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How to Become A Registered Nurse

As a registered nurse, you would be joining the largest healthcare occupation, already accounting for 2.7 million jobs, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and projected to grow much faster than the average between 2010 and 2020. The following are some career specialties you may consider and their basic job descriptions:

    1. Nurse practitioners provide nursing and healthcare services in a variety of areas.
    2. Nurse-midwives monitor future moms and assist in labor and delivery.
    3. Nurse anesthetists assist with anesthesia during surgery.
    4. Critical care nurses care for patients with serious illnesses in intensive care hospital units.
    5. Home healthcare nurses care for patients after discharge from hospitals.
    6. Clinical nurse specialists care directly for patients in areas such as psychiatric-mental health.

     

      As a registered nurse, you could specialize in the treatment of a particular ailment, such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS, or cancer; or a particular organ or body system, such as the heart, the skin, or the reproductive system. You could also provide preventive and acute care to a specific population, such as babies or the elderly; or treat military personnel or under-served communities worldwide. You could even assist with criminal investigations, become a medical writer or a public policy adviser.

      Nursing schools

      To become a registered nurse, you should possess a diploma, associate or bachelor's degree from one of the approved registered nursing schools, as well as a registered nurse license. Advance practice nurses, including clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists, nurse-midwives, and nurse practitioners, must have master's degrees. It may take you two to three years to complete diploma or associate degrees and four years to finish a bachelor's degree.

      If you already possess a bachelor's degree in another field and are interested in becoming a registered nurse, schools often provide accelerated bachelor's degree programs that can be completed in 12 to 18 months, or master's degree programs that can be completed in about two years. It is important that you pass a national licensing examination, known as the National Council Licensure Examination or NCLEX-RN, in order to obtain a registered nurse license in the United States.

      Registered nurse: salary expectations

      For a registered nurse, salary depends on the level and the location of the job within the United States. In 2011, the BLS reports the following mean and top-paying annual wages for nursing careers:

        1. U.S. average--$69,110
        2. California (highest paying state)--$90,860
        3. Vallejo-Fairfield, CA (highest paying metropolitan area)--$120,540

         

          As a RN, your salary should increase as you advance in your career. You could start as a staff nurse in a hospital and become chief of nursing. You could also pursue a master's degree and become an advance practice nurse. You may also have the option to move into the business side of healthcare, managing ambulatory, acute, home-based, or chronic care businesses, or marketing pharmaceutical or insurance company products or services. Teaching potential registered nurses or conducting research are two other career paths that you may also consider as a RN.

          Sources:
          Bureau of Labor Statistics, OOH, 2013, Registered Nurses: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Healthcare/Registered-nurses.htm
          Bureau of Labor Statistics, OES, 2013, Registered Nurses: http://www.bls.gov/oes/2011/may/oes291111.htm

          Program outcomes vary according to each institution’s specific curriculum, and employment opportunities are not guaranteed.


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                    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!
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                    Vocational Nursing Program*
                    Platt College , Alhambra
                    • A Los Angeles-based private college offering programs in medical sciences, legal studies, and graphic design since 1985.
                    • Has weekend programs, including certified  veterinary technology, nurse assistant, and hemodialysis technician.
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                    • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
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                    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.
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                    MSN Clinical Nurse Educator

                    The University

                    With over 80 years of academic achievements, Jacksonville University is a traditional, longstanding institution consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of America's best colleges.

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                    • Allows students to transfer credits from non-U.S. colleges and universities after evaluation.
                    • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
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                    Doctor of Nursing Practice

                    •        Ranked among the top 20 Regional Universities in the West in 2015 by U.S. News & World Report.

                    •        Listed as one of America’s Best Colleges by Forbes Magazine in 2014.

                    •        More than 97% of tenure-track faculty holds a terminal degree in their field.

                    •        Student to faculty ratio of 15:1, and 47.5% of classes have fewer than 20 students.

                    •        Accredited by The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

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                    Doctor of Education - Nursing Education
                    • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor's Programs in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.
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                    • 100% of faculty members hold doctoral degrees.
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                    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.
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                    Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
                    • Ranked among the 2015 Best National Universities by U.S. News & World Report.
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                    B.S. in Nursing: RN to BSN
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                    • Founded in 1890, it has a campus in Waterbury, CT and offers online degree program in eight-week modules, six times a year.
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