What is the highest degree in Nursing that can be acheived?

by Sophie
(Vista, California)

Your Question: What is the highest degree in nursing and how long do you need to go to college in order to receive the degree?

My Answer: Hi Sophie. Thanks for visiting Become-A-Nurse-Now.com! As with most subjects, the highest degree that can be obtained is a Doctoral degree. As expected, in nursing this is called a Doctor of Nursing.

Doctoral degrees in nursing are often sought after by those nurses who choose to further their career into the areas of administration and research. Most programs require that a student has already achieved a Masters degree prior to starting a Doctoral program, although some programs do have a bachelor to doctoral approach.

Starting in 2016 some advanced practice nurses will also require a Doctor of Nursing for "entry into practice". Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists are an example of one group changing their requirements.

How long this type of degree takes can vary drastically depending on why you are getting the degree. After 2016 for example a student trying to become a CRNA must first complete a BSN (4 years), then work for at least 1 year, then complete a DNP program (which may vary from 3-4 years). This may be different from a nurse who already has a Masters degree and then only needs 1-2 years schooling to complete their DNP training so they can enter into hospital administration.

I hope this helped a little!

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Aug 21, 2012
Thanks Chris
by: Shannon


Absolutely. Thanks so much for the correction! I think my MSN program is getting to my ability to think clear thoughts ;)


Jun 30, 2012
There are others!
by: Chris

In answer to the question regarding the highest degree: In addition to the DNP (which is a clinical degree)there is also the PhD (a research/educational degree) and the EdD in nursing education. They are all doctorates. Many universities will not grant tenure to nurses with DNP's or EdD's; only PhD's.

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