What Can You Do With a Bachelor's Degree in Nursing?

A bachelor's degree in nursing is a step toward beginning a career as a registered nurse. After getting a bachelor's degree, students must complete a licensing examination and may consider looking into a master's-level program. View article »

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  • 0:04 Career Options with a…
  • 0:34 Registered Nurse
  • 1:23 Other Career Options
  • 1:44 Nursing Bachelor's…
  • 2:19 Curriculum
  • 2:51 Licensing Requirements

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Video Transcript

Career Options with a Nursing BSN

Explore the opportunities for graduates with a bachelor's degree in nursing as well as common courses in the program and licensing information.

The most common career option for a graduate of a bachelor's degree in nursing program is a registered nurse. Other careers for Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) graduates could include specialties like ICU nurse, emergency room nurse, operating room nurse, as well as charge nurse and registered nurse supervisor.

Registered Nurse

After completing a bachelor's degree and passing a licensing test, the graduate will be a registered nurse and can work as one. Registered nurses are healthcare workers specializing in treating and educating patients and their families on their own overall health.

Nurses work alongside and assist physicians and they perform typical duties, such as administering medication, therapies and treatments, recording patients' statistics, and consulting with healthcare clinicians.

Specific duties often vary depending on the place of the nurse's employment. Some nurses work with the elderly in nursing homes, some nurses work in emergency rooms, and ambulatory care nurses can treat patients needing only outpatient care in physicians' offices or in the patient's home.

Other Career Options

Aside from earning a bachelor's degree, there are other advanced career options for nurses. Many nurses who've earned their bachelor's degree may go onto earn their Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), which would allow them to pursue careers like nurse practitioner, nursing manager, advanced practice nurse, and chief nursing officer.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Clinical Nursing
  • Critical Care Nursing
  • Direct-Entry Midwifery - LM, CPM
  • Licensed Vocational Nurse Training
  • Mental Health Nursing
  • Neonatal Nursing
  • Nurse Anesthetist
  • Nurse Assistant or Patient Care Assistant
  • Nurse Midwife
  • Nurse Practitioner or Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Nursing Administration
  • Nursing for Adults and Seniors
  • Nursing Science
  • Occupational Health Nursing
  • Operating Room and Surgical Nursing
  • Pediatric Nursing
  • Public Health Nurse or Community Nurse
  • Registered Nurse

Nursing Bachelor's Degree: Overview

Students earning their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) may do so in a university's nursing or health sciences school within four years. The program can be taken part- or full-time. Nurses can still become registered with an associate's degree, but having a bachelor's degree is slowly becoming the norm. Some healthcare facilities only hire registered nurses who hold bachelor's degrees.

Advancement opportunities, such as management or specializations within nursing, are also more readily available with a bachelor's degree.


The BSN program is based in the sciences, but there are also core liberal arts courses to complete. Nurses, especially those working in outpatient faculties, must be up on the latest technology. Therefore, some core courses may include management information systems and other business courses dealing with technology. Some courses may include nutrition, chemistry, biology, human anatomy, human growth, organic chemistry, and other core liberal arts courses.

Licensing Requirements

A bachelor's degree alone does not allow someone to work as a registered nurse. Nurses must be licensed. After completing the program, the student must pass the National Council Licensure Examination, which is required in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Individual states may have other additional requirements for certification.

Those with a bachelor's degree in nursing typically work as a registered nurse but can specialize in a particular area and/or pursue a master's degree program to become a nurse practitioner or other advanced roles. All nurses must receive their national license and comply with any additional state requirements.

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