Educational Requirements to Become a Nurse

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Educational Requirements to Become a Nurse


The increasing demand for educated professionals in the field of nursing has soared in recent years. The aging baby boomer generation is expected to create an even larger shortage of educated nurses. Professional nurses feel a strong sense of job security, and students attending nursing schools have a brighter outlook than ever before as far as job placement is concerned. If you are planning to attend a nursing career college, it is important to understand the different types of formal education programs that lead to licensure.

Nursing School Programs for LPNs and LVNs
A student interested in becoming a licensed vocational nurse (LVN) or a licensed practical nurse (LPN) will be required to complete a one-year nursing program from an online nursing career school, vocational school, technical college, or community college.

Associate Degree in Nursing
Students interested in becoming a registered nurse (RN) must, at least, earn an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN). ADN programs usually take 2-3 years to complete. Upon earning an ADN, prospective nurses must pass a licensing exam.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing
To earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and become an RN, students must complete a 4-year program. The advantage of earning a BSN is that it will allow greater flexibility in your career as an RN. A greater number of job positions will be available to you including managerial, research, teaching, and clinical positions.

Master of Science in Nursing
Many nurses decide to pursue advanced education after they have gained a significant amount of experience working in clinical settings as a registered nurse. For these individuals, advanced coursework is available that will lead to a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. The type of coursework required for an MSN will vary depending on the nursing specialty that the student chooses to focus on. A few examples of nursing specialties that nurses may work toward include nurse anesthetists, nurse practitioners, nurse-midwives, and clinical nurse specialists.

State Licensure
After graduating from a traditional nursing career school or an online nursing career school, you will need to obtain state licensure. Prospective nurses will need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses. Additional licensing criteria may need to be earned depending on what state you reside in. If you plan to practice in specialized areas of nursing, you may need to complete additional licensing requirements. Career counselors from your nursing career college will help you to navigate this process.

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