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Just as there are so many different types of nursing degrees and levels of nursing programs, there are a variety of career options and job levels for nurses. Depending on whether you graduate with a degree in medical assisting or with an MSN in Nursing Administration, you could be just entering the health care field or at the top of your industry. Salary levels vary greatly according to your work experience, certification and licensing, and depending on your education and training. Many nursing programs are designed to prepare students for a specific career path or job opportunity after graduation. For example, an LPN to RN program focuses on giving students the skills they need to become Registered Nurses and take the corresponding RN certification exam. BSN and MSN programs train students to become nurse managers and leaders at their current workplace or in another health care facility. Higher salary levels are awarded when nurses complete extra training programs or higher degree programs and are able to perform the tasks of more qualified professionals.
- Medical assistants: Medical assistants are considered entry-level health care workers and are given the opportunity to develop the basic skills they may need to enroll in a nursing program. They assist with administrative and clinical tasks like scheduling appointments, managing patient records and insurance forms, and recording vital signs. The average salary for a medical assistant in 2006 was $26,290.
- LPNs: Licensed Practical Nurses, or LPNs, take vital signs, give injections, help patients feel comfortable in the health care facility, bathe patients, manage medical equipment, and assist RNs and doctors with basic tasks. LPNs earned an average of $36,550 in 2006. LPNs who worked in nursing care facilities earned 38,320 on average, while those who worked in general medical and surgical hospitals earned an average of 35,000.
- RNs: Registered Nurses, or RNs, are considered to make up the largest health care occupation. In 2006, RNs earned an average of $57,280. Those who worked in general medical and surgical hospitals earned an average of 58,550, and those who worked in nursing care facilities earned 52,490 on average. RNs with higher degrees can earn even higher salaries, depending on their geographic location, health care facility and experience.
- Nurses with higher education: Nurses with bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees are better positioned for jobs as managers, administrators, directors and other leaders in the nursing industry. Besides the practical patient work they do, they also manage other nurses, contribute to public health and health education projects, perform their own research, and understand how to work with new health technology systems. All of these skills, plus their former work experience, contributes to a higher salary potential.
Top Online Nursing Programs
Indiana State University – Bachelor’s Degree. Indiana State University offers students a Bachelor’s degree in LPN to BSN that will further a student’s ambitions in nursing. Indiana State’s Nursing degree program is entirely online and students never have to leave their home to graduate. The College Network – 10 Universities offering Nursing Degrees. The College Network is a collection of universities offering numerous degree programs in the field of Nursing. With accredited degrees available, students will be able to pick which Nursing program they want to start their career in, entirely online. University of Phoenix – Certification, & Associate’s Degree. The largest online university in the country, the University of Phoenix has numerous course offerings in the field of Nursing available online. University of Phoenix also offers students the opportunity to take classes online if they desire a classroom setting. Kaplan University – Certification, Associate’s, & Bachelor’s Degree. Kaplan University offers a variety of degrees in the field of Nursing that will allow students to start or continue their career in the Healthcare field. Kaplan University is an accredited university that offers degree plans online.
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