Earn a Nursing Degree and Prepare for an In-Demand Profession
Nursing is one of the fastest-growing career options, with demand seemingly always increasing. There are many paths you can take to create a fulfilling career in the nursing field, all with different educational requirements. You’re sure to find a rewarding and fulfilling option in the nursing profession that aligns with your passion and natural talents.
To become a registered nurse, you need to earn a nursing diploma, associate’s degree, or bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. This requirement will vary depending on what your ultimate career goals are. Nursing diplomas aren’t as popular as traditional two- or four-year degrees and are usually hospital-based training programs. Students who earn nursing diplomas must also take basic coursework in anatomy, psychology, and other foundational topics found in degree programs.
If you’re more interested in advanced nursing, teaching, nursing administration, or research, it pays to earn a bachelor’s degree from the start of your journey. In general, the lessons you’ll learn in a four-year program are more intensive, so you’ll also set yourself up for faster advancement in the nursing field with a bachelor’s degree.
Whether you earn a diploma, two-year, or four-year degree, the next step in becoming a registered nurse is to pass the NCLEX-RN exam. After graduating, you’ll need to register with the National Council of State Boards of Nursing to sign up for the exam. The test itself is computerized and averages 119 questions. You have six hours to take the NCLEX-RN and the national passage rate is around 75 percent. If you don’t pass it, you need to wait at least 45 days to re-take it.
Once you pass the exam, you need to obtain a state license. Requirements vary by state and might include a background check. From there, it’s time to begin work as a registered nurse and gain the real-world experience necessary to complement classroom and lab training.
As a registered nurse, you have plenty of concentration options to pursue. You could become a midwife, helping pregnant women and those who have just given birth. You might work in a critical care unit, assisting those who are dealing with or are at high risk for life-threatening health problems. You could focus in anesthesia, helping patients reduce or manage their pain. The options are many and all provide essential services to people in need.
You certainly don’t have to worry about the job market if you decide to pursue a nursing degree and become a registered nurse. Nursing careers of just about every stripe are expected to grow at well above average rates in the years to come. If you have a passion for helping people, a strong attention to detail, and a knack for performing under pressure, you owe it to yourself to explore the many fulfilling career paths in the nursing field.