Nursing is a rewarding and challenging profession with various employment opportunities. Whether you want to provide direct care to patients or enjoy the challenge of leadership, the nursing field offers many options. The number of jobs as a registered nurse is growing at 19%, much faster than average. Nursing programs take a minimum of two years, but most aspiring nurses earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree before applying. The job outlook for nurses with advanced degrees is even better.
What to know when becoming a Registered Nurse (RN)
- Steps to Becoming a Nurse
To become a registered nurse (RN), you have to have a high school diploma or equivalent, and you need to graduate from an approved nursing program. Most nurses who graduate from an accredited program will start their career as an LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse). You then must pass the National Council Licensure Examination-RN (NCLEX-RN) for your state. RNs must meet the legal requirements they must follow in the state where they will practice.
- Associate Degree in Nursing
An Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) is a two-year program designed to emphasize theory and hands-on learning. The curriculum prepares nurses for employment as entry-level professionals. An associate’s degree in nursing offers you a competitive advantage in the job market. An associate’s degree will also prepare you for a bachelor’s or master’s degree in nursing if that is what you wish to pursue.
- Online RN Programs
The online RN program is ideal for students who are working adults who want to earn a degree at their own pace. This program is also suitable for students who have previous experience in the health industry. Students can pursue a certificate, an associate’s degree, or continue to the baccalaureate degree. You can select from several online RN programs that take between 18 months and two years to complete. All programs include classroom projects, clinical fieldwork, and a supervised clinical practicum experience.
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
The RN BNS is a degree, which allows practicing and becoming an RN. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing is a four-year nursing program that leads to the RN, or Registered Nurse, license. The college or university that offers it wards the RN BNS degree, and it takes most students about two years to complete the BSN if they start with an Associate Degree in Nursing. Some schools also offer accelerated eighteen-month to two-year programs if you already have a bachelor’s degree or have an associate degree in nursing (ADN).
- Licensure as a Registered Nurse
Once you have your associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree in nursing, you will need to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. Once you’ve completed your education and passed the national NCLEX-RN exam, you’ll need to apply for a license in the state where you plan to practice to become a certified registered nurse. Each state has its board of nursing, which requires information like your training record and application fee before granting a license.
- Start your Journey Today
There is high predicted growth in the nursing profession, much faster than average. If you want to become an RN, you should start your journey today. You can become a nurse at any age and start a rewarding and fulfilling career. Depending on your current educational qualifications, it can take eighteen months to four years to become a registered nurse.