Want to know the perfect nursing degree for your situation? This guide will help you identify the right one based on background and career goals. We analysed every type of degree for nurses to see specifically who each one is designed for.
Degrees for nurses are for people who want to become nurses a well as for qualified nurses. Within each group, there are different options based on student characteristics. Do you have a degree in another field or are you new to university study? If you're a nurse, are you looking for a short course and specialist certification, or are you interested in a long program positioning you for senior roles?
Browse through the different categories to find the right degree for you. You may be pleasantly surprised by some of the excellent options available to become a nurse or drive your nursing career forward.
Best Nursing Degrees to Become a Nurse
For those new to nursing, options range from the standard Bachelor of Nursing to specialised pathways like the Enrolled Nurse Pathway or the Fast Track program. Each of these has distinct features catering to different starting points. You could be completely new to the field or already have experience as an enrolled nurse.
(a) You have no degree or nursing background
The Bachelor of Nursing is essential for those aiming to become nurses without prior experience or university education. This comprehensive three-year program incorporates over 800 hours of clinical placements, giving students the skills and knowledge needed to start a career.
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(b) You have no degree or nursing background and want to fast-track your studies
For aspiring nurses keen on a quicker path, the Bachelor of Nursing (Fast Track) is an ideal choice. This accelerated two-year program maintains the comprehensive nature of the standard course but is structured for a more intensive study load, still including over 800 hours of clinical placements.
(c) You are an enrolled nurse
The Bachelor of Nursing (Enrolled Nurse Pathway) is for diploma-qualified enrolled nurses to elevate their careers to become Registered Nurses. The two-year program builds upon their existing experience and qualifications, providing a faster route to achieving Registered Nurse status.
(d) You have a degree in another field
Individuals with a degree in any field, looking to switch to a nursing career, can opt for the Master of Nursing (Graduate Entry). This two-year course focuses on foundational skills and includes over 800 hours of clinical placements, setting graduates on the path to becoming Registered Nurses.
(e) You want to be a midwife as well as a nurse
The Bachelor of Nursing / Midwifery is a comprehensive dual degree program spanning four years. It is designed for students interested in qualifying in both nursing and midwifery, offering between 1000-1600 hours of clinical experience and leading to dual registration in these professions.
Best Nursing Courses for Registered Nurses
For registered nurses seeking further advancement, postgraduate nursing courses offer a gateway to specialisation and higher roles. These include short courses like the Graduate Certificate in Nursing, comprehensive programs like the Master of Nursing, and advanced qualifications such as the Master of Nurse Practitioner.
(f) You just graduated with high grades
Graduate nurses aiming to delve deeper into research and academia can do a Bachelor of Nursing (Honours). This additional year of study is for high achievers with a Distinction average or better
(g) You want to advance your career with a short course
The Graduate Certificate in Nursing, an 8-month part-time course, suits Registered Nurses looking to specialise or advance their careers. This course offers advanced training in diverse fields. It serves as a foundation for further studies, especially if you continue studying with the same nursing school.
(h) You want to advance your career with a medium-length course
Registered Nurses aiming for higher-level roles or further specialisation can undertake the Graduate Diploma in Nursing. This 16-month part-time course deepens their expertise in areas like Nurse Education and Advanced Practice, enhancing their professional capabilities.
(i) You seek high-level roles through advanced education
Registered Nurses aiming for advanced positions like Clinical Nurse Consultant, Nurse Educator, or Nurse Unit Manager can pursue a Master of Nursing. This 2-year part-time program enables specialisation in areas like Advanced Practice and Mental Health. Graduates are well-positioned for leadership and specialised roles.
(j) You are an internationally educated nurse
The Graduate Certificate in Nursing (Bridging and Re-entry) is specifically designed for internationally educated nurses or those returning to the profession. This 3-month full-time course aligns their skills with Australian standards, facilitating registration or re-registration in Australia.
(k) Your registration has lapsed
For Registered Nurses needing to renew their lapsed registration, the Graduate Certificate in Nursing (Re-entry) is an ideal option. This 3-month course, blending online theory with clinical placement, readies nurses for re-registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia.
(l) You want to become a Nurse Practitioner
The Master of Nurse Practitioner is a one-year full-time program designed for experienced nurses seeking to practice independently. This advanced course, requiring at least three years of prior clinical experience, equips nurses with sophisticated clinical decision-making abilities.
(m) You want to be called Doctor
For nurses aspiring to the pinnacle of academic and leadership roles in nursing, the Doctorate in Nursing is a fitting choice. This 3-4 year program is intensive in research and dissertation work, preparing graduates for significant roles in healthcare policy development and leadership.