2. Decide on your professional route.
Take a moment to check if you’re ready to completely commit to this career now that you know what it’s like to be an RN. If you want to become a nurse as quickly as possible, the notion of returning to school for another 2 to 3 years may seem frightening.
There are a variety of nursing careers to consider before becoming an RN:
- Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). They are in charge of basic care tasks like bathing, dressing, eating, drinking, etc. CNA training is relatively short, and depending on your state, you might become a CNA in a few months.
- Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN). For those wishing to enter into nursing quickly, being a practical nurse is an excellent starting point. A practical nursing diploma program normally takes 12 months to complete. You can also transfer your credits to an RN program—or enroll in an LPN-RN bridging program. There are available programs for students who want to advance from an LPN to an Associate in Nursing (ASN) or an LPN to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
Take note that, while these options may get you started with work and help you make money faster, becoming a registered nurse has a much higher earning potential, based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):*
Estimates of Average Salary in May 2020:
|Job Career||Per Year||Per Hour|
|Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses||$50,090||$24.08|
The Bureau of Labor Statistics provided all salary information.
You’ll want to consider the benefits and drawbacks of how much money you could make vs. how long it takes to get started as a nurse.
If you’re certain you want to start working toward becoming an RN right away, getting the undergraduate degree you’ll need to be eligible for the NCLEX-RN is the best initial approach.
3. Get a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing.
Are you ready to get started? Get ready to go to nursing school!
Nursing school can be difficult, but this difficulty best prepares you for success later in your profession. The curriculum and clinical experiences provide you with the skills and information you need to succeed.
What degree do I need to be an RN?
You can’t work as a registered nurse unless you have a nursing degree.
To be eligible for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), you must first get one of the following credentials:
- Applied Science or Associate of Science in Nursing or (ASN/ADN)
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)