Although you can begin a nursing career with a diploma or associate degree, upward mobility and new opportunities may be limited. Increasingly, some nursing positions require a bachelor’s degree, or the earning potential or job outlook for a position rises significantly after earning this degree.
Employers often offer incentives for nurses who earn additional degrees and certifications, such as tuition reimbursement and bonus payments. Plus, students can complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree within a short time frame since Registered Nurses (RNs) already have the foundational knowledge and experience. For example, the online RN to BSN program from Arkansas State University (A-State) builds upon existing skills to prepare graduates for in-demand nursing jobs, and students can complete the degree in as few as 12 months.
What Nursing Jobs Require a BSN?
As the complexity of patient care evolves, more employers strongly prefer BSN-prepared nurses. Plus, nurses with a BSN can pursue specializations that align with their interests and long-term goals. The degree also creates a pathway to both bedside and non-bedside care jobs with more desirable or family-friendly schedules and benefits. A BSN degree is a platform to obtaining an MSN and specializing in roles such as nurse practitioner and nurse educator.
The following jobs likely require a BSN:
- Healthcare manager. Healthcare managers oversee the day-to-day functioning of a specific clinical department or healthcare facility. They work at hospitals, medical practices and nursing homes. Their primary responsibilities include improving the quality of care delivery, meeting compliance standards and regulations, recruiting and hiring staff, creating work schedules and developing facility and departmental budgets.Healthcare managers work closely with all organization members, from clinical care teams to executives. Therefore, they must have strong leadership and decision-making skills and a robust understanding of business operations and the care cycle. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for healthcare managers is $101,340, with expected job growth of 28% through 2031, much faster than average.
- Legal nurse consultant. Legal nurse consultants work with attorneys and insurance providers. In medical malpractice cases, nurse consultants request the individual’s medical records and then use their healthcare background to analyze the documents. They may determine the extent of the injuries and if there was any deviation from the standard of care. In addition, they may identify witnesses, participate in client interviews and draft medicolegal documents. They may also work on personal injury, wrongful death, workers’ compensation and product liability cases.Legal nurse consultants should possess exceptional critical-thinking and communication skills and an ability to synthesize complex medical information and question inconsistencies. The average annual salary for nurse consultants is $95,428, according to Indeed (as of July 2023). The outlook for this career will likely remain stable, given the rise in medical malpractice and related cases and the ongoing demand for nurses. According to the Zippia, legal nursing consultant jobs will grow 12% through 2028.
- Nurse practitioner. Nurse practitioners are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who perform many of the same functions as physicians, such as assessing patients, ordering labs and testing, prescribing medications and creating treatment plans. They are integral to team-based models of care and work in several settings, including but not limited to hospitals, physician practices, nursing homes, telehealth services and urgent care clinics.Nurse practitioners must have sound clinical judgment and the ability to work independently, though a physician often supervises them under a collaborating agreement. Nurse practitioners require a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), and the BSN is a necessary precursor to this advanced degree. According to the BLS, the average annual salary for nurse practitioners is $123,780, with an anticipated 40% growth in available positions through 2031.
About A-State’s Online RN to BSN Program
A BSN can provide upward mobility and increased earning potential. The online RN to BSN program at A-State can put these career perks within reach. With coursework dedicated to developing proven leadership strategies, evidence-based practice and nursing professionalism, graduates can seamlessly transition to BSN roles.
Learn more about A-State’s online RN to BSN program.