A nursing career can be a varied and nonlinear journey. While it may be common for people to begin pursuing a degree and career immediately after high school, some may prioritize other needs and goals above education, others may begin college only to realize they’re not able to finish and still others go back later in life for a career change or advancement.
If you’re looking to start or advance a nursing career, Herzing can help you get started whether you already work in healthcare or a completely different industry.
What is the Herzing nursing pathway?
At Herzing University, we believe that every nursing student has a unique education pathway, with various entry and ending points. This means there’s an entry point for you, whether you have prior nursing experience, college credits or not.
There are some prerequisites for every program. For example, you cannot earn your master’s degree in a program until you earn a bachelor’s or associate degree. Some people are happy to earn a diploma whereas others are aiming for a bachelor’s degree. So what do these potential pathways look like?
Here are some key programs and their differences:
Diploma in Practical Nursing*
For individuals who are new to nursing, healthcare or college in general, the Diploma in Practical Nursing program could be a good place to start. The program provides a fast path to a nursing career since it can be completed in as few as 12 months and teaches students the fundamentals of nursing across a patient lifespan. If you have some college experience, you could also transfer credits into the program. Once the program is completed, students can sit for the National Council Licensing Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) to become a licensed practical nurse (LPN).
Because the program can be completed so quickly, some people falsely assume that LPNs aren’t real nurses. This is not the case. After passing the NCLEX, LPNs are nurses and they work closely with other nurses and medical professionals to provide basic nursing care such as:
- Taking patient’s vital signs and histories
- Changing bandages and inserting IVs or catheters
- Performing routine assessments
- Helping patients with basic tasks such as bathing or dressing
LPNs are in demand! According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there is a 9% growth rate for the employment of LPNs between 2019-2029.
Associate of Science in Nursing*
The Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) is an affordable and quick way to become a registered nurse (RN). While RNs work in similar healthcare settings to LPNs, RNs have more responsibilities. Some of their additional responsibilities include:
- Performing diagnostic tests
- Developing patient care plans alongside other healthcare professionals
- Operating and monitoring medical equipment
No previous experience is needed to begin the ASN program, which typically takes 20-24 months, but students can transfer in credits to finish even faster. Upon completion of the program, students are qualified to sit for the (NCLEX-RN) to begin their careers.
Registered nursing is also a growing career, and the U.S. News and World Report ranked RNs as #14 in Best Healthcare Jobs. According to the BLS, the employment of RNs is expected to grow 7% between 2019 and 2029.
Bachelor of Science in Nursing*
While the ASN program focuses on the technical application of nursing skills, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program additionally prepares students to take on greater responsibilities as an RN.
The BSN program can be completed in three years and is a good option for people interested in a leadership position or even becoming nurse educators or nurse practitioners later in their careers.
Relaunching Your Healthcare Career
If you’re considering switching your career to nursing, one of our bridge program options or the accelerated BSN might be right for you. Make sure to do thorough research and consult with an advisor about transfer credits before enrolling in a program to determine which pathway fits your needs and goals.
You can take full advantage of the experience that you gained in the healthcare industry and apply it to your nursing education. Herzing offers bridge program options so that you can use the skills you’ve already mastered in your career and apply them to your future degree.
Herzing offers a variety of different pathways for specific careers:
- Cardiovascular Technician (CVT) to ASN/BSN
- Military Medic to ASN/BSN
- LPN to ASN/BSN
- Paramedic to ASN/BSN
- Respiratory Therapist (RT) to ASN/BSN
- RN to BSN
Accelerated BSN Program*
What happens if you have a bachelor’s degree in another field unrelated to healthcare, such as technology or business? Don’t worry, there are options for you too!
Herzing’s accelerated BSN (ABSN) program is designed for bachelor's degree holders who are looking for a fast path to their BSN. While the regular BSN program can take up to three years to complete, the ABSN program can be completed in as few as 20 months. The program is an intense but efficient way to begin your career as an RN.
Continuing Your Education
Once you are a nurse, you don’t have to feel like you are stuck in your career! If you’ve already earned your BSN, you could continue your education with a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). With an MSN from Herzing, you can choose from multiple specializations including:
- Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP)
- Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP)
- Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
- Nursing Leadership and Administration (NLA)
- Nursing Education
- Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP)
- Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)
The time to completion varies according to the program and your previous credits and experience. There are also options for RNs with their ASN to enroll in an accelerated RN to MSN program which can be completed in as few as 20 months.
If you’re unsure which pathway might be best for you, consider meeting with an admissions advisor at Herzing University.
*Program offerings vary by location, please contact your campus for more information.*
* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2021. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.