Nursing Career Paths
Considering a nursing career path? Fast track starting your career with StraighterLine to get ahead of the curve. Earn your Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) on your timeline. Use StraighterLine to earn your required general education courses then easily transfer them to the school of your choice.
There's never been a better time to pursue a nurse career path.
Nurses make up the largest section of the health profession. Not only are registered nursing (RN) jobs on the rise, but related careers in healthcare support – like certified nursing assistants (CNAs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) – are also becoming more in demand.
Healthcare institutions are relying more heavily on all levels of nurses to staff hospitals and care facilities. The size of our elderly population continues to increase as Americans are living longer than ever before. Couple that with the projection from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing that there will be a serious shortage of trained nurses, and that equals a large number of employment opportunities.
That depends on where you are currently in your nursing career pathway.
If you’re just starting, focus first on general education classes like English, math, and science.
Depending on what type of nurse you want to become, you can also take more specialized courses either as prerequisites or as part of your degree program. Are you already an RN or have your Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)? Use StraighterLine courses to work towards earning your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or Master of Science in Nursing (MSN).
To get started, check out below some of the required StraighterLine courses you’ll need to pursue your nursing degree.
What is the Job Outlook for Nursing Career Paths?
Employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 6% from 2021 to 2031, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
About 203,200 openings for registered nurses are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Job growth is expected across most types of healthcare settings, including hospitals and outpatient care centers that provide same-day services, such as chemotherapy, rehabilitation, and surgery. In addition, because many older people prefer to be treated at home or in residential care facilities, registered nurses will also be in demand in those settings.
The median annual wage for registered nurses is around $77,600. The lowest 10% of RN’s earn less than $59,500 and the highest 10% earn more than $120,000.
Where Will a Nurse Career Path Take Me?
What are the nursing career paths available to you? There are so many directions you can go based on the degree program you select:
Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
Requires a CNA diploma or state-approved certificate, which is typically 4-12 weeks of training.
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN)
Requires an LPN or LVN diploma or state-approved certificate, which is typically a 12- to 18-month program.
Registered Nurse (RN)
Requires either an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN), which is a 2-year program. You can also earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), which usually takes 4 years to complete.
Regardless of the degree you earn, everyone who wants to be an RN needs to successfully take the NCLEX-RN exam to earn their RN license.
Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)
Requires a Master of Science in Nursing, which is typically a 2-year post-graduate program.
Nurse Practitioner (NP)
Will require a Doctorate of Nursing Practice by 2025, which can take anywhere from 3- to 5-years to complete.
Start On Your Nurse Career Path Today!
Most nursing and medical schools, as well as most online nursing programs, require a set list of basic courses. So before you can add an LPN, RN, or an APN to your name, you'll need to take them someplace. Since StraighterLine's course credits transfer to any of our partner colleges or through the ACE CREDIT service to over 1,800 colleges and universities in the United States, why not save yourself time and money and take them from us?
Nursing Careers Through StraighterLine
Required StraighterLine courses you’ll need to pursue your nursing degree