How to Become a Registered Nurse

Many individuals want to become a registered nurse. A registered nurse - commonly referred as RN - is one of the most valued healthcare professional and he/she has many responsibilities other than just taking care of the patient. Their roles are almost as important as the physicians and physician assistants. Most of them have prescribing privileges. They will soon be referred to as ‘advanced nurse practitioners’ in the near future.

Read the Job Description: The registered nurses have jobs not just at hospitals; they have a vital role in settings like operative theatre, cardiac care, forensic, emergency as well as research oriented fields. A registered nurse is responsible for all the patients’ needs and medical care - be it from illness or injury - like:

  • Recording patient’s past medical history, present illness and the physical symptoms and vital signs etc.
  • Planning and establishing medical care.
  • Assigning nursing tasks to the LPNs and the unlicensed nursing assistants.

Understand Educational Requirements: At university level, about 30-60 credit hours in nutrition, chemistry and anatomy must be finished.  After that, the following nursing credentials can be obtained from any of the accredited nursing schools.

  • Associate's degree in nursing – 2-year course; this can be either an Associate Degree in Nursing, Associate of Science in Nursing or Associate of Applied Science in Nursing.
  • Bachelor's of science degree in nursing – 4 year course – BSN.
  • Nursing Diploma – 3-5 years.

Master's Degree & Doctoral Program in Nursing can be pursued also as higher studies. Online courses are also available for completing the theory part after which practical on-job training has to be finished.Nursing courses are pretty expensive but there are loans, scholarships and grants with loan-waiving/forgiveness programs available for the deserving students.

Go through the Licensing Requirements: After completing any of the nursing programs, NCLEX-RN (national licensing examination) must be passed to get the licence. And there may be local NCLEX-RN to be cleared where you are seeking work.

Excel the Career Chart: You can finish the associate’s degree in nursing and apply for an entry-level position in a hospital along with working towards the 2-year bachelor’s degree in nursing – the benefits are tuition reimbursements and college credits with hands on job experience.  Otherwise join after concluding the bachelor’s degree.

Know About Salary: A practicing nurse averagely gets about $57,280. The salary ranges from $47,710 to $69850. More experience and specialization bring in better prospects.

Acquaint Yourself with Career Outlook: Nursing is one of the fastest growing and always in-demand career fields and a registered nurse is more so. With such a wide gap between supply and demand, the hospitals are offering lucrative signing bonuses, subsidized higher education opportunities, and family-friendly work environment and schedules.


Becoming a nurse is a challenging career option. It is a physically demanding and mentally stressful job. Death, sickness and pain are to be dealt with daily. Nightshifts and odd working hours may take a toll on personal life. So you should consider all pros and cons before deciding.

With so many options in the nursing career, it may be a bit confusing as to what may be right choice. You can visit to get an idea about the right choices and which institute may provide the best choice.