How to Become a Nurse


Nursing professionals must hold a license to practice. Although licensure and nursing education requirements vary by state, candidates must typically sit for the nursing licensure exam. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing administers licensing tests for practical and registered nurses. Candidates can take these exams after earning a diploma or an associate degree in nursing. Through the Nurse Licensure Compact, licensed nurses can transfer their credentials between participating states.

Preparation for a nursing school Kansas City can begin as early as high school. Aspiring nurses can enhance their college application by taking advanced courses in biology, chemistry, algebra, and geometry. Completing advanced coursework and maintaining a high GPA can help students earn admittance to a nursing program. Some advanced high school courses may satisfy college-level prerequisites to avoid wasting students’ time and money.

Many nursing school Kansas City requires applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. To enhance their chances of admission, high school students should work to earn high standardized test scores. High school students also can prepare for a nursing career through extracurricular activities, like volunteer positions within the healthcare field.

Advanced nursing programs provide in-depth, specialized training that can result in high-level certifications, licenses, and careers. Consistent with the BLS, individuals in specialized nursing careers earn higher salaries than general practice nursing. Professionals like critical-care nurses and advanced practice registered nurses typically need a master’s degree, certification, and nursing licensure.

An associate degree in nursing typically provides the fastest route to entry-level careers within the field. However, a two-year degree doesn’t qualify degree-holders for all nursing positions. With a bachelor’s degree, graduates can pursue a broader sort of nursing roles. Bachelor’s degree-holders also can enroll in grad school. Coursework and specialization options vary by program, degree level, and school, so learners should ensure their chosen program aligns with their career goals.

In addition to their degree, students should choose individual courses carefully. Class selections can impact the trajectory of an aspiring nurse’s career. Courses in nursing programs often provide learners with a singular perspective of a healthcare discipline, serve as prerequisites for more advanced training, and deliver specialized skills and expertise. The courses below are standard options available at various academic levels.

Continuing education requirements for nurses vary by state and kind of license. Nurses must typically renew their licenses every 2-3 years. To qualify for license renewal, nurses must ensure their skills and knowledge remain current. Professionals must complete specific continuing education requirements every renewal period.

In some states, registered nurses must complete 20 hours of continuing nursing education during each renewal period. Additionally, those working in direct patient care must complete a human trafficking prevention course. Nurses in geriatric care must fulfill two contact hours in an older adult or geriatric courses. Nurses in emergency care settings must complete two contact hours in forensic evidence collection every six years.

Along with allowing professionals to maintain licensure, pursuing continuing education can help nurses advance professionally. Many colleges offer bridge programs for working nurses, which create pathways to assist nurses in applying their training and licensure toward a bachelor’s degree. These programs typically require applicants to carry valid licensure and actively work in the sector.