There are over 2.7 million registered nurses in the US, out of which 60% work in hospitals. Registered nurses are offered placements in government organizations, rehabilitation agencies, physicians’ offices, military schools, and even home health care settings. The demand for registered nurses is only going to continue to grow, and this already reflects the compensation and benefits offered to them.
Even though many individuals choose to become registered nurses for reasons apart from money, the fact remains that the average median salary of approximately $70,000 makes it an attractive career option for those concerned with the bottom line. Whether you seek money or helping those in need, you should consider becoming a registered nurse. But how do you go about becoming one? To find out, read on.
Complete an Accredited Program for Registered Nurses
The only way you can become a registered nurse is by completing an accredited program. Fortunately, you will come across several options, including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, and diplomas.
If you are considering completing an associate degree, it will take two years, although you can complete it in a shorter period via accelerated programs. For a bachelor’s degree, it will take four years to complete. But for those with an associate to bachelor’s program for registered nurses, it will take two years.
Now, if you want another bachelor’s degree, you can attend a school offering a second-degree program. This way, you can earn another degree apart from nursing in fields like nursing consulting, administration and so on. Remember, bachelor’s degree programs involve completing nursing coursework along with taking classes.
For an idea as to how a registered nurse program might be like, check out MSN online. Since the field of registered nurses is becoming highly competitive, employers now require registered nurses to have a bachelor’s degree.
Take the NCLEX-RN Exam
Once you have enrolled in a registered nurse program, it will also help you prepare for the NCLEX-RN exam. After graduating, you must register with the National Council of State Boards of Nursing to take the exam. When it is time to sign up for the review, you will receive a notification. As for the exam itself, it has 119 questions and a six hours limit. Those that are unable to pass the test can retake it again after 45 days.
Get a State License
Throughout the US and all of its territories, not excluding the District of Columbia, mandates that registered nurses need to have a proper license no matter what. Of course, the mandates do vary from state to state. For this reason, you will need to contact the state board of nursing to verify if there aren’t any additional steps that are pending, like a background check, for instance.
As mentioned earlier, there is an ever-increasing demand for registered nurses. After graduating from a registered nurse program, you will have plenty of employment opportunities to choose from. Enough emphasis cannot prove the fact that even though you may have got a degree and have passed the NCLEX-RN exam, you will still have much to learn. Much of what it takes to be a registered nurse will come from experience, and this applies to all other medical professions you can think about.
Pursue further Education or Training
If you want to take things up a notch, like becoming an advanced practice registered nurse, you will need a master’s degree. After getting a master’s degree, you will be fit for roles like nurse anesthetist, nurse midwife, nurse practitioner, and nurse specialist. To go even further, you will have to enroll in a doctoral program. Ph.D. and DNP programs are appealing to those that aspire to be university professors or scientific researchers in the field of nursing sciences.
You need not stop there; you can get additional certifications in areas such as nursing management, acute care, or critical care.
All in all, you now have enough information to get started with becoming a registered nurse. There is no denying the fact that there is a lot more to it than meets the eye, but once you get on track, there will be nothing stopping you from reaching your goal.
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Just because you think you now have an idea about registered nursing does not mean you take it as a pinch of salt. You will still need to do your homework to ensure you are making an informed decision. There are a lot of other factors not highlighted here, and you will need to identify them on your own to determine whether this is the route you want to take.
Research is critical, and without it, there is simply no way you can tell if registered nursing is for you or not. So make sure you know what you are getting yourself into beforehand before it is too late.