How Do I Become a Registered Nurse?

Registered NurseNursing is a field that continues to grow and offer a wide variety of career opportunities. If you think you might like to be part of this career and want to become a registered nurse, continue reading. You’ll learn how to become a registered nurse and what you can expect as far as employment and salary.

What Training is Required to Become a Registered Nurse?

If you’re interested in becoming a registered nurse, you have a couple different directions you can take as far as nursing programs. You can complete a diploma program in nursing, an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN). The diploma and associate degree programs take two years to complete and the BSN takes about four years. Individuals who are already nurses through diploma or associate degree program may complete an RN-BSN accelerated program. Many schools also offer programs for those who already hold a bachelor’s degree in another area, but are interested in becoming a registered nurse.

Nursing students complete a blended curriculum of didactic courses, hospital rotations and clinical internships. Nursing courses may include chemistry, psychology, microbiology, human development, pharmacology and nursing science. During the hospital rotation, a nursing student typically works in different areas of a hospital such as obstetrics, oncology, acute care and emergency room, among others. Registered nurses who wish to become specialized nurses must complete additional training. Nursing programs also have specific admission requirements that must be met prior to enrollment.

Is Licensure or Certification Required?

Registered nurses are required to have a nursing license in all the states. To be eligible for licensure, the nurse must complete an approved nursing program and pass the NCLEX-RN through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. Once the student passes this test, the nurse must submit an application for licensure through the state board of nursing in the state in which he or she plans to work. Nurses who are specialized in certain areas, such as pediatrics and ambulatory care can obtain certification in these areas through some certifying organizations.

Is Continuing Education Required?

Continuing education may or not be required, depending on the state in which you’re working as a registered nurse. Each state is different regarding continuing education requirements. For instance, registered nursing working in Wisconsin are not required to complete continuing education, whereas registered nursing in California must complete at least 30 hours of continuing education in order to keep their nursing license.

What is the Career Outlook for Registered Nurses?

In a May 2013 report by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), it was indicated that registered nurses could experience an employment growth of 19% between 2012 and 2022. This growth is attributed to the increasing focus on preventative care, the growth rate of healthcare conditions and the growing number of elderly individuals in need of medical care. As of May 2013, registered nursing across the nation earned a mean annual wage of $68,910, according to the BLS.

Related Resource: Doctors of Nursing Practice

Becoming a registered nurse is the first step towards a rewarding and challenging career that allows you to play a role in helping sick people feel better and assisting physicians. If this career sounds like a good fit, you may want to start checking out nursing schools now.