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Nurse Jobs and CareerList of Nursing Education Programs in US

List of Nursing Education Programs in US

In this article, we summarize nursing education programs in USA – List of Programs, Scope and Functions, Course Duration, Mobility Programs (Accelerated Nursing Programs), Supported Nursing Programs, Accreditation in Nursing Education.


1. Practical Nursing Education

2. Diploma Schools – BSN (Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing) and ADN (Associate Degree in Nursing)

3. Post Graduate Education – Master’s Degree and CNL (Clinical Nurse Leader)

Doctorate of Education – PhD (Doctorate of Nursing practice), DNSc (Doctorate of Nursing Science) and ND (Nursing Doctorate) and DNP (Doctorate of Nursing Practice).


This is the oldest form of education given to nurses to train and practice for nurses in hospital, reason for this in older times, there are untrained or poorly trained practical nurse. Presently, Practical Nurse has good basic skills. Practical /Vocational nursing students can learn basic skills of nursing.

After licensing, practical nurse (LPN/LVN) can perform complex nursing duties.

Practical Nurse – Scope and Role

  • Practiced nurses are licensed to practice as (LPN) Licensed Practical Nurse and (LVN) – Licensed Vocational Nurses. They can work under the supervision of registered nurse.
  • Responsible for stable patients and patients with common health conditions
  • Responsible for collecting and reporting abnormal data, offering suggestion for developing and changing nursing care
  • Provide bed side care, teaching health maintenance; participate with healthcare team in evaluating nursing care.

About Practical Nurse Programs

Practical Nurse programs are offered in community colleges. Mostly programs are 12 – 18 months in length. After completion of course, graduate can complete state nursing exam (National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurse NCLEX –PN) to be registered as practical nurse. Practical nurses can pursue advanced nursing education after LPN/LVN. They can work as practical nurse and can continue further education. They are employed in long term care facilities, clinics, hospitals and home health care. Practical Nurses has huge demand as there is rising elderly populations, they can work in in-home medical technologies and home health.


Diploma nursing program is also known as Hospital Nursing. In 1909, Dr. Beard introduced nursing program at University of Minnesota. Presently, Diploma nursing program has short length of time. This program is offered in colleges and Universities, they offer students to obtain associate and Baccalaureate Degrees.

Students with diploma nursing degree can be competent in research, leadership and critical thinking.

Associate Degree Nursing Education (ADN)

This program is started because of shortage of nurses in health care sector and to increase number of nurses. This is 2 year course program in nursing and course offered in community colleges affiliated to Universities.

Associate Degree Program nurse’s can acquire enough nursing skills and judgment to provide nursing care but not like Baccalaureate Prepared Nurses.

After Associate degree, students can do Baccalaureate Degree and later they can carry out higher degree in nursing.  

Associate Degree Program – ADN and ASN (Associate Degree in Science) is the easiest way to become Registered Nurse (RN).

Nurse’s role is advocacy, leadership, professional involvement, lifelong learning and evidence based practice.


This program is offered in Universities to train nurse as skilled practitioners. Objective of this program is to give quality patient care. The course duration is 3 years, it is offered as part time and full time study.


After BSN, nurse can pursue master’s degree in nursing; they can choose specialty roles such as pediatrics, infection control, midwifery, anesthesia, public health and nursing education.

Their role is to carried nursing practice and can do research, teaching, administration and clinical areas of nursing practice.

Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL)

CNL can develop methods for improving patient outcomes, coordinate evident based practice, and promote client self care and client decision making.


Doctoral education includes DNSc (Doctor of Nursing Science), PhD (Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing), ND and DNP (Doctorate of Nursing Practice).  After Doctorate, nurse can play important role in administrative and teaching and they can conduct research and form nursing theories.

DNSc is Clinical Doctorate and can do clinical practice which is equivalent to PhD. PhD is about research and practice oriented and can conduct research and develop theories.

After DNP (Doctorate of Nursing Practice), nurses can carried out advanced nursing practice and advanced preparation in clinical practice. Their role is to provide and work in advanced preparation in scientific foundation of nursing practice, leadership, evidence based practice, healthcare technologies, healthcare policy, inter professional c0llaboration, clinical prevention, population based health care and advanced nursing practice in specialty areas.

PhD, DNS and DNSc Degree – Research Focused

DNP Degree – Practice Doctorate oriented.


Mobility program help nurses to do transition from one nursing degree to other more advanced nursing degree.

Transition of Nursing Programs

LPN – RN, RN – BSN, RN – MSN, BSN – PhD mobility programs.

RN – BSN or RN – MSN Degree programs enable Registered nurse who had in Diploma in Nursing or ADN (ASN) Degree to pursue either BSN or MSN Degree and receive credit for the previous coursework.

Non Nursing Baccalaureate Degree holder can do BSN program. The course period is about 12 – 18 months. (Second Degree, Fast Track or Accelerated Nursing Programs).

Non Nursing Baccalaureate Degree can also take MSN program.

Continuing Education Programs

Most nurses wish to do continuing education programs which result in gaining specialized credentials, certification or continuing education credits.

This program helps nurse to carry out advanced nursing practice. Some of the programs are certified in diabetic education, critical care or wound and ostomy care.

Nurses can obtain continuing education by attending conference or completing online courses or independent studies on particular topics which is relevant to their area of practice.


Distance education technologies are the way for nurses to get advanced education.

Associate Degree RN – Baccalaureate Program

Nurses who did associate degree RN can attend community college to pursue baccalaureate degree, they can work as RN and complete online Baccalaureate course or take program at nearby college or University (or) can do master degree in nursing and can enroll in RN-MSN program.

List of Nursing Programs in US


Accreditation – A process by which an institution’s (e.g. School of Nursing’s) programs, policies and practices are reviewed by external accrediting body to determine whether professional standards are being met.

National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) – NLNAC affiliated with National League for Nursing, this commission is an accrediting body for all types of nursing education programs.

Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) – CCNE affiliated with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, this commission is an accrediting body for Baccalaureate and higher degree nursing education programs.

Structure of Nursing Education

USA Model of Nursing Education works from US Department of Education – Accreditation Body (NLNAC and CCNE), State Board of Nursing – School of Nursing’s.

US Department of Education – Apex Body of US Education

Accreditation Body – National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) affiliated with National League for Nursing (NLM) and Commission Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) affiliated with the American Associated of Colleges of Nursing (ASSCN).

Accreditation Body – State Board of Nursing

School of Nursing is accredited by NLNAC OR CCNE and State Board of Nursing. Both NLNAC and CCNE approved by U.S. Department of Education.

NLNAC accredits all programs of nursing and CCNE can accredit to BSN, MSN and DNP programs.


If students going to enroll in nursing program in nursing schools or colleges, look for schools or colleges which is accredited by NLNAC, CCNE Body and State Board of Nursing. If Nursing School has no accreditation, students will be denied to access to scholarship/grants or admission to graduate programs (if nurses are not in graduates of professionally accredited School).


Central to Education is Curriculum and Instruction.

Curriculum – The overall structure of nursing education programs that reflect schools mission and philosophy course of study and program evaluation methods.

Instruction – The teaching and learning strategies and experiences faculty and students engage in to achieve the elements of curriculum.


Patient Safety

Cultural Competence


Evidence Based Practice

Technology and Informatics

Interpersonal Education


New Pedagogies

Critical Thinking

Distance Education



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