Registered Nurses (RNs) make up a large part of the healthcare industry. It has been estimated that there are over 2 million RN jobs available. For those interested in becoming an RN, you should start your career by completing an entry level Nursing Assistant Certification (CNA) course.
CNA to RN Bridge Programs
Obtaining the CNA certification is the quickest route to becoming a qualified RN. To achieve the RN designation, you must complete a 2-year associate degree course at an accredited community college. Those who want to become an RN without completing the CNA course will need to complete a 3-year RN diploma or a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing at a university or college. These programs typically run for four years.
The associate degree and bachelor degree courses follow the same course work, where students will study nursing, nutrition, and social sciences as well as several science courses such as anatomy, chemistry, and biology. The programs will also require some basic college-level courses in English, mathematics, and the humanities.
If you choose to complete the Bachelor degree program, you will have to undertake leadership and management courses as well. Outside of the classroom studies, an RN must gain clinical experience and proficiency in lab work. There are many teaching hospitals that offer nursing diploma programs in conjunction with local community colleges or universities. This allows students to receive the necessary classroom component to their practical work.
Once you have completed one of the course routes, you can then apply for an RN license. The state nursing board is responsible for issuing the license, which is mandatory if you want to work as an RN in the District of Columbia or any of the 50 states. The licensing requirements will vary depending on the state issuing the license, but all states require RN candidates to pass a licensing exam before they work as an RN.
Before you can receive the license, you will need to undergo a background and medical check conducted by the licensing authority and submit a fingerprint card to the respective local department. There are also licensing fees that will need to be paid, and each RN must complete continuing education requirements to maintain the license.