Nursing is one of the most diverse and in-demand professions available today. Not to mention, the more education you have, the more opportunities there are for growth and advancement — and we’re about to explore 10 of them. But before we get into the top nursing jobs that require advanced degrees, there are a few basics you need to know about the world of nursing education.
Earn Your BSN First
Every advanced nursing career starts with earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. In fact, it’s a prerequisite for getting into any number of master’s programs. Not to mention, a growing number of today’s health-care employers now consider a BSN the optimal entry degree for professional nursing practice, whereas it was often an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) in years past.
So if your plan is to one day pursue an advanced degree in nursing, there are BSN programs out there that can accelerate your journey. Our 16-month ABSN program in Maywood or Downers Grove is among them. If you have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, along with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, you’re eligible to apply to our Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing.
Our full-time, four-semester ABSN program builds on your undergraduate education so that your focus during nursing school is professional nursing study. While in the program, you can expect to complete a rigorous blend of fundamental coursework, hands-on nursing labs, and clinical rotations in diverse health-care facilities across the Chicago area.
By the time you graduate from our nursing school, you’ll be prepared to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam with confidence as well as enter the workforce as a practice-ready nurse.
Expand with an Advanced Degree
Now that we’ve covered the best starting point for non-nurses to begin their nursing career, we can go on and discuss the top 10 nursing careers that require advanced degrees. Each of these careers requires a master of science in nursing, a current RN license, and a certification in the respective specialty.
1. Certified Nurse Midwife
As a certified nurse midwife, you’re an advanced practice registered nurse who specializes in childbirth and reproductive health. You’ll guide and support pregnant women during their prenatal visits, labor, delivery, and postpartum counseling.
2. Clinical Nurse Specialist
As a clinical nurse specialist, you’ll have advanced knowledge and hands-on experience in a chosen specialty. In this leadership role, you’ll mentor other nurses, supervise nursing staff, gather data, and work with other health-care team members on patient treatment plans.
3. Critical Care Nurse
As a critical care nurse, you’ll take care of patients who are experiencing or recovering from a critical medical condition. In this high-pressure role, you’ll need to be able to assess patients and be quick to act in life or death situations.
4. Family Nurse Practitioner
As a family nurse practitioner, you’ll provide primary care to patients of all ages, teaching them about disease prevention, maintaining medical records, and developing treatment plans.
5. Gerontological Nurse Practitioner
As a gerontological nurse practitioner, you’ll be a multidisciplinary primary health-care provider who helps elderly patients manage the physical, mental, and social effects of aging.
6. Nurse Anesthetist
As a nurse anesthetist, you’ll be working in the highest-paying nursing specialty, providing anesthesia and anesthesia-related care to patients before, during, and after surgery.
7. Nurse Educator
As a nurse educator, you’ll teach and mentor the next generation of nurses in both the classroom and clinical setting. You’ll also write grant proposals, assess and revise curriculum, and speak at nursing conferences.
8. Nurse Executive
As a nurse executive, you’ll play a vital role in shaping your organization’s health-care policies. You’ll also be the person who’s responsible for making sure your nursing staff has everything they need to provide the best patient care possible.
9. Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
As a psychiatric nurse practitioner, you’ll take care of patients diagnosed with mental illness, behavioral problems, developmental issues, and psychological disorders. You’ll use a combination of therapy and medicine to treat your patients.
10. Research Nurse
As a research nurse, you’ll work with patients during clinical trials, which includes recording, analyzing, and managing data with the intent of discovering newer, better ways to provide care.
Take the First Step
As you can see, there are a lot of great opportunities out there for nurses with advanced degrees, but you must first earn a BSN from an accredited college or university. If you already have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, it’s worth your time and energy to contact our admission staff to learn more about our 16-month ABSN program in Maywood or Downers Grove. Not only will our program kick start your nursing education, but also prepare you to pursue an advanced degree in the future.