How to Become a Registered Nurse (RN) in 5 Steps
Nursing is a rewarding career that is in high demand throughout the country. If you want a good shot at a great job in the future, this is certainly a profession to look into. Before you get your heart set on this career though, you need to know how to become a nurse. The process will vary a little based on the type of nurse you want to become, but most nurses go through the same basic steps in the end.
Steps to become a registered nurse in the U.S.A
- 1 – Determine What Kind of Nurse You Want to Be
- 2 – Get an Education
- 3 – Get Certified
- 4 – Get a Job
- 5 – Continue Your Education
Step 1 – Determine What Kind of Nurse You Want to Be
There are many different levels of nursing that you may get into, and each one of them has different education requirements you will need to know. Some of the most basic nursing careers include:
There are specialties in each of those nursing branches, and there are other advanced practice nursing jobs to keep in mind. Find the nursing job that best suits your overall goals.
Step 2 – Get an Education
Most nursing jobs will require some sort of college degree. Entry-level positions are sometimes available through on-the-job training, but anything beyond that will require an associate’s degree or higher. The most common nursing degrees out there are:
- Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
- Certificate of Nursing
- Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN)
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
- Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP)
Your nursing degree will consist of clinical sessions and online/on-campus classes that show you how to work as a nurse. You will learn about medical terminology, patient care, medical equipment, and much more. You may attend a community college or traditional university, depending on how far you need to go with your education.
Step 3 – Get Certified
Once you complete your career training program, you will need to take an exam to get certified in your profession. If you are trained to be a nursing assistant, you would soon become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). You could find a job without getting certified, but many states and employers require certification for unsupervised work. This is especially true for advanced practice nurses, like nurse practitioners and nurse anesthetists.
Step 4 – Get a Job
With all of your credentials in place, you can begin looking for a job. If you cannot find one in your specialty when you go to look for one, you might need to work in general healthcare for the time being. The more experience you have, the better your chances will be of getting hired. Registered nurses are able to work in hospitals, doctor’s offices, health care clinics, nursing homes, and much more. Some RNs even operate their own practices. You will simply have to explore your options when the time comes.
Step 5 – Continue Your Education
Your basic nursing degree may not be enough to sustain your career as a nurse. Continue going to school and specialized classes to stay up to date on advances in the medical field, and you can enjoy the rewards of this career for years to come.
Featured RN to BSN programs
Earn your RN-to-BSN online with Kaplan University in as little as 18 months with flexible start dates to help you balance your career, studies and family responsibilities.
Learn on a schedule that fits your personal and professional life and take your career to the next level with Capella University’s flexible online RN-to-BSN degree program options.
Chamberlain’s online RN-to-BSN program allows registered nurses to earn a BSN degree in as few as 3 semesters with around the clock support from admissions to graduation and beyond.