Top 2021 Nursing Degrees

Guide to Nursing Degrees in 2021 From Top Universities and Medical Schools

Earning a nursing degree in modern times creates ample opportunities for career and salary-boosting job placements. The spike in demand for nurses due to the increased use of Telehealth services and COVID-19-related issues in 2020 is expected to continue in 2021 and far beyond. What is the cost of a nursing degree? What types of nursing degrees are available and what is the average duration of nursing degree programs?

There is a distinct need for skilled nurses with high-level training and education from top universities and medical schools. Nursing has historically been a viable educational pursuit and vocation. Choosing it as a career path in modern times is a decision yielding rapidly improved post-graduation results. Read ahead for a guide to nursing degrees in 2021 and how to obtain them from the top universities and medical schools in the country.

Explaining the Recent Spike in Demand for Nurses

Understanding the recent spike in demand for nurses starts with a comprehension of two primary factors. The first factor is fairly obvious and involves the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. beginning early in 2020. The second factor pursuant to explaining the recent spike in demand for nurses involves an overall nursing shortage, which has affected U.S. hospitals in various U.S. geographical regions dating as far back as 1998.

There are approximately four million nurses in the U.S. today. These nurses are not located evenly around the country, however. While some areas of the nation have a surplus of nurses, other areas are simultaneously experiencing a shortage. There are many factors involved in the how’s and why’s of this nursing supply/demand conundrum, including the COVID-19 outbreak. The bottom line explanation is the surpluses exist in areas where there are more nurses than medical needs, and the shortages exist where there are more medical needs than there are nurses to tend to them. A need for over one million new registered nurses is expected in areas of shortages and surpluses alike throughout 2021. It is illogical to think mass relocation is a solution. The country simply needs more nurses to handle modern tasks-at-hand.

COVID-19 is also a significant factor in the spike in demand for nurses and the way nursing degree programs are earned going forward. COVID-19 shutdowns and restrictions forced many people to start working from home. It also created a major need for Telehealth and Telemedicine video conferencing appointments. Modern nursing degree programs are largely set to incorporate virtual simulation/reality training as well as augmented traditional education using advanced technology. Telehealth-based medical services appear to be here to stay long-term, and so too are new types of graduated nurses well trained in modern healthcare delivery and modern technology systems.            

Reasons Why Nursing is a Good Career Option

Nursing is a good career option in general due to job security and a national need for qualified medical professionals. Salaries range from approximately $40,000 to $110,000+ per year depending on your level of education, position, experience and location. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects nursing to be among the top growth-rate professions in the U.S. through 2028. Nursing involves saving lives and healing fellow citizens, making it also one of the most personally rewarding careers available. Acquiring a Nursing Degree requires patience can take anything between 16 months to 4 years based on your curriculum

Different Types of Nursing Degrees Available

There are typical degree programs associated with receiving a higher education. These degrees exist in nursing programs in additional to other, more specific types of degrees. Some of the different types of nursing degrees available include:

  • Certified Nursing Assistant diploma/certificate (CNA)

  • Associate degree in nursing (ADN)

  • Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN)

  • Master of Science in nursing (MSN)

  • Doctor of nursing practice (DNP) 

A CNA certificate/diploma program helps qualified students obtain careers in nursing with brevity. CNAs are generally offered at vocational schools and community colleges both in-person and online. CNAs involve the study of basic healthcare services, emergency procedures, controlling infections and more. Specialty certificates in geriatrics and psychiatry are also available to help bolster your job placement options.

At present, an ADN degree allows you to obtain a job as a registered nurse (RN) after two years of schooling in most states. Duties as an RN include assisting physicians, dressing wounds, analyzing diagnostics tests and reviewing treatment plans. RN duties also include supervising CNAs, licensed vocational nurses and licensed practical nurses. Further, ADN courses include physiology, chemistry, anatomy and more. A BSN degree generally takes fours year to complete. It is the most common nursing degree attained and is required for many of the better paying nursing positions available. Some schools also offer specialized BSN degree programs in fields of study such as infectious disease, psychiatry and more. 

MSN and DNP degrees take nursing studies to their highest levels. An MSN degree allows you to become a nurse practitioner (NP), clinical nurse specialist (CNS), certified nurse midwife (CNM) and certified nurse anesthetist. A DNP degree allows you to educate other nurses, perform specified research, and take on leadership positions in hospitals and more. 

How Long Does It Take to Complete a Nursing Degree?

A Bachelor of Science in nursing takes four years to complete on average. Accelerated online programs are available at some schools. A Master of Science in nursing takes an additional two years to complete beyond the Bachelor’s degree. A post-graduate Doctor of Science in nursing takes another four years to complete beyond the Bachelor’s degree. Varied certificate and diploma programs are capable of being obtained within one to eighteen months depending on the type of program being pursued. 

Average Costs of Nursing Degrees

The cost of a nursing degree varies based on the type of degree being pursued, your university or medical school tuition policies and the state in which you are located. Diploma or certificate programs tuition is capable of costing as low as $5,000 per program. Doctorate nursing programs are capable of costing $200,000 or more. The average Bachelor of Science nursing degree program is approximately $40,000 per year. Tuition costs for a Master of Science in nursing range between approximately $35,000 and $70,000 on average. Additional costs for books, boarding and other expenses are likely to apply.