How do I become a registered nurse? This is a question many aspiring registered nurses are looking for an answer to. There are different paths to earning an Associates Degree in Nursing (ASN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), and choosing the best RN program often depends on choosing the program that best fits your needs as a student. Some students are looking to the fastest degree path to their RN with an accelerated nursing program. Others may be looking for a full time 4-year nursing program to complete their Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Another group may be trying to find an ideal balance between going back to school and maintaining their full-time job and family responsibilities and need an online nursing program that can fit into their schedule. We’ll go over these different options to help you choose the program that’s right for you.
Choosing to become an RN is a strong career move. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary from 2012 of Registered Nurses was $65,470. RN jobs are expected to grow by 19% from 2012-2022, which is faster than the national average for all other occupations. The number of jobs added within this period is over 525,000. RNs can look forward to providing patient care and advocacy, job security, increased income compared to their current position, and the respect that comes with the RN title. Making the transition to RN is a big opportunity and a big decision. Once you’ve decided to become an RN, you’ve got to find the right program.
All RN options share a similar path. These involve:
1. Complete basic/core course credit towards an ASN degree
2. Complete required core nursing courses
3. Complete clinical requirements established for RNs
4. Graduate with a degree in Nursing
5. Prepare for and pass the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination)
6. Register with your state Board of Nursing as an RN
If you are starting from scratch with little to no background in health care, a two-year or four-year nursing degree program is typically the best option. These are often completed on-campus at a physical brick-and-mortar college or university. Some of the most popular nursing schools are in NY, FL, TX, and OH. These programs cater to newer students that are able to commute to class, stay on a set schedule, and typically don’t have the same job and family responsibilities that older students that are returning back to school may have. These students can enjoy a structured format and interact in person with their peers and instructors. These are typically more expensive options as tuition is usually higher and other costs associated with physical on-campus locations must be taken into account such as commuting costs or housing costs. These students will have to find time to complete their clinicals as well as part of their path to RN. Often times these nursing programs have strict requirements to enter as competition to enter is high and openings fill up fast due to their limited class sizes. Wait lists are available, but are not a guarantee of acceptance into the program. Despite being qualified for nursing programs, these types of RN degree paths turn thousands of students away each year due to their limiting factors. This may lead to some students to seek out online degree options from those same schools. This is a convenient alternative to a physical classroom. Online options may be limited to availability by the colleges and may be subject to the same waitlists, but may have fewer class size restrictions, allowing more students the option to enter. Online RN classes also eliminate the need for commuting or housing located near the college, offering considerable savings on education costs. For those with a background already in healthcare, there is another option that is both faster and more affordable.
For those with a previous background in health care, accelerated nursing programs or RN bridge programs are one of the best options available. These programs can be completed in as little as one year to complete an Associate of Science in Nursing degree (ASN). These are flexible, online programs that understand adult learners going back to school have full-time jobs and family responsibilities that must fit into their education. The accelerated online RN programs allow flexible schedules that allow students to progress as fast or as slow as they need. The best online RN programs come with customer support and tutor assistance and allow students to take their courses from mobile devices as well as laptop and home computers. Typically, these accelerated programs are only available to Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs), Paramedics, and certain military medical personnel. The reason for this is these positions have already completed a majority of clinical requirements for ASN degrees and don’t have to repeat their clinical hours to transition to RN. This is an excellent advantage for those looking to transition from LPN to RN, LVN to RN, or Paramedic to RN as the path is much faster to become a registered nurse than a traditional RN program. Students that have a successful experience with an online nursing degree program will be happy to know there are also similar RN to BSN online programs that offer the same flexibility.
Rue Education is one such RN bridge Program company that has been helping adult learners bridge to RN for over 25 years. During this time they have helped over 100,000 adults earn credit towards their Associates Degree in Nursing and enhanced the accelerated online RN education experience with education consultants that walk students through the degree process and help them figure out what courses they need and what past credit will apply towards their degree. They have real customer support that helps to motivate and assist students when they need guidance or that extra boost of motivation. Their tutor-assisted courses are available online through easy-to-use online platforms that are accessible from computer and mobile devices. They also provide two industry-leading education success guarantees. This program assists LPNs, LVNs, and paramedics to bridge to RN from beginning to NCLEX to graduation.
Whichever path you choose, successful students all share similar habits and attitudes towards their education that make a difference in their education success. They are self-driven, motivated, and ready to set a goal and work towards finishing it. They set schedules and stick to them, working time around their job and other life responsibilities. They’ll set small goals as part of the bigger picture, such as finishing a chapter today, taking a practice test this week, and finishing a course by a particular date. Having the drive and motivation makes all the difference, as well as proper planning. No matter what age, it is possible to go back to school. There are resources and paths available for students of all backgrounds looking to become an RN; all it requires is taking that first step.