The Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree is quickly becoming the gold standard in the world of health care and health care careers. While there are many ways in which one may become a nurse, including the Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN), the Licensed Practicing Nurse (LPN), and Registered Nurse (RN), the BSN pathway offers a nurse the most opportunity toward career movement and employment.
The Top 10 Online BSN Programs of 2013
Start by clicking on any school to get information on each of the top programs.
- Walden University
- Western Governors University (RN to BSN)
- Grand Canyon University (RN to BSN)
- Capella University (RN to BSN)
- Colorado Technical University (RN to BSN)
- University of Phoenix (RN to BSN)
- Marian University (Accelerated BSN)
- Olivet Nazarene University (Accelerated BSN)
- Roseman University (Accelerated BSN)
- Utica College (Accelerated BSN)
Although laws and practices will vary state by state, many states first require a minimum amount of service time for LPN’s, RN’s, and ASN’s to earn prior to being allowed to work in critical care units such as the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), and Overnight Intensive Recovery (OIR) to name a few. Nurses who have earned a BSN may be able to work in critical care units with a shorter amount of service time earned than other nurses or may be directly admitted to work in a critical care unit immediately after graduation.
While the initial benefit to earning a BSN may come from the ability to earn a job in a critical care unit, an additional benefit comes from the ability to later work towards one of the advanced practice degrees in nursing. Programs offering degrees in areas such as Nurse Midwife, Nurse Anesthetist, Nurse Practitioner, and Nurse Educators are only available to nurses who have earned their BSN degree. With the added prestige to a nurse’s title and the additional dedication and work required for one of these advanced practice degrees in nursing also comes an added hike to a nurse’s salary.
Salary Ranges for BSN’s
While salaries for BSN’s will vary by state and by the individual needs of the area in which they are seeking employment, the biggest factor in regards to a BSN’s salary resides in the type of unit that they will seek employment in. Other factors that may impact a BSN’s salary include the decision of the BSN to work full-time, part-time, or as-needed (PRN) and the decision to work days or nights. As would be expected, the less desirable time and shift choices in nursing jobs will pay better than more desirable shifts and as a rule of thumb, night shifts tend to pay better than day shifts.
According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook states that the median salaries for BSN’s may range between $57,000-68,000 with the lowest 10% of BSN jobs reporting earning less than $43,000 and the upper 10% earning more than $92,000. In addition to salary, additional benefits that a BSN should take into consideration include child care services, flexible schedules, partial or full student loan repayment, and bonuses for performance. When combined with a BSN’s salary, these added benefits may greatly outperform a base salary alone.
Past Job Growth for BSN’s
The Occupational Outlook Handbook cites there being approximately 2.6 million nursing jobs held in 2008, making nursing jobs the most widely employed health care career in the nation. The OOH goes on to state that more than half of all nurses in 2008 were employed by hospitals. Working in a physician’s office was the second most frequent source of employment for nurses reported in 2008, though this portion of the population comprised less than 10% of all nursing positions available at the time. Other areas that nurses found employment included the home healthcare services industry, nursing care facilities and employment services. A small percentage took residence across various government agencies, educational settings, and through social services agencies.
Future Job Growth for BSN’s
According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook the job growth for BSN’s is promising, though this may vary by the type of employment a BSN seeks and the geographic location of that employment. As a whole, many employers have reported difficulty in not only attracting, but retaining BSN’s for employment, particularly due to competition between other employers. It is estimated that between the years of 2008 and 2018, job growth for BSN’s will increase by 22%, much higher than the national average for other occupations. Approximately 581,500 new jobs are expected to be created for this field, not counting the hundreds of thousands of openings that will become available as current BSN’s advance, leave the field, or retire.
A major factor impacting the growth of BSN jobs is the ever increasing median age of the population. There are now more adults over the age of 55 is rising rapidly and may one day outnumber the number of people under the age of 55. Job security for BSN’s is assumed due to the fact that as people grow older they are more likely to require nursing care. While the employment rate for BSN’s is expected to grow during the next decade, it is not likely to grow in the same industries equally. Hospitals, which currently employ the bulk of BSN’s, are expected to see a growth of only 17% while the number of nurses working within a physician’s office is expected to rise by as much as 48%. Other areas of nursing, such as home health, nursing care services and employment services are expected to rise between 25-33% during the next decade. Even with the hospital market only expected to increase BSN jobs by 17%, one still has to consider that they are currently the largest employer of BSN’s which still makes this job growth very impressive. As a whole, a career as a BSN will offer a job seeker flexibility, job security, and a stable income for years to come. In addition to these benefits, the BSN pathway allows for further advancement into the nursing career that other nursing certifications do not.