Searching for the right nursing program can be a confusing process. Before you pick a school, you’ll need to determine which type of nursing program is right for you. In many states, you’ll find various options, such as Vocational Nursing programs, ADN programs, and BSN programs. There are also accelerated nursing programs in California. All of these programs can be great choices, but some are more ideal than others when differing circumstances are taken into account.
The search for nursing programs in California
When you search for nursing programs in California, you’ll typically find a number of Vocational Nursing programs. The goal of these programs is to prepare students for the national licensing examination so that they may become Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs) in California. Unitek College offers a Vocational Nursing program at each of its seven campuses. This program combines more than 900 hours of applied training in simulations, labs, and healthcare facilities. Despite the comprehensive curriculum, it can be completed in as little as 12 months.
RN programs and Associate Degree Nursing
RN programs in California are often synonymous with ADN programs. Associate Degree Nursing programs strive to prepare students for the NCLEX-RN license exam and entry-level employment as Registered Nurses. They can also be ideal entry points for LVNs that would like to become Registered Nurses. At Unitek College, LVNs can apply for Advanced Placement status in the ADN program. Those who gain Advanced Placement status are allowed to skip the first 4 semesters of the program. Without Advanced Placement status, the ADN program takes about 26 months to complete. However, General Education courses are entirely online.
Accelerated nursing programs in California
Accelerated nursing programs in California are designed for students who have already received a bachelor’s degree in another field. Graduates of these accelerated programs earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). They typically are able to do so in 11 to 18 months, which means that students must manage a full-time course load. It can be a great choice for those that would like to earn a BSN in as little time as possible. However, it may not be the best choice if you have time constraints or need to work, as the class schedule is often a demanding one.
You may be asking yourself, what kind of students attend accelerated nursing programs? They are usually people who either return to college after embarking on another career, or they are students that did not choose nursing until their later college years. Because of this, there is often a good mix of students. Accelerated nursing programs are intense and fast-paced, which is good to keep in mind when selecting your school.
Not be confused with RN-to-BSN programs
These accelerated programs should not be confused with RN-to-BSN programs, which are designed for current nurses that would like to advance their careers. RN-to-BSN programs usually take about two years to complete. RN-to-BSN is a degree-completion program that transitions Associate Degree RNs to Bachelor’s Degree RNs while preparing them for leadership roles.
Not only does a BSN typically grant RNs more opportunities, but it is often a prerequisite for other roles. These include teaching, consulting, research, and management roles. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), approximately 79% of employers strongly prefer nurses with a bachelor’s degree. Again, the best program for you depends on your goals, your constraints, and your needs. Accelerated nursing programs take less time to complete, but earning a BSN often gives Registered Nurses more opportunities.
Nurses are instrumental in the healthcare field
There’s no doubt about it; nurses are instrumental in the healthcare field. With the impending nursing shortage and the aging baby-boomer population, the field of nursing will continue to be in demand. Generally speaking, all types of nursing programs can be great choices. If you’re searching for RN programs in California, you have several different options. On the other hand, if you’d like to become a Vocational Nurse, you’ll find various options as well.