Skip to content

Becoming A Nurse


Learn more about becoming a nurse, nursing salaries, and the future of nursing.

Nurses are considered some of the most trusted professionals in the United States. Along with being knowledgeable in physiology, pharmacology, and many other areas of study, they have to exercise care and compassion to patients and their family members as well as work with physicians. Nursing is the perfect role for students that want to make a difference in the lives of others. While becoming a nurse takes hard work and dedication, there are education plans to fit every student’s timeline and career goals. Becoming a nurse is a multi-step process. First, you must complete courses within an accredited program. Once you have your degree, you will be required to pass a nursing exam in order to receive your license.

Your license will enable you to practice nursing. If you want to practice a certain specialty, you may be required to take more courses or earn specific certifications. Finally, it may be necessary to take continuing nursing education courses in order to stay current on best practices.

What Do Nurses Do?

Nurses help patients along their health care journey. Oftentimes, they are the first and last faces a patient sees, whether at their annual exam or during an extended hospital stay.

Nurses have a variety of roles. Some do intake work on patients. Others make acute treatment decisions. Some serve in a school setting or administer inoculations, like many did during the COVID-19 pandemic. Day-to-day responsibilities include performing medical exams, administering medications, checking vital signs, changing bandages and dressings, and ensuring that patients are comfortable.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Nurse?

Depending on what type of nurse you plan to become, programs range in commitment time from four weeks to a maximum of four years. Nursing requires that students spend a certain amount of time in the classroom and then a specified amount of time in the field before receiving their certificate, degree, and/or license.

The amount of time it takes to become a nurse depends on your career goals. If you want to specialize in a specific area, you may need a master’s degree, which will take more time. However, if you are interested in serving as a nursing assistant, you can complete your program and get your license within a year in most states.

3 Steps to Becoming a Nurse

Becoming a nurse requires going to school, but there are a few steps involved to making it your official profession. Using the three steps below, you’ll be able to successfully pursue your goal of becoming a nurse:

Choose a Type of Nursing

First you need to choose which type of nurse you will become. There are a variety of fields and roles in which you can serve, which are highlighted below. Your choice will be determined by which field you wish to pursue, your financial situation (or how much schooling you’re able to pay for), and other factors. Once you’ve made a choice as to which type of nurse you plan to be, it’s time for the next step.

Earn a Degree in Nursing

Degrees in nursing range from certifications to bachelor’s degrees to even doctorates. Certifications can take four – 12 weeks to complete, whereas bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees can take years. In the last few years, coursework for nursing students has moved to a more hybrid approach. While some programs may be full-time, in-person, others offer both online learning and in-person classes. However, all certifications and degrees will require in-person clinical work in order to graduate as well as gain a license.

Get a Nursing License

After graduating, and before starting in a professional role, all nurses must complete some type of license. This involves taking an exam. • Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and Registered Nurses (RN) – Must take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). You cannot become a nurse without passing this exam. • Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) – Must take and pass a CNA certification exam. This license expires after two years.

What are the Different Types of Nurses?

There are a variety of nursing roles available in the health care industry. The one you choose depends on your overall career goals, time you have to dedicate to school, and financial resources to pay for your education.

CNA – Certified Nursing Assistant (CAN) – Offered at Sumner College Arizona

A Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) is the degree option that offers the quickest path to becoming a nurse. The program can take anywhere from four – 12 months to complete. Graduates must pass a certification exam in order to receive a license. CNAs serve in hospitals, nursing homes, and provide in-home care. They help patients with a range of needs like eating, bathing, grooming, mobility, and more.

LPN – Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) – offered at sumner college Oregon

A Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) requires one year of coursework. Graduates also have to pass the NCLEX-RN and earn a state license in order to practice. LPNs cover a range of responsibilities, from hands-on patient tasks to administrative duties. They monitor patient care by taking vitals, inserting catheters, changing bandages, and more.

ADN – Associate Degree in Nursing (AND) – Offered at sumner college oregon

An associate degree in Nursing takes two to three years to complete. You must pass the NCLEX-RN to earn your license. An ADN can discuss symptoms with a patient, provide medication, edit and monitor a patient’s records, and report the medical status of a patient to a doctor.

BSN – Bachelor of Science in Nursing – offered at sumner college oregon (starting april 2023)

A Bachelor of Science in Nursing can take four years to complete. Just like nurses with an associate degree, you must pass the NCLEX-RN to receive your license. Your job responsibilities will be similar to that of an RN with an associate degree. However, a Bachelor degree will put you on track to serve in administrative roles in areas such as research, consulting, and education.

APRN – Master of Nursing in Science (MNS) – not currently offered at sumner college

A Master of Science in Nursing requires two to three years of study and clinical work in addition to a Bachelor degree. You must also pass a certification exam in your area of study. A master’s in Nursing will enable you to specialize in a certain area and provide you with more responsibility and opportunities for advancement. Graduates with a master’s can go on to become Nurse Practitioners, educators, Nurse Anesthetists, midwives, managers, clinical specialists, researchers, and consultants.

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) – not currently offered at sumner college

The highest level of education that a nurse can receive is a Doctor of Nursing Practice. This requires an additional three to four years of study and includes a capstone DNP project. After graduating, you can take on a leadership role in the nursing field or work in a clinical setting. Nurses with a doctorate degree have the knowledge and power to drive policy change and best practices in the health care industry.

Nursing Salaries and Nursing Career Outlook

In 2019, registered nurses made up 30% of total hospital employees, the largest percentage of any role in the health care industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2020 and 2021, we saw just how vital nurses are to our health collectively, especially during national and worldwide health crises.

Overview of Career Growth Potentials and Salaries

In 2021, the BLS reported that the median hourly pay for nurses was $37.31 per hour and $77,600 annually. In 2020, there were over 3 million nurses working in the country with a projected growth rate of 9% by 2030. BLS.gov states that, “Demand for healthcare services will increase because of the large number of older people, who typically have more medical problems than younger people. Nurses also will be needed to educate and care for patients with chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity.”

Jobs for Nursing Majors

There are openings right now in the nursing field. Available nursing jobs range in roles from travel nurses to home health care nurses to specialties, like PACU. Because the health care industry is so large, and continues to grow in order to meet demand, there are always nursing jobs available. Jobs are open in urgent care centers, military bases, schools, and even on cruise ships. See available nursing jobs now on Monster.

Scholarships for Nursing Majors

Fastweb hosts a number of scholarships for nursing students in our database. Scholarships are one of the best ways to pay for your nursing education. They are free money that you earn or are awarded and never have to be paid back. Finding nursing scholarships on Fastweb is simple. All you have to do is fill out a free profile and indicate that you are interested in nursing as a field or study and career. We will find scholarships for nursing that you qualify for from our database.

In addition to scholarships and grants, you should file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for each academic year that you plan to be enrolled. Filing the FAFSA is the only way to qualify for financial aid, so if you hope to use financial aid funds to pay for college, you need to complete this form as soon as possible after October 1. Some nursing students use part-time jobs and internships to help cover college costs. They either use the money that they earn or strategically seek out a job with an employer that offers tuition assistance. Finally, some nursing students need to take out student loans to pay for their education. These loans help to bridge the gap between what a student can afford to pay and how much their nursing education costs. For help in figuring out how to pay for your nursing degree, we’ve gathered the best financial aid and loan calculators. Utilizing the above college tuition funding sources and doing your due diligence in calculating costs will enable you to be better prepared to pay for your nursing degree.
Content for this article was shared from our partner at FastWeb. For more information visit FASTWEB.



Meet Natalie – Sumner College Graduate

Natalie, congratulations on your graduation! As you’ve embarked on your nursing journey, remember: ‘Nursing is not just a profession, it’s a calling to serve, heal,

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Now Hiring

Are you a healthcare educator? Sumner College is looking for our next Nursing Educator to join our team. This is a part time position. Read

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Meet Erin – Sumner College Graduate

Erin, congratulations on your graduation! As you’ve embarked on your nursing journey, remember: ‘Nursing is not just a profession, it’s a calling to serve, heal,

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Exploring the Vital Role of Nurses in Heart Health

Article Shared from DiversityNursing.com February is American Heart Month. It's important to promote cardiovascular health and explore the many ways Nurses are engaged in these

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Meet Anne Marie – Sumner College Graduate

Anne Marie, congratulations on your graduation! As you've embarked on your nursing journey, remember: 'Nursing is not just a profession, it's a calling to serve,

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Nursing Ranked Most Trusted Profession for 22nd Year

Article Shared from DiversityNursing.com In Gallup's 2023 Honesty and Ethics poll, Americans' evaluations of almost all 23 professions have experienced a decline compared to previous years.

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Helpful Apps Every Nurse Should Have

Article shared from DiversityNursing.com Mobile apps have transformed how Nurses provide care to their patients. Smartphones allow Nurses easy access to applications designed to assist

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

DiversityNursing.com – Helpful Resources

Helpful Resources DiversityNursing.com is a Career Job Board, Community and Information Resource for all Nurses regardless of age, race, gender identity, religion, education, national origin,

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

How to Prepare for College – Oregon Goes to School

Article shared from Oregon Goes to College  It’s a plan! No matter what grade you’re in, you can get ready for your future. Getting ready

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Sumner College Clinical Partners

Sumner College clinical partnerships play a crucial role in advancing medical education and training. By offering opportunities for hands-on experience and mentorship, these collaborations help

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Commencement Ceremony

Save the date - April 6, 2024 for Sumner College's Commencement Ceremony. Celebrating cohorts: PN54, PN55, ADN23, RN-BSN10 and RN-BSN11 Congratulations to you all!! Tickets

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Healthcare Hero

Are you aspiring to be a healthcare hero? A common question from our nursing students at Sumner College is about the role of ER nurses

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Dynamic – Interactive – Rich with Real-world Relevance

RNs are you ready to take your nursing career to the next level with a BSN? Guess what - at Sumner College, you can achieve

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

ER Nursing

Have you been thinking, “How can I start my nursing career in an ER?" Begin by obtaining a solid understanding of nursing through an approved

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

LPN

At Sumner College, we understand the importance of every role in the nursing field, including the dedicated work of Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs). LPNs are

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Flexible – Balanced – Online RN to BSN

Wondering what it's like to pursue a nursing degree online? At Sumner College, our RN to BSN program fits the busy lives of working nurses

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Nursing, beyond direct patient care

Thinking about a career in nursing but interested in roles beyond direct patient care? At Sumner College, we recognize that nursing offers diverse career paths,

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Jobs in 2031 will likely require postsecondary education

Degrees and credentials after high school will become increasingly important in the job market, a new report found. Analysis from the Georgetown University Center on

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Evolving Healthcare Landscape for Job Opportunities

As we enter 2024, the healthcare landscape continues to evolve, bringing exciting job opportunities for Practical Nurses. Nurses are able to work in different environments

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

RNs, what is your next step in advancing your career in nursing?

Are you a Registered Nurse wondering what the next step is in your career? Explore why pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) at

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Is Practical Nursing a Career for You?

As a Practical Nurse, you can choose when and where you work. This career path offers an opportunity to enjoy a healthy work-life balance. At

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Why Choose Sumner College for your Nursing Education?

Why Sumner College? Our BSN Program is designed to be completed in 32 months No prerequisites required to apply Small class sizes foster exceptional learning

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Is a BSN required to work in hospitals?

Aspiring nurses often ask, "Is a BSN required to work in hospitals?" There are hospitals and healthcare settings that prefer this licensure because it demonstrates

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Dream More in 2024! – Welcome New Sumner College Nursing Students

The Future is HERE! Welcome, 2024! Dream BIGGER, Reach HIGHER! Sumner College - Dream More in 2024! Our nursing classes enroll every ten weeks. Welcome

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

January Nursing Information Sessions

The on-campus Information Session aims to offer valuable insights to individuals considering a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. During the session, you will receive

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Happy Holidays from Sumner College

Merry Christmas, everyone! 🎄 It's time to spread the festive cheer and celebrate the most beautiful time of the year! Let's make this the most

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

The NCLEX

Prepare for the NCLEX- The National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX) is the all-important step between graduating from nursing school and becoming a nurse. It’s a

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Nursing as a Second Career

Nursing as a Second Career -It’s never too late. Nursing is an excellent choice at any stage of your life because good nurses are always

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Speciality Nursing

Once you’re a Registered Nurse (RN), you can take your career in so many new directions by specializing in an area you enjoy, with endless

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Paying for Nursing School

Many resources exist to assist nursing students with the cost of nursing school, from federal student aid (FAFSA) to scholarships and grants. Loan repayment programs

Share at FacebookShare at TwitterShare at PinterestShare at LinkedIn

Dream It! Do it! Request Info