If you’re interested in nursing as a career, now is the time to become an RN. The demand for Registered Nurses (RNs) is strong and growing.
To be a Registered Nurse in the United States, you must pass the relevant National Council Licensure EXamination (NCLEX). This means that you would have to first undertake and pass a suitable education and training program, either an associate degree or bachelors degree, in preparation for the the exam.
But what is the difference between getting registered and getting a bachelors degree (RN vs BSN)? What can you expect to earn as an RN? This page tells you about the pathways to nursing registration, helps you to find suitable programs to prepare you for the NCLEX nursing licensing exam, and more …
Studying to become an RN (Registered Nurse) in the USA
The NCLEX-RN is taken by both Associate Degree (ADN) and Bachelors Degree (BSN) prepared nurses and the pass rates are about the same for both ADN and BSN prepared nurses. Make sure that your chosen program prepares you for the NCLEX Nurse Registration exam.
There are basically three types of program you can take depending on your qualifications and the time you want to spend:
- If you don’t yet have a degree, then the two-year online Associate Degree in Nusing (ADN) is one program you could take. The Associate Degree has been the main route to becoming a registered nurse for many years.
- If you don’t yet have a degree, the other program you could take is the four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). The popularity of the BSN as a route to registration is growing quickly, both with nurses and with employers.
- If you already have a non-nursing degree, the paths to becoming an RN are called “second degree accelerated” BSN programs, and “direct entry” MSN (Master of Science in Nursing) programs.
Preparing for the NCLEX-RN Exam
The NCLEX-RN exam is a computer based test designed to measure if you have the knowledge and problem solving skills needed to provide adequate health care to patients and is needed in order to work in any health care facility. The length of time it takes you to complete the test will depend on if you get the correct answers. Each time you do, the computer software gives you a question at a higher skill level, whilst a wrong answer will mean going down to a lower level. The software will keep providing new questions until it is clear that you have or do not have the competency at the level required.
The subjects covered include care and comfort; safety; infection control; health promotion and maintenance; psychosocial integrity; pharmacological therapies; and reduction of risk potential.
StudyGuideZone.com provides further information, together with a free, downloadable Study Guide for the NCLEX-RN exam.
Summary of how to qualify as an RN
If you don’t yet have a degree:
If you already have a non-nursing degree:
- Take the “second degree accelerated” BSN or take the “direct entry” MSN
- Take the examination for registration (NCLEX-RN in the USA).
What can you expect to earn as an RN?
Your salary will obviously depend on your experience, qualifications and which role you pursue. But in the US, the median salary range for an RN with 1 to 4 years experience is $40,000 – $59.000 (source: PayScale).
List of schools and programs
Advance your career at Dawn Career Institute. Gain the specialized knowledge and skills to help prepare you for a new career quickly and conveniently.
- Nursing Assistant
- Medical Assisting
Since 1977, Keiser University has maintained a practical, hands-on approach to career-focused education to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals. Our student-centered approach remains at the foundation of the Keiser University mission and continues to attract students who prefer a more personal learning experience.
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Accelerated)
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (FastTrack)
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN)
- And more...
The path to a brighter future isn’t always clear. We face roadblocks and detours. Sometimes, we make a wrong turn and get lost. No matter where you are in your journey, Baker College can help you move forward to a rewarding career.
At Baker College, we know the importance of a quality education. We are regionally accredited with award-winning faculty. We will be there every step of the way so you can get where you’re going.
- Nursing (Post-licensure)
The Berkeley Advantage®
Preparing students for professional and personal success is what Berkeley College is all about. From career-focused degree and certificate programs offered in some of today’s most in-demand professions to extensive support resources, YOU are at the center of everything we do at Berkeley. Our commitment to students begins with their very first inquiries.
- Certificate in Practical Nurse
- AAS in Medical Assistant
- Certificate in Medical Assistant
Since 1866, Davenport University has been providing students with real-world experience, giving them the edge they need to get the career they want.
Our goal is to offer guaranteed job placement to most of our students by 2020.
- Nursing Completion Program, BS
At South College we welcome students from all different stages of life and career. Whether you are pursing a degree for the first time, going back to school as an adult learner, or furthering your career with an advanced degree, our faculty and staff will partner with you to give your dreams direction.
- Bachelor of Science in Health Science with a Concentration in Computed Tomography
- Associate of Science in Health Science - Pre-Nursing
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing
- And more...
As the world is adjusting to new realities, we are prepared to help you work towards a successful future in a manner that is safer for you and the community at large. Here's how:
- We offer in-demand, career-focused education delivered through your local campus using live, interactive synchronous online delivery. There's also the flexibility to transition to an in-seat class environment once the current situation is resolved.
- Nursing (RN) - Associate's
- Practical Nursing - Diploma
Southern Technical College provides education and training in a variety of medical and technical areas that enable graduates to obtain entry-level employment. As a student at Southern Technical College, you will have the opportunity learn in several different ways.
- A.S. - Nursing
- Diploma - Medical Assistant
- A.S. - Medical Assistant
Get hands-on training with Brookline College. We offer diploma and degree programs in the areas of health care, business, nursing, criminal justice, paralegal, and computer security. We understand that today's student is busy with many responsibilities, so we offer day, evening, and online classes, giving you options to fit school into your schedule.
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing for Baccalaureate Degree Graduates
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing
- Diploma - Medical Assistant
Sullivan University is Kentucky's largest private college or university, offering higher education for people with higher goals. At Sullivan University, we focus on in-demand programs that lead to successful careers. Whether you're a high school student considering college for the first time, an adult returning to school or someone seeking professional development, you'll be surprised at the variety and range of alternatives Sullivan University offers.
- Practical Nursing Diploma
- Medical Assistant Diploma