Updated on Monday 8 April 2013
Need help deciphering what a LPN, ADN or BSN means in terms of nursing educational paths? Do the US credentialing letters have you in a quandary? We have broken down the various nursing programs to help understand what all of this means to you!
Do you, the international student, want to experience state-of-the-art clinical facilities and train under the guidance of top-notch nurse educators? Then a United States nursing school might be your answer. As an international student nurse, you will have access to acute care hospitals, hospice care centers and outreach clinics. Most importantly, you will have the opportunity to learn from others and have exposure to a wide variety of people from various cultural, ethnic, religious, socioeconomic, and educational backgrounds that only the United States can offer. The experience driven force of culturally sensitive care is a global concern for continued growth in the healthcare industry.
Why study nursing in the US? An international student's personal commitment and motivational factors are influential with respect to education. Considering the wide array of nursing programs offered in the US, determining which program to enter and what educational path a student desires to seek can be an overwhelming at first glance. But with our help, we hope to solve these questions by defining the most common nursing programs in the US:
LPN or LVN Programs
The Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) training program is approximately one year long. An LPN/LVN works under the direction of the registered nurse. Typically, a LPN/LVN program is offered at many colleges throughout the United States. These programs usually do not require prerequisite classes. However, some schools do require a TOEFL, SAT or ACT minimum test score requirement. A LVN/LPN nurse provides basic patient care such as taking vital signs and patient monitoring. There are state requirements and LPNs must pass a national licensing exam for state certification. According to the US Department of Labor Statistics, the median annual wages of licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses is $39,030 USD. Monroe College provides an LPN to RN program which allows LPNs to have the opportunity to earn their A.A.S. (or, Associates in Applied Science) within three semesters, be eligible to take the NCLEX-RN, and to become a Registered Nurse.
The Associate Degree in Nursing(ADN) training program is approximately a 15 - month to two year commitment . This program is offered at many community colleges throughout the United States . These programs usually require pre - requisite class completion prior to enrollment . This associate degree program focuses on the technical skills nurses need in the healthcare setting . An ADN registered nurse can treat, educate patients, and provide emotional support to patients' family members. Although ADN programs are only available in the United States, enrollment for international students is available. Associate Degree Nurses must pass a national licensing examination, known as the National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX-RN, in order to obtain a nursing license. According to the US Department of Labor Statistics, the median annual wages of ADN registered nurses is $62,450.
The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) training is typically a four year program. A BSN degree is offered at many colleges and universities throughout the United States such as Felician College which will apply student’s nursing knowledge to a variety of health care settings and facility. Some programs, like Felician College, conclude with a Clinical Residency to transition into the role of staff nurse.
The BSN program is of particular interest to many international students, mainly because of transferability upon program completion. Advanced nursing positions generally require a BSN, which allow for increased employment opportunities, and career progression; nevertheless, the starting pay rate is the same for an ADN or a BSN prepared nurse.
Accelerated BSN Programs
These programs are often referred to as second-degree programs and are generally geared towards students who have received a prior degree. These accelerated baccalaureate programs offer the quickest route to becoming a registered nurse and commonly run 12–18 months long. These programs are competitively driven and are fast paced but many international students enjoy this type of learning environment. Felician College , for example, offers a full-time accelerated nursing program which takes 18 months to complete. A Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing is awarded upon completion and at the same time prepares international student to take the NCLEX-RN exam.
RN to BSN Programs
These programs are designed for the ADN nurse who wishes to obtain their Bachelor of Science (BSN) degree. Programs are available for students to attend on campus or by an alternative route: online. RN-BSN online programs are often a desirable option for nurses who are working and are unable to take classes on-site.
The Master of Science Nursing program incorporates a variety of advanced practice nursing disciplines into their tracks: Adult Nurse Practitioner (ANP), Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP), Nurse Educator (NE), Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP), Women's Health Nurse Practitioner(WHNP) . The median salary is for those holding a MSN degree in the US is $81,000 USD .
The Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist(CRNA) program length typically ranges from 24 & ndash;48 months . CRNA students learn anesthesia techniques, test theory, and apply knowledge to clinical problems . A nurse with a CRNA specialization can find one of the highest paying salaries in nursing within the US offering a median salary of $155,646 USD a year .
Many MSN programs are being phased out and are being replaced by Doctor of Nursing Practice(DNP) programs . These DNP programs primarily focus on training in research methods including statistics and data analysis, history and philosophy of nursing science and leadership skills . The typical DNP program is 25 credit hours beyond a MSN and typically ranges from 18 months to 30 months . The median salary in the US for those holding a DNP degree is $107,000 USD .