Advanced Nursing Degrees


I really wonder that why nurses from India  are not bothered pursuing any  advanced courses in nursing once they get their diploma or degree in nursing, as compared to Americans and nurses from other western countries do. It is a fact  that there is no many such courses available in India. Also it takes lot of effort  and  money to go abroad also in most case it requires  a valid licence – RN license ( NCLEX- RN). If you have the resources and smart at your academics, I have here listed few advanced degree programs. Also it would be a viable options for  RNs who are already working in U.S and Canada. Completing any of the advanced programme will give you boost in your career also increased perks.

Advanced degree Programs in Nursing

Nursing is one of the most honorable professions. It is an area where you can be a leader, manager, instructor, care giver, advocate and many more roles to help people in their health and sickness. A nursing RN degree is a stepping-stone in to a career, not a stop sign. Individuals considering nursing should seriously think of enrolling in to a higher degree program because it can boost your career opportunities. More over certain programs like Nurse Practitioner degree allow the nurses to practice independently.
According to multiple studies conducted at different universities in U.S, Nurses are competent enough to deliver care that is comparable in quality to a physician’s care.

Need for Advanced Nursing Programs

After working in the field for a while, many working nurses decide to go back to school and upgrade their degrees. The most common reasons are ;


  • Greater employment opportunity
  • Higher salaries
  • New challenges
  • More freedom
  • Self Motivation

Highly rated Advanced Nursing Degrees

1. Certified Nurse Midwife

Certified nurse midwife is one of the “advanced practice” specialties which require extra schooling, experience and formal certification.To become a certified nurse midwife, first earn your RN license, then work for two years in an obstetrics department. Then you can join for a nurse midwife education which leads to certification from the American College of Nurse-Midwives Certification Council.

2. Clinical Nurse Specialist

Clinical nurse specialists are authorized to work with patients in a clinical setting. They are able to diagnose and treat patients who are suffering from one or more of the “normal” health problems people go to the doctor for. They also prescribes medicine. As CNS is one of the advanced nursing practices, you must have a Master of Science in Nursing or Doctoral in Nursing. Some colleges  allow a Bachelors in Nursing, but you may find difficulties with certification.

3. Critical Care Nurse

Critical care nurses will spend their time in the ICU caring for critically ill patient, who need close monitoring and advanced care. Critical care nurses do not need additional formal education beyond their initial RN program, but they can join for post graduate programs like critical care nursing which is a 6 months to one year program.The RN has to work for a minimum of two years in a critical care unit before they sit for the critical care certification exam.

4. Nurse Practitioner

Nurse practitioners operate in settings from hospitals to nursing homes and schools, as well as in private practice. They treat relatively uncomplicated medical problems, provide preventive care and write prescriptions. Like most advanced nursing specialties, you will need to obtain your bachelor’s and master’s degree, as well as your RN license. Then you can apply for the NP program, after completion you will get the certification from the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

5. Nurse Researcher

As the name suggests, they work with medical research organizations to perform studies in health related matters. Nurse researchers might work on improving nursing practice, infection control strategies, discovering advanced techniques in nursing practice, or scientific study of an existing practice. In order to become a nurse researcher, you will need a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in nursing and your RN license. A doctorate in nursing is not necessarily required, but it is highly recommended, since it will expand the types of studies you can do.

6. Pain Management Nurse

Pain management nurse is an advanced nursing specialty that gives more responsibility, more autonomy, and an increased salary. A pain management nurse examines patients to help determine the cause of the pain, consults with doctors and other nurses as to the proper course of treatment for the pain, and educates patients about pain management. They mostly work in ares like oncology and other terminally ill conditions where chronic pain management is needed
You do not need an advanced degree such as a master’s or a doctorate degree to become a pain management nurse; a bachelor’s degree and your RN license are sufficient. You will need to have full-time experience as an RN for at least two years in  the field. If you meet the criteria you can apply to the American Nurses Credentialing Center to take your pain management exam. Upon passing, you will officially be a pain management nurse.

7. Psychiatric Nurse

Psychiatric nurses, as part of treatment team, help create detailed plans to provide effective, comprehensive care for patients. During the treatment phase they typically offer counseling to help patients and their family members understand the illness. Psychiatric registered nurses typically need a bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited college. Psychiatric nurse practitioners, who diagnose and prescribe medications, need a master’s degree or higher. Psychiatric nursing graduate certificates are typically for nurses with a master’s degree.

8. Nurse Advocate

Nurse advocates may act as a link between the patient and the doctor, they fight for the patients rights and support in legal issues related to healthcare, finance and medical  insurance. To become a nurse advocate, you  must be holding a bachelor’s degree in nursing, as well as your RN license. You need to work  as a RN in a hospital or clinical setting to learn about aspects of illness such as medical, social and financial issues. With enough experience you can work as a nurse advocate.

9. Nurse Anesthetist

Among nursing specialties, nurse anesthetists rank the highest. They require extensive education, training, and experience. It is a high-demand specialty with the good potential for growth. Nurse anesthetists administer anesthesia to surgical patients, help take care of patients in the operating room, and provide follow-up care for outpatient procedures. You need to get your bachelor’s degree in nursing and become a licensed RN. Next, you need to obtain a master’s degree in nursing. After that, you need to work for one year in an acute care facility such as an ICU or an emergency room. Once you have completed these steps, you can apply to take your certification exam. Once you have passed it, you will be a certified registered nurse anesthetist.

10. Nurse Educator

A nurse educator is a nurse who teaches and prepares her students for entry into practice positions (RN). They can also teach in various patient care settings to provide continuing education to licensed nursing staff. To become a nurse educator, you will need to get a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in nursing and receive your RN license. It is not essential to have a doctorate in nursing but it will add up to the career. You also will need to pass a nursing educator’s certification exam from one of nursing’s professional organizations.

11. Nurse Manager

Nurse managers are responsible for supervising the nursing staff working under them. Nurse managers need two sets of skills: the nursing skills that every RN is expected to have and also management skills.
Nurse managers will be expected to keep up with paperwork and disciplinary matters. They can further enhance their career to higher levels like a director of nursing. To become a nurse manager, you  need to earn your bachelor’s degree and RN license. You also will need a master’s degree in nursing, healthcare, or business administration. Finally, you can sit for proper certification exam, which is administered through the American Organization of Nurse Executives.