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Earning a nursing degree can be a fantastic first step toward starting a fulfilling career. If you successfully enter the nursing industry, you’ll be able to help countless people and make a positive impact through your work. 

To that end, if you’re interested in pursuing this degree option, you may be curious to learn more about the different careers that may be available to you when you are a nursing graduate. The field of nursing is vast and varied, after all, and there are multiple different paths you can take depending on your preferences. 

In this guide, we’ll explore some of the most popular paths in nursing and how pursuing a higher degree can open various doors in your nursing career. 

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Exploring Diverse Career Paths in Nursing

One of the most wonderful aspects of a nursing career is how wide-ranging opportunities can be for professionals. Nursing jobs come in many different responsibilities, so there are numerous types of nurses to match your interests. 

Individuals who are considering pursuing academic training in this field often find themselves wondering, what can you do with a nursing degree?

In this section, we’ll go over the assortment of jobs that nursing school graduates may occupy. 

Traditional Nursing Roles

The following positions are what most people think of when they picture a nurse. If your priority is seeing patients face-to-face and assisting with the daily operations of a hospital or other healthcare facility, you may be interested in exploring these avenues. 

  • Staff nurse – This type of nurse is often found in a hospital setting, but other healthcare facilities also employ them. Their nursing job entails providing routine health care to patients. They also support doctors by measuring the vital signs of patients, performing diagnostic testing, and more. 
  • Charge nurse – This type of registered nurse handles the supervision of a particular unit of a healthcare facility. In addition to completing the usual patient care duties that a staff nurse would handle, charge nurses are also responsible for ensuring smooth operations across their designated wards. 
  • Nurse manager – These professionals are in charge of upper management and administration. They often handle a wide variety of duties such as training, hiring, scheduling, supervising, and ensuring that legal and safety best practices are followed.

Non-Clinical Opportunities 

A common misconception is that all nurses work in a hands-on, clinical setting where they make direct contact with patients on a daily basis. 

On the contrary, there are many opportunities available for registered nurses who want to take on a more theoretical, laboratory-based, or administrative role. 

Four common career options that fall outside of the clinical realm include: 

  1. Nursing education
  2. IT
  3. Research
  4. Healthcare administration

Advancing Your Nursing Career with a Master's Degree

If you picture yourself striving for higher positions in the nursing industry, it’s wise to set yourself up for success by obtaining a master’s degree. What can you do with a master’s in nursing? Earning a MSN unlocks opportunities where:1

  • Many fields seek out master’s prepared employees
  • This degree can allow you to hold more autonomy in the workplace
  • The deeper study that comes with obtaining a master’s degree expands your overall base of knowledge and expertise

If you aspire to hold a nurse executive position in the industry, the MSN Nurse Executive or the master’s of science in nursing direct entry program at Alliant International University could be your ideal starting point. Our program offers: 

  • Robust educational opportunities – Alliant provides hands-on, real-world training at a state-of-the-art simulation center. The curriculum is also aligned with the latest American Association of Colleges of Nursing Essentials, so you can be sure you’re getting the most relevant nursing education possible. Additionally, learning is supplemented by innovative tools and technology. 
  • Faculty expertise – We employ a diverse range of highly skilled instructors, and our small class sizes mean you can easily ask questions, receive feedback and advice, and access continued support on your educational journey. 
  • Future career benefits – Because our MSN program is a direct entry program, students don’t need to have a bachelor’s of science in nursing to apply. As long as students have a bachelor’s degree in a related field, they can fast-track their future careers by working toward their master’s of science in nursing without starting back at square one. 

Ultimately, a master’s degree in nursing is a smart goal, especially if you intend to pursue a career as a nurse executive, nurse researcher, nurse administrator, or nurse educator.  For individuals who already have a bachelor’s degree in a related field, applying to the MSN Direct Entry program at Alliant may be the best path toward achieving that goal in less time.  

Start Your Nursing Journey Strong at Alliant International University 

If you’ve been wondering, what can you do with a nursing degree, the answer is quite a lot. Whether you’re interested in traditional nursing roles, such as being a psychiatric nurse or a clinical nurse leader, or you’re curious about non-clinical opportunities, like healthcare administration or being a legal nurse consultant, a nursing degree can help put you on the best path forward for patient care. 

If you’re excited about the prospect of starting a career in the nursing industry and are looking for nursing programs in Phoenix, AZ, choose Alliant International University. Our bachelor’s of science in nursing and master’s of science direct entry programs will provide you with access to state-of-the-art learning facilities, expert faculty, and numerous hands-on training opportunities so that you can start your nursing journey strong. 

Apply today and start your journey. 


  1. Reese, Donna MSN, RN, CSN. “25 Reasons why an MSN Degree is Worth it!” NursingProcess. n.d. Accessed September 15, 2023.
  2. Gleason, Brandy, MSN, MHA, BC-NC. “Types of Master's Degrees in Nursing.” NurseJournal. July 21, 2023.…. Accessed September 15, 2023. 

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