What Are the Career Options for BSN Graduates?
Career options for nursing school graduates with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree are many. Graduates have opportunities to work in specialized fields and with different populations.
Education and Licensure Requirements
A registered nurse (RN) with a BSN has the best opportunity to find entry-level positions in professional nursing practice. Many health care employers prefer applicants who hold a 4-year BSN degree over those with diplomas or associate's degrees. A person holding a BSN degree is prepared for many entry-level nursing jobs.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), all states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories require a student to complete an approved nursing program and also pass a national licensing examination called the NCLEX-RN.
Important Facts About This Occupation
|Median Pay (2018)*||$71,730 (all registered nurses)|
|On-the-Job-Training||All nursing programs include clinical experience where nursing students can learn skills necessary for their careers.|
|Key Skills||Registered nurses must be compassionate, able to cope with the distress of their patients, organized, detail-oriented with strong critical thinking skills, and have a good amount of physical stamina.|
|Similar Occupations||Dental Hygienists, Diagnostic Sonographers, Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians, EMTs and Paramedics, Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Practitioners, Licensed Practiced and Vocational Nurses, Physician Assistants|
*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Nursing Career Opportunities
A nursing school graduate who has passed the NCLEX-RN licensing exam is qualified to work in any state. A BSN program graduate may prefer to work with a certain age group, such as babies, children or the elderly. Graduates with a BSN often work in careers that focus on specific ailments, such as cancer, stroke or trauma. Typical career settings for a nursing school graduate with a BSN include:
- Health departments
- Nursing homes
- Public schools
- Research labs
- Rehabilitation centers
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that job opportunities are expected to be excellent for nursing school graduates with BSN degrees. Job opportunities may vary by geographical location and employer. Employment is expected to grow by 15% from 2016-2026, faster than average for all occupations.
Advanced Nursing Specializations
RNs with BSN degrees can complete graduate-level degree and certificate programs to qualify for certification as advanced practice nurses. There are many specializations at this level of nursing, including:
- Clinical nurse specialist
- Nurse anesthetist
- Nurse midwife
- Nurse practitioner