The different stages of nursing degrees are, in order, an associate degree in nursing, a bachelor's of science degree in nursing, a master's of science degree in nursing and a doctoral degree in nursing. An associate degree in nursing is the minimum degree required to become a registered nurse.
Although an associate degree in nursing is the minimum, many hospitals require a bachelor's degree to work as a registered nurse. A master's degree in nursing is usually required to become a nurse practitioner. Doctoral degrees in nursing are the highest degree possible. A nurse with a doctoral degree can be a doctor of nursing practice or a doctor of nursing science.