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A Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN) is normally a four-year college or university program. If you're already a registered nurse (RN) or have a nursing diploma, an RN-to-BSN program will take about two to three years.
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It depends on the actual role of the nurse. Roles such as licensed vocational nurses need certifications, but they do not need college degrees. However, most registered nursing positions and advanced nursing positions require at least a bachelor's degree.