How long do you have to attend college to become a nurse?
Hello! I am a high school student. I look forward to being a nurse afterward graduating. I have many questions about becoming a nurse.
#nursing career #nursing #opportunities
Nursing education programs usually include courses in anatomy, physiology, microbiology psychology, and other social and behavioral sciences, as well as in liberal arts. Bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree programs typically take 4 years to complete; associate’s degree in nursing (ADN), associate of science in nursing (ASN) degree, and diploma programs usually take 2 to 3 years to complete. Diploma programs are typically offered by hospitals or medical centers, and there are far fewer diploma programs than there are BSN, ADN, and ASN programs. All programs include supervised clinical experience.
Bachelor’s degree programs usually include additional education in physical and social sciences, communication, leadership, and critical thinking. A bachelor’s or higher degree is often necessary for administrative positions, research, consulting, and teaching.
Generally, licensed graduates of any of the three types of education programs (bachelor’s, associate’s, or diploma) qualify for entry-level positions as a staff nurse. However, employers—particularly those in hospitals—may require a bachelor’s degree.
Registered nurses with an ADN, ASN, or diploma may go back to school to earn a bachelor’s degree through an RN-to-BSN program. There are also master’s degree programs in nursing, combined bachelor’s and master’s programs, and accelerated programs for those who wish to enter the field of nursing and already hold a bachelor’s degree in another field. Some employers offer tuition reimbursement.
Clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) must earn a master’s degree in nursing and typically already have 1 year or more of work experience as an RN or in a related field. CNSs who conduct research typically need a doctoral degree.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Registered nurses must have a nursing license issued by the state in which they work. To become licensed, nurses must graduate from an approved nursing program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN).
Other requirements for licensing, such as passing a criminal background check, vary by state. Each state’s board of nursing provides specific requirements. For more information on the NCLEX-RN and a list of state boards of nursing, visit the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
Nurses may become certified through professional associations in specific areas, such as ambulatory care, gerontology, or pediatrics. Although certification is usually voluntary, it demonstrates adherence to a specific level of competency, and some employers require it.
In addition, registered nursing positions may require cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), basic life support (BLS), or advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) certification.
CNSs must satisfy additional state licensing requirements, such as earning specialty certifications. Contact state boards of nursing for specific requirements.
John recommends the following next steps:
Thank you for your question. The first step to becoming a nurse is getting a solid education, whether you hope to be a licensed practical or vocational nurse (LPN/LVN), registered nurse (RN), or administrator. Every state require students to graduate from an accredited nursing program to become licensed.
• CNA (Diploma or Certificate) - Certified Nursing Assistant, 4 to 12 weeks
• LPN/LVN (Diploma or Certificate) - Licensed Practical Nurse/Licensed Vocational Nurse, 12 to 18 months
• ADN (Associate Degree in Nursing) - Registered Nurse, 2 years
• BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) - Registered Nurse, 4 years
• MSN (Master of Science in Nursing) - Nurse Educator, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM), Nurse Practitioner (NP), Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS), 2 years [post-graduate]
• DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) - Advanced Leadership & Research Roles, 2 years [post-graduate]
Best of luck to you!
Sheila recommends the following next steps:
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Sheila recommends the following next steps: