As far as a timeline goes, the process to becoming a registered nurse took me a total of 4.5 years.
I went to a community college for 3 semesters (1.5 years) to complete my nursing pre-requisites. These classes are the ones you need to take BEFORE you apply and enter nursing school - like a pre-med program. They usually include Anatomy & Physiology 1 & 2, Chemistry, Algebra, English Composition, Developmental Life Span, etc.
In my last semester of community college, I began applying to nursing schools. I was accepted in two, and I made my choice.
I started nursing school right after finishing up my last pre-requisite class. The nursing school program I was enlisted in takes 2 years. Unfortunately, I failed my second to last semester before graduation. Nursing school is very hard and competitive, and failing that semester meant I had to wait a full year to retake that class and continue with my nursing education.
Once I retook my class a year later, I finished up and graduated a semester later.
I had every intention of finishing school is 3.5 years, but instead, it took me 4.5 years. I tell you this because sometimes we go into college with a plan, and sometimes we hit a bump in the road. The important thing is that we learn from our mistakes, and pick ourselves back up. My particular issue is that I was a straight A honors student in both high school and community college. I thought I was ready for nursing school, but it was much more intense than I expected. I had to learn to ask for help and get tutoring when I needed it. I also had 2 unexpected deaths in the family during that semester, which made it very hard to concentrate on school.
Never give up on your dreams - if you really want this, you'll get there!