Do You Need to Go to College to Become a Nurse?


There are some nursing roles that you could hold without having a college degree. For instance, the licensed Vocational Nurse role (also known as Licensed Practical Nurse) doesn’t need a degree from a college or a medical school, although you will need to go through some extensive training before being accredited to serve as one. Additional details can be found on

However, the nursing roles that pay higher- including but not limited to registered nursing (RN) positions and other advanced practice nurse roles will undoubtedly require at least a bachelor’s degree.

For a closer understanding of these roles, let’s take a look at them more intently.

Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs)

A licensed practical nurse, also known as a licensed vocational nurse, is supervised by a registered nurse. These nurses monitor and measure patients, collect test samples from lab technicians, and assist in both treatment and patient care. Most of these nurses work in general healthcare, and they hardly specialize.

Data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates for the decade spanning 2016 to 2026. It is expected that licensed practical nurses will see about 12 percent of job growth. This speed is faster than the average growth in many occupations, especially in the medical field. As of 2018, the median annual wage for these nurses stood at $46,240.

Registered Nurses (RNs)

Registered Nurses are senior nurses who coordinate patient treatments across a hospital. They work primarily with doctors, although they could be paired with external healthcare officials as well to administer medicine, monitor the progress made by patients, and educate the families of these patents on how to take care of them effectively.

However, the work of RNs spans beyond the hospital, as they could work at long-term healthcare facilities, patient homes, and outpatient healthcare centers.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the median annual salary for registered nurses was about $71,730 as of 2018. Job growth between 2016 to 2026 is also expected to improve significantly, with a 15 percent expected job growth rate- particularly due to an increasing need for specialized healthcare services.

Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs)

Advanced practice registered nurses are divided into four categories:

  1. Clinical nurse specialists
  2. Nurse practitioners, nurse midwives
  3. Nurse anesthetists

Although these nurses perform just about the same duties as registered nurses, they have the freedom to work more independently, and they can be primarily responsible for the recovery and health of a patient.

All of these positions will require advanced experience and education, and they are required to complete a graduate degree in nursing, as well as a specialized program of studies- such as public health, critical care, or women’s health. The expected job growth of advanced practice registered nurses is 31 percent from 2016 to 2026, and as of 2018, their median annual salary was $113,930.

Educational programs in nursing are usually found at nursing schools, although some high schools and hospitals offer introductory and remedial courses in nursing as well. Apart from the liberal arts, nursing courses will require that a student takes some prerequisites in the field- anatomy, chemistry, physiology, and biology. Nursing programs usually consist of the clinical component, and no graduate of this can start work without getting a license.

Now that we’ve covered this, it’s also worth noting some of the most prominent courses in nursing science.

Associate of Arts in Nursing

The Associate of Arts in nursing is a two-year course, and it provides general registered nurse education and training through physiology and anatomy courses. Students also take courses in nutrition, mental health, and pharmacology. There’s the possibility of undergoing practical laboratory and clinical courses, which will provide students with real-life experience in patient care and other healthcare components.

Associate of Science in Nursing

The Associate of Science in Nursing usually takes between 2 and 3 years, and it can be taught at nursing schools and community colleges. These programs provide fundamental training to aspiring nurses, as well as training in pharmacology and microbiology. Nurses looking for hands-on experience but who don’t want to have any administrative positions can select this course.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Nurses looking to achieve greater career flexibility and experience in clinical nursing can enroll for a Bachelor of Nursing Science degree. The program runs for four years, and trains potential Registered Nurses for roles managerial, research, clinical, and even academic careers. However, you should note that you might need some clinical experience to enroll in one of these courses. (

Master of Science in Nursing

A Master of Science in Nursing prepares you for a career in nursing administration, education, and family nursing. The programs emphasize advanced practices, including management, critical care, women’s health, and public health.


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