9 Steps for How to Become a Nurse

If you’re wondering how to become a nurse, how long it takes, and what to expect in this profession, this guide is for you. Read on for common steps you can take to become a registered nurse.

Nursing is a vocation that may give you variety as well as the opportunity to do fulfilling work, especially considering that human needs are always changing and many health care specialties are available. Since nurses provide vital patient care, people wishing to become one must follow precise requirements in order to finish a nursing school and get licensed.

9 Steps for How to Become a Nurse
Steps to Become a Registered Nurse. Image/Unsplash

This article is for you if you’re wondering how to become a nurse, how long it takes, and what to anticipate in this vocation.

Step 1: Determine Whether a Nursing Career Is Right for You

Choosing to become a nurse is a serious consideration. Nurses bear a great deal of responsibility, and the rigors of the work may cause a great deal of anxiety and stress. If you are committed to aiding people via your work, it might be a very rewarding profession. Here are a few questions to consider:

  • Is it my intention to work with people who may be struggling with serious medical problems?
  • Do I like engaging on a regular basis with folks from various backgrounds and life experiences?
  • Can I efficiently manage my time, work long hours, and remain cool under pressure?

Prepare to spend at least two to four years getting your degree and passing the difficult NCLEX licensure exam to become a registered nurse (RN) or a licensed practical nurse (LPN) in your state.

Step 2: Decide Which Type of Nurse You Want to Be

There are several areas in which you may work as a nursing practitioner. RNs may work in almost any healthcare environment, including:

  • Clinics for outpatients
  • Hospitals
  • Services for home healthcare
  • Facilities for nursing care
  • Doctor’s offices
  • Schools

Nurses possess the opportunity to specialize and work with a demographic or in a department that most interests them, in addition to selecting the care environment.

For example, RNs may seek further certifications in areas such as ambulatory care, gerontological care, and cardiovascular care, among others.

After becoming an RN and acquiring expertise, nurses might aspire to progress to the level of Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN).

These masters-level nurses can operate alone or in conjunction with a medic to provide treatment.

Depending on their jurisdiction of training and license standards, some can be permitted to write prescriptions.


*All individuals are unique. Your results can and will vary.

Step 3: Identify the Type of Training Necessary

You’re likely aware that nursing hopefuls may pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree to assist them to get their licensure. If you think you can take on more sophisticated duties, there are other educational alternatives to explore.

An MSN (Master of Science in Nursing), is required to work as an APRN and multiple MSN schools even offer specializations in evolved practice areas including maternity and women’s health. There are several options for obtaining your degree, including master of nursing online schools.

Choose a Course Category

Most nursing students have particular challenges, such as holding a full-time position or being geographically limited. You can now pursue your nursing degree program in a number of different ways. For instance:

  • Online courses: Accredited online programs are often as rigorous as on-campus ones. Instructors use both synchronous and asynchronous methods of education, allowing learners to complete some of their assignments on their own time.
  • Full-time programs: A credit load and full course are required to finish a full-time nursing degree program. Since students commit the bulk of their time to learn, full-time programs are frequently the shortest to finish.
  • On-campus programs: On-campus programs are often delivered entirely in person. Students are required to attend all classes and lab sessions, and their medical training may actually occur close to the school.
  • Part-time programs: Part-time programs provide flexibility for students who have other obligations outside of school, such as family or a job. Part-time students may not attend a class every weekday, but they will typically have a more doable course workload each semester.

Some schools may also create distinct hybrid programs or a suitable combination of the aforementioned to help nursing students finish their education.

Step 4: Completion of Prerequisites and Application to Schools

To enroll in nursing school, you must complete specific academic prerequisites as well as program criteria. The prerequisites may differ depending on the kind of program you register for. Most BSN programs, for example, take four years.

Expedited programs may last up to two years and need an associate’s nursing degree or similar coursework. Other criteria are as follows:

  • A curriculum vitae
  • Transcripts from prior academic programs
  • An intent letter
  • A GPA of 2.0 to 2.5 or above
  • Professional recommendation letter(s)

There is often an application fee, and some courses need an assessment to be accepted.

Step 5: Finish Your Nursing Course

If you are enrolled in a nursing school, you may expect to get the right to work learning the principles of the trade. Coursework might range from speaking with patients to learning about illnesses and drugs.

The average time spent in class each week differs depending on if you are enrolled part-time or full-time, but you can expect to spend two or more hours finishing assignments for every hour spent in class.

You will also get medical field experience as part of your degree. This normally occurs near the end of your program, when you can put all you’ve learned to use.

Step 6: Select a Specialty and Obtain a Certification

After finishing an RN program and earning expertise in the field as a regular nurse, you may choose to pursue a more specific goal. You may get certified in a niche that interests you and then pursue it as a nursing career trail.


*All individuals are unique. Your results can and will vary.

Some APRN jobs even have master’s degree program specialties to aid applicants to prepare for these responsibilities.

Step 7: Acquire the Required State Licenses and Credentials

Before being allowed to give treatment, nurses must receive an assortment of licenses and certificates. The requirements differ according to the state and the function, so you should investigate the unique procedure and regulations in the state where you wish to work.

Each state has its own nursing board that determines its own criteria.

Step 8: Look for Work

Once you have been accredited and licensed, start your job search by browsing for openings in your region on prominent job listings or by calling local health care facilities to check if any positions are available.

When engaging with potential employers, show them why you opted to become a nurse, and what aspects of the work excite you the most.

Step 9: Keep Advancing Your Career

You can advance your nursing profession by continuing to learn and grow. Specialties and continuous training may help you stand out and achieve the job you desire as the demand for nurses rises. Earning a Doctor of Nursing Practice is one way to further your profession. This course can help you transfer to a more vital position and influence policy in healthcare companies.

You may also continue to further your career by obtaining additional professional certificates and niches. All certifications you get will eventually need to be updated in order to keep your knowledge current. According to the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the typical renewal time is every five years.

Starting Your Career as a Nurse

Becoming a nurse might be intimidating, but with the appropriate information, you can choose the ideal field of nursing for you. Before you choose to pursue this sector, learn about nursing degrees and the numerous kinds of nursing specialties available. It’s also a good idea to obtain as much career information as you can.

Remember that at the heart of the profession, nurses assist individuals to overcome health difficulties and preserve excellent health.

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Tiffany Yamut, RN

Tiffany is a Registered Nurse and Professional Writer/Founder at Writing With Joy. Her knowledge about health and passion for writin

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