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How To Become A Nurse

How to Become a Nurse


The best way to become a nurse is to begin with a little research.  How do you become a nurse?  The shortest answer is that you qualify for, take, and pass the state exam for nursing certification.  The next question is “What does it take to qualify for the exam?”  The answer to that question varies somewhat from state to state, although the exam does not.  The test is the same everywhere, mandated by the federal government.



The College Options for Becoming a Nurse


You will find on examining the state requirements for sitting for the exam that the most direct course for meeting the educational requirements for a registered nurse license is either through an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree in nursing.   There are some technical school training programs and hospital-oriented on the job mentoring programs, but those grow fewer each year.  The best track is through a college degree, at whatever level works for you, because you can always build on college credits and degrees if you decide to move up the professional ladder in later years.


Becoming a Nurse with an Associate’s Degree


You can take a two year course at a community college, online or at some universities and graduate with an associate’s degree in nursing.  This degree will provide you with the college core courses that are mandatory for any college liberal arts or sciences degree.  In addition, the major in nursing will place you in all of the nursing classes that you need to learn the profession.  It should also prepare you – almost – to sit for the licensure exam that is usually administered by the State Board of Nursing.  Just as with the bar exam for law students, there are crash courses to prepare you for the nursing licensure exam.


Earning a Bachelor’s Degree to Become a Nurse


Most professionals in the medical community will suggest that, in the best of all worlds, it is preferable to obtain a bachelor’s degree on the way to your licensing as a registered nurse.  Even with the shortage of nurses today, a bachelor’s degree with open doors at the entry level that will be a little more difficult for someone with an associate’s degree. 


A traditional bachelor’s program is four years, although it can be shortened considerably through an online education program that has course concentration programs.  In either case, the course of study for a bachelor’s degree will give you the opportunity to focus on possible areas of specialization such as pediatrics, or even the technical side of the business – healthcare informatics.  Once you are licensed, an RN with a baccalaureate on the resume is a more attractive hire, even at the entry level, because of the potential for a management role once you have some experience as a staff nurse.


The Entry Level Master’s Program for Becoming a Nurse


This degree is specifically designed for people who already hold a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated discipline and wish to become nurses.  It is a concentrated program of perhaps eighteen months that wraps the medical specialty courses into your already completed curriculum, providing you with a Master’s of Science in Nursing and qualifying you to sit for the licensure exam.

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