There are 3 ways to become an RN (according to the US Dept of Labor) : A bachelor’s of science degree in nursing (BSN), an associate degree in nursing (ADN), which is what you have, and a diploma.
But since you already have an associate degree in nursing, you have this option for further training:
Many RNs with an ADN or diploma later enter bachelor’s programs to prepare for a broader scope of nursing practice. Often, they can find a staff nurse position and then take advantage of tuition reimbursement benefits to work toward a BSN by completing an RN-to-BSN program. In 2004, there were 600 RN-to-BSN programs in the United States. Accelerated master’s degree programs in nursing also are available. These programs combine 1 year of an accelerated BSN program with 2 years of graduate study. In 2004, there were 137 RN-to-MSN programs.
FYI: Accelerated BSN programs also are available for individuals who have a bachelor’s or higher degree in another field and who are interested in moving into nursing. In 2004, more than 165 of these programs were available. Accelerated BSN programs last 12 to 18 months and provide the fastest route to a BSN for individuals who already hold a degree.
Individuals considering nursing should carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages of enrolling in a BSN program, because, if they do, their advancement opportunities usually are broader. In fact, some career paths are open only to nurses with a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
Please note: A bachelor’s degree often is necessary for administrative positions and is a prerequisite for admission to graduate nursing programs in research, consulting, and teaching, and all four advanced practice nursing specialties—clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners. Individuals who complete a bachelor’s receive more training in areas such as communication, leadership, and critical thinking, all of which are becoming more important as nursing care becomes more complex. Additionally, bachelor’s degree programs offer more clinical experience in nonhospital settings. In 2004, 417 nursing schools offered master’s degrees, 93 offered doctoral degrees, and 46 offered accelerated BSN-to-doctoral programs.
For your specialty training:
All four advanced practice nursing specialties require at least a master’s degree. Most programs last about 2 years and require a BSN degree and some programs require at least 1 to 2 years of clinical experience as an RN for admission. In 2004, there were 329 master’s and post-master’s programs offered for nurse practitioners, 218 master’s and post-master’s programs for clinical nurse specialists, 92 programs for nurse anesthetists, and 45 programs for nurse midwives. Upon completion of a program, most advanced practice nurses become nationally certified in their area of specialty. In some States, certification in a specialty is required in order to practice that specialty.
All nursing education programs include classroom instruction and supervised clinical experience in hospitals and other health care facilities. Students take courses in anatomy, physiology, microbiology, chemistry, nutrition, psychology and other behavioral sciences, and nursing. **Coursework also includes the liberal arts for ADN and BSN students.**
Here's some other suggestions for specialities:
Some nurses move into the business side of health care. Their nursing expertise and experience on a health care team equip them to manage ambulatory, acute, home-based, and chronic care. Employers—including hospitals, insurance companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and managed care organizations, among others—need RNs for health planning and development, marketing, consulting, policy development, and quality assurance. Other nurses work as college and university faculty or conduct research.
For information on nurse practitioners, including a list of accredited programs, contact:
American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, P.O. Box 12846, Austin, TX 78711. Internet: http://www.aanp.org