How Long Does IT Take To Become an RN? - Education & School Requirements

Research what it takes to become a registered nurse (RN). Learn about education requirements, job duties, job outlook and median wages to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information at a Glance

Registered nurses work hand-in-hand with other medical staff to assess a patient's condition, perform diagnostic tests, monitor progress and administer treatments. There are diploma programs, associate's degrees and bachelor's degrees to become a nurse. Refer to the table below for further information on registered nurses.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree, associate's degree or nursing diploma
Education Field of Study Nursing
Key Skills Compassion, stamina, communication skills
Licensure Required Must be licensed by the state's board of nursing
Job Growth (2016-2026) 15%*
Median Salary (2017) $70,000*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Would I Do as a Registered Nurse?

As an RN, your overarching duty would be caring for patients, which involves a vast array of responsibilities. At a doctor's office, you might be taking temperatures, monitoring blood pressure and prepping a patient to see the doctor. At a hospital, a typical day might see you administering the proper dosage of medicine, taking detailed notes on a patient's progress, changing bandages and drawing blood. On top of physical care, RNs also educate the patient about long-term treatment options and provide emotional support to the patient and his or her family.

How Do I Become an RN and How Long Does it Take?

In terms of education, there are three routes to becoming an RN -- an associate's degree in nursing (ADN), a Bachelor of Science (BSN) in nursing or a diploma from a nursing program. Some hospitals and medical centers offer diploma programs, but the BSN and ADN routes are more common. An ADN will take you anywhere from two to three years to complete while a BSN typically takes around four years to finish.

What Would I Make as an RN?

Nurses work for a wide range of employers, from private hospitals and doctors' offices to schools and nursing homes, and some RNs specialize in a specific branch of nursing. For that reason, salaries can vary significantly. However, to give you a general idea, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a median salary for registered nurses across the board -- $70,000 per year, as of 2017.

Do You Need a License?

Yes. All 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, require nurses to be licensed. Nurses must graduate from nursing school and pass the National Council Licensure Examination in order to get a license. The requirements vary from state to state. For detailed information on what it takes to get licensed in your state, visit the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

Several certifications exist for RNs including Pediatric Nursing Certification, Ambulatory Care Nursing Certification, Cardiac Vascular Care Nursing Certification and more. These certifications are voluntary, but they show a commitment to the profession and can open up new opportunities in the field.

What's the Job Outlook?

Registered nurses are in demand. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 15% rise in employment for RNs between 2016 and 2026, which is faster than the national average for all occupations.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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