5 Degree Options for Nurses Wishing to Advance Their Career


In the course of their jobs, nurses are responsible for a wide variety of crucial tasks. In order to further their careers, nurses frequently choose to either pursue advanced degrees or specialize in a particular area of medicine. Nurses are fortunate in that regard. They have a wide range of educational options due to the complexity of healthcare and the variety of care specialties. They have the option of obtaining advanced certification in that discipline, in addition to employment in a particular area of healthcare. You can set long-term career goals by being aware of the prospects for progress for nurses. This article lists degree options for nurses who wish to pursue an advanced career.

  1. Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree

Any type of doctorate program might be scary to pursue. However, this degree is what you should seek if you want to change the emphasis of your nursing job from the patient level to the system level. Choosing from specializations like public health, executive leadership, technology, and health care policy is possible with a DNP.

Intending to educate experts who would bridge the gap between nursing leaders and immediate care nurses, the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, or DNP, is a relatively new degree option for nurses. Today, many universities offer post masters DNP online that can help you develop the leadership skills you’ll need to have a positive influence on patient care.

The main goal of this higher education is essential to enable greater “big picture” answers to US healthcare issues. The National Academy of Sciences produced a report in 2005 titled “Advancing the Nation’s Health Needs” that outlines the advantages and necessity of practicing nurses taking the lead and resolving these problems. As a result, the DNP was created, and these programs are now available in all 50 states.

For all advanced nursing practice jobs, such as nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists, and nurse midwives, a DNP degree covers the following Essentials. These are the Essentials:

  • Practice-Oriented Research Foundations
  • Systems Thinking and Organizational Leadership for Quality Improvement Initiatives
  • Analytical techniques and clinical scholarship for evidence-based practice
  • Patient Care and Data Management Technology for the Transformation and Improvement of Healthcare
  • Policy on health care for Health Care Advocacy
  • Improving the Health of the Nation through Clinical Prevention and Public Health
  • Collaboration Among Professionals to Improve Patient and Population Health Results
  • Advance nurse practice
  • Masters Of Science In Nursing

You can start looking at even more degree options if a BSN is your highest level of study. In order to qualify for a variety of specialized areas of practice, you must get a Master of

Science in Nursing, or MSN degree. With such a degree, nurses can truly discover their niche. You can even enroll in an online RN to MSN program to get your degree, which you can view here.

Some of the employment options offered to persons with an MSN include those listed below, according to

  • Nursing specialist
  • Nursing Instructor
  • Expert clinical nurse
  • Anesthetist nurse
  • Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Additionally, the MSN is the best option for you if you want to one day assume a new function in the field of nursing, such as an administration or research-based role. Getting an MSN is the first step you should take if you want to start concentrating on a certain field of practice in your career.

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing

One of the most challenging degree options available to nurses is a Ph.D. in nursing. The Ph.D. in nursing is the route to choose if you want to customize your career to the highest degree of scientific study.

Some have highlighted the resemblance between a DNP and a Ph.D. in nursing, with more nurses choosing the DNP path. But make no mistake, a DNP is more focused on facilitating the translation of research into practice than a Ph.D., which by nature takes a more philosophical approach to the science of nursing.

In other words, both degrees can advance a nursing career based on research, but how that knowledge is applied can vary substantially. The potential to significantly contribute to novel nursing theories grows with a Ph.D.

This list demonstrates that the reach of impact broadens with the increasing degree level. So before planning your study, decide if you want to focus on a specialty where you can excel in everyday practice or if you want to contribute to the advancement of nursing and healthcare. You can reduce your options and choose the best degree and program for you by finding the answer.

  • Certification in a Specialty

In their field of specialization, nurses can get certified. A pediatric nurse, for instance, could become board certified. Board certification is also possible for psychiatric nurses. Numerous specialty certifications are available for nurses and nurse practitioners through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). They provide a variety of certifications, including:

  • Specialization Certification for NPs
  • Certified as a clinical nurse specialist
  • Certification in Ambulatory Care
  • Certificate in Informatics
  • Certification in Medicine and Surgery
  • Pediatric Nursing Licensure
  • Nursing Certification in Psychiatry

These categories deal with a wide range of subjects. The next part discusses how nurses can hone their areas of specialization in more detail.

  • Advanced Certification in Other Areas

The necessary handling of patients in life-threatening conditions may be covered by other sorts of advanced certification. These certificates can include, for instance:


For nurses, obtaining advanced certification offers several advantages. It first assists nurses in honing their assessment abilities. They might possess a better level of knowledge and be able to identify uncommon symptoms and signs in their patient base. They are also more capable of creating a program of care for their patients and applying the most recent methods to treat them. They are also adept at patient education, a vital component of a nurse’s job. Earning an advanced certification may also lead to greater compensation and job prospects. Employers are looking for nurses with substantial training, experience, and the will to pursue ongoing education.