Print

Become a Nurse >> Browse Articles >> Nursing 101

+12

Choose the Right Path

Choose the Right Path

Beth Anderson, RN

Did you know that there are different ways of becoming a nurse? How do you know which path to choose? Here is some information from the Department of Labor to help you decide:

You can obtain one (or more!) of several degrees in order to become a nurse. The first of which is a Licensed Practical Nurse or Licensed Vocational Nurse. This degree is typically gained through a year of training at a hospital, graduation from vocational-technical school, or through community college. LPN/LVNs can go on to further their educational by obtaining an Associates Degree in Nursing or a Bachelor of Sciences in Nursing. An Associates Degree in Nursing (ADN) is acquired through graduation from community college and usually takes two years. A Bachelor of Sciences in Nursing (BSN) requires graduation from a traditional 4-year college or university, or completion of one of many available accelerated BSN programs.

In all States and the District of Columbia, students must graduate from an approved nursing program and pass a national licensing examination, known as the NCLEX-RN, in order to obtain a nursing license. Nurses may be licensed in more than one State, either by examination or by the endorsement of a license issued by another State. Currently 18 States participate in the Nurse Licensure Compact Agreement, which allows nurses to practice in member States without recertifying. All States require periodic renewal of licenses, which may involve continuing education. For more information on RN licensing in each state, please refer to the State Licensure Factsheet.

Some RNs start their careers as licensed practical nurses or nursing aides, and then go back to school to receive their RN degree. Most RNs begin as staff nurses, and with experience and good performance often are promoted to more responsible positions. In management, nurses can advance to assistant head nurse or head nurse and, from there, to assistant director, director, and vice president. Increasingly, management-level nursing positions require a graduate or an advanced degree in nursing or health services administration. They also require leadership, negotiation skills, and good judgment.

Advance Your Career

Some nurses move into the business side of health care. Their nursing expertise and experience on a health care team equip them to manage ambulatory, acute, home-based, and chronic care. Employers-including hospitals, insurance companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and managed care organizations, among others-need RNs for health planning and development, marketing, consulting, policy development, and quality assurance. Other nurses work as college and university faculty or conduct research.

Foreign-educated nurses wishing to work in the United States must obtain a work visa. Applicants are required to undergo a review of their education and licensing credentials and pass a nursing certification and English proficiency exam, both conducted by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools. (The commission is an immigration-neutral, nonprofit organization that is recognized internationally as an authority on credentials evaluation in the health care field.) Applicants from Australia, Canada (except Quebec), Ireland, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom are exempt from the language proficiency exam. In addition to these national requirements, most States have their own requirements.


+12
  • Facebookpix_max50

    maxbede

    over 5 years ago

    2 comments

    lovely

  • Humpback_whale_max50

    pearlm

    over 6 years ago

    4 comments

    I think no age lemit in nursing, as long as can still walk & talk can give meds & etc. Nursing is only jobs that no age discremination due to shortage of nurses.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    philip

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    this is a wonderful article. i am a nigerian and will like to study nursing in the U.S.A. is there any help on processing infos?

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    mollypop

    over 6 years ago

    10 comments

    how old is too old to become a nurse? Is 55 too old?

  • Dsc06565_max50

    snowbunnyRN

    over 6 years ago

    254 comments

    Good article, but how about more information! Especially in regards to the LPN. I am a RN, but my 19yr old son is researching the LPN tract. He isn't certain that nursing is really for him, but he may be interested in entry level nursing. There wasn't enough information in this article to give him a "feel" for the LPN nursing!

  • Mary_max50

    Mulhom01

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    How do you get started?

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    MGW

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    I have been working in the medical field for the past 9 years,I don,Know how to get started in finishing Nursing school

  • Pic091907_1_max50

    future_nurse

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    THIS IS AN INTERESTING ARTICLE I REALLY NEEDED TO READ THIS!

  • Babybrat2_max50

    MistyB

    over 6 years ago

    6 comments

    Life is wonderful from birth till death but live everyday as it is your last because we don't know when we will be going home. Treat others as you would want to be treated mostly as a equal human being. Nobody is better or lower than anybody else in this world everybody is equal just everybody is unique with thier own talents in life. If everyone would use their talents to the best and combine talents with another person or persons then life would be alot better and more respectful.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    AnnieC

    over 6 years ago

    6 comments

    I have the same question that Doris has...what do I do to finance this education? I don't have the financial aide options many have because I already have two degrees...so the Nursing path has been a very slow journey as I have to pay for courses and books on my own, and often it is hard to come up with the extra money....

  • Scan0002_max50

    DorisThompson

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    what do you do when you don't have money to go back to school and you want to go back? how do you get started?

  • Station_21_ambo_max50

    medicalsideofthingz

    almost 7 years ago

    2 comments

    Very informative, I learned information that I did not know before, ie... the Nurse licensure compact agreement. The state which I just moved to is on of the states that is involved in this agreement.

  • Typenningtonw_max50

    dadsjake

    almost 7 years ago

    26 comments

    good article would like to share more with everyone

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    markant

    almost 7 years ago

    4 comments

    Great Info, please share more.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    cornellca

    almost 7 years ago

    10 comments

    I would've liked to have seen more detailed information.

NursingLink School Finder

Save time in your search for a nursing or healthcare degree program. Use NursingLink's School Finder to locate schools online and in your area.

Get Info

* In the event that we cannot find a program from one of our partner schools that matches your specific area of interest, we may show schools with similar or unrelated programs.