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2023 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.

Practical Nursing & Nursing Assistants Degrees Decreasing

#187 Most Popular Major
84.3k Degrees Awarded
-3.1% Increase in Graduates

In 2020-2021, practical nursing and nursing assistants was the 187th most popular major nationwide with 84,274 degrees awarded. This 2,638 less than the prior year, a decrease of 3.1%.

This year's Best Practical Nursing & Nursing Assistants Schools ranking compares 41 of them to identify the best overall programs in the country. Explore this or one of our many other custom practical nursing rankings further below.

2023 Best Colleges for Practical Nursing & Nursing Assistants
2023 Overall Best Practical Nursing & Nursing Assistants Colleges >

Best Practical Nursing & Nursing Assistants Schools by Degree

Associate Degrees in Practical Nursing & Nursing Assistants
Bachelor's Degrees in Practical Nursing & Nursing Assistants
Doctorate Degrees in Practical Nursing & Nursing Assistants

Requirements for Getting 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.

Practical Nursing Degree Program Entry Requirements

New students will need to have completed high school or a GED program and each school will have their own minimum GPA and SAT/ACT test requirements. In addition to these basic practical nursing and nursing assistants program qualifications, to serve in some practical nursing careers, special certification may be required outside of your degree.

Practical Nursing & Nursing Assistants Degree Types

There are many different practical nursing degree levels. You can spend many years getting as high as a in practical nursing and nursing assistants to something that takes less time like a . The type of practical nursing degree you choose will determine how long it takes to get your diploma.

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 associate degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to practical nursing, with approximately 10.2% 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%

View the chart below to get an idea of what degree level most of those in practical nursing and nursing assistants careers have.


The education level required is different depending on the practical nursing career you are seeking.

Career Opportunities for A Degree In Practical Nursing Graduate

Above Average Number of Jobs
$36.9k 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%

Practical Nursing Degree Salary Potential

Recently graduated practical nursing and nursing assistants students earned an average of $36,875 in 2019-2020. Earnings can range from as low as $9,487 to as high as $59,460. As you might expect, salaries for practical nursing graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


High Paying Careers for Practical Nursing Majors

Salaries for practical nursing and nursing assistants graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top 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 1,996 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.

One of 30 majors within the Health Professions area of study, Practical Nursing & Nursing Assistants has other similar majors worth exploring.

Practical Nursing Focus Areas

Major Annual Graduates
Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurse Training 44,900
Nursing Assistant/Aide and Patient Care Assistant/Aide 34,557
Other Practical Nursing, Vocational Nursing and Nursing Assistants 4,817

View All Practical Nursing Focus Areas >

Related Major Annual Graduates
Nursing 322,592
Health & Medical Administrative Services 89,359
Allied Health & Medical Assisting Services 84,492
Allied Health Professions 82,308
Public Health 40,596

View All Practical Nursing Related Majors >


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