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Practical Nursing & Nursing Assistants

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2020 Practical Nursing & Nursing Assistants Degree Guide

If you are interested in helping to provide medical care to others, consider majoring in Practical Nursing and Nursing Assistants.

A Nurse Assistant works under the direction of registered nurses proving basic care, monitoring patients, and reporting progress to doctors. You will take classes in clinical nursing, pharmacology, biology, anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, and chemistry to learn how to teach others how to care for family members, assist in childbirth, and collect medical samples.

Students interested in this field typically major in Licensed Practical Nurse Training, or Nursing Assistant.

#11 Most Popular Major
90.9k Degrees Awarded
0.1% Increase in Graduates

Practical Nursing & Nursing Assistants was the 11th most popular major in the 2017-2018 school year. Colleges in the United States reported awarding 90,916 degrees in this year alone. This is approximately the same as the 90,861 graduates the prior year.

Approximately 31 colleges in the U.S. offer a practical nursing and nursing assistants degree of some kind. Explore this or one of our many other custom practical nursing rankings further below.

What Are The Requirements For a Degree in Practical Nursing & Nursing Assistants

Practical Nursing and Nursing Assistant graduates are responsible for providing day-to-day care to patients, making strong interpersonal skills a necessity. You should enjoy working with others, but have compassion and consideration for patients who are sick and injured. It is also important to be detail oriented because you will be responsible for observing changes in patients and reporting back to registered nurses or doctors.

Graduates in this field work full time in hospitals, nursing homes, and other medical centers that require basic health services. Since patients need medical care 24/7, Practical Nursing and Nursing Assistants will be required to work nights and on weekends and holidays. Sometimes shifts may be longer than a standard 8-hour workday.

In order to become a Practical Nurse and Nursing Assistant, students must complete a certification program, and then become licensed by the state. Although some schools offer a bachelor's degree program, it is not necessary.

Prior Education for a Practical Nursing Program

practical nursing and nursing assistants degree applicants generally need have finished high school or their GED. Many schools may also have GPA and SAT/ACT score minimums that must be met. Once you obtain your degree, additional practical nursing certifications required to pursue a career in this field.

Types of Practical Nursing & Nursing Assistants Degree

There are many different practical nursing degrees levels. You can spend many years getting as high as a research / scholarship based doctorate's in practical nursing and nursing assistants to something that takes less time like a first year certificate. Different practical nursing and nursing assistants degrees vary in how long they take.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

An award taking 1 to 2 years is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to practical nursing, with approximately 34.0% of workers getting one. See the the most common levels of education for practical nursing workers below.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Post-Secondary Certificate 36.6%
Some College Courses 25.1%
High School Diploma 21.6%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 13.0%
Less than a High School Diploma 2.7%

About 66.3% of workers in careers related to practical nursing obtain at least award taking 1 to 2 years. The chart below shows what degree level those who work in practical nursing and nursing assistants have obtained.


This of course varies depending on which practical nursing career you choose.

Career Opportunities for Practical Nursing Majors

Above Average Number of Jobs
$33.5k Average Starting Salary
12% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

Practical Nursing and Nursing Assistants work in a variety of medical locations from hospitals to nursing homes to extended care facilities. T hey are responsible for checking vitals, changing bandages, and providing basic medical care to patients. Certified and licensed students should find good job opportunities after graduation.

Solid Growth Projected for Practical Nursing Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your practical nursing degree? Practical Nursing & Nursing Assistants careers are expected to grow 11.7% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to practical nursing and nursing assistants.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Nursing Assistants 1,683,700 11.5%
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses 813,400 12.3%

How Much Money Do Practical Nursing Grads Make?

Practical Nursing & Nursing Assistants graduates between 2015-2017 reported earning an average of $33,491 in the 2017-2018 timeframe. Earnings can range from as low as $8,600 to as high as $96,800. As you might expect, salaries for practical nursing graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


Highest Paid Practical Nursing Careers

Salaries for practical nursing and nursing assistants graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top 5 highest paying careers practical nursing grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses $47,050
Nursing Assistants $29,580

Getting Your Practical Nursing & Nursing Assistants Degree

With over 2,025 different practical nursing degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased practical nursing school rankings to help you with this.

Practical Nursing & Nursing Assistants is one of 34 different types of Health Professions programs to choose from.

Related Major Annual Graduates
Nursing 293,633
Allied Health & Medical Assisting Services 104,465
Health & Medical Administrative Services 87,058
Allied Health Professions 86,125
Public Health 34,089

View All Practical Nursing Related Majors >


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