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Bachelor's Degree in Nursing Career Information
Commonly, nurses holding a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) are registered nurses. They work with physicians and other healthcare professionals in providing medical care to sick, injured or disabled patients. Nurses are found working in several environments, including hospitals and nursing homes, and might choose to work in a specialized area, such as emergency room care or surgery.
During the ten-year period of 2010-2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a 26% increase in employment for RNs (www.bls.gov). The BLS explains that part of this growth is due to a rising senior population, who might require more care, as well as technological advances in treatment options that allow more health challenges to be medically addressed. An additional factor of this growth might be a rise in preventative care.
There are three typical educational routes to obtaining a bachelor's degree in nursing, including a first-time bachelor's, an accelerated second bachelor's and an RN-to-BSN degree track. First-time degree and second bachelor's degree nursing programs are designed for students with no prior nursing training. These programs introduce students to the nursing field through nursing coursework and, typically, hands-on nursing experience. The second bachelor's programs for nurses may be available at an accelerated rate, because coursework outside of nursing may not be required in these programs. Graduates of these to program types can take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN), administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), to become registered nurses.
Designed for already-licensed RNs who want to earn a bachelor's degree, RN-to-BSN programs generally require supervised clinical work in addition to coursework in nursing and general education topics. Admission to these programs usually depends on a certain amount of nursing work experience in addition to current RN licensure. These degrees may also be available on an accelerated track, and may provide flexible class schedules for working nurses.
According to the BLS, nurses are required to be licensed by the state in which they intend to work. RN license applicants usually need a degree in nursing and must also pass the NCLEX-RN, as well as fulfill any other state obligations. States vary on requirements, says the BLS, but continuing education coursework is common for license renewal.
Bachelor's Degree in Nursing Salary Information
In May 2012, registered nurses brought in a median salary of $65,470 per year, with the majority making from $45,040 to $94,720 annually, according to BLS data. At that time, hospitals, physicians' offices, home healthcare services, nursing care institutions and outpatient care centers were the top five employers of nurses. Nurses working at hospitals averaged $69,490 a year, while physicians' offices paid an average annual wage of $62,120.