With an increased demand in medical services and a low supply of qualified nurses, it is the ideal time to inquire about how to become a nurse. Aging baby boomers, longer life spans, and fewer nursing candidates have increased employer demand for nurses. You will find several ways to obtain certification to become a professional nurse, along with myriad degree programs that promote professional advancement.
How to become a nurse involves enrolling in a degree program. One of the quickest ways to enter the healthcare field of nursing is to attain a licensed practical nursing (LPN) diploma. Hospitals, vocational schools, universities, and community colleges offer the nursing programs. Devoted students can finish the program within one year of enrollment. LPNs work under the guidance and supervision of doctors. They provide nursing services that include collection of lab samples, measuring vital signs, gathering patient health information, and administering injections. Pursuing an LPN degree is a convenient choice for those who cannot afford to quit their full time jobs.
Associate’s and Bachelor’s Nursing Degrees
You can take how to become a nurse to the next level by enrolling in an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program. An associate’s nursing program is a two-year program that is offered by many accredited community colleges and some universities. This program features a liberal arts curriculum, with a heavy concentration in science and math. Some of the common courses include anatomy and physiology, nursing skills, advanced algebra, biology, and chemistry. Students will also complete field practicums to gain experience in healthcare settings, such as hospitals and private medical facilities. Upon completion of the two-year program, students will have to pass their state NCLEX-RN exam for licensure as a RN. With state licensure, RNs can work in a variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, physician offices, and private health facilities.
Completing a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) will open more job opportunities for nurses and garner higher salaries. Many four-year colleges offer a bridge nursing program from RN to BSN, making it easily for students to transition smoothly into the BSN program. Many RNs work full-time, while working on their BSN. In addition, most hospitals and healthcare centers pay partial or all of tuition expenses for their employed healthcare workers. Those who have completed the BSN program will also be required to pass the NCLEX-RN exam for licensure.
Master’s Degree and Doctoral Degree in Nursing
A BSN is required to pursue a master’s degree in nursing. In addition, a top quarter percentile GPA, a strong GRE score, and vast clinical experience will help you gain acceptance into a post-graduate program. The master’s program goes beyond the scope of an RN, and the program usually takes at least two years to complete. You will concentrate on learning advanced nursing skills, theory, and practices. Upon completion, you will acquire the skills necessary to learn how to become a nurse. Some of the specialties you will assimilate include certified nurse anesthetist, clinical nurse specialist, nurse practitioner, and certified nurse midwife.
Nursing professionals who want to make an indelible impact on the profession enroll in doctoral nursing degree programs. Doctoral nursing degrees are intensive five to six year post-graduate programs that prepare professional nurses for top-tier positions. After achieving this lofty degree, you will become one of the few leaders of advanced clinical practice, clinical research, and health administration. Degree options in this nursing program include a doctor of nursing practice, nursing science, or philosophy. The goal of a doctoral nursing program is to create professionals who contribute innovative ideas to the field of medicine.
Job Outlook for Nurses
The job outlook for nurses is one of the best in the healthcare industry. According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for professional nurses will grow at a healthy rate of 20 percent throughout 2018. Depending on experience and education, the annual median salary for nurses is $58,000 annually.
Nursing is one of the best healthcare careers to pursue. If you would like to learn more about this challenging and rewarding career, contact an online college and ask speak with the director of the nursing program. Your future will never be brighter after you learn how to become a nurse.