How to Become a Registered Nurse (RN) in 2021

August 31, 2020

A nursing career is one that offers nursing aspirants a chance to serve the community and provide assistance to physicians, doctors, and the sharpest medical minds in the field. A nurse provides care for the patients that enter clinics, hospitals, and other medical facilities.

There is always a strong requirement for qualified nurses to join the workforce at medical institutions in modern times.

As pointed out by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS, the retirement age average of the baby boomer population sees the need for medical treatment in the long term. The future demand for this generation for qualified nurses is expected to grow.

Are you wondering how to become a registered nurse? Which school to go to and what kind of programs or nursing coursework will help you? Is financial aid available for nursing students? Just follow these steps and start your career in registered nursing today.

Step 1: Fulfill the Prerequisite

To pursue an Associate in Science Degree in New England Tech, a candidate must have a high school diploma, should’ve earned a recognized equivalency diploma (GED), or fulfilled the federal home school requirements. If you have met these requirements, you’ll be able to pursue programs that offer a Registered Nursing Degree with ease. Please see the NEIT University Catalog for additional admissions requirements.

Related Article – Nursing School Requirements
Related Article – Nursing School Requirements

Step 2: Enroll in a Registered Nursing Program

Enroll in a Registered Nursing Program

Before you don your scrubs and start making your rotations and begin calling on patients, assessing their condition, and performing procedures, you need to acquire the right knowledge and gain the right information faced in the nursing profession.

The first step to becoming a registered nurse is to acquire a degree in nursing by enrolling in a nursing school.

There are professional nursing opportunities all over the country, including the state of California and the district of Columbia. You’ll also be able to find a program to suit your needs. It will take just a few years to complete. You’ll have to take and pass a few tests to get ready to join professional nursing.

There are many degrees, such as an associate degree in nursing (ADN), masters of science in nursing (MSN), Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), etc. These can be earned through nursing programs and partner programs. It’s very important to pass the NCLEX RN exam. We’ll go more into detail about passing the NCLEX RN later.

Visit the website or websites of the institution or campuses you are looking to join for specific rules as laid out by the organizations in question. Go through their program, find out whether they offer an associate degree for nurses or any other examination. You can also look for financial aid if needed.

At this point, you can choose from three nursing program options –

Diploma in Nursing

This is the entry-level option that you can pursue in your search to attend nursing classes and become a nursing practitioner.

A diploma or certificate course at community colleges is a starting point for a nurse practitioner, and as such, only covers the most basic points in nursing education and the information you will receive as part of this tuition.

This type of nursing program offers the fastest way to become a registered nurse, but will only qualify you for the licensure examination National Council Licensure Examination NCLEX-RN for practical and vocational nurses.

This qualification means you will only be able to apply for the most basic nursing job options such as CNAs or certified nursing assistants and will not be an RN.

An individual who graduates from a diploma course and gets the required training and certification to become an RN may find that their route into the institution is blocked after a cursory background check as they do not qualify for the role without a full-fledged BSN RN degree.

Associate Degree in Nursing

Associate’s Degree in Nursing programs are the second rung of nursing education required to become an RN. And the requirements for these courses are the same as that of a diploma.

The length of an associate’s degree is also similar to a diploma course with about two years required to complete the graduation of the program. There are many jobs in this profession in the nursing position that you can take on with this degree.

An ADN is the preferred entry-level option in terms of career advancement for an RN. The positions and responsibilities of students that graduate from these courses can acquire are superior to those offered to a diploma student.

ASN associate degrees are popular nursing degree programs as they provide nursing coursework, skills, and lessons that find widespread application in the work environment and set the students on the journey towards their dream

A lot of quality medical occupations and offices require candidates to have an associate’s degree to their name before prospective employers at hospital management will even consent to take a look at your resume and schedule an interview.

Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing

A bachelor of science in nursing (BSN degree) is the most comprehensive course curriculum offered for fresh students looking for admission into the nursing field.

The BSN programs are the best degree programs to ensure that you pass the nursing RN examination – NCLEX. The NCLEX RN is one program that is important to enter professional nursing. If you take the exam, you’ll be certified soon as it takes just a few years to complete.

The level of information you gain from this bachelor of science program will stand you in good stead for a future career as a registered nurse.

A bachelor’s degree in nursing usually offers about 120 credits as opposed to the 60 credits in an associate’s degree.

The level of information offered in this bachelor’s degree is the most comprehensive among all the options for becoming a registered nurse. Nursing schools that offer this program provide a foundation and the right transcripts for inpatient health specialties and a variety of tests and types of lessons registered nurses would require.

If you have completed your associate degree in nursing or some other field from a school and are looking to gain a bachelor of science degree after you register as a nurse, you can explore RN to BSN options offered at this degree level.

According to the bureau of labor statistics, there are over 3,096,700 nursing jobs in the U.S.A. alone. So, pursuing nursing BSN programs from a school that teaches theoretical and practical knowledge could be a good choice.

RNs with a bachelor’s degree in nursing can enjoy advanced practice opportunities, a quicker growth rate, better nursing positions with higher wages, and possibilities of jobs at superior care facilities and nursing homes.

The bachelor’s degree requirements for nursing programs too are on the same lines as that of the other programs on this list. However, the GPA requirements to become an RN with a bachelor’s degree are usually higher – around the 3.0 mark.

Is a bachelor’s degree necessary for registered nurses? Or will an associate’s degree work?

An Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) is enough for you to gain the title of a Registered Nurse (RN). But a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) can help you secure jobs with higher responsibilities and pay.

Step 3: Qualify as a Nurse Registered with the Specialist Examination; NCLEX-RN

Nursing Specialist Examination

The National Council Licensure Examination is a requirement to become an RN in the U.S.A. and a few other countries. Amongst the RN programs, this is one of the more important nursing programs that need to be taken up by the prospects to have a nursing career.

Nurses registered with this certification program can get their nursing license and practice in the state they pass the NCLEX licensing exam in. It helps with getting the right job opportunities for registered nurses.

The nurse’s license is a crucial component in the completion of nursing degrees and kickstarting the career for registered nurses in this space. So take the exam if you want to start your nursing practice.

Completing the National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX will help you meet licensure requirements – a crucial aspect of the nursing-careers process that cannot be taken lightly.

Step 4: Acquire Hands-on Experience

Most healthcare professionals would be ready to tackle real-life situations, armed with their associate’s degree, doctor of philosophy degree, or certificate from one of the RN programs they graduated from. Comprehensive nursing programs impart a lot of actionable knowledge.

Once you pass out from your nurse degree program and become a licensed RN, you need to get out and spend some time on the job getting a sense of what the career is like in the real world.

A truly effective nursing care program will ensure your readiness to swap out the questions and answers of the classroom for a real-world medical situation. So, put yourself out there and acquire the hands-on experience needed to become an experienced nurse.

The real test for a nurse is to use the comprehension of their lessons and apply them to the real world and assume the roles and responsibilities that link the nurse to not just the person they are treating but their families too.

Learning on-site rather than on paper helps develop an RN’s personality and guides the candidate on their mission to become long-staying members of the nursing corps. It also gives them an idea of using any resource and out of the box solution to deal with their cases and save lives.

The kind of perspective a soon-to-be RN would gain from the range of experiences they encounter and the sights and sounds they witness in a hospital setup is no small matter, and without exceptions, makes for a valuable addition to the nurse’s career trajectory.

The wealth of experience they acquire affects their thinking and their approach to the way a thing needs doing. Even the best nursing programs cannot teach what practical experience can.

The kinds of things this experience teaches helps make the decisions they take in life or death crises for example, or the impression they leave on a patient’s family, and licenses they take in the professional space for registered nurses.

Step 5: Find Your First Job

Finding your first nursing job may seem like a daunting task, but it shouldn’t be. Here are some interviewing tips:

  • Dress for the part – wear smart casuals in muted colors. Be modest but well-groomed.
  • Be prepared – Be calm and collected. Arrive early, maintain eye contact, and take along a copy of your resume.
  • A few questions you might get asked:
  1. “How would you deal with someone who isn’t satisfied with your patient care?
  2. “Why did you decide to be a nurse?”
  3. “What do you find rewarding about this job?”
  4. “Tell me what you think your greatest skill would be as a nurse.”

Be well-prepared with these answers so you can tackle them with 0 hesitations. You can even talk with people who have already given interviews or simply, ask your mentor or watch a few YouTube interviews.

Additional Training, Nursing Specialties, and Education Options

There are new avenues of specializations opening up every so often. So, those exploring a bachelor’s, associates, or master’s program in nursing and the specialization that goes with it should keep an eye out for news and articles that are written on developments in this space and take a call accordingly.

With the number of options available, the RNs have enough scope to explore in terms of the program or degree they opt for as part of their journey. Here are a few options you can pursue after your RN.

Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN)

An RN to BSN program helps Registered nurses to advance their careers in the healthcare field. This program also helps RNs to improve patient outcomes and community health. You get a chance to enhance your résumé and increase job security. You can take up online RN to BSN programs, that are designed for working registered nurses (RNs) who have an ADN or nursing diploma. Such RN to BSN degree programs can fit into the RNs schedule.

Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Nursing MSN programs typically require the candidate to choose from a scope of nursing specialties. This includes a nurse practitioner, nurse-midwife, a nurse educator, a nurse anesthetist, gerontology specialists, and more.

Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

This program focuses on developing the knowledge and skills necessary to deliver advanced practice nursing services throughout the lifespan, including diverse and under-served populations.

This program includes health promotion, disease prevention, assessment, and management of common acute and chronic illnesses across the health spectrum.

Whether you choose an associate degree or a two years bachelor’s RN program, and regardless of whether you choose to pursue a master’s degree in the field, as long as you do your job with the right level of passion and energy, you are sure to succeed.

Related Article – How hard is a nursing school?

A Snapshot of the Job Outlook and Salaries

Job Outlook and Salaries in Nursing

The projected job outlook data for nursing from 2018-28 is 12%, which is much faster than the average for all industries. As for the pay scale of the nursing field in the US, the median salary amount for registered nurses in 2019 was $73,300.

So, if you wish to enter the healthcare space and become a registered nurse or RN, now is a great time to do it as the industry is on the cusp of significant growth.

A career as a registered nurse (RN) is both challenging and fulfilling in equal measure. The pay is nearly double that of the national median, so there’s nothing lacking on the money and salaries score. There’s no shortage of RN job opportunities either, and the job market is only set to improve, so career prospects are covered too.

Add to that the job satisfaction of helping those that are in need of treatment and care, and making a positive contribution to society.

There are specific steps that you need to follow to become a registered nurse or an RN who has the necessary credentials and qualifications to enter into the healthcare system as a professional.

So, if getting a nursing degree is part of your career goals, follow these steps to accomplish your goal.


Ready to get started on this career path?

New England Tech is a great way to start off – it was named as the best nursing school in Rhode Island and continues to provide online as well as offline education to prospects.

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What is the fastest way to become a registered nurse?

Acquiring an ADN or an Associate’s degree in Nursing is the fastest direct route to your career as a registered nurse. Only a few people realize that the title of an RN can be earned with either a diploma, an associate or bachelor’s degree. By going for an ADN, you can launch your career as a registered nurse (RN) in as few as 18 months.

How many years does it take to be an RN?

This depends on your level of dedication and the kind of degree you’re opting for. An associate’s degree program, that provides entry-level opportunities, takes approximately 2 years whereas a bachelor’s degree program takes up to four years. Additionally, a bachelor’s degree with direct entry typically takes approximately 3 years.

Can you become an RN online?

Yes, you can become an RN through an online nursing degree. There are many full-time and part-time courses available. You can do your research and try looking for a course that matches your nursing goals.

What are the highest paying specialties in nursing?

According to, some of the highest paying jobs are:

  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist
  • General Nurse Practitioner
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Certified Nurse Midwife

Does my nursing license transfer between states?

Transferring your RN license from state to state isn’t as complicated as you may think, thanks to the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). The NLC allows nurses to have one license that is valid in multiple states – up to 25 states and counting. If you want you can even get a multi-state license.

What are the things to Look For in A Good Degree Program?

If you’re planning to become an RN, here are some tips that should help you choose your nursing school and degree program.

  • Costs and fees of courses and availability of support including everything from scholarships, grants, and financial aid to loans
    • The overall school rankings
    • Recognized nursing practice accreditation and certifications
    • Competition for seats, length of wait-lists, and past performance in terms of exams and results
    • Availability of learning resources like community centers and high-technology
    • Chemistry, biology, anatomy, and nutrition labs with a nursing specialty focus
    • Presence of clinical, nursing research facilities, instructors, and quality of classroom experience
    • Location of campus, and proximity to areas that offer travel flexibility in terms of both the state and zip code of the campus
    • Ratings of administration, leadership, staff, and school board on student recommendation websites
    • Placements and job choice and prospects for people that have passed out from the institute.

Apply to our nursing program and graduate in less than 2 years.