No matter how the world evolves, we will always need nurses. Qualified nurses are not only required for leadership roles but also for advocacy and education. As the population increases, the number of patients is also rising, and consequently, the demand for nursing care. If you are considering being a nursing professional, you are on the right track. Here is the path you may have to follow to qualify as an RN.
What Are The Available Registered Nursing Degrees?
1. Associate’s Degree
This includes courses in nutrition, anatomy, microbiology, and chemistry, among others. Students are required to take general art classes too. Enrolling in an associate degree is a common choice for nurses. It qualifies you for entry-level nurse positions, thus providing you with hands-on experience in the medical field. It’s also the quickest way to becoming a registered nurse because most associate degree courses take two or three years to complete.
2. Bachelor’s degree programs
You may decide to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing by enrolling in a 4-year degree program. If you already have an associate degree, you can join the RN-to-BSN program. This path may take two or three years. 
If you are already licensed to practice nursing, you can enroll in the LPN-to-RN program to earn a bachelor’s degree or an associate’s degree. When you complete either of these degrees, you will be liable to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam and become an RN.
Another quick way of becoming a registered nurse is to have a bachelor’s degree in any area. You can register for an accelerated BSN program, allowing learners to apply fundamental education credits from their first degree to the BSN. This route might take you between one and one & a half years.
What Are The Prerequisites?
To join the program, you need:
- Minimum ACT or SAT exam scores
- GPA ranging between 2.0 and 3.25
- Three years of studying math, including algebra II and geometry
- Nursing entrance exams
- Three years of studying chemistry and biology
- Two years of a foreign language
- Four years of English
How Long Do The Nursing Programs Take?
The time required to complete a degree program depends on your level of education and the degree you want to pursue, as shown below:
- Associate degree program takes two years
- A bachelor’s degree program takes four years
- An accelerated bachelor’s degree takes three years
- A bachelor’s degree with direct entry takes three years
- An RN to BSN takes two years
- An LPN to RN takes one or two years
Many institutions allow part-time classes, but this means that the program will take longer to complete.
Are Online Programs Available?
Although nursing is a hands-on course, some programs can be completed partially online. In this case, you have to attend clinical classes physically and the other lessons remotely. This is because clinical lectures are practical and involve a healthcare setting. 
If you are already an RN, you may enroll in RN to BSN programs. Such courses are crafted to favor working nurses using an online classroom for enhanced convenience.
Some second degree or accelerated programs are offered online. The option is ideal for individuals establishing a nursing career and need to complete the course within two years. Students with a bachelor’s degree in another field who wish to pursue the profession should have a high GPA and healthcare-related experience.
If you are already working, online learning allows you to meet your responsibilities while attending school. Let’s say you are a nursing student residing in a rural area without classroom programs; online courses will enable you to pursue your dream career. It exposes you to a range of educational opportunities around the globe.
What Licensing and Tests Should Nurses Take?
After finishing your degree, you need to take the National Council Licensure Examination to qualify as a registered nurse. The license is administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. 
The examination helps to determine whether you are prepared for entry-level nursing duty. It contains a minimum of 75 questions. You are allowed to answer a maximum of 265 questions if you don’t attain your passing score after the first trial.
To sit for the paper, you should apply for a nursing license from your state’s nursing board. Since every state has a unique eligibility criterion, confirm with your state’s agency to ensure you meet the requirements.
What Will You Earn As A Registered Nurse?
The payment depends on where you live, your experience, and the specialty you choose. According to the BLS, an RN earns an average salary of $73,300.  The average is based on national data, and the conditions in your area might vary.
- US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Employment and Wages.” January 22nd, 2021. https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291141.htm.
- Western Governors University. “Bachelor of Science, Nursing.” January 22nd, 2021. https://www.wgu.edu/online-nursing-health-degrees/rn-to-bsn-nursing-bachelors-program.html#:~:text=A%20nursing%20bachelor’s%20degree%20(RN,patient%20outcomes%20and%20community%20health.
- Regis College. “What Are Nursing Clinicals?” January 22nd, 2021. https://online.regiscollege.edu/blog/what-are-nursing-clinicals/.
- NCSBN Leading Regulatory Excellence. “NCLEX & Other Exams.” January 22nd, 2021. https://www.ncsbn.org/nclex.htm.