Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. x
Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

Purdue University Global

Bachelor Degrees
Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.
Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

Capella University

Master
Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.
Fortis responds quickly to information requests through this website.

Fortis

Associate Programs
Fortis responds quickly to information requests through this website.
Colorado Christian University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

Colorado Christian University

Doctoral
Colorado Christian University responds quickly to information requests through this website.
Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

Grand Canyon University

Bachelor Degrees
Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.
The Chicago School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

The Chicago School

Master
The Chicago School responds quickly to information requests through this website.
Walden University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

Walden University

Bachelor Degrees
Walden University responds quickly to information requests through this website.
Herzing University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

Herzing University

Herzing University responds quickly to information requests through this website.
Liberty University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

Liberty University

Master
Liberty University responds quickly to information requests through this website.
Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

Southern New Hampshire University

Master
Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

What Are the Requirements to Be a Certified Registered Nurse?

To become a certified registered nurse (RN), you must graduate from a state-approved nursing school, pass a licensure exam, then pass a specialty certification exam. Read on to learn more about the requirements to be a certified registered nurse.

Program Preparation

Entrance into a registered nursing training program at the associate's or bachelor's degree level requires at least a high school diploma or GED. There are also training programs for registered nurses at the master's degree level that require a bachelor's degree for admission. In addition to these RN educational requirements, registered nurse training programs may have other requirements such as:

  • CPR certification
  • An entrance exam, like the PAX or the NAT
  • Prerequisite courses in math and science with a satisfactory GPA

Important Facts About Certified Registered Nurses

Median Salary (2018) $71,730
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 15% growth
Work Environment Hospitals, physicians offices, nursing and residential care facilities, home healthcare services, government agencies
Similar Occupations EMTs, paramedics, nurse practitioners, physicians assistants, nurse midwives, licensed practical nurses

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Types of Programs

There are several types of degrees that prepare you to be an RN, but the most common are the Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) and the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees. An ADN degree takes two years to complete and a BSN degree takes four years to complete. A BSN is usually required for higher-level registered nurse jobs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), four-year RN training programs include more clinical training in a greater variety of settings, giving students much-needed experience. Regardless of the type of degree program you choose, all registered nurse training programs include courses about topics like these, which are tested on the RN certification exam:

  • Mental health nursing
  • Health assessment
  • Nursing care of adults and children

Earning Certification, Registration or Licensure

Graduates of state-approved registered nurse training programs are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam that is offered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. By passing this exam, you can become certified as a registered nurse in the state in which you studied. If you move to another state, your RN certification may travel with you if attended a registered nurse training program that has been approved by a national accrediting organization. Otherwise, you may have to re-certify by passing a certification exam in your new state of residence.

Voluntary Certification

Additionally, if you're interested in voluntary specialty certification as a registered nurse, you can earn certifications through the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Specialty certifications are available in several fields, including ambulatory care and cardiac rehabilitation. Each specialty certification has specific education and training requirements.