dcsimg

How to Become a Nurse

As the demand for health care continues to grow, nurses are faced with growing responsibilities and increased employment opportunities. Nurses work in a variety of medical settings including educational facilities, hospice centers, and surgical floors. Regardless of where they work, nurses are trained to be patient advocates and provide patients and their families with advice and guidance. Some typical responsibilities include recording patient histories and symptoms, running diagnostic tests, analyzing medical information, operating diagnostic and treatment equipment, administering prescribed treatments and aiding in patient follow-up.

Besides the different specialties of nursing, there are also different types of nurses. The three most basic distinctions are:

  1. Licensed vocational nurse, LVN, or licensed practical nurse, LPN
  2. Registered nurse, RN
  3. Advanced care nurse

These different types of nurses have different levels of education and also different scopes of practice, responsibilities, and pay.

Nursing school

Nursing schools and programs vary dramatically in their admission process, cost, and exposure to clinical, hands-on, experience. When trying to find the right program, you will need to consider the time commitment, your level of health care background, and your future career aspirations. Also make sure that the nursing school program you choose is state approved and that you will be eligible to sit for the National Council Licensure Exam or NCLEX.

LVN or LPN programs are usually year-long certification programs taught at technical, vocational or community colleges. The curriculum is generally a mix of classroom study and clinical experience and covers basic nursing concepts and patient care practices. Some programs offer credentialing in specialties like IV therapy, gerontology, long-term care, and pharmacology. LVNs and LPNS need to pass the NCLEX-PN exam to become licensed. Some schools offer LPN to RN programs, which allow working nurses to advance their careers.

There are three ways to become an RN. The first is to complete a bachelor's degree in nursing, or BSN, at a four-year college or university. The second is to obtain an associate degree, or ADN, in nursing at a two-year program at a community college or technical school. The last option, and one that is not very common, is to complete a three-year RN diploma program, which is usually sponsored through a hospital. A BSN is typically required for nurses to advance beyond RN into advanced care nursing jobs or administrative positions. RN to BSN programs exist, as do accelerated BSN courses for people who already have a bachelor degree in another field. However, to actually become a registered nurse students must pass the NCLEX-RN exam.

Advanced care nurses have a graduate degree and a previous background in nursing or health care. The four kinds of advanced care nurses are: clinical nurse specialist, nurse anesthetist, nurse midwives and nurse practitioners. The scope of practice and the regulations governing advanced care nursing vary from state to state. In some locations, they are allowed to prescribe medication and perform limited surgical procedures. Advanced care nurses often hold positions of leadership.

Nursing jobs and salaries

More than 725,000 LPNs/LVNs worked in the U.S. and earned mean annual wages of $40,900, according to May 2009 BLS data. However, Connecticut, New Jersey and Rhode Island were some of the highest paying states and LPNs/LVNs there earned mean annual wages above $50,000. Occupations for LPNs/LVNs are expected to grow by 21 percent during the 2008-2018 decade and could result in 155,000 new positions.

More than 2.6 million registered nurses worked in the U.S. as of May 2009, according to the BLS. They earned mean annual wages of $66,530. California, Hawaii and Massachusetts were the highest paying states and registered nurses there earned mean annual wages above $80,000. Nationwide, opportunities for RNs are expected to grow by 22 percent during 2008-2018 and could result in 580,000 new jobs during the decade.

The BLS does not list occupational information for advanced care nurses. However, it could be assumed that because these nurses have a master's degree and advanced education that their annual wages would be higher.

 


Nurse Training

Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT Clear All

    See More

  • DEGREE

    See More

  • PROGRAM TYPE

  • START TIME

    LOCATION
    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Matching School Ads
            Doctor of Nursing Practice with an Emphasis in Educational Leadership
            • Nursing Degree Programs from Grand Canyon University's College of Nursing & Health Care Professions
            • Degree Variety: GCU offers a full-spectrum of nursing programs including bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, as well as post-master’s certificates.
            • The baccalaureate degree in nursing and master's degree in nursing at Grand Canyon University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (http://www.aacn.nche.edu-accreditation).
            • GCU provides a Christian environment that provides an opportunity for you to embrace a holistic approach to caring for patients: physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
            • Depending on the degree you choose, you could take online, evening, or on-campus classes. Speak with an enrollment counselor to discuss your options!
            • Accredited
            • Online Courses
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Accelerated Programs
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            Master of Science in Nursing: Nursing Administration
            • Liberty University’s online programs ranked in the top 10 out of more than 2,100 colleges & universities for academic quality, affordability, and accessibility.*
            • 100% online programs at associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral level.**
            • Transfer up to 90 credits into an undergraduate degree program.
            • Up to 50% of your master’s degree can be transferred in to help you get the most out of your hard work and maximize the credit you previously earned.
            Show more [+]
            • Accredited
            • Online Courses
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            Vocational Nursing
            • Offers accelerated programs w/ flexible schedules & professional instruction
            • Multiple accredited campuses across 9 states including CA, TX, NV, & PA
            • 10 + programs including Practical Nursing, Dental and Medical Assisting
            • Provides professional development training & career planning resources
            • Military Student Center (MSC) is committed to the success of military students
            Show more [+]
            MSN Clinical Nurse Educator
            • Presents stimulating, thoughtful programs for students in every academic field
            • SACS accredited w/many accreditations per program & 14:1 teacher-student ratio
            • 7 colleges with dozens of majors & programs to choose from for undergrads & grads
            • Beautiful 248 acre campus with ¾ mile waterfront located in Jacksonville, FL
            • Named an “America’s Best College” in the south for 10+ years, US News & World Report
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            BS – Nursing (RN – BSN)

            Mount Mercy University is a nationally recognized Catholic University that promises students of all diverse backgrounds – regardless of ages and faiths a challenging, practical education that inspires them to discover knowledge, build community and lead courageous lives.

            • Online Courses
            RN to MSN Bridge Program

            Take control of your future with education and innovation. Loyola University New Orleans offers three CCNE-accredited online nursing programs—RN-BSN, MSN, and DNP—as well as a variety of career concentrations so you can align your education to your professional interests.

            • Accredited
            • Online Courses
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Accelerated Programs
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            RN to MS - Nursing Informatics
            • As a CCNE-accredited school of nursing, Wilkes University is fully committed to preparing our students for a career of lifelong learning and success in a constantly evolving, dynamic profession.
            • We offer online programs for nurses at any stage in their career. From our R.N. to M.S.N., to our Ph.D. in Nursing, choose the program that is right for you.
            • Learn from doctorally-prepared, highly qualified instructors. Our faculty are true "scholar-practitioners," and bring real-world experience to every subject.
            • Receive a supportive, student-focused online education. Our programs are designed so that you can complete coursework when and where it's convenient for you.
            • We offer accelerated completion options for qualified students in our R.N. to M.S.N. and M.S.N. programs – earn your master’s degree fully online and finish faster.
            • Our net tuition cost for nursing programs is among the most competitive for regionally accredited universities.
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            Doctor of Education - Nursing Education
            • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor's Programs in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.
            • Implements a one-to-one teaching model, partnering one student with one faculty member in each course.
            • 100% of faculty members hold doctoral degrees.
            • No physical residency requirements, allowing students to pursue their degree online.
            • Committed to innovation, diversity, excellence, and accountability since its founding in 1996.
            • Offers several programs in business, education, psychology, and more.
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            BS/Nursing (RN to BSN)
            • Provides an exclusive Ashford Mobile app to keep students connected to the online classroom on the go.
            • Offers a business program in partnership and collaboration with Forbes magazine.
            • Offers several credit transfer and previous experience options for students who qualify.
            • Dedicated to fostering intellectual and personal growth since 1918.
            • Offers associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degree programs in business, health, education, and more.
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            Licensed Vocational Nurse
            • Offers career placement assistance services to recent graduates.
            • Our short-term allied health programs will give you the skills and knowledge to become a part of the exciting health care field.
            • Programs include Medical Office Specialist, Medical Assistant, Dental Assistant and Healthcare Administration.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
            • Main campus is located in Van Nuys, California, north of Los Angeles.
            Show more [+]
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits