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How Long Does it Take To Get Each Nursing Degree

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Nurses play an essential role in our society, taking on the challenging but fulfilling job of caring for others. With the increasing demand for nurses to help combat the shortage of medical professionals, the career prospects for future nursing leaders are robust.


Those looking into a career in nursing may be wondering, how long is a nursing program? The answer depends on the specialization and type of nursing degree program students choose. The amount of time required to complete different programs, degrees, and specialties varies, but students should understand as best they can the typical timeline ahead of them based on their choices.

Nursing Program Completion Timeline

Nurses have several different options for their education, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. This of course influences how long a nursing program is going to take. The following are a few of the options available.

Online vs. On-Campus Nursing Programs

The timeline for online and on-campus nursing programs can be quite similar. In general, both programs take about four years to complete for a bachelor’s degree, with a master’s program adding two years.


At times, online programs can be quicker if students enroll in an expedited program. Many, however, choose online learning because it means less disruption to their life outside of school; they can fit their class schedules around work or other commitments. For those studying on campus, the scheduling can be more rigid and limit a student’s ability to control when they take classes, how many classes they take, or how quickly they complete their studies.

Full-Time vs. Part-Time Nursing Programs

Choosing between full-time and part-time nursing programs is normally the decision that will most impact a nursing education timeline. While studying full time gives students the advantage of graduating and entering the workforce sooner, it does mean students will have to commit fully to school, making it more difficult to balance work or other areas of their life while studying.


Studying part time generally adds two years to bachelor’s degree programs and an extra year to master’s or doctoral-level programs. But it allows students to maintain a balance between studying and other areas of their lives. It can also be more cost-effective if students choose to work while in school, allowing them to offset living costs or avoid additional student loans.

How Long Is a Nursing Program at Maryville University?

Earning a degree from Maryville University allows students to take their future into their own hands. For those wondering how long a nursing program is at Maryville University, the answer is that it’s up to you.


Each program has a required number of credit hours and different limitations on eligible transfer credits to graduate. While a bachelor’s degree takes an average of four years, Maryville’s Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program provides existing RNs with a shorter timeline to earn a BSN. Additionally, the freedom to choose how many classes you take at a time can allow you to efficiently complete a Maryville Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. On the other hand, you can let your studies ebb and flow with your life, completing your credit hours in a way that works for you.

Different Degree Programs

To gain the knowledge and skills required to make critical decisions and provide proper care, nurses must undergo extensive training. From becoming an RN to completing a BSNMSN, or DNP, nurses need to develop many crucial skills through a well-rounded education from programs such as the ones offered by Maryville University.


The following are a few of the programs future nurse leaders can pursue on their way to achieving their professional goals.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

A Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree provides future nurse leaders with a solid foundation. Over four years, students pursue a well-rounded set of courses to provide them with broad knowledge in the different areas of nursing, including psychosocial, clinical practice, and research. Open to registered nurses looking to further their career, the RN to BSN program from Maryville University allows prospective students to transfer eligible credits from their RN education and shorten the BSN time frame to about three semesters.


With organizations like the American Association of Colleges of Nurses shifting their focus to create a more qualified workforce, earning a BSN allows nurses to set themselves up for success and gain more workplace autonomy.

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Building upon the foundation provided by a BSN, the Master of Science in Nursing allows nurses to further their careers by specializing in an area of nursing. By choosing from concentrations such as Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP), Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP), Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP), or Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP), nurses gain in-depth knowledge of the specialized care needs of their patients.


Maryville’s MSN program can be completed in two years, or less with eligible transfer credits. Graduating with the ability to seek specific certifications and accreditations as well as apply to senior-level nursing roles benefits those looking to take their career to the next level.

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

A Doctor of Nursing Practice is a terminal degree that provides nurses with a level of education equivalent to that of other healthcare professionals such as doctors, dentists, or psychiatrists. DNP programs are challenging and allow nurses to build upon their prior education and gain more practice and prescriptive authority in the care of their patients. In full-practice states, nurses with a DNP are legally allowed to diagnose, treat, and prescribe medication to their patients.


How long a nursing program like a DNP takes depends on if a student chooses to pursue the additional nurse practitioner credentialing as a specialist. Typically, a DNP program can be completed in as little as two years, while the nurse practitioner certification normally adds a year of schooling. Maryville’s DNP program can be completed in as little as 20 months, or 36 months for a DNP with a nurse practitioner (NP) concentration. With a DNP degree, nurses can make a marked difference in their patients’ lives, following them throughout their treatment and providing the best possible care.

Benefits of Online Nursing Programs

Choosing the right program and beginning the higher education journey can be daunting. Luckily, with the excellent education and flexibility offered by online programs, training for a new career in nursing has never been easier. With the ability to remain employed, elimination of a commute, and often lower tuition, online learning has a multitude of benefits.


With online learning, it’s up to the individual student how long a nursing program is going to take. Students have the flexibility to fit classes into their schedule, allowing them to achieve their goals while keeping a healthy work-life balance. Additionally, with the resources utilized in online programs for student collaboration, including team projects, messaging systems, social media, and alumni resources, graduates can build a wealth of valuable technical experience and professional connections.

A Bright Future Ahead

Nurses change the lives of their patients every day. While challenging at times, nursing is a fulfilling career that allows graduates to make a positive impact. With a shortage of nurses and medical professionals, the need for new graduates is growing, making nursing a career with bright prospects. For those looking to take the next step in their career, a well-rounded education from the professionals in one of Maryville University’s online nursing programs can be the key to opening doors.


With bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate programs, Maryville University offers excellent educational options for future nurse leaders. With the freedom to study online, build practical skills from experienced teaching staff, and learn at your own pace, the nursing programs from Maryville are designed to give you every opportunity to succeed. Discover what you can do with an exciting career in nursing.


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