Part Five: Post-Secondary Nursing Career Pathways – A Five-Part Series

Oklahoma Reach Higher Nursing Student

Author:   Tisha Bradford

For the fifth and final part of this series, we will explore doctoral degrees in nursing, which are terminal degrees intended to help students gain the knowledge necessary to teach at the university level, conduct research in the field, or pursue high-level roles similar to those for students with joint master’s degrees. In some programs, these degrees are only for those who have earned a master’s degree in nursing. In other programs, BSN graduates may qualify for programs that allow them to earn an MSN and doctoral degree at the same time. No matter what type of program you choose, you’ll need to enter with a degree specifically in nursing and clinical experience under your belt. On average, a doctoral degree in nursing takes anywhere from three to six years to complete, though your timeline depends on the type of degree you seek.

What you can do with this degree

Of course, your career opportunities will vary, but there are 3 primary options based on a Doctorate of Nursing degree.

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) – A DNP is a practice-oriented degree that emphasizes clinical leadership and advanced theory. It can help you qualify for higher-paying executive positions in hospitals and other healthcare organizations.
  • Doctor of Nursing Philosophy (Ph.D.) – A nursing Ph.D. focuses on scientific content and the creation of new research in the field. Ph.D. programs typically include the completion of a dissertation and research papers. This degree can help you qualify for leadership positions in research and academia. 
  • Doctor of Nursing Science (DNSc or DNS) – The Doctor of Nursing Science (DNSc or DNS) is a research-based doctoral degree. Like a Ph.D., it prepares graduates for roles as nurse educators and researchers.

Earning Potential in Oklahoma

As with those with a joint master’s degree, it’s hard to say exactly what you might earn with a doctorate in nursing. Salaries can vary depending on your position, your employer, your location, and more. Nurse educators, at the university level, earn an average annual wage of $80,380, while executives in research facilities might make more than $150,000 a year.

Resources for Doctoral degrees:

AllNursingSchools.orgTop of Form – –

How to Choose the Right Nursing School


How to Choose the Right Nursing School.