How Long Will It Take Me to Become a Registered Nurse?

Because employment of registered nurses (RN) is growing as fast as the average of all occupations (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics), choosing this career path is a win for you and a win for sick people who need your compassion and expertise. Not only are you securing a dependable and rewarding career for yourself, but you are also contributing to the betterment of your fellow humans in a tangible way. How long it takes to become a registered nurse depends on what level of education you choose to pursue. Let’s look at your options.

Education Matters

Diploma Programs (Non-Degree)—time varies

Most nursing diploma programs take place at a hospital, focusing on clinical care. Diploma programs vary in the amount of time it takes to complete. When choosing this path, you should consider what credits will transfer if you decide to pursue further nursing education. While diploma programs are worthwhile, keep in mind that if you are competing for a job, you will be passed over since hospitals and healthcare organizations tend to hire those with ADNs, ASDs, and BSNs first. Read more.

Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN)–18 months to 2 years

This degree takes less time than the ASD, BSN, and MSN. The ADN prepares you to take the NCLEX (National Council of Licensure Exam) test. Passing this test is mandatory for aspiring nurses in every state in the U.S.

Associate of Science in Nursing (ASD)—2-4 years

This is typically a five-semester program for those wanting to secure an entry-level job in the field. Unlike the AND, this course of study focuses less on academic topics and more on clinical competencies. This degree also prepares nurses to sit for the NCLEX.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)—4 years

If you like hitting the books and are interested in courses in anatomy, physiology, microbiology psychology, and social and behavioral sciences, then you should consider earning a BSN. It takes four years to earn a BSN. Beyond the science, you will also learn how to communicate with patients, think critically, and become a leader in your field, which will help if you desire to work in nursing administration.

Master of Science Degree in Nursing (MSN)-

This graduate-level degree opens doors of opportunity and imbues nurses with the credentials to choose where they want to work, which could be as part of a team or independently, in clinical and non-clinical settings. Earning this degree also earns you a level of respect in any healthcare facility. You must already have a BSN to pursue this degree.

Please note, this is not an exhaustive list. Check out your school’s offerings as some programs may be combined, such as RN-MSN, which are commonly referred to as bridge programs. For more information, visit American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

How Do I Find a Nursing Job?

If you need help navigating this complex job market, Pioneer Healthcare is here for you. No matter what level of nursing education you achieved, we are eager to help you open your next amazing career door.

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