Tuesday, February 9, 2010

How Long Does it Take to Finish a Nursing Major?

The idea of beginning a new career is often exhilarating. However, as you make your preparations, and you take a look at the education you’ll need to attain in order to be successful, you may find yourself discouraged by the amount of time it will take you to get where you want to be. Nursing is no exception. How long does it take to finish a nursing major, anyway? Well, the answer to that question depends on what kind of nursing degree you want to attain, and what kind of student you are going to be. The time you take to get your nursing degree is dependent upon whether you want to get an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), or Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN).

The most common degree sought by individuals going into nursing is the Associates Degree in Nursing, or ADN. This type of degree can be pursued at a community college, technical trade school, four year university or college, or from an accredited online school. Typically, this degree will require 72 semester hours. A chunk of these hours are general education based, though. If you have a prior degree, you may not to take those classes. Some schools will even let you test out of them. This gives you a projected finish time of one to two years, depending on how many classes you actually need to take.

A more structured and rigorous form of training is the Bachelor of Science in Nursing, or BSN. This is similar to any other basic bachelor’s degree you might seek in another area, and, as such will require somewhere between 120-130 hours of coursework, or four years of classes. Keep in mind, though, that the average time it takes a college student to finish a bachelor’s is more frequently five years these days. As is the case with an ADN, you may be able to place out, test out, or transfer in credits for any kind of general education classes you need to take. If you already have your ADN, some schools will offer an accelerated track to complete your BSN, which will only take one year.

Finally, one may seek out of Master of Science in Nursing, or an MSN. In order to study for this degree, you usually need to have a background in nursing, meaning you already need to have completed either an ASN or a BSN, and usually the BSN. This degree requires around 70 hours, and some programs will offer an accelerated course for people who are working part time already, meaning you can complete it within one to two years.

It is important to remember that all of these time lines depend on what kind of student you are. Typically, these are accurate if you intend on being a full time student. If a full course load will be too much with work and/or family commitments, it can take much longer to complete any of these degrees. However, it’s better that you work at your own pace so that you absorb the information better and can be more successful.

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