How long does it take to become a Nurse

How long does it take to become a nurse?

There are four levels of nursing degrees:

This chart is only illustrative and you must refer the college’s website, as each college is different.

Level of Nursing QualificationEntry educational requirementsApproximate Course duration
Certified Nursing Assistant(CNA)High School Diploma or GED3 months
Licensed Practical Nurse(LPN)High School Diploma or GED12 months
Registered Nurse (RN)  
Associate Degree in Nursing



High School Diploma or GED18 months+
Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing(RN-BSN)High School Diploma or GED33 months+
Master of Science Degree in NursingBSN24 months

After obtaining the appropriate level of degree, there is also a licensing exam that must be passed – the NCLEX-RN. This will give you a license to practice nursing.

Depending on how quickly you want hands-on experience, how much you want to study, and what kind of nursing specialisation you’d like to end up in, becoming a nurse can be as short as 9 months or around 8 years.

We have listed 15 cheapest RN to BSN degrees here.

Certain paths to becoming a nurse are preferable, but there are many ways into the profession for those who need employment as soon as possible. We’re going to explore the options and how you can become a nurse after high school.

Also check our related articles on Neonatal nursing degree and dental assistant programs in Texas.

What kinds of nurses are there?

There are 4 basic categories that nurses fall into – Practical Nurse (PN), Certifed Nurse(CN), Registered Nurse (RN) with either an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (AND) or a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (BDN), or a Nurse Practitioner (NP).

As you can see, obtaining some kind of degree is expected of most men and women working the nursing profession. When you know what kind of nurse you want to work as, you can start exploring questions like “how much is nursing school?” and “how long does it take to become a nurse?”

How long does it take to become a nurse after high school?

If you’re desperate to get hands-on experience in the field and start your career as a nurse as soon as you can after high school, you might want to become a CNA or to become a PN.

Neither of these positions requires the individual to gain a full degree which means you can start earlier and get working as soon as possible.

What does a Certified Nursing Assistant do?

A Certified Nursing Assistant provides emotional support and basic medical aid to those in their care. These positions are also below the rank of a Registered Nurse or Doctor, so being able to work to instructions and quickly respond to the needs of their supervisors are essential skills for CNAs.

Common tasks for CNAs are bathing, dressing, and undressing patients, running errands for RNs and Doctors, basic medical care such as emptying catheter bags or feeding assistance, and recording accurate notes of medical treatment. The main duty of a CNA is to provide relief work for RNs and also provide better overall patient care, supporting their supervisors and Doctors.

Additionally, as well as obtaining a CNA education in person, it is common to obtain an online certificate. These courses last between 75 and 125 hours.

The Red Cross is an organisation which offers plenty of opportunities for people to apply and train to become CNAs. Unlike other nursing qualifications such as the ADN or the BSN, it is not necessary to pass the NCLEX-RN before you can start practising nursing professionally.

How much money does a Certified Nursing Assistant make?

On average, CNAs earn $29,640 per annum (around $14.25 per hour). The top earners in the country earn as much as $37,000 per annum (around $18 per hour), so there is a chance for career progression as a CNA.

What does a Practical Nurse do?

As a PN, you can work without a degree and can work as a healthcare professional after as little as 9 months of study. You will perform routine care for patients, check and maintain medication and treatments, collect general data, and also promote healthy lifestyles in clinical settings.

This is a diploma scheme for people wanting to become nurses which generally lasts between 9 and 15 months (check your local provision for the specifics) and requires around 46 credit hours of study. Once you gain your diploma as a PN, you will need to sit the NCLEX-RN exam.

How much money does a Practical Nurse make?

The average wage for a PN is $47,480 per annum, which works out to around $23.32 per hour. Practical nurses in the top 10% of earners, however, can earn as much as $63,000 per annum, around £30.46 per hour.

PNs in Alaska earn the highest average wage of $63,850 per annum, with those in South Dakota earning the national lowest average at $38,760.

How long does it take to become a registered nurse?

You can become a Registered Nurse in 2 to 4 years. Becoming a registered nurse requires some kind of degree level study, such as a diploma, an associate’s degree, or a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

Diplomas in nursing are very rare and, if they are being offered at all, are usually offered by hospitals for in house training. The easiest way to become a registered nurse is to attend college or nursing school.

How long does it take to become an RN with an Associate’s Degree?

Gaining an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) takes two if studied full time, or four years as a part time course. The job is mainly providing preventative care for patients in medical facilities and is generally not a specialized nursing degree.

This is an excellent option for those who have the prerequisites as it is a much easier process to go from having an ADN to gain a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (BDN) than studying for a full Bachelor’s after starting as a PN.

Many employers will fund the additional courses that are necessary to obtain a BDN even if you find a job with only an ADN. Much like those who become PNs, any prospective nurse who wishes to practice medicine must sit the NCLEX-RN exam.

This exam will make you eligible to work as a Registered Nurse in only 2 years, allowing you to start your career faster than those who specialize.

Generally an ADN course will take 1485 total program hours with around 110 credit hours to complete. A longer BDN course is more in-depth, but can take twice as long to complete. If you are desperate to get out in the field and help people, studying for an ADN means you can get your qualifications and start working as a registered nurse as soon as you have your ADN and have passed the NCLEX-RN exam that proves your ability as a healthcare professional.

How much money does a Registered Nurse make with an Associate’s Degree?

The average salary for an RN with an AD is $59,248 per annum, but this varies to a greater extent than with PNs. For example, in California, RNs with ADNs earn on average $102,700 per annum, closely followed by those in Hawaii making $96,990 on average.

The additional year to two years of study add to your paycheck at the end of each month, and the Associate’s Degree qualification means that continued professional development is also easier to undertake. As you will see, this will make your pay packet even larger.

How long does it take to become an RN with a Bachelor’s Degree?

A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) usually takes 4 years to complete and is very similar to an ADN early on. Where your colleagues will go into medical facilities and be working hands-on with patients and clients as soon as they have passed their NCLEX-RN, you will stay in school and obtain a specialisation in nursing.

This will allow you to demand a higher salary, have a better understanding of a specific kind of treatment or a specific group of illnesses, and find positions in administration and leadership with greater ease.

This course is also available to those who are already qualified with an ADN, with the “top-up course” only taking between 12 and 20 months (which hopefully you can convince your employer to fund).

As well as generally being paid more than those who are PNs or have ADNs, the BSN is also preferred by employers – by the end of 2020, the majority of nurses working in all medical facilities should have BSNs at a minimum. Although this is obviously a difficult point for those who have an ADN qualification to hear, the aim for American hospitals is to get as many nurses as they can to have 4 years of degree level education in the near future.

This has been linked to an improved level of care and improved levels of improvement for patients and clients. Even if you do not want to initially aim for a BSN, it is the legislature in New York and possibly across the entire country soon that all nurses obtain a BSN qualification within 10 years of obtaining their initial RN license.

If you plan to stay in nursing, you will need a BSN eventually. Why not get it at the beginning of your career if it is possible?

How much money does a Registered Nurse make with a Bachelor’s Degree?

The average salary for an RN with a BSN is $73,300, which is a substantial increase over the wage of an RN with only an AD. This is especially true as hospitals tend to offer higher salaries, sign-on bonuses, and other incentives to BSN holders than those with diplomas or Associate’s degrees.

This is because you have 4 years of experience behind you which should mean you have more to offer to a hospital or any other medical facility! As this is also a degree which can allow a level of specialization, you can find certain jobs which pay more.

For example, a BSN who has trained as a Pharmaceutical RN can earn up to $16,000 more than their non-Pharmaceutical trained colleagues. Think carefully about the path you are going to take before you choose your specialization.

The highest average wage for a RN with a BSN is $106,950 in California and the lowest is in South Dakota, almost half of the California rate at just $58,340.

As the spread is very wide, you can find high paying work in many states. The top level pay has a much smaller gap, with 14 states paying over $90,000 per annum.

How long does it take to become a nurse practitioner?

What is a nurse practitioner?

A nurse practitioner (NP) is an advanced nursing position which requires more years of study. Officially, they are Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) who have specialized experiences, education, and clinical training to a higher level than other RNs. These qualifications allow them to carry out work that other RNs are not allowed or licensed to do.

A NP generally has post-registration experience and an education up to Master’s level.

NPs have the added responsibilities and abilities to diagnose and subscribe medicine to any one in their care. They can also make referrals to other doctors or proscribe alternative medicines to drug treatment such as physiotherapy treatment.

This is a role which sits between nurses and junior doctors, allowing for a smaller gap in the two teams in terms of responsibilities and having more staff that can carry out important tasks like prescribing medicine and diagnosing illnesses.

If you feel you would want to become a nurse practitioner, starting your career with a BSN would help the most in the long run. This will cut down on study time later on and allow you to focus on your practice.

How long do you study to become a nurse practitioner?

Overall, becoming a NP takes between 6 and 8 years of education.

This includes the education that an RN goes through to become an RN (up to 4 years) along with on-the-job experience and further qualifications. Typically, this further education is a Master’s degree in nursing, but could also include a highly specialized PhD Nursing program (such as the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) award) that will allow the nurse to be among the best in their field.

A national NP board certification exam must also be passed before you become a NP.

Similar to the BSN training, thinking about your specialisation will determine where your career ladder goes. 89.7% of NPs work in primary care and a majority of those NPs tend to work in areas such as neonatal medicine, family care, pediatric care, and psychiatric mental health care.
These are all areas of medicine which have a high demand for staff, so any of these fields would give you excellent job prospects.

How much money does a Nurse Practitioner make?

Nurse practitioners, thanks to their high level of qualifications and wealth of experience, can demand high wages. The average salary for a nurse practitioner across the United States is $115,800 depending on circumstances and specialization.

For example, if you are working in psychiatric / mental health treatment for adults, you can receive on average $135,000. Similar wages can be earned in emergency or neonatal treatment.

The highest average wage for a nurse practitioner is $138,660 in California again, with up to $174,780 as the average wage in the Vallejo-Fairfield area. This is a huge increase over the wages of an RN with only a BSN.

Even the lowest average salary, which is Kentucky with $100,000 per annum, is an increase over most RN positions. Aiming to become a NP is a long road, but well worth it in terms of financial gains in the long run.

In conclusion

Nursing can be a lucrative and fulfilling career path. It is advisable to get a higher academic degree early in your career, to reap the full rewards of being a nurse.

Since entry requirement of every college is different, you must alwaysrefer to the college website for accurate information. If you have taken additional courses to your credit, you can finish the program much earlier than others.

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