Educational Requirements for Registered Nurses

Registered nurses play an integral role in running the health care industry. RNs create a crucial link between patients, their families and doctors. In addition, nurses assess patients’ needs, diagnose their problems, formulate and execute patient care plans, and maintain every patient’s medical record.

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Nursing education involves profound theory and intensive practical training with an aim to prepare them for their role as professional nurse. There are three major pathways available to an applicant who wishes to become a registered nurse. These programs develop the professional expertise for facing the challenges and intricacy of the health care industry. If you aspire to gain an RN title, you need to successfully complete any of the pre-licensure nursing program first, either an associate degree, a BSN program, or a diploma program, which makes you eligible to take National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Once an applicant clears this exam, s/he becomes capable to practice his/her profession.

  • Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)
    An associate degree in nursing is the fastest and most popular way to become a registered nurse. It helps build foundation for future RN roles in 2 years. The associate degree program involves courses in chemistry, microbiology, anatomy, nutrition as well as general liberal arts. This degree allows you to experience hands-on practice in various health care settings, under the supervision of experienced nurses, and brings a lot of job opportunities.

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  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
    Bachelor of Science in Nursing enables you to provide more comprehensive patient care and prepares you for leadership roles in the complex health care sector. BSN is a wide-ranging program that takes 4 years to complete. It mainly focuses on advanced nursing methodologies and clinical training as compared to other pre-licensure programs. This degree provides a wide array of employment opportunities and broadens the dimensions of a nursing career.
  • Diploma in Nursing
    Diploma in Nursing is an entry-level program usually provided by hospital-based nursing schools. It takes about 2-3 years to finish the program. It gives emphasis on direct patient care through rigorous hands-on training. It prepares applicant to provide services in physicians’ offices, clinics, or any other medical facilities. However, job prospects for diploma holders are limited as it is less prevalent than the above two courses.


All the above nursing programs cover classroom instructions and provide opportunities to every nursing aspirant to experience supervised clinical practice in hospitals and some other health care centers. Supervised clinical experience is provided in a number of departments such as psychiatry, pediatrics, maternity, surgery and department of public health, home health agencies, etc.

Top 5 Most Popular
Registered Nurses Colleges

1

University of Southern California
Los Angeles, California

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College degrees offered: Bachelors Degree, Masters Degree

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2

Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo, Michigan

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College degrees offered: Bachelors Degree, Masters Degree

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3

San Jose State University
San Jose, California

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College degrees offered: Bachelors Degree, Masters Degree

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4

Ithaca College
Ithaca, New York

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College degrees offered: Certificate Program, Bachelors Degree, Masters Degree

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5

Texas Woman University
Denton, Texas

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College degrees offered: Bachelors Degree, Masters Degree

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