There are other options available if you are wanting to get a two-year nursing degree, although most acute care hospitals are no longer employing a two-year degree RN and are looking for BSN's. There is usually not a pay difference between an ADN or BSN, but there is between certification specialties, so you could also finish a two-degree, sit for the NCLEX and start working in a local nursing home or children's home or home care and then finish your four-year degree too.
Researching the school you want to go to does help with finding out the prerequisites so you can plan out what you may need to get into their school and how long it will take you to accomplish what you are looking for as a final degree.
It can take from 1.5-to 2 years to become a registered nurse while in the actual program, but it can take another 2-3 years for the prerequisite courses that are required before being accepted into a nursing program if going to a 2- or 4-year college; if going to a career school that usually have fast-track programs, can take 1.5 years on average to complete; it all depends upon which type of nursing school you attend that determines the length of program completion. I wish you the best in whatever decision you make.
To become a professional registered nurse, you will need to earn your Bachelor's of Science (BSN) in nursing. It is possible to earn an associate's degree and sit for your state board exam, but a BSN will provide access to premium jobs based in the hospital setting. It will take approximately 4 years to earn your degree and perhaps another year to study for your board exam and pass the state test.
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You will never regret achieving the goal of earning your BSN. This will offer a lifetime of opportunity.
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I hope you find this answer helpful.
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. You have to take a nursing school entrance exam and score high to be a competitive applicant. 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 to 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. Remember, we are learning to save lives! =) 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.