TABLE 1-A1 Providers of Nursing Care: Numbers, Preparation/Training, and Roles

Type of Nursing Care Provider

Type of Degree

Preparation Time

Roles and Responsibilities


Registered Nurses

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Degrees

4 to 6 years beyond baccalaureate degree

Serve as health system executives, educators, deans, clinical experts/Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs), researchers, and senior policy analysts.

Mean faculty salaries range from $58,051.00 to $96,021.00 Administrators’ and other non-faculty salaries not available but are generally higher


Master’s Degree (MSN/MS)

Typically up to 2 years beyond baccalaureate degree

Serve as educators, clinical leaders, administrators or APRNs certified as a Nurse Practitioner (NP), Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS), Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM), or Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA).

Median salaries for APRNs range from $81,708.00 to $144,174.00 Mean Master’s prepared instructor salary $54,426.00


Baccalaureate Degree (BSN)

4 years

Provide direct patient care, nursing leadership, and translating research into nursing practice across all health care settings.

Mean salary $66,316


Associate Degree (ADN) or a Diploma in Nursing

2 to 3 years

Provide direct patient care in various health care settings.

ADN mean salary $60,890 Diploma mean salary $65,349

Other Nursing Care Providers

Licensed Practical Nurse/Licensed Vocational Nurse (LPN/LVN)

12 to 18 months

Provide basic nursing care primarily in long-term-care or ambulatory settings under the supervision of the Registered Nurse or Physician.

Mean salary $40,110.00


Nursing Assistant (NA)

Up to 75 hours training

Provide basic care to patients most commonly in nursing care facilities and patient homes.

Mean salary $26,110.00

SOURCE: Adapted from AARP, 2010c. Courtesy of AARP. All rights reserved. Original data provided by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Health Resource and Service Administration, and the National League for Nursing.

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