Home to a number of widely-respected professions, the medical field is well-known for its high level of educational requirements. Intimidating as the thought of so much school can be for many young people, a clear and organized look at the education requirements can make any career easier to digest. Taking a specific look at nurses, the process of becoming a RN (or Registered Nurse) does indeed take time and effort, but is very possible with dedication.
School Requirements to become a RN
As with any career, the path to becoming a nurse can take many different forms. Typically speaking, a hopeful nurse has three choices in higher education after high school: a bachelor’s degree, an associate degree or a nursing diploma. Of the three, a bachelor’s degree typically takes the longest to earn, at a standard four years. In comparison, an associate degree requires two to three years of education, while a diploma program usually takes about three years.
Unlike the standard college system to earn a degree, nursing programs are most often available through hospitals, though usually operating under a school-like structure. Nursing curriculum is usually similar no matter the specific course, and nursing students are expected to learn through a combination of classroom studying and hands-on experience.
Exam Requirements for RN Certification
After receiving a nursing degree or diploma, one must pass the National Council Licensure Examination, NCLEX-RN for short. This exam is required regardless of education received in any nursing program. The NCLEX tests future nurses on their readiness for the job through a series of several questions. With a passing rate of 70 to 75 percent, the exam should be manageable for anyone that treated their education with due diligence.
After the successful completion of the NCLEX-RN, a potential nurse is eligible to become an RN by applying for a license in their home state. However, some states require additional steps, such as a background check, on top of a passing exam. Be sure to research your state’s requirements prior to beginning the process of becoming a RN.
Looking at the entire process, a nurse’s path isn’t nearly as overwhelming as many would expect. Further education may be required for more specialized nursing pursuits (such as a CRNA), but the essential education is very straightforward. Nursing is a profession in constant demand; if you have an interest in the medical field, a nursing career might just be the perfect path for you.
From CNA to becoming a RN
If you are still not sure if you want to embark on journey of becoming a RN, you could look into becoming a CNA. Many RN’s begin their medical career as a CNA in order to dip their toe in the water, so to speak. CNA certification is a much shorter and easier process, and allows you to work directly alongside nurses to see if a nursing career is truly right for you.