Traditionally, an associate’s degree has been all the training needed to work as a successful nurse. However, times are changing and hospitals across the country are starting to require that nurses have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in nursing. This is making it difficult for nurses with an associate’s degree to find employment, and is also causing a need for working nurses to return to school for a higher degree.
There are many reasons for the change in recommended nursing education. First, many states are passing laws that require hospitals to have a certain portion of nurses who hold bachelor’s degrees within the next 10 years. The reasoning behind this is that nurses who earn a bachelor’s degree learn much more about public health, research, and nursing theory, making them better equipped to deal with the changes in modern medicine. Another reason for the change is that hospitals are striving to win the American Nurses Association’s magnet designation, which is partly based on the level of the nursing staff’s education.
What It Means for You
Since around half of the nation’s nurses now have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in nursing, the best jobs are going to become increasingly difficult to land for those with an associate’s degree. This means that as time passes, you will be relegated to less desirable jobs and lower salaries than those with a bachelor’s degree or higher. While there will be a high demand for nurses with an associate’s degree for many years to come, this demand will largely be in non-hospital settings.
If you are already a working nurse, you have job commitments and probably a family to take care of, so it can be difficult to find the time to earn a bachelor’s degree. Luckily, there are now many accredited online RN to BSN programs that will allow you to advance your education without sacrificing the things that matter to you. These programs let you study from home on a schedule that fits your needs.
The shift in nursing is leading to a day where all nurses will have to have a bachelor’s degree in order to be competitive. Get in on this trend early so you can be sure you have the best choice of jobs. All you have to do is find an accredited degree program and start working on the next phase of your education today.