How long does it take to become a nurse? – A tremendous rewarding career in coming years.

Become a Nurse

If you are thinking about how long does it take to be a nurse? you choose a meaningful career that brings you glory both in your personal and professional life. American Association of Colleges of Nurses (AACN) stated, an average of two lac positions are registered every year for nurses, and this number is continuously increasing. As the population increases, more healthcare providers are required to give care and support to them. For this reason, the US is currently facing a shortage of registered nurses, and this lack probably increases in coming years. 

Now it is very clear that entering into a nursing program is an excellent professional choice. The increasing demand for a registered nurse is good news for everyone interested in becoming a nurse. Once you decide to become a nurse next question that arises in your mind is, “how long does it take to be a nurse?” Whether you are thinking of picking up the fastest route or obtaining advanced credentials, the time it takes from you varies greatly. 

The duration of becoming a nurse depends on the institute and program you choose, but the minimum time you require is 15 months. During this time, you will learn comprehensive skills and experience many difficult situations, but this is important to prepare a nurse for the healthcare setting. If you decide to pursue your career as a nurse, you should know the steps necessary to get there. Below you get everything you need to know about becoming a nurse:

Nursing diploma or certificate?

The nursing diploma is the fastest way to become a nurse. This program requires 1-3 years to complete and an average of 15 months. The nursing diploma is offered by hospitals and community colleges rather than a university that offers a degree program. The certificate mainly focused on preparing a nurse for a clinical point of view. Candidates spent most of the time in the clinical area in the nursing diploma program to gain experience and develop skills. 

Compared to a degree program that is more about books, education, and classroom work, a diploma covers the clinical side in depth. A nursing diploma program will also prepare you for the NCLEX-PN exam and, in return, allow you to become a licensed practical nurse (LPN). However, all the benefits of a nursing diploma are becoming uncommon because of increasing competition. With the increase in demand for nurses, hospitals prefer to hire a candidate with at least an associate degree in nursing. 

Associate degree in nursing.

Associated degree in nursing (ADN) is s 2-year degree program that makes a candidate able and eligible to sit in the NCLEX-PN exam. The education provided in the associated nursing degree is not in-depth; the course and books contain basic nursing knowledge. It includes both classroom learning and clinical experience. The point to be noticed in an associated degree program is employers prefer a candidate with AND on the diploma. 

Associate degree in nursing contains basic knowledge, but course work is more rigorous and in-depth than a nursing diploma. Associate degree in nursing (ADN) is the first and strong step towards the journey of nursing. Obtaining an ADN is an excellent step towards a higher degree. This is the shortest and best method to quickly get an entry-level position in the nursing profession to continue higher studies. Then, use employer’s tuition reimbursement programs to pay for a higher degree.

Bachelors of Science in nursing

Bachelors of Science in nursing is a 4-year program and a gold standard in the profession of nursing. The course work is more advanced and in-depth than offering an associated degree in nursing, which comprises basic knowledge. The candidates that complete a bachelor’s of science in nursing have more career opportunities, better starting income, and more choices for career advancement. Most leadership position in nursing requires a BSN degree. Therefore, you should carefully choose the program.

Masters of Science in nursing

Masters of Science in nursing is one of the most popular degrees in the world requires 5-6 years. This program helps candidates to specialize in various areas and further develop their knowledge and skills. Masters of Science in nursing is one of the highest levels of nursing education and qualifies RN to become advanced practice registered nurse. The coursework for an MSN degree includes pharmacology, physiology, pathophysiology, healthcare policy, and ethics. 

Nursing bridge program

In addition to the standard and straightforward path of becoming a nurse, some short alternatives are called the nursing bridge program. These programs are designed to facilitate nurses who are willing to receive higher education in a short duration. These programs offer an accelerated path towards obtaining a nursing degree.

  • LPN to RN: The bridge program is designed to bridge the gap between LPN and RN nurses. In this program, the LPN nurse becomes educated and eligible to give NCLEX-PN exam. After passing the exam, the LPN can work as a registered nurse. It takes 1-2 years to complete.
  • RN to BSN: This program is planned for a registered nurse who holds an ADN degree and wants to obtain a higher level of education. Hospitals have tuition reimbursements programs so nurses can start working as ADNs before enrolling in the BSN program. It takes one year to complete. 
  • BSN to MSN It is a bridge program designed to facilitate the BSN nurses. In this program, nurses can level up their education in as little as one year. Willing candidates should have a BSN degree, required GPA, RN license, and recommendation letter to enrol in this program.

Time required for the NCLEX-RN exam

The most important exam you have to attempt to pass while becoming a nurse is the National Council Licensure Examination. This examination is for registered nurses, and it shows whether you are granted a nursing license. This exam consist of three simple steps:

  • Apply for eligibility: The National Council of State Board for nursing wants you to apply for registration to the nursing regulatory body where you want to be licensed.
  • Registered for the exam: Once you become eligible by meeting all the required criteria, you have to register and pay for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN).
  • Attempt the exam: You have to appear in the examination centre on the allotted date and pass the exam once you register. The time given for finishing the exam is six hours. There is an optional interval after the first two hours of the exam and a second optional interval after three and half hours. 

Time required according to the role.

When someone wants to become a nurse, he might think about which role will best suit him. Nursing is a diverse profession, and it is very difficult to answer which type of role is best for you. Information about the responsibilities, duties, and time required to become a nurse will help choose the role. One of many great things about being a nurse is that there are a lot of opportunities to exceed and excel in your career and education. Common nursing roles are:

Licensed practical nurse

Those who want to become nurses quickly and start a professional life can go for the licensed practical nurse. The duties a d responsibilities of LPN nurse is the same as for registered nurse involves taking vital signs, patient history, and providing basic care to patients. A licensed practical nurse does not perform the more advanced duties such as care plans. The diploma program of LPN requires 12 – 15 months, but it greatly depends on the state and institute.

Registered nurse

One can become a registered nurse by two separate paths; one is by doing an associate degree in nursing, and the other is bachelor’s of science in nursing. The role of the registered nurse depends on the location of the job, whether it is a clinic or a hospital. Both ADN and BSN nurses have greater scope and more career opportunities than LPNs. Registered nurses often choose to do further specialization inpatient care. The typical specialties are pediatric, oncology, geriatric, and intensive care. 

Advance practice registered nurse.

The highest post of the nurse in medical setting advance practice registered nurse. To qualify for the master’s program, you should have a BSN degree and a few other requirements. Once you complete your master’s in nursing, you can start doing the job as an advanced practice registered nurse. You can complete a master’s in as little as 18 months, but an advanced degree requires several years of schooling, like 5 to 6 years. The advanced practice registered nurse also has to play an advanced practice role by providing more patient care. 

Conclusion

So, how long does it take to become a nurse? The simple answer to this complicated question is about 10 to 15 years to become an advanced practice registered nurse. If you are interested in becoming a registered nurse, then 4 to 6 years are required. Nursing is a highly respected profession and opens the doors of many career opportunities. If you want to become a nurse, whether ADN, RN, or APRN, consider the roles and time required to complete each education level. 

Share on:

x