Once you graduate from high school, you'll have several pathways to pursue nursing. I highly recommend aiming for the registered nurse (RN) license over the licensed practical nurse (LPN) one, as it opens up a broader range of opportunities. You can either opt for a 2-year associate degree (ADN) or a 4-year bachelor degree (BSN). Both of these will qualify you to take the licensing test and become an RN.
The most suitable path to an RN license largely depends on your financial circumstances. If you're looking for a quick, cost-effective route, the ADN program is your best bet. These programs are typically provided by community colleges, which are significantly more affordable than private institutions. Plus, many states offer free tuition for 2 years at community colleges for recent graduates, so be sure to look into that.
An ADN doesn't limit your clinical capabilities. With the current nursing shortage in the US, RNs are in high demand, meaning you'll likely find employment opportunities in various areas as long as you hold a valid license. While a BSN provides additional prospects, it can be costly, especially if pursued through a private college, and it's not a prerequisite to start working as an RN. If you start with an ADN and later decide to further your education to a BSN for a managerial, research role, or to become a nurse practitioner, many employers offer tuition reimbursement.
Wishing you the very best on your journey.
Best of Luck. ME
I agree with Marie except I would encourage you to get the 4 year RN degree if you can. Often the 2 year programs have so many prerequisites that you end up spending almost the same amount of time getting the 2 year degree and then still have to go back for your Bachelors degree if you want to advance in your career later. Do your research. Check to see what the programs you are considering require or look at to get in. Also, there are some online BS Nursing programs which give you flexibility to work at the same time.
Lastly, get experience volunteering or working in a health related field. This gives you good exposure to various fields in medicine and shows commitment to the profession which nursing programs will take into account.
It's a great career which takes time and work. Hang in there. It's worth it.