Choosing to go to nursing school is by far one of the most advantageous educational investments you can make today. Not only is nursing a fulfilling and stable career choice, it is also a field brimming with opportunity. Across the country, demand for qualified nurses is rising; on average, Connecticut expects to see about 2,000 entry-level nursing positions open up annually until the year 2024.
With so many jobs becoming available to aspiring nurses, there is no question that now is the time to become a nurse. But where do you begin? In general, there are three basic pathways you can take to become a nurse in Connecticut:
- A specialized diploma program
- An associate’s nursing degree program
- A four-year Bachelor of Science degree
Each of these programs will lead you to a rewarding role in the field of healthcare and prepare you with the foundation and skills needed to land a successful nursing career. The nursing degree you choose to pursue, however, will rest on your personal and professional needs: What are your career goals? Which program will fit with your current lifestyle? What is your ideal timeframe for completing nursing school?
Whether you desire a fast-track to your future in nursing, have a full-time job or family you need to sustain, or simply are a bit hesitant about committing to medical school long-term, know that there are flexible and affordable options for you. The following three types of nursing degrees and diplomas, for example, are up-front nursing programs that do not take four years to complete. By pursuing any one of these options, you can gain a quality education and start making money in less than two-years’ time. We’ve outlined the basics for you below:
- Advanced Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) or Patient Care Specialist
- Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN)
- Registered Nursing Degree (RN)
Certified nursing assistants and advanced CNAs, otherwise known as patient care specialists (PCS), are nursing associates that temporarily or permanently provide care to patients who are unable to care for themselves – patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s, with cancer or other life-threatening diseases, as well as those in critical care and rehabilitation. They perform basic nursing duties and assist with direct patient care in active settings such as hospitals, rehab facilities, and patient homes.
CNA or PCS training is typically the fastest route to an entry-level nursing-related position and can be completed in anywhere from four to twenty-four weeks. Stone Academy’s CNA program, for example, is a 125-hour curriculum that can be achieved through day, evening, and weekend courses. Our Patient Care classes are another flexible and fast-paced option for aspiring nursing assistants.
Licensed practical nursing is another great route that takes less time than your typical nursing degrees. In general, LPN diploma programs can be accomplished in as few as 12-months, and are a convenient option for aspiring nurses who work or have other obligations. The LPN curriculum at Stone Academy, for example, is offered on a full-time and part-time basis, with weekend and evening course offerings.
As a flexible, yet quality educational option, an LPN school is often the first choice for students who want to jumpstart their career as a nurse, but are not yet ready to commit to a longer-term nursing program.
LPNs can be found in a variety of workplaces, including hospitals, clinics, schools, or private home settings. They are the nursing professionals that provide routine patient care (taking vital signs, collecting blood samples, and administering medications) under the supervision of a registered nurse.
Registered nurses are the professional nurses you’ll typically find in a hospital or private medical practice. They are primarily responsible for assessing patient needs, monitoring patient conditions, recommending care plans, and educating patients on treatments and preventive health.
To become a registered nurse in Connecticut, postsecondary education is required. Most RN nurses will earn associate or bachelor’s nursing degrees, however, diploma programs are also available for prospective RNs.
Unlike CNA and LPN programs, registered nursing degrees typically take about two years to complete. This nursing track makes the most sense for someone who plans to earn a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree down the road, or who is interested in a more independent, advanced nursing position.
Registered nursing degrees are also obtainable for existing LPN nurses, who desire to further their nursing credentials through a state-approved LPN-RN Transition program. They can then sit for the NCLEX-RN exam, which offers a higher level of licensure as a registered nurse.
There are many different degree, diploma, and certificate options available to prospective nurses like you. To learn more about Stone Academy’s various nursing programs in Connecticut, please call (800) 585-1315 today.