Are you one of the 3.9 million nurses in America?
Working in the healthcare industry is more than a job, it’s a calling. Somehow you always knew you’d end up helping people.
Once you become a nurse, you’ll have countless career paths you can take. If you’re someone who works well under pressure, you should advance into the role of an Intensive Care Unit professional.
Every year the United States admits over 5 million ICU patients. Hospitals across the country are in need of more intensive care nurses and they’re willing to pay.
Starting off as an ICU nurse can make anywhere from $47,000 to $94,000 a year. Besides a healthy paycheck, ICU nurses also enjoy being able to focus their care on only a few patients at a time. Patients facing life-threatening conditions who need you to help them return home.
Are you an aspiring or current nurse looking to advance? Read on to learn about online clinical programs for your professional ICU nursing career.
Finding the Best Online Clinical Programs
You can find online clinical programs for every level of degree. Whatever reason you’re looking into furthering your education, you have to create a plan. Tailoring your education helps when you’re searching for specific job roles.
Here’s a short list of the different critical care areas of practice:
- ICU for adults
Once you know what area of practice you like, you can start planning your education. Critical care nurses don’t have to follow one straight path to reach their career goals.
Here are a few specific job roles that exist in critical care centers:
- Transport specialist
- Pulmonary specialist
- Director of ICU unit
- Clinical Educator
- Nurse practitioner
- Registered nurse
Establishing a career as an ICU nurse or critical caregiver requires extensive education. Next, we’ll explain the different online programs you can pursue.
What Path’s Right for You?
Before you choose the ideal ICU nursing position, you have to pick an education path. You can always start off with a certificate and later choose to further your education.
The three different education paths include:
- Bachelor degree
- Master degree
ICU professionals looking to advance their career can pick all 3 choices. Taking the courses online will allow you the free time you need to create a work, life, and school balance.
If you’re passionate about a specific area, then a master’s degree could be the best option. Coupled with certifications, you’ll be the prime choice for any employment opportunity.
If you’re brand new to the field, you may choose all 3 options. Help yourself save time by establishing your desired outcome. Where do you want to be 5 years from now? What department do you see yourself thriving in?
Allow your mind to envision where you’d be the happiest. Next, you can start taking actions to help get you where you want to be. Let’s look at how getting a bachelors can help open up new career pathways.
For a comprehensive education, start with a bachelor’s degree. Before earning your bachelors, you’ll begin by earning your associates.
There are also LPN and VPN courses you can take to receive your nursing license. Every critical care nurse has to attend nursing school and get their nursing license.
To become an RN you’ll have to at least have your associate’s degree. When you’re ready to advance your career, bachelors will be the next step.
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
The BSN (Bachelor of Science in nursing) is a type of undergraduate degree. Some of the areas you’ll specialize in include:
- Public health updates
- Promotion topics
- Health informatics
- Research techniques
Plan on completing your BSN in as little as 16 months. The curriculum centers around teaching you things you can apply in the field of nursing.
Nurses who hold a BSN from an accredited school are eligible to take the NCLEX exam. The NCLEX exam is a need if you want to become a Registered Nurse. It’s common for nurses with a BSN to make more money and have better responsibilities.
Master’s of Science in Nursing
A Master’s of Science in Nursing or MSN is a graduate level degree. ICU professionals should plan on obtaining their master’s degree.
The MSN course load will continue from where the bachelor classes left off. Here are a few of the MSN courses you can plan on taking:
You’ll take part in courses where you’ll:
- Speak with qualified faculty members
- Learn practical applications
- Improve patient outcomes
- Practice leadership
You can choose a specialized MSN degree to customize your career even more. Here are a few of the specializations you’ll have to choose from:
- Clinical Nurse Leader
- Nursing education
- Nursing management
- Executive leadership
If you have a bachelors in one area but want your masters in another, you can do that as well. Let’s look at your online certification options as an ICU professional.
Is your master’s degree going to be different from your bachelors? A certification could help fill the gap. They are also helpful if you’re interested in a particular area, but aren’t ready to go back for your masters.
Here are a few online certification programs you can look into.
No matter what stage your career is in, an emergency preparedness certificate can help. Students will learn about risk, disaster, and, crisis management skills.
Health Management and Policy
Do you feel like being a nurse is a part of your identity? Individuals wanting to influence policy development need health education and promotion certification.
You’ll learn how to have the skills to assess current practices. You’ll also find out how to recommend appropriate changes.
Choose Your Programs
Now you know more about the best online clinical programs. ICU Nursing Careers is here to help you on your educational path.
We are on a mission to help nurses grow by finding the degree that will serve them the most. Our featured online degree programs fit a variety of lifestyles and career goals.
We would love to help you find answers to all your nursing questions. Check out our FAQ page, and find the information you need to make the right choice.