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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.



The Pulse | Summer 2024

Sumner College Newsletter | Summer 2024

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Dream It! Do It! @SumnerCollege

Are you dreaming of becoming a Registered Nurse, but worried about the hurdles of prerequisite courses? Look no further! Sumner College offers a unique and

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Is nursing your passion?

If you've always dreamed of making a difference in people's lives through compassionate care, then it's time to take the next step! Enrollment is now

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Welcome New Students – June Classes Start Today!

Today is the day that our new BSN, LPN and RN to BSN June 10th students embark on their nursing career. They've dreamed about it

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Bachelor of Science Nursing | Start June 10th

The Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing Program at Sumner College is the only program in Oregon and Washington State that does not require students

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Practical Nursing | June 10th Classes Start

The Practical Nursing Program at Sumner College can fast-track you to a new career as an LPN in just 13 months. If you are compassionate

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Remember & Honor

On Memorial Day, we take a moment to remember and honor all who have served and paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

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RNs Advance your Nursing Career

If advancing your nursing education is part of your plans, you cannot miss this opportunity to meet Lois Hine, Sumner College RN to BSN Program

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June BSN Info Sessions Now Open

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How Much Do Oregon’s Registered Nurses Earn? 2023 Oregon Wage Study

According to the survey results, RNs in Oregon earn an average hourly wage of $55.14, equating to an annual salary of $114,694. The Oregon Center

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Caregivers & Trailblazers: Four Nurse Innovators Redefining Healthcare

Johnson & Johnson has proudly championed the nursing profession for over 125 years because we know that for healthcare to work, it takes nurses. This National

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RN Self-Care RX

Graphic provided by OCN | Oregon Center for Nursing

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Best Gift Ideas for Nurses

Whether it be a friend, family member, or acquaintance, you probably know a nurse or someone who works in healthcare. You could look at gifts

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Best Nursing Shoes for Men and Women

As a nurse, finding the perfect pair of shoes is crucial for long shifts filled with constant movement. But with so many options available, it

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National Nurse Week

National Nurses Week is celebrated annually from May 6-12 ending on Florence Nightingale's birthday. The American Nurses Association (ANA) first recognized the week in 1990, and in

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Psychiatric Nursing

While physical health is undoubtedly important, so is Mental Health. Millions of Americans are affected by mental illness each year. Psychiatric Nurses have the specialized

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New BSN Info Sessions – Register

The on-campus Information Session aims to offer valuable insights to individuals considering a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. Reserve a Spot

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RNs ready to pursue more?

Are you a Registered Nurse wondering what the next step is in your career? Considered your BSN? Sumner College's RN to BSN program can get

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Nurses Influence the Health and Wellbeing of Patients Every Day

As individuals, nurses directly influence the health and wellbeing of patients every day. Through frequent contact, nurses are best placed to encourage lifestyle changes in

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Changes in Nursing

Changes in nursing involve a major shift in higher education standards, requiring more nurses to hold a 4-year bachelor of science in nursing (BSN). The

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Trades make a comeback with Gen Z Workers

America’s skilled trades — from nursing and plumbing to welding to construction — need more workers as boomers retire. Gen Z-ers are stepping up to fill

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Congratulations, Sumner College Graduates: Embracing New Beginnings

Congratulations to the new Sumner College nursing graduates. As the tassels are flipped and mortarboards soar into the sky, a chapter closes, and another begins.

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April BSN Info Sessions

Have you considered being a nurse and working in the healthcare industry? Attend an information meeting with Sumner College to learn more about the BSN

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The State of Wellness: Everything You Need to Know About the Oregon State Board of Nursing

You have likely heard about the Oregon State Board of Nursing (OSBN), but how does the organization interact with and support Oregon nurses? Join us

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OCN Explores Nursing Wages in New Research

Article & Photo Shared from Oregon Center for Nursing How much do Oregon nurses really make? The well-being of Oregon’s nursing workforce is a guiding initiative for

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New Classes Start Today!

March classes start today! Welcome to our new BSN, PN and RN-BSN students.

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Meet Alex – Sumner College Graduate

Alex, 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,

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Meet Alexandra – Sumner College RN to BSN Graduate

Alexandra, 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,

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Meet Renee – Sumner College Graduate

Renee, 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,

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Meet Serena – Sumner College Graduate

Serena 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,

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