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For the past few years, nursing has been viewed as one of the fastest growing careers in America. Young students and established members of the workforce are setting out together for careers in the hospital. With such a growing national interest in nursing, one reality is becoming clearer by the day: a degree is a requirement for finding meaningful nursing work.

Registered Nurse (RN)

Becoming a registered nurse is likely the most fundamental step in a modern nursing career. Earning this certification requires at least an associate’s degree in nursing, or the completion of an equivalent program. All registered nursing programs require passing the NCLEX-RN exam. For many, becoming a registered nurse is enough to start a rewarding career. Doctor’s offices, hospitals, and nursing homes are always hiring RNs. On the other hand, others will look to advance their careers with more specialized nursing training. Any RN hoping to advance to the next level will look towards becoming an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN).

Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)

One common type of APRN is the certified nurse midwife. These are the nurses responsible for child birth and other reproductive procedures. This position, along with a majority of APRN positions, requires a bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN). Still, a sizable percentage of nurse midwives hold master’s degrees. CNMs have a rewarding career that is vital in our society. Also, the level of education required to reach this point in one’s nursing career is standard among many APRN programs.

Nursing Programs in Utah

Utah is on the brink of a nursing crisis. Increased requirements in nursing education have resulted in a higher demand for nurses than can be supplied. Those who are sufficiently qualified are quickly heading towards retirement. On the bright side, increased education requirements across the state have resulted in nursing programs in Utah becoming more and more popular. University of Utah and Brigham Young University both offer top 100 nursing programs.  There are many other schools that offer comparable programs as well.

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Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)

As anesthesia has become increasingly popular in recent decades, career opportunities for CRNAs have become lucrative. These nurses are responsible for not only administering anesthesia, but taking care of patients before and after their surgeries. Anesthetic specialists have responsibilities that require a vast set of knowledge. Giving a patient an inadequate amount of anesthesia can result in the stuff of nightmares. As a result, a master’s degree in nursing (MSN) is required to pursue this specialization. Other career options at this level of education include nurse practitioner (NP), clinical nurse specialist (CNS), and clinical nurse leader.

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

For those looking to travel the full mile with their nursing careers, becoming a doctor of nursing practice is the final destination. The title of this job is the same as the degree required to obtain it. Reaching this point in one’s career will have required years of theoretical and hands-on nursing education.

Many people who earn a DNP do so to move away from the front lines. Almost all other types of nurses are more likely to be found in hospital rooms. DNPs are more responsible for managerial duties and research in the field of nursing. Though it may take years to reach this point, those with an interest in the cutting edge of nursing practice and theory should consider this career path.

These are just four of the many ways to start a career in nursing. With so many degrees and certifications available, it is important to start thinking about the best career path for you. One thing is for sure: there is always more to learn in the field of nursing.

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