Clue number one: you’ve found yourself glued to the TV watching Grey’s Anatomy or recording reruns of ER.
Clue number two: you not only don’t mind visiting Aunt Susie in the hospital, you find yourself analyzing her bedside IV, appraising medical supplies and tuning in rather than taking a break when the medical staff arrives.
Clue number three: you see beyond the sight and smell of those colorful body fluids and view them as specimens holding valuable medical evidence.
Face it. You were born to be a nurse. We’ve come a long way from stereotypical media image of nurse as a physician’s extender, and nurse as glorified aid and companion. Of course, nurses are these things… and more.
So, you have a direction, but you ask: What are the prerequisites for nursing school? How long is nursing school? Is nursing school hard? How much does nursing school cost? How to get in to nursing school? What can I do with a nursing degree?
Types of Nursing Degrees and Nursing Degrees Explained
- 1 Types of Nursing Degrees and Nursing Degrees Explained
- 1.1 How to Prepare
- 1.2 Is Nursing School Hard?
- 1.3 How Much Does Nursing School Cost?
- 1.4 The Prerequisites for Nursing School and Getting Into Nursing School
- 1.5 How to get into school as a LPN?
- 1.6 How to get into nursing school as a RN?
- 1.7 Pre Requisites
- 1.8 What Can I Do With a Degree?
For all different types of nursing degrees, there are prerequisites for nursing school, which are discussed in the next section.
In the text that follows, you will find nursing degrees explained. There are different types of nursing degrees, categorized by the amount of training the students receive, which determines which tasks they can perform once they’ve graduated and passed appropriate certification or licensure exams.
The most basic type of nursing degree is a certified nursing assistant (CNA). Prerequisites for nursing school as a CNA usually require six to eight weeks of training, including on-the-job clinical work, following by a certification exam. CNAs perform nursing duties crucial to the patient’s well-being, and provide vital information to other medical staff to help them make decisions about patients’ care.
CNA duties generally include: monitoring food and liquid consumption, assisting with basic hygiene, feeding patients, changing and making beds, taking vital signs, assisting with a wide range of medical procedures, helping patients walk, cleaning patient rooms, answering “call” lights, monitoring and reporting any changes in patient condition and collecting samples for testing purposes.
One step up, licensed practical nurses (LPNs) perform all the duties that the CNA does, and then some. Additionally, LPNs can administer some medications and perform more complicated procedures than a CNA. Some LPNs work in the labor and delivery areas of hospitals as well.
Registered nurses, who take on both clinical and supervisory roles, are prepared in three ways after prerequisites for nursing school are met: through education leading to a diploma, an associate’s degree, or a bachelor’s degree. Any of these preparations allow you to sit for the test leading to licensure as a registered nurse. While diploma and associate degree programs offer content focused on theory and skills specific to healthcare and nursing, bachelor degree programs offer a more well-rounded education, and include liberal art and elective courses in addition to healthcare-specific classes.
After completing your prerequisites for nursing school and acquiring your license as a RN, if you have not already, you can attain an undergraduate degree or an advanced graduate nursing degree and/or certification in a specialty area, such as a nurse practitioner, nursing administration, nursing anesthesia, or nursing education, among others.
Some graduate programs require that you first complete a bachelor’s degree in nursing or a related field, while others will allow you to work towards a graduate degree while bypassing a bachelor’s degree if you have your nursing license. If you have already acquired a bachelor’s degree in nursing, most graduate nursing degree programs leading to a master’s or doctorate degree are 30-80 additional credits, taking 2-6 years.
How to Prepare
Is it difficult? What are the prerequisites for nursing school? How long is it? How much does it cost? How do I get into nursing school? Read on…
The length of nursing programs spans between six or eight weeks for CNAs to four years to become a bachelor-prepared registered nurse. LPNs typically attend nursing school for 9-12 months, and then must pass a licensure exam.
As a registered nurse, how long does nursing school take? Registered nurses prepared at the diploma or associate’s degree level most often take classes for 22-24 months and must pass a licensure exam upon completion, although it depends on whether you’ve met your prerequisites for nursing school.
Registered nurses prepared at the bachelor level take four years to complete, like any other bachelor degree. The length of time it takes to attain graduate degrees in nursing varies, depending on whether you already have a bachelor’s degree, and whether you’ll attend part or full time. Generally-speaking, graduate degrees require an additional two years of study at minimum.
Is Nursing School Hard?
The prerequisites for nursing school exist to best predict your success in nursing school. Yet, you may wonder, “How hard is nursing school?” Nursing school requires commitment and dedication to learning. Nursing spans both the social science (“soft sciences”) and physical and biological science (“hard science”) fields, like psychology, biology and chemistry.
Students considering nursing school should have a natural affinity for science, an ability to relate to people and an ability to utilize advanced math concepts in order to calculate medication dosages and IV drip rates.
A strong memory, resourcefulness and excellent time management skills remain necessary to successfully complete nursing school. You must also possess optimum physical health to withstand hours on your feet, and good mental health to endure stress resulting from the strong emotions that caretaking elicits.
How Much Does Nursing School Cost?
A two-year associate’s degree program runs about $4600 for tuition for in-state students. Out-of-state tuition for a two-year program can cost significantly more at between $10,000 and $21,600. Bachelor degree programs parallel the cost of other four-year degrees at between $20,000-$27,200 for in-state tuition and $36,000-$99,200 for out-of-state tuition. Shorter programs, such as those for LPNs or CNAs may cost less. These figures are based on 2006-2010 data, so you can expect a moderate increase in cost from these figures.
Additional costs include licensure test registration fees, books, uniforms and supplies and sometimes student health or liability insurance.
Due to the increased demand for nurses, the US Department of Health and Human Services offers a number of nursing scholarships that may allow you to attend school free or at a discounted rate. Some hospital schools of nursing also may forgive a percentage of or your entire loan in exchange for working for them for a contracted period of time following licensure.
You may also apply for grants, scholarships and loans to assist you to pay for nursing school. So having money is not always a prerequisite for nursing school!
The Prerequisites for Nursing School and Getting Into Nursing School
You ask: “How to get into nursing school?
How do I get into nursing school? What classes to take for nursing?” Getting into nursing school is not as simple as some other degree programs, as nursing school admissions remain competitive. Nursing school requirements and prerequisites for nursing school vary according to the type of training and license and/or certification you’re seeking. As a CNA, prerequisites for nursing school include having attained a high school diploma or its equivalent, passing entrance exams demonstrating competency in math and reading, and successfully completing background checks and health screenings.
How to get into school as a LPN?
Prerequisites for nursing school to become a LPN include having a high school diploma or its equivalent. Some nursing school requirements may also mandate a minimum high-school GPA around 2.5. Some high-school work in math and science may be needed as a nursing school prerequisite to become a LPN.
How to get into nursing school as a RN?
Prerequisites for nursing school to become an RN include, like others, having a high school diploma or its equivalent. Most bachelor degree RN programs require as a prerequisite for nursing school, an academic course of study in high school, with four years of English and math, three years of high school social sciences and three years of science study.
One year of the science study must be chemistry with a lab, with you having earned a C grade or better. Diploma or associate degree programs may have less stringent requirements, but most require one year of high-school chemistry with a lab as a prerequisite for nursing school, and they may require that you complete the other courses as part of your college study, or at the college level prior to acceptance into their program. Placement tests or adequate scores on SAT tests may allow you to waive certain requirements as part of your prerequisites for nursing school, if you demonstrate adequate knowledge.
Some schools request that you take admission tests as a prerequisite for nursing school admittance. These may include: The Nursing Entrance Test (NET), the Health Education Systems, Inc. Admissions Test (HESI), the Test of
Essential Academic Skill (TEAS) or the Nursing Admissions Test (NAT). Taking these tests will help you know how to prepare for nursing school, should you find you have limitations.
Schools often also do background tests to ensure good moral character, do drug screening, require medical clearance including a current vaccination record, and ask for professional recommendations.
What Can I Do With a Degree?
Nursing schools bring a variety of options for career enrichment, development and enhancement. Among many others, you can work in clinical, educational or administrative domains.
You can work in one of many specialties, including orthopedics, pediatrics, surgery, psychiatry, plastic surgery, ambulatory care or forensics. You can work in unique environments such as camps, correction facilities, schools and long-term care facilities. You can work as a consultant in the areas of law, technology, public health policy, research or anesthesiology.
According to the Department of Labor and Statistics, the outlook for jobs for registered nurses between 2010-20 is growing faster than average at 26 percent. In 2010 alone, there were nearly three million RN jobs, which averaged a salary of $64,000 per year. Helping people by using skill, intelligence and talent. Maybe having the desire for job security and good pay are prerequisites for nursing school!
How much better can it get?