Nursing Educational Requirements

As a nursing student, are you looking for the academic and career requirements? This article is a guide for you which details about how to become a qualified nurse by implementing necessary skills and education.

Updated by Rakshitha N on 28th May 2020

Nursing is one of the most common and employable professions in U.s where above 90 percent of the students get employed within 6 months after completion of their education. Students can also avail a total of $30,000 of financial aid to support their education.

To become a nurse, it does not only depend on your education but also the amount of experience gained by treating patients. Some common fields of nursing are Adult nursing, children nursing, learning disability nursing and mental health nursing. However the main categories of nursing is Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), Registered nurses (RNs) and Licensed Vocational Nurses(LVNs). 

Nurses are expertised in treating patients and assisting the surgeons in medical procedures. With an average salary of $77,460 per year nurses can increase their potential by indulging themselves in higher education. Every career path varies with its educational requirements and qualifications. Hence, this article is concerned with providing you a guide on what is necessary to become a nurse. 

Educational requirements

Getting educated is important to lead a better life. Being a nurse requires academic excellence where even the slightest error can affect big. Here are certain education requirements and the degree levels to pursue this career path. 

High School Study

It is better to plan early on what you want to study to prepare better accordingly. Start while still at high school, learn about the degree, potential career alternatives to determine what to expect in the future. At this stage, you can strengthen your prerequisites by focusing on courses such as biology, chemistry, anatomy, algebra, and geometry.

Applicants can strengthen their applications by getting good GPAs and SAT scores to get higher chances of acceptance in the healthcare field. 

Associate's Degree in Nursing

An associate’s degree is a 2 year program which gives the surface level education to land on an entry level job in the nursing field. It offers 60 credits to complete the courses such as anatomy, nutrition, adult care and medicine practices. Also the two common associate degree available for nurses are, 

  • Associate of Arts in Nursing (AAN) degree- this course is usually taken by candidates who are willing to become a registered nurse. Under this program, students learn both formal education as well as medical practices and laboratory methods. 

  • Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) degree-  This degree takes up to 2-3 years to complete the training and practice the administrative tasks. Students who want to perform in the administrative, research or teaching sectors can pursue this degree.

Bachelor's Degree in Nursing

The bachelor’s degree is a 4 years program which provides 120 credits to complete courses such as human development and healthcare, nursing theory, chemistry and infant care. Students can obtain both formal education as well as gain experience by practicing in medical settings. This is the minimum degree required to earn a job in this field. 

Master's Degree in Nursing

An categories of nursing students can pursue a master's degree to advance their skills and medical techniques. The advanced practice nurses include nurse-midwives, nurse anesthetists, clinical nurse specialists and nurse practitioners. This degree induces administrative, management and researching skills in nurses.

Work-study programs

Committed students can choose the work study program where the education is sponsored by the healthcare institution as a compensation to service provided at the healthcare facility. Initially students practice medicine under the supervision of licensed professionals and later continue working for several hours in exchange to the free education provided. There are various Hospitals that pay for nursing schools to support the student’s education. 

Additionally, students can be benefited by additional financial aids such as scholarships, grants and other. 

Online programs for nurses

Online degrees for nursing are one of the convenient options for students who are practicing at the medical setting simultaneously. The degrees offered are similar to the traditional degree and have further benefits such as affordable cost, learning at a flexible schedule, diverse courses to specialize in, time saving and others. 


Career Requirements to Become a Nurse

After completing your educational requirements, you then wonder about the career requirements which are essential to earn a nurse job and start practicing medicine legally by obtaining license and certification. This concept is detailed below,

Licensure for Nurses

To earn the nursing licence, you are required to clear the licensure examinations such as National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) in which there are two: one being the (NCLEX-RN) for registered nurses and one for practical nurses (NCLEX-PN|). 

These exams include descriptive and objective type questions taken via computer and these exams evaluate the potentials and knowledge of the candidate. 

Certification

Certification helps in demonstrating the knowledge of an individual as specialized in courses such as treating children, the elderly or patients with mental illness. It is determined that employers prefer hiring candidates who possess dictionary certifications which are accredited by organizations such as American Nursing Credentialing Center (ANCC), Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) which offers certification in areas such as pediatrics, psychiatric care and diabetes management. 

Nurses are required to continue their education and maintain their credits in order to keep their certification live and also educate themselves for several specific hours to renew their license periodically.


Skills required to become qualified

In addition to getting a proper education, you also need to acquire skills that help you stand out among the others in your workplace. They are, 

  • Technically sound and knowledgeable

  • Cententration to details

  • Calm and composed

  • Compassionate and empathetic

  • Good communication and written skills

  • Comfort the patients 

  • Critical thinking 

  • Time management

  • Positive attitude to work