Bachelor of Science (BS): Nursing Degree Overview

Oct 20, 2021

Essential Information

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs teach students how to care for patients and provide assistance to primary care professionals. Graduates are qualified to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to obtain the required licensure for RNs.

To apply to the bachelor's program, you must have a high-school diploma or GED. The program typically takes four years to complete.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Aspiring nursing students must complete prerequisite general education courses that include topics in anatomy, physiology, microbiology and chemistry. In addition to classroom and laboratory components, curricula for BSN programs include clinical training that takes place in such healthcare facilities as hospitals, public schools and mental health agencies. Some programs also offer students opportunities to conduct nursing research. Common course topics include:

  • Medical terminology
  • Gerontological nursing
  • Public health nursing
  • Pathophysiology
  • Healthcare safety
  • Reproductive healthcare

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Graduates of BSN programs can pursue careers as registered nurses (RN) in such settings as hospitals and physicians' offices. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that employment opportunities for RNs are expected to increase 7% from 2019 to 2029, which is faster than average. As of May 2020, RNs earned a mean annual salary of $75,330.

Continuing Education Information

RNs are required to obtain licensure from their state boards of nursing. Although licensing requirements vary for each state, they typically include completing a state-approved nursing program and passing the NCLEX-RN.

BSN program graduates interested in preparing for positions as clinical nurse specialists, nurse practitioners, nurse educators or healthcare managers can pursue nursing master's degree programs. Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degrees are also available. Ph.D. programs are geared toward students interested in research and academic careers, while DNP programs focus on advanced clinical practice.

Students who obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing are interested in obtaining one of the highest levels of education available for registered nurses. It is important to note that licensing is required upon graduation.

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