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Nursing- Top Schools, degrees, career prospects

  1. University of Washington Seattle, WA
  2. University of California, San Francisco, CA
  3. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
  4. Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD
  5. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
  6. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
  7. Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR
  8. University of Illinois, Chicago, IL
  9. University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD
  10. University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
  11. Yale University New Haven, CT
  12. University of California, Los Angeles, CA
  13. University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
  14. Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, OH
  15. Duke University, Durham, NC
  16. Indiana University-Purdue University--Indianapolis Indianapolis, IN
  17. University of Colorado--Denver and Health Sciences Center Denver, CO
  18. Columbia University New York, NY
  19. Rush University Chicago, IL
  20. University of Texas, Austin, TX
  21. University of Virginia Charlottesville, VA
  22. University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
  23. Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN
  24. Boston College Chestnut Hill, MA
  25. Emory University Atlanta, GA
  26. New York University New York, NY
  27. University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL

Introduction: Job Market, Degrees, and Employment Positions

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the job market for nurses will continue grow at nearly 20% , much faster than the vast majority of other professions. The average salary for a nurse is in the mid $60,000s. A comfortable salary and decent job outlook are drawing more and more people to the nursing field. As demand for nurses grow, so to does the availability of nursing programs and types of nursing degrees. Nurses may earn an associate's in nursing, a bachelor's of science in nursing, or a master's degree in nursing which allows individuals to be nurse practitioners or midwifes earning up to six figures. Finally, nurses may work in a variety of settings. The vast majority work in hospitals (over half) though some working in nursing and care facilities, doctors' offices, in home health care environments, or for the government.

Types of Nursing Degrees

The nursing degree that requires the least amount of education is the associate's in nursing, also known as an AND. An AND is a two-year program and is a popular way to enter the nursing profession. Many AND's go back to earn their BSN. Coursework for the AND includes courses in anatomy and physiology, chemistry, sociology, and even English and writing. AND's must successfully pass an licensure exam to practice.

The bachelor's of science in nursing generally requires four years of tertiary education, especially if it is an individuals first bachelor's degree. Many of the courses AND's take are also taken by BSN's. The difference is that BSNs have substantially more nursing clinical experience and education than an ADNS. Essentially, they have much broader exposure in their education. Like ADNS, BSN nurses need to become certified with a license to work.

The best programs for BSNs are Johns Hopkins University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Washington. These are competitive schools in general, so students must have high standardized test scores and high GPAS to be admitted. Johns Hopkins, the University of California - San Francisco and the University of Pennsylvania in particular only admit about 10-15% of all applicants. It is not uncommon for students to have GPAS over 4.0 and near perfect SAT scores.

Advanced Degrees in Nursing

After earning a BSN, nurses have the option of completing a Master's Degree in Nursing. Most of these programs are two years long if nurses choose to complete them full-time. However, most continue to work while earning the degree. The master's is a specialized degree with technical skills to focus on a specific area of health. Possible career paths include nurse anesthetist, nursing administrator, nurse midwife, or nurse practitioner. Some of these master's programs may be completed online.

The best schools to receive your MSN are the same schools to receive your BSN. These schools are the University of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins University The University of California - San Francisco, and the University of Washington. Some of these programs offer degrees to students transitioning from a different field. For instance, Johns Hopkins admits students to programs designed solely for students with an a undergraduate degree in a major other than nursing. For the most part though, applicants need to be a licensed nurse with a bachelor's of science in nursing. GPA's need to be above a 3.0. Some require GRES but many do not require them. An online application and letters of recommendation are also usually required.

Finally, nurses may also receive doctoral degrees in nursing. These degrees all called either PhDs or Doctors of Philosophy in Nursing, or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

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