RN Education - From LPN Programs to Doctoral Degrees

Registered nurses are among the largest occupational groups in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the need for these professionals is projected to grow. In addition to the more than 2.7 million RNs employed in the U.S. in 2011, another 1.4 million individuals worked as nursing aides, orderlies or attendants, while about 700,000 worked as licensed practical nurses. Added up, nursing positions employed nearly 4 million Americans in 2011.

That may sound like a large number, but according to industry sources, it's not going to be enough to meet the demand for health care in coming years. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing reports that a number of factors -- including a lack of qualified nursing school faculty, an aging U.S. population and high turnover due to burnout -- could lead to a shortage of qualified individuals to fill nursing jobs.

As a profession, nursing offers a wide range of points of entry, from certificate programs for nursing aides to graduate degrees for nurse managers or educators. Tying these various levels of nursing practice together are bridge programs, which are designed to help nurses further their education and move up the career ladder. Here's a quick overview of your nursing education options.

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Nursing Degree Programs Demystified

Licensed practical nurse (LPN)Click >

LPN to RN / LVN to RN bridge programsClick >

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