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The Road To Becoming an RN

by Greg Cryns

The fact is that you do not need a bachelor's degree to become an RN. You can do it with a two year associate degree, if you choose.

Though they call it a 2-year associate program it is likely that it will take you 3 years. Why? You mush have the prerequisites in biology, anatomy, chemistry and physiology before you are allowed to apply for an associate program. You will then take two full years of nursing courses.

Nursing courses are not easy so plan on lots of study and superior effort to complete them. When you finish the associate program you will take the identical licensure exam as do people who have the bachelors degree. If you want, you can do a BSN program when you are ready, both mentally and financially. The first two years, though, are much more demanding.

You could also go directly into the BSN program. You will finish in four years if you take the full college level course requirements for each of the four years. You could choose to extend the program if you feel you need extra time. Just take fewer courses each semester or quarter. At the end of the sophomore year you will then apply for the nursing program. You begin the BSN part of the program in your third year. It's the same as declaring your major.

In the nursing BSN program you earn many more general education and elective credits. In the BSN program you will take additional courses in Public Health, research, management, leadership and nursing history. In other words, you will have a broader knowledge about nursing in general and you will be more prepared for the administration end of nursing. You will also be prepared to earn a master's degree.

To be a nurse practitioner, you will need to go to graduate school. This implies that you have the BSN in your back pocket.

If you are in high school, decide which nursing program would be best for you. Get lots of information from nursing schools in or near your home State or city. To determine the competitiveness, be sure to find out how many students apply for nursing school and how many are accepted.

Apply to many nursing schools. You don't want to be left out in the cold if your dream school does not accept your application. After you choose a school and are accepted, jump in and finish the prerequisite courses. Most often these basic but very necessary courses will be transferable to another school should you change your mind about the school.

If you do not get into any school at first, start taking the prerequisite courses at your community college and then apply again the next year. You will get into a good school if you want it strong enough.


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