If you've made the decision to pursue becoming a nurse, congratulations; as nursing is a career which offers great job security and chances for career advancement. However, becoming a nurse is no easy task. It's alot of hard work, exams, testing, and clinicals. You will be challenged each step of the way.

Your next step in this process of becoming a nurse is to choose a program. There are several types of nursing degree programs that will help you to achieve your career goal. Research as many as you can, as they are all offer something unique and different.

Make sure the programs you're considering are accredited and approved by your state board of nursing. All nursing degree programs prepare students to sit for the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX); which is the exam that measures a student's competency and determines whether they can safely practice as registered nurses in entry level positions.

Online Accredited Nursing Degree Programs:

Associate of Science Degree (ADN) programs are very popular because they are designed to be completed in two years, allowing nurses to enter the workforce quickly. These programs are very intense and well-rounded with a concentration on clinical practice. Students also learn nursing theory. ADN programs are available in community colleges, technical colleges, and some universities. Classes generally start in the fall and usually have limited seating due to the popularity of the program. You should apply as early as possible to secure a seat in the program. Many students decide to return to college to attain a Bachelor's degree after working for a while. ADN nurses usually work as staff nurses in hospitals, clinics, and long-term care facilities.

Bachelor of Science (BSN) programs are completed in four years. These programs have a heavy concentration on theory and writing research papers. They also have adequate clinical practice. BSN programs prepare nurses to study for higher degrees. These nurses hold supervisory and some leadership positions. Many nurses with a BSN, assume charge nurse roles.

Master's Degree (MSN) programs prepare nurses to work as educators, specialists, and even practitioners. These programs usually take about five years to complete. Master's programs require writing multiple research papers, in addition to theoretical studies and clinical rotations. Community health projects are also a requirement for the MSN programs.

Doctorate (PhD) programs prepare students to become professors and leaders in their community. The program focuses on a dissertation, which must be written by the student in their chosen area of study.

Online Nursing Degree Programs:
Nursing programs have come a long way. Gone are the days when a student's only choice was to attend a traditional class setting during the day. Now there are convenient online nursing degrees which is great for students who have a family and work obligations.

Students can continue to work and take classes anywhere, at their convenience, as long as they have internet access. There are many online bridge programs such as the LPN to RN programs and RN to BSN programs.

They are usually designed to be completed in a year to two years, depending on how many classes a student is able to handle. There are also online nursing degrees which give students the opportunity to attain higher degrees.

Online Masters of Science programs prepare students to become practitioners, specialist or educators. Lastly, online PhD programs prepare student to become professors in universities and hold leadership positions.

If you are considering becoming a nurse, consider these options above and choose the best route for you and your personal life.