As you consider job opportunities in the health care, a registered nurse is a popular and rewarding option that will offer you security and mobility. Before moving forward with any program of study, it is best to be prepared. You need to know exactly what is in store for you on the road ahead and if you have the motivation to pursue a career in the challenging field of nursing. The first step is to have an understanding of the time that is involved in your course work to prepare you as a registered nurse.
How Much Education is Required to Become a Registered Nurse?
In order to become a registered nurse, you need to begin with a high school diploma or its equivalency. Laying the groundwork with courses in science and mathematics is a good place to start in order to provide you with some of the prerequisite knowledge that is key in your training. The next step is to pursue an advanced education. While a licensed practical nurse, the most basic type of nurse, could receive adequate training in as little as a year, your training will be more complex. You can become a registered nurse by pursuing an Associate’s Degree in nursing in two years. You will study liberal arts and coursework related to nursing, including nutrition, anatomy, microbiology, and nursing skills. A practical portion of your studies will emphasize clinical experience as you complete your coursework by actually participating in the field of nursing. You will observe nurses in action, continue your training, and have hands-on experience. In order to become licenses, you will need to take an exam in nursing that meets your state’s requirements.
Taking Your Education to the Next Level
If you are aiming for entry to the field of nursing as soon as possible, an Associate’s Degree is adequate. However, a Bachelor’s Degree will provide you with more opportunities in the field, offering you an increase in pay and more mobility. In your four years of course work, you can choose to specialize in a particular area, such as pediatrics, geriatrics, or oncology, allowing you to be placed in a position that matches your area of specialization. Your studies will be more in depth and you will be provided with more clinical experience when you choose to pursue a four year program. If you have already received your Associate’s Degree to become a registered nurse, you can opt for Bachelor’s Degree programs that have been streamlined to accommodate your previous studies.
Going a Step Further in Your Nursing Career
As an additional option, you can choose to earn a Master’s Degree in nursing, which typically takes another two years of schooling. A Master’s Degree provides you with more advanced studies that can place you at the highest level of nursing. You can take on the role of a leader or be a mentor to other nurses, becoming involved in training opportunities for those who are new to the field. You can expect an increase in salary and many more options for placement when you have achieved this level of education in the nursing field. A Master’s Degree will allow you to choose where you want to go and what type of nursing position you wish to have once you are entering the field. Many nurses begin with an Associate’s or Bachelor’s Degree and acquire experience on the job before earning an advanced degree. In the end, it will be up to you as you determine what type of degree you are willing to pursue and what you can afford.