Skip to content

Become A Registered Nurse

Request Info

Request Information

Registered Nurse Resource – Everything You Need To Know Before You Become A Registered Nurse

In order to become a registered nurse (RN), candidates usually need a bachelor’s or associate degree in nursing though some students choose to earn diplomas from approved nursing programs instead. These programs may be offered in a traditional on-campus format, online, or in a blended format that incorporates campus- and web-based learning.

Regardless of their chosen pathway, RNs should complete courses in fields such as anatomy and physiology, chemistry, and nutrition. Once they complete their studies, RN candidates must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in order to be licensed. A license is required to work as an RN in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories. In addition to licensing, RNs may choose to become certified in gerontology, pediatrics, or other specialized fields.

RNs are in high demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that jobs for RNs will rise 15% adding more than 430,000 new positions between 2016 and 2026. In addition, nurses earn salaries above the national average. RNs can choose from several specialized roles, including critical care nurses who work in intensive-care units, neonatology nurses that care for newborns and infants, and rehabilitation nurses who care for patients with temporary or permanent disabilities.

If you wish to become a registered nurse, you can enroll in many different educational programs from the diploma to doctoral level. However, all will culminate with the NCLEX-RN exam. There are several pathways you can follow in order to take the NCLEX-RN exam, as well as various other resources you may need if you are thinking about becoming a registered nurse.

RN Education Pathways

You can become a registered nurse using the following educational methods:

DIPLOMA IN NURSING

A diploma in nursing provides students with basic nursing knowledge and practical nursing experience in a clinical setting. A nursing diploma program typically takes two to three years to complete, depending on a student’s enrollment status. Nursing diploma students enroll in courses covering topics such as lifespan nursing concepts, nursing informatics, basic pharmacology and psychology, and public health. A large portion of the nursing diploma program involves direct patient care, often through hospitals or health providers with ties to the school.

A nursing diploma program prepares students to pass the NCLEX-RN, a basic requirement for nursing professionals throughout the U.S. and Canada. An RN license qualifies holders for several entry-level nursing positions and further studies in the nursing field.

Since diploma programs immerse students in direct patient care, students graduate from the program with practical nursing skills that prove invaluable not only in a hospital setting but in other clinical environments as well. Additionally, completing a nursing diploma program gives students the chance to enter the workforce sooner. Students who wish to pursue further studies can do so while already working in the field.


ASSOCIATE DEGREE IN NURSING (ADN)

An associate degree in nursing (ADN) prepares students to enter the workforce after just two years of full-time enrollment. Many employers prefer nurses with an associate degree over those with just a diploma. ADN programs require students to complete a certain number of clinical hours in order to graduate. However, the required number of clinical hours varies between schools.

Like most associate degrees, an ADN consists of 60 credits. An ADN curriculum includes foundational nursing courses such as anatomy, microbiology, pharmacology, behavioral health, and maternal and child nursing care. In addition, an ADN program also includes general liberal arts classes like English literature, history, writing and communications, and psychology. After completing an ADN program, students usually take the NCLEX-RN to obtain their registered nurse license.

An ADN prepares students for employment in the nursing field immediately after graduation. However, most ADN programs also provide students with an excellent foundation for further studies in nursing or in a closely related field. Many universities with four-year nursing programs maintain articulation agreements with two-year colleges that help ADN graduates transition to a four-year nursing program.


BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN NURSING (BSN)

A bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) features 120 credits and typically takes four years of full-time enrollment to complete. However, licensed registered nurses with an associate degree in nursing can usually earn a BSN after just two years of full-time study. Many hospitals and other health-based organizations prefer nurses with BSN degrees. In addition to more job options, nurses with a BSN degree are also more likely to be promoted and entrusted with greater responsibilities.

Many colleges and universities now offer online RN-to-BSN programs. Nurses no longer have to stop working while pursuing their BSN degree, since they can more easily fit online classes around their busy schedules. A typical BSN curriculum includes courses on topics such as emergency care; health assessment; nutrition; public and global health; and family, community, and population-based care.

The amount of clinical or practicum hours in an RN-to-BSN program can vary greatly between schools. Most programs require students to follow a rotation-based clinical program. Student nurses train in different departments or clinical specialty areas, such as pediatrics or obstetrics, to gain a broad understanding of the nursing field and their professional duties and responsibilities.


MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING (MSN)

The nursing field consists of several different specializations, and employers increasingly seek nurses with training in a specific nursing area. A master of science in nursing degree (MSN) gives nurses the opportunity to specialize in a particular medical arena, such as anesthesiology, mental health, or acute care. Nurses can also use an MSN to develop the necessary skills to work within a specific lifespan sector like gerontology or pediatrics. Nurses who opt to specialize in nondirect care aspects of the nursing profession, as nurse educators or clinical nurse leaders, also benefit from earning an MSN.

Registered nurses often qualify for RN-to-MSN programs. The length of the program depends on the type of nursing degree students have at the start of the program, the number of credits they can transfer, and their enrollment status. RNs with an associate degree or diploma in nursing typically complete an RN-to-MSN program in three to four years. RNs with a nonnursing bachelor’s degree can complete the program in two to three years. Students with a BSN degree typically take two years to earn an MSN degree.

Most MSN degrees require students to complete a practicum, usually comprised of several hundred hours of clinical nursing experience. The required number of hours varies between schools but often comes to at least 500. Regardless of a student’s specialty area or the population, they wish to work with, MSN students usually enroll in courses in pharmacology, health care policy, ethics, and advanced health assessment.


DOCTORATE IN NURSING

There are two terminal degrees in nursing doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) and doctor of nursing practice (DNP). Both degrees present the holder as an expert in the nursing field and thus qualified for a variety of leadership and top administrative nursing positions. A Ph.D. in nursing prepares nurses to pursue careers in research-oriented sectors such as academia or research organizations. A Ph.D. can take four to six years to complete. Ph.D. candidates often must write a dissertation.

A DNP degree, on the other hand, prepares nurses for the highest level of nursing practice in a clinical setting. The degree typically takes two to three years to complete. Most schools require DNP candidates to complete an evidence-based practice project.

Doctorate students enroll in courses that focus on their specialization area, but most programs offer classes that cover common advanced nursing topics. Some of these classes include the following: health policy and advocacy, principles of epidemiology and environmental health, fundamentals of comprehensive care across the lifespan, and intellectual and conceptual foundations of nursing science.

BSN-to-DNP and Ph.D. in nursing programs usually require the completion of at least 60 credits and a minimum of 1,000 practicum hours. Some of these programs award an interim MSN degree, while others move students straight to the doctorate program as soon as they meet the requirements. Nurses with an MSN degree may take fewer classes, depending on the number of credits they can transfer to the doctorate program. Many schools require MSN-to-DNP or Ph.D. students to complete a minimum of 500 clinical work hours.

Content shared from Nurse Journal – For more information visit https://nursejournal.org/registered-nursing/guide-to-become-a-rn/

 

Learn more:

Now Hiring – Accounting Clerk

Position: Accounting Clerk Supervisor: Controller Job Summary: The Accounting Clerk is responsible for the entering of invoices received from Vendors. The Accounting clerk is responsible

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

#Hiring – Human Resource Manager

Sumner College is seeking applicants for the position of Human Resource Manager. Qualified applicants should submit a resume to HR at Sumner College. Position: Human

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Now Hiring – The Department Chair of Nursing Programs

Sumner College is interviewing for the Department Chair of Nursing Programs. Contact HR to submit an application. Position: Department Chair of Nursing Programs Supervisor: President

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Job Outlook – Nursing Assisting

Job Outlook for Nursing Assisting as a career Nursing Assistants and Orderlies Percent change in employment, projected 2020-30 Home health and personal care aides; and

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Occupational Outlook – Nursing Assisting

Summary of the Nursing Assisting Position Quick Facts: Nursing Assistants and Orderlies 2021 Median Pay $30,290 per year $14.56 per hour Typical Entry-Level Education See

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Healthy Life Series: Week Off Social Media Boosts Mental Health: Study

It's no secret that too much social media can be bad for one's mental health. Now, research suggests that taking even a brief break from

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Occupational Outlook – Phlebotomist

Summary of tasks performed by phlebotomists Quick Facts: Phlebotomists 2021 Median Pay $37,380 per year $17.97 per hour Typical Entry-Level Education Postsecondary nondegree award Work

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Unique Opportunity to Develop Practical Experiences in Phlebotomy

Sumner College Arizona provides unique opportunities for our students to learn and develop practical experiences before they begin their career. Phlebotomy continues to grow as

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Healthy Life Series: Don’t Go Bananas – But Maybe Eat One

On the screen, bananas are a menace. Just ask Charlie Chaplin, Bugs Bunny or anyone who's played Mario Kart. In your diet, though, bananas can

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Healthy Life Series: Keep Hydrated for Summer Exercise

Keeping your body well-fueled and hydrated is a must during outdoor summer sports and exercise, a nutrition expert says. "For summer workouts, it's important to

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Top Characteristics of a Great Nurse

As many of you know, a career in Nursing is extremely challenging, but very rewarding as well. For the last 20 years, the Nursing profession has consistently

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Effective Communication Tips For Nurses

On an average day, Nurses interact with many patients, their families and friends, and exchange information with numerous healthcare staff. It is critical to be

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Hospitals Healing With Art Therapy Programs

Art therapy is a growing trend throughout hospitals in the United States. Art therapy is an evidenced-based practice that supports the emotional, physical, social and spiritual well-being

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Yoga for Patients with Psychiatric Illness

Yoga-based treatments, which are recognized by the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health as a form of complementary and alternative

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Happy 4th of July

Sumner College offices are closed today, July 4th to honor our country's Independence Day. We hope you enjoy the day with friends and family. We

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Sumner College Phlebotomy graduates are thriving in Arizona. Are you next?

If you desire an collaborative career, phlebotomy is the occupation for you. Not only is the profession’s abilities regularly expanding, but phlebotomists are able to

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

#HealthcareCareer in Phlebotomy – Enroll Today at Sumner College Arizona

Sumner College Arizona provides unique opportunities for our students to learn and develop practical experiences before they begin their career.  Phlebotomy continues to grow as

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Nursing Assisting Median Annual Wages

Sumner College offers a Nursing Assistant Program on the Arizona Campus. If you’re looking for a career where you can make a difference in the

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

CNA – Job Projected Outlook 2020-2030

Job Outlook Nursing Assistants and Orderlies Percent change in employment, projected 2020-30 Home health and personal care aides; and nursing assistants, orderlies, and psychiatric aides

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

CNA – Job Summary – What does a CNA Do?

Now is a great time to pursue a career as a Nursing Assistant. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Nursing Assistants Job

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Now Hiring – Financial Aid Officer

Financial Aid Officer  Within a centralized financial aid services environment, evaluates, approves, and awards financial aid to students in accordance with federal, state, and college

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Joanna Russell visits with CW’s Nicole DeCosta about the RN to BSN Program at Sumner College

RN's that already have their Associates Degree have so many more options for continuing education. Joanna Russell, President, Sumner College talks with Nicole DeCosta, CW's

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Interview with Joanna Russell and CW’s Nicole DeCosta

Right now is a great time to enter the healthcare field interview with Joanna Russell, President, Sumner College. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwtLsLKZKZc[/embed]

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Informational Sessions – Seats Available June 15th

Sumner College has a few remaining seats open for the June 15th Nursing Informational Session with President, Joanna Russell. It's all online! Sign up now

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Nursing Assistant Types

UCNA, CNA, and LNA Note: As of July 1, 2016, Arizona offers two types of nursing assistant credentials in Arizona: Certified Nursing Assistant, designated as

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Class of 2022 Entering the Best Job Market in Years

Great NBC News story highlighting the job search experience for recent grads like Aga Sophia Noel, an Occupational Therapy Assistance graduate from CECU member career

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Now Hiring – Dean of Students

Sumner College is hiring for a Dean of Students. Title: Dean of Students Supervisor: Vice President Job Summary: The Dean of Students is part of

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Joanna Russell visits with CW’s Everyday Northwest

President, Joanna Russell visited with Ashley Howard from CW's Everyday Northwest to discuss continuing education options in nursing.   [embed]https://youtu.be/2lMNewz-GeY[/embed]

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Celebrating Sumner Graduates | Meet Tiffany

At Sumner College, we like to celebrate our graduates. Tiffany is a recent PN grad. She shares her story, "Working as a phlebotomist at a plasma

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Heartwarming Stories of Nurses Who Went Beyond Their Call of Duty

Article and Image Content shared from Readers Digest. When it comes to kindness, compassion, and caring for others, nurses have us all beat. They work

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn