What Education is Needed to be a Nurse?

If you’re interested in becoming a nurse, you’re probably wondering what kind of education you need. The answer depends on the type of nurse you want to be. Here’s a look at the different types of nursing and the education you need for each.

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Nurses are in high demand and the profession is expected to grow by 15% over the next decade. But what education is needed to be a nurse?

There are three main educational pathways to becoming a Registered Nurse (RN): a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN), and a diploma from an approved nursing program.

Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to choose the one that’s right for you. Keep reading to learn more about the different types of nursing programs and what they entail.

Nursing Programs

If you’re thinking about a career in nursing, you’re probably wondering what kind of education you need. The answer may surprise you – you can become a nurse with very little formal education. In fact, you can become a registered nurse (RN) with an associate’s degree or a diploma from an accredited nursing program.

Associate’s Degree in Nursing

An Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) is a two-year degree that is offered at many community colleges and technical schools. An ADN provides students with the basic knowledge and skills needed to become a registered nurse (RN). After completing an ADN program, students must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed RNs.

ADN programs typically include coursework in anatomy, physiology, microbiology, chemistry, nutrition, and other health sciences. Students also receive training in nursing theory and practice, patient care, and communication. Many ADN programs also offer clinical experiences that give students the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills in a real-world setting.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree is typically a four-year program that prepares students for a career in nursing. In addition to the basic sciences and mathematics, BSN programs include liberal arts courses and multiple clinical rotations. Students who complete a BSN program are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam and become licensed registered nurses.

Some schools offer an accelerated BSN program for students who already have a bachelor’s degree in another field. These programs typically take two to three years to complete. Students in an accelerated BSN program typically complete the same coursework as students in a traditional BSN program, but at an accelerated pace.

BSN programs prepare nurses for careers in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare settings. Nurses with a BSN degree may also choose to pursue advanced nursing degrees, such as a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).

Master of Science in Nursing

A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree is the minimum requirement for most nursing positions. With an MSN, you’ll be prepared for advanced nursing practice, including working as a clinical nurse specialist, nurse anesthetist, nurse midwife, and nurse practitioner. Some MSN programs also offer coursework in nursing administration and education, which can prepare you for a career in nursing management or education.

Nursing Licensure

To be a licensed nurse, you will need to complete an accredited nursing program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). Once you have met these requirements, you will be able to apply for a nursing license in your state. Each state has different requirements for licensure, so be sure to check with your state’s Board of Nursing.

Registered Nurse

In order to practice as a registered nurse, one must obtain a license in the state in which they wish to practice. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) is a not-for-profit organization that assists state boards in developing uniform licensure requirements and model language for legislation.

The first step to becoming licensed is completing an accredited nursing program. There are three levels of nursing education: diploma, associate degree, and baccalaureate degree. A diploma program is typically hospital-based while associate and baccalaureate degree programs are found at community colleges and universities, respectively. All three types of programs will prepare students for the NCLEX-RN exam, which is required for licensure.

After successfully completing an accredited nursing program and passing the NCLEX-RN exam, applicants must apply for licensure with their state board of nursing. The requirements for licensure vary by state but generally include passing a criminal background check and paying a fee. Some states also require nurses to complete continuing education credits in order to renew their license.

Licensed Practical Nurse

A licensed practical nurse (LPN) works under the supervision of a registered nurse (RN) or a licensed physician. LPNs provide basic nursing care, monitor patients’ vital signs, give injections and document patients’ progress. In some states, they may also administer medications.

Most LPNs have completed a one-year practical nursing program that includes classroom and clinical instruction. Some programs may take longer to complete, and some states may require LPNs to pass an exam before they can be licensed.

After completing an accredited practical nursing program, graduates must apply for licensure with the state board of nursing in the state in which they wish to practice. Once licensed, they may use the title “licensed practical nurse” or “LPN.”


After completing a nursing program, nurses must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to become licensed registered nurses (RNs). Some states may have additional requirements. Nurses can pursue specialty certifications to demonstrate greater mastery of a particular area of nursing practice.

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