Got a kind heart and a strong stomach?
Find yourself googling symptoms on WebMD to diagnose your friends and family members?
Are you the go-to when someone’s feeling down or needs help?
Or maybe you’ve had a health scare yourself that left you grateful for that key combination of adept physical skill and compassionate empathy. You’ve been thinking about it for some time, and turning it over in your mind.
You think you are sure and it’s exciting: you want to be a nurse!
- 1 You think you are sure and it’s exciting: you want to be a nurse!
- 2 PreRequisites for Nursing
- 3 The Prerequisites for Nursing and Requirements for Nursing
- 4 General Prerequisites for Nursing and Requirements for Nursing
- 5 Aptitude Tests for Nurse Education Requirements and Prerequisites for Nursing
- 6 What are the Prerequisites for Nursing at the Bachelor-Prepared Registered Nurse Level?
- 7 Healthcare Experience & Additional Coursework as Prerequisites for Nursing
- 8 Legal and Moral Prerequisites for Nursing and Requirements for Nursing
- 9 Types of Nursing Degrees and Nursing Degrees Explained
- 10 Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs)
- 11 Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs)
- 12 Registered Nurses (RNs)
- 13 What Education you need to be a Nurse
- 14 Graduate and Advance Practice Nurses
- 15 How Long is Nursing School?
- 16 What Courses are Required for Nursing?
- 17 What Can I Do With a Nursing Degree?
- 18 So, ask yourself again, “What can I do with a nursing degree?” Plenty!
PreRequisites for Nursing
You’re certain about the decision, but questions linger about the practicalities of the requirements for nursing and you wonder, “What can I do with a nursing degree?” Your questions: What are nursing education requirements? What are the prerequisites for nursing? How long is nursing school? What are the nursing degree requirements? What courses are required for nursing? What types of nursing degrees are there? What are the different types of nursing degrees? What can I do with a nursing degree? Well, read on!
The Prerequisites for Nursing and Requirements for Nursing
The prerequisites for nursing and requirements for nursing are many-fold:
- You must have strong general intelligence and a natural affinity for science and math
- You must enjoy interacting with people and have excellent interpersonal skills
- You must have good moral character
- You must possess excellent time-management skills and be resourceful
- You must have good physical and mental health in order to withstand the physiological and emotional strain that nursing entails.
The prerequisites for nursing and the requirements for nursing remain broad, and not all nursing school admission committees will assess all of these areas listed above. But they will assess numbers 1-3 as prerequisites for nursing before admittance to a nursing school, and administrators and educators will continue to assess items #4 and 5 throughout your nursing education program.
Getting into nursing school is not as simple as some degree programs, as nursing school admissions remain competitive. Nursing education requirements and prerequisites for nursing vary according to the type of training and license and/or certification you’re seeking. These nursing education programs range from certificate programs for certified nursing assistants (CNAs) to training programs leading to licensure for licensed practical nurses (LPNs), to diplomas, associate’s and bachelor degrees for licensed registered nurses (RN).
General Prerequisites for Nursing and Requirements for Nursing
Admittance to any level of nursing education requires a high-school diploma or its equivalent. Some coursework in science, math and the social sciences, and reading skill at the 10th grade or above are also necessary as prerequisites for nursing. In terms of preparatory courses needed as prerequisites for nursing, those with an academic course of study in high-school or at the college level before admittance into a nursing program are set.
Some nursing education programs may allow you to acquire prerequisites for nursing concurrently while attending a nursing education program. Some nursing education programs may allow placement tests to demonstrate your knowledge in areas where your coursework does not meet these core prerequisites of nursing, so you can forego some of them if you test well.
Aptitude Tests for Nurse Education Requirements and Prerequisites for Nursing
Some schools request that you take aptitude tests as prerequisites for nursing and as a nursing requirement 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 your nursing education, should you find you have limitations. Admission committees may also consider your ACT and SAT scores, which may be standard tests required as prerequisites for nursing school admittance.
What are the Prerequisites for Nursing at the Bachelor-Prepared Registered Nurse Level?
Typically, bachelor degree nursing education programs that lead to becoming a registered nurse require that you have:
- four years of high-school English
- four years of high-school math
- three years of high school social sciences
- three years of science study
- one year of the science study must be chemistry with a lab component, and you must have earned a C grade or better
- High-school biology, chemistry, math and social sciences are relevant classes to take for nursing.
Prerequisites for Nursing and Requirements for Nursing at the Diploma or Associate Degree Registered Nurse Level
- Diploma or associate degree programs that work to prepare registered nurses for licensure may have less stringent nursing education requirements, but most still require at least one year of high-school chemistry with a lab and a passing grade, and many require biology courses prior to starting a nursing education program. As a prerequisite for nursing, they may require that you complete the other courses as part of your nursing study, or at the college level prior to acceptance into their nursing education program.
Healthcare Experience & Additional Coursework as Prerequisites for Nursing
Although not necessarily a prerequisite for nursing education admittance, healthcare experience remains a strong consideration when admissions committees select nursing students. High-school or previous college coursework in statistics, anatomy and physiology, genetics, technology and foreign languages, although not prerequisites for nursing, remain strongly encouraged classes for students to take for nursing preparation. Those with English as their second language must successfully pass the TOEFL.
Legal and Moral Prerequisites for Nursing and Requirements for Nursing
Schools often also do background checks to assess for a criminal record. The Professional Nursing Law permits the Nursing Board to consider the moral character of any license candidate. Sometimes, admission to nursing programs is contingent upon successful clearance of a criminal and child abuse background check to determine whether there is any conviction which may keep the student from admittance to a nursing program.
Some nursing education programs also perform drug screenings prior to admission, and during the nursing program course of study.
A current physical examination record, including current immunization status may need submitted before admission to a nursing education program.
Types of Nursing Degrees and Nursing Degrees Explained
Several different types of nursing degrees exist, and so here’s a passage with nursing degrees explained. They are 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.
Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs)
The most basic type of nursing degree is a certified nursing assistant (CNA). CNAs attend a six to eight-week course of study and sit for a certification exam. They perform nursing duties crucial to the patient’s well-being, such as:
- monitoring food and liquid intake
- assisting with basic hygiene
- assisting patients with basic activities of daily living, including feeding patients
- changing and making beds
- taking vital signs
- assisting with a wide range of medical procedures
- helping patients ambulate
- cleaning patient rooms
- answering “call” lights
- monitoring and reporting any changes in patient condition
- collecting samples for testing purposes
Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs)
One step up, licensed practical nurses (LPNs) perform all the duties that the CNA does, and more. LPNs can administer some medications and perform more complicated procedures. Some LPNs work in the labor and delivery areas of hospitals as well.
Registered Nurses (RNs)
Registered nurses, who can take on clinical, supervisory and management roles, prepare themselves in three ways after prerequisites for nursing are met. They do this through education leading to:
- a diploma
- an associate’s degree
- a bachelor’s degree
What Education you need to be a Nurse
Any of these preparations allow graduates to sit for the test leading to licensure as a registered nurse.
While diploma and associate degree programs offer content focused on theory and skill specific to healthcare and nursing, bachelor degree programs offer a more well-rounded education, including liberal art courses, in addition to nursing-related classes.
Graduate and Advance Practice Nurses
After completing your prerequisites for nursing and acquiring your license as a RN, if you have not already done so, you can attain an undergraduate degree or an advanced graduate nursing degree and/or certification in a specialty area, such as training to become a nurse practitioner, nurse administrator, nurse anesthetist, or nurse educator, 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 Long is Nursing School?
The length of nursing programs varies. For professional registered nurses, a nursing education will take between 18 months and four years, with diploma acquisition and those earning an associate’s degree on the shorter end of the spectrum, and those earning a bachelor taking the longest. LPNs typically attend school for 9-12 months. CNAs study for 6-8 weeks.
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, and earning a doctorate could take more than five years.
What Courses are Required for Nursing?
Like many other nursing education requirements, the nursing degree requirements for coursework vary with the type of nursing degree you decide to acquire. Bachelor-degree nursing programs require a much broader curriculum, including social sciences, foreign languages and elective requirements, in addition to the expected nursing and science requirements.
LPNs and registered nursed prepared at the diploma or associate’s degree level can expect courses to be more focused on nursing skill and science. Generally speaking, in addition to core nursing classes, the following courses are nursing education requirements:
- anatomy and physiology
- math for health professions or algebra (plus statistics for bachelor programs)
- human growth and development
Many or most of these nursing degree requirements are prerequisites for nursing graduation and licensure.
What Can I Do With a Nursing Degree?
Nursing education bring a variety of options for career enrichment, development and enhancement. Among many others, you can work in clinical, educational or administrative settings.
You can work in one of many specialties, and take on a clinical, educational, research or administrative role. Examples of nursing roles and areas of practice include:
- cardiac catheter lab
- case management
- nurse midwife
- clinical nurse specialist
- diabetes specialist
- nurse practitioners
- flight or travel nursing
- home health
- infection control
- infusion nursing
- legal nurse consultants
- managed care nursing
- military nursing
- nurse educator
- nurse executive
- nurse writer
- occupational health nurse
- ophthalmic nursing
- poison information specialist
- peri-operative nursing
- rheumatology nursing
- rural nursing
- telemetry nursing
- wound care
So, ask yourself again, “What can I do with a nursing degree?” Plenty!
In 2008, workforce analyst Dr. Peter Buerhaus stated: “Over the next 20 years, the average age of the RN will increase and the size of the workforce will plateau as large numbers of RNs retire. Because demand for RNs is expected to increase during this time, a large and prolonged shortage of nurses is expected to hit the US in the latter half of the next decade.”
On March 9, 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that job growth in the healthcare sector was surpassing the growth realized in 2011, accounting for one in every 5 new jobs created this year. Forty-nine thousand healthcare jobs were created in the U.S. in February, 2012. 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. The average registered nurse salary is about $64,000 annually.
So, hear ye, hear ye, nurses-to-be! Give back while giving to yourself. The people of our country need your skill and talent more now than ever. Delay not: start your nursing education and career today, and become that nurse you aspire to be.