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How Do I Become a Registered Nurse (RN)? Education & Career

How To Become a Registered Nurse (RN)

Being a Registered Nurse (RN) is a well-known occupation. This job can be rewarding as well as a good way to earn a living. You may know a little about nurses, but do you know? What does it take to become a Registered Nurse? Below you can learn more about exactly what registered nurses are and how to become one.

What is a Registered Nurse?

A Registered Nurse (RN) is someone who works in a clinic or hospital to help doctors provide care to patients. Nurses can review a patient’s medical history, take vital signs, administer medication to the patient, perform medical tests, analyze medical test results and more.

When talking about working as a nurse, you may have heard of LPNs and registered nurses. RN stands for Registered Nurse. Registered nurses must have a college degree from a nursing program. An LPN or licensed practical nurse does not have a college degree, but does have some formal training. LPNs typically report to RNs and perform more basic, entry-level tasks.

How to become a Registered Nurse?

Now that you know what a registered nurse is, you can learn about becoming a registered nurse. See the steps below.

  • Get a high school diploma? The first step in becoming a nurse is earning your high school diploma or equivalent. You won’t be able to become a nurse if you don’t have that education first. Additional education is required and you must have a high school diploma as a basis.
  • Complete at least a 2-year associate’s degree? The next step is to complete at least a 2-year associate degree in nursing. If you want to be a registered nurse, at least a 2-year nursing degree is required. However, individuals can also earn a 4-year Bachelor of Nursing degree to become a nurse. That process simply takes longer than earning an associate’s degree in nursing.
  • Pass the NCLEX exam? Once you have completed your studies, you must take and pass an exam that tests your knowledge and ability to be a nurse. The NCLEX Exam is given by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. This test has a minimum of 75 questions that you must answer. These questions cover topics such as patient care, disease detection and prevention, pharmacology, and more. You have to pass this exam to become a registered nurse.
  • Apply for an RN license? Once you have passed your NCLEX exam, you can apply for state licensing as an RN. You must have a nursing license in the state in which you want to work. Each state may have slightly different requirements when it comes to state licensing, so be sure to look up your individual state. For example, some states charge certain fees for your license and it may take some time to obtain your nursing license.
  • Find a job? Once you have your nursing license, you can find a job in your state. Working in a doctor’s office or hospital is a great way to start your nursing career.

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