration or improvement of health
  • Perform basic nursing functions such as changing bandages and wound dressings
  • Ensure patients are comfortable, well-fed and hydrated
  • May administer medications in some settings

READ MORE on the Top 20 Affordable Online LPN Programs

Associate Degrees in Nursing

Earning an associate degree in nursing is an important component of becoming a Registered Nurse (RN). Usually, these programs take two years to complete and can be completed through traditional on-campus or online. However, the completion of practical clinical requirements requires the online student to come in person.

Furthermore, courses in an associate-level degree program may include:

  • Introduction to Pharmacology
  • Complex Patient Management
  • Mental Health Nursing
  • Surgical Nursing
  • Advanced Maternal/Infant Nursing
Key Responsibilities
  • Perform physical exams and health histories before making critical decisions
  • Provide health promotion, counseling and education
  • Administer medications and other personalized interventions
  • Also, coordinate care, in collaboration with a wide array of health care professionals

Bachelor’s Degrees in Nursing

RN-to-BSN programs and other bachelor’s in nursing degree programs can be a convenient way for registered nurses to increase their potential in the field.

Basically, a nursing major at the undergraduate level must complete general education studies in basic science and liberal arts courses, in addition to lower- and upper-division classes in nursing.

Also, prior to graduation, they require internships and other practical clinical experiences. Furthermore, most BSN degrees require students to successfully complete courses such as:

  • Foundations of Nursing
  • Concepts of Professional Nursing
  • Adult Health Nursing
  • Nursing Ethics and Healthcare Law
  • Critical Thinking for Healthcare Professionals

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Master’s Degrees in Nursing

Obtaining a master’s degree can help nurses focus more on specific specializations within the field. Generally, these graduate-level programs require students to choose and concentrate on specific areas of interest.

Also, the curriculum varies according to specialization. Depending on their specialization, graduates with a Master of Nursing degree may be able to earn positions as a nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, nurse anesthetist or clinical nurse specialist, and a lot more.

Furthermore, masters-level degree programs may include courses such as:

  • Advanced Nursing Concepts and Theory
  • Epidemiology
  • Finance in Healthcare
  • Public Healthcare Policy
  • Advanced Concepts in Public Health

You may also read Top 20 Colleges for a Cheap Online Master’s Degree.

Advanced Practice Registered Nurses

In addition to the initial nursing education and licensing required for all RNs, Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) hold at least a Master’s degree. Also, the responsibilities of an APRN include, among others, providing invaluable primary and preventative health care to the public. Furthermore, APRNs treat and diagnose illnesses, advise the public on health issues, manage chronic disease.

Also, they engage in continuous education to remain at the very forefront of any technological, methodological, or other advances in the field.

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APRNs Practice Specialist Roles
  • Nurse Practitioners prescribe medication, diagnose and treat minor illnesses and injuries
  • Certified Nurse-Midwives provide gynecological and low-risk obstetrical care
  • Clinical Nurse Specialists handle a wide range of physical and mental health problems
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists administer more than 65 percent of all anesthetics

PhD and Doctorate Programs in Nursing

Generally, Doctoral programs for nursing fall under two categories: Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) or Ph.D. in Nursing. DNP programs tend to focus on practical nursing applications. Also, in general, they are more suitable for students considering high-level administrative positions at a healthcare facility.

On the other hand, Ph.D. programs, are more oriented towards scientific nursing research. Notwithstanding, both types of programs can open the door to earning faculty positions at institutes of higher learning.

Furthermore, some basic courses may include:

  • Applied Finance and Budget Planning
  • Quantitative Methods for Healthcare Evaluation
  • Transforming Healthcare Systems
  • Evidenced-Based Nursing Practice
  • Leadership in Healthcare

Where Can I Work With A Nursing Degree?

Students are always eager to know the typical work setting/environment for their chosen field. This is also applicable to students in the nursing field.

Due to the increasing rate of employment for nurses, there are many jobs available for qualified candidates in this field. People who major in nursing can select from an enormous range of work settings.

Nurses care for patients in hospitals, urgent care centers, nursing care facilities, doctors’ offices, schools and camps, and correctional facilities.

Also, Some work for home health care agencies, supervising home health aides and providing patient care. In addition, some work in medical areas like oncology, psychiatry, geriatrics, pediatrics, neonatology, cardiology, and intensive care. Other nurses serve in the military.

Furthermore, nursing graduates take jobs as nurse anesthetists, registered nurses, school nurses, nurse midwives, nursing instructors, and public health nurses. With further education, many go on to supervise staff in hospitals, become nurse practitioners, professors, and medical doctors.

Also, check out these numerous opportunities available to both undergraduates and graduates.

Nursing Major Requirements

Although state laws determine the specific tasks that registered nurses and licensed practical nurses may perform in the workplace, the nature of the jobs varies by sector and employer.

Nevertheless, all nurses must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to become certified as either a registered nurse or a licensed practical nurse.

Below are some requirements and certifications:

Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs)

LPNs and LVNs work in different healthcare facilities. However, they must also complete some postsecondary training.

  • Minimum Educational Requirement: LPNs and LVNs usually participate in approved career training programs that last approximately one year.
  • Special Certifications or Licensures: To become a licensed practical or vocational nurse, students must first pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN). They must also meet any other licensing requirements of the state in which they practice.

Registered Nurses

Registered Nurses (RNs) work in hospitals, nursing homes, private physician’s offices, and home healthcare companies.

  • Minimum Educational Requirement: Most RNs need at least an associate degree, although a bachelor’s degree may be preferred.
  • Special Certifications or Licensures: RNs must be licensed by the state in which they practice. In addition to any state exam requirements, RNs must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to receive their RN certification.

Certified Nursing Assistants

Certified nursing assistants help doctors and other nurses by administering basic care for patients in various health centers. However, these healthcare professionals, sometimes referred to as nursing aides, can be found working in hospitals, home healthcare services, and assisted living facilities.

Duties may include transporting patients between rooms, helping patients with basic tasks (like bathing and dressing), transferring patients from wheelchairs, measuring and recording vital signs, cleaning equipment, or serving meals.

  • Minimum Educational Requirement: CNAs are usually required to complete a state-approved career training program. These programs last a few months but end in less than a year
  • Special Certifications or Licensures: Certified nursing assistants must be registered to work in the state in which they practice. Requirements vary by state but usually include passing a competency exam.
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Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners

Nurses who wish to specialize in particular areas of healthcare can become Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs). After receiving the proper education and meeting all licensing requirements, APRNs may be allowed to perform certain advanced primary and specialty healthcare services for patients. Nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners are all examples of APRNs. Furthermore, their duties and responsibilities vary by specialization.

  • Minimum Educational Requirement: All APRNs must obtain a master’s degree in their area of specialization.
  • Special Certifications or Licensures: Regardless of specialization, all APRNs must first earn their RN certification. They must also pass the appropriate licensing exams, which vary according to their specific area of specialty. Furthermore, APRNs must be licensed in the state in which they work and meet the requirements for continuing education.

Salary and Career Prospect Data

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, represented in the table below is 2019 median pay, number of jobs provided since 2016. It also shows the job outlook of some majors.

Career Projected Employment 2026 Median Annual Wage Projected Job Growth Rate
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses813,400$46,24012%
Nurse Anesthetists48,600$167,95016%
Nurse Midwives7,800$103,77021%
Nurse Practitioners211,600$107,03036%
Nursing Assistants1,683,700$28,54011%
Registered Nurses3,393,200$71, 73015%

Also, for more information on the Nursing Major salaries and career outlook, click on any of the majors below:

Nursing Association And Professional Organizations

Nurses have various organizations and associations they can turn to for support and resources. These organizations may be fraternal in nature or offer professional support and advocacy. Some include:

  • American Association of Colleges of Nursing: AACN is the national voice for academic nursing. AACN also works to establish quality standards for nursing education; assists schools in implementing those standards. Also, AACN influences the nursing profession to improve health care & promotes public support for professional nursing education, research, and practice.
  • National League for Nursing: The NLN is the premier organization for nurse faculty and leaders in nursing education. Also, its members represent nursing education programs across the spectrum of higher education, health care organizations, and agencies.
  • American Nurses Association: This association represents nurses of all types and advocates for policies that advance the profession. Also, they publish several professional trade journals.
  • Bureau of Health Professions: The association improves the health of underserved and vulnerable populations by strengthening the health workforce and connecting skilled professionals to communities in need.
  • American Society of Registered Nurses: This is an association for those who have an RN certification.

Types of Nursing Majors | FAQs

What do you major in to become a nurse?

An aspiring RN can earn a bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN) in four years at a college or university. If you‘re already an RNyou can enroll in an RN-to-BSN program which is geared specifically for RNs who have an associate’s degree or nursing diploma.

What kind of nurses get paid the most?

The highest paying nursing jobs include;

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist.
General Nurse Practitioner.
Gerontological Nurse Practitioner.
Pain Management Nurse.
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner.
Certified Nurse Midwife.
Family Nurse Practitioner.
Informatics Nurse.

How can I become a nurse fast?

An associate’s degree or professional nursing diploma is already the quickest way to become a registered nurse, but you may be able to get your degree even quicker. Typically, these programs take a minimum of two to three years of study, according to the BLS.

Is nursing school difficult?

Nursing school burnout is real. Try to alternate those tough classes so you don’t have competing exams. The same study found that as nursing programs got harder, students experienced physiological morbidity, meaning they developed health issues as a result of their stress.


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