How to Become a Registered Nurse

 A registered nurse, commonly known as an RN, is a person who has earned an Associate or Bachelor's Degree and passed a comprehensive licensing exam. RNs typically work in hospitals, emergency rooms, doctors offices, schools and health clinics. Some RNs even travel across the country as mobile nurses, gaining exposure to different hospital environments on a freelance basis.
  1. Sharpen your math and science skills in high school. In particular, you will need to focus on chemistry, biology, algebra and calculus.
  2. Take the SAT or ACT exam. Admittance to undergraduate schools can be highly competitive, so your test scores are very important.
  3. Try to maintain a grade point average above a 3.0 in college to set yourself up for desirable nursing programs.
  4. Take 2 years of a foreign language, 3 years of math and science and 4 years of English classes in your undergraduate college studies.
  5. Decide what kind of nursing certification you desire. There are different programs that have different requirements. You can earn an Associate Degree in about 2 years, while a Bachelor of Science in Nursing will take about 4. If you choose to pursue a BSN after you've earned an Associate Degree, expect that to take an additional 2 to 3 years.
  6. Pick a school you want to attend, recognizing that not many schools have nursing degree programs. Once you've completed university prerequisite courses, then you will apply for admittance into a nursing program.
  7. Pass the NCLEX exam. This is a comprehensive test that must be passed before you can earn your license. Check with the Board of Nursing in your state to find out what you have to do to sit for the NCLEX.
  8. Keep learning once you become a nurse. Many states require continuing education beyond your Associate or Bachelor's Degree in order to continue practicing nursing.