Are you ready to take the first step toward a fulfilling career in healthcare? Becoming a Registered Nurse (RN) is a great way to make use of your compassion and skills in order to help others. With an increasing demand for RNs, it has never been easier to start your journey toward becoming one. 

In this article, we will look at the essential steps for becoming an RN so that you can begin your new career with confidence. So buckle up and get ready to become the nurse of your dreams!

What is a Registered Nurse?

A Registered Nurse (RN) is a healthcare professional who provides direct care to patients, including administering medications and managing medical equipment. RNs also often manage the health of their patients by monitoring vital signs, providing health education, and helping patients manage chronic conditions. 

In addition to these duties, RNs also provide emotional support to their patients as they go through difficult treatments or procedures. RNs may work in hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, schools, or home health settings, depending on their specialty. With the growing demand for healthcare professionals with specialized skillsets and knowledge, becoming an RN is a great way to pursue a rewarding career!

The responsibilities of a registered nurse

RNs have a variety of responsibilities that involve providing direct care to patients, managing medical equipment, and supervising other healthcare professionals. As the first point of contact for many patients, RNs are responsible for recording medical histories and symptoms while also assessing the overall health condition of each patient.

In addition to these duties, RNs also help coordinate and manage patient care between doctors, specialists, and other healthcare professionals. They provide direction to other healthcare personnel, such as LPNs, CNAs, and medical assistants, in order to ensure that proper procedures are followed.

RNs also play an important role in educating their patients about preventive care measures or lifestyle modifications needed to improve their conditions. They spend time with their patients to explain treatment plans, give advice on how to manage medications properly or how best to cope with stressors related to the condition.

Finally, RNs provide emotional support for their patients during difficult treatments or procedures. Through compassionate words and gestures, they offer comfort during moments of distress while helping them stay positive throughout the process.

Steps to Becoming a Registered Nurse

Becoming an RN is an exciting and rewarding career choice. It involves completing specific steps, including education, licensing exams, and continuing education.

First and foremost, you’ll need to complete a nursing program at the associate or bachelor’s level. Depending on the state you live in, some states may require that you have a bachelor’s degree in nursing to practice as an RN. 

After completing your program of study, you will then need to pass the NCLEX-RN exam to get your license. This exam tests your knowledge of nursing concepts such as pharmacology and medical procedures.

Once you are licensed as an RN, you can look for jobs in a variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices, long-term care facilities, and home health organizations. 

Additionally, depending on what type of setting you work in and your specialty area within nursing (e.g., pediatrics or geriatrics), there may be additional certifications that are required by employers or preferred by them.

Finally, RNs must stay up to date with their continuing education requirements, which often involve taking courses related to current topics in healthcare, such as infection control or electronic records management.

By following these steps and meeting all licensure requirements for RNs in your state of residence, you can become a successful registered nurse!

1. Complete Prerequisites for an ADN or a BSN

If you’re considering nursing school, the first step is to understand the difference between an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). With either degree, you will need to complete certain prerequisites before you can apply for admission.

For an ADN, common prerequisites include basic anatomy, physiology, biology, psychology, and nutrition. You may also be asked to complete one or two liberal arts courses, such as English or sociology. In most cases, schools require that incoming students earn a minimum “C” grade in these courses.

If you are pursuing a BSN degree, then your prerequisite requirements will likely be more specific and rigorous than an ADN program. In addition to the standard courses listed above for ADN programs, BSN programs usually require organic chemistry and microbiology. Many of these courses must also be taken at a college or university rather than online or through a community college.

It’s important to do your research when applying for nursing school so that you know which prerequisites are necessary for the program you’re interested in. Doing so will help ensure that you have all the necessary materials ready when it comes time to submit your application!

2. Earn a BSN or an ADN Degree

Once you have completed the necessary prerequisites, it’s time to earn your Registered Nurse (RN) license. The path to becoming a licensed RN depends on which type of degree you are pursuing—either an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).

An ADN program typically takes two years and provides foundational knowledge in nursing fundamentals. This is the fastest way to become a registered nurse, as it requires fewer general education courses than a BSN.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for more in-depth education and training, then a four-year BSN degree may be the right choice for you. In addition to covering the basics of nursing, it also provides instruction in leadership, interpersonal communication, and clinical practice.

No matter which route you choose to take, both degrees require passing the NCLEX-RN exam before earning your RN license. After passing this exam and completing your coursework, you can start applying for jobs as a registered nurse!

3. Pass the NCLEX Exam

Once you have your degree and the necessary prerequisites, it’s time to take the NCLEX-RN exam. This is a computerized test developed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing that evaluates your knowledge of nursing fundamentals, practices, and procedures.

The exam consists of a minimum of 75 questions that you must answer within six hours. The NCLEX-RN Exam isn’t easy, but if you put in the hard work and study diligently, you can pass it with flying colors!

To prepare for this important test, be sure to take full advantage of practice tests and review material provided by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. Additionally, talk to current RNs about their experience taking the exam and what tips they have for success. Good luck!

4. Find Employment

Finding employment as a registered nurse can be a difficult process, but there are resources available to help. Start by networking with other nurses through professional organizations and conferences. These connections can help you stay informed on the latest job openings and provide valuable advice.

Additionally, utilize online job search sites like Indeed or Glassdoor to find open positions. You can also check out local hospitals and clinics that may be hiring. Finally, don’t forget to reach out directly to potential employers – many times, they will jump at the chance to bring in a qualified candidate when they have an opening!

5. Earn Board Certification

Are you looking to take your nursing career to the next level? Becoming board certified is the perfect way to do just that! Earning board certification is a great way to demonstrate your skills and knowledge as an RN and increase your earning potential.

To become board certified, you’ll need to have at least two years of clinical experience in a specialty focus. You’ll also need to pass an exam administered by The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). This exam will cover topics like patient care, healthcare law and ethics, pharmacology, and more.

Once you’ve passed the exam, you can proudly add “board certified” on your resume or business card! Not only does this show employers that you are well-rounded in your field, but it also shows them that you are committed to excellence in nursing.

So if you want to boost your career and set yourself apart from other nurses, becoming board certified is definitely worth considering!

Registered Nurse Credentials

Registered nursing credentials are essential for RNs who want to stay ahead of the curve and advance their career. Credentials are essentially certifications that validate your knowledge, skills, and abilities as a nurse. Many employers look for RNs with credentials as that demonstrate that they have gone above and beyond in their education and training.

The most common type of credential is the RN license, which you obtain by passing the NCLEX-RN exam. This credential is necessary to practice as a nurse in any state or jurisdiction in the U.S. Additionally, many nurses pursue specialty certifications such as Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Certified Medical-Surgical Nurse (CMSRN), or Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN). These certifications require additional coursework and testing to receive.

Having credentials can also help you get better pay and more responsibilities on the job. Your employer will know that you are well-versed in your area of expertise and can confidently trust you with complex tasks. Ultimately, investing in credentials is an excellent way for RNs to stay competitive in their field and build a successful career!


Licensure is the last step to becoming a registered nurse and allows you to practice in any state or jurisdiction in the U.S. Obtaining your RN license requires you to pass the NCLEX-RN exam and meet state requirements. Each state board sets different standards, so make sure to do your research before you take the exam! Additionally, many states require additional training courses for licensure.

Once you’ve obtained your license, it’s important to remember that RNs must typically renew their license every 1-4 years. To do this, they must complete training courses and continuing education hours. This requirement is designed to keep nurses up-to-date with current standards of care and technology.

Overall, licensure is an important step for any aspiring nurse and is essential for practicing nursing in the U.S. With a valid license, you can confidently pursue a career as a registered nurse and begin making a difference in patients’ lives!


Certification is an incredibly important and rewarding step for any registered nurse. It provides a way to demonstrate your expertise in a specific area of nursing and helps you stand out from the rest. Certification allows you to show potential employers that you’re dedicated to continuing education, as well as providing excellent care for your patients.

A popular certification program is offered by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN). To qualify for their certifications, RNs must complete a certain number of clinical hours and pass a specialized exam. The AACN offers certifications in acute care, cardiac medicine, and progressive care, among others.

In addition to boosting your professional profile, certification can also lead to career advancement opportunities like higher pay or promotions. It’s also important to remember that certification does not replace licensure — both are necessary for practicing nursing in the United States!

Where Do Registered Nurses Work?

how-to-become-a-nurseRegistered nurses work in a variety of different settings, from hospitals and medical offices to nursing homes and outpatient care centers. Hospitals are the most common place for RNs to work, where they provide direct patient care and help manage the day-to-day operations. 

Medical offices offer more specialized roles, such as providing physical exams or administering medications. Nursing homes provide a unique setting for RNs, where they can focus on caring for elderly patients with chronic illnesses or disabilities. 

Finally, outpatient centers are typically located in community health centers and offer services like wound care, prenatal monitoring, and postoperative follow-up visits.

No matter what type of setting an RN chooses to work in, their primary responsibility is always the same: providing high-quality patient care that meets the individual needs of each person. With this kind of rewarding job comes great job satisfaction — making it easy to see why so many people choose nursing as their profession!

Is Becoming a Registered Nurse Worth It?

Becoming a nurse is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling career paths you can take. Not only do nurses get to make a real impact on people’s lives, but they also enjoy job security, competitive salaries, and great benefits. Plus, nurses have the opportunity to work in a variety of settings, from hospitals to nursing homes to home health care centers.

The path to becoming a nurse isn’t always easy — it requires dedication and hard work — but with the right attitude and drive, it can be incredibly rewarding. So, whether you’re looking for job security, competitive pay, or just want to help make a difference in other people’s lives — becoming a nurse is definitely worth it!


Becoming a nurse is an incredibly rewarding career path that offers job security, competitive salaries, and great benefits. Plus, you’ll get the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve made a real difference in people’s lives. 

The process of becoming a registered nurse isn’t easy, but if you have the right attitude and drive, there’s no limit to what you can accomplish. With the right education and credentials, you can become licensed to practice in any number of areas, from hospitals to home health care centers. 

No matter what type of nurse you decide to become, your skills will be valued and appreciated wherever you go!

Registered Nurse FAQs

Are you considering a career as an RN? It’s an incredibly rewarding and important job, and there’s no shortage of people who need your help. But before you embark on this amazing journey, here are some commonly asked questions about becoming an RN.

How long does it take to become an RN? 

The time it takes to become an RN is based on the type of profession you decide to pursue. An associate degree in nursing will take two years, while a BSN may require four or more years of schooling.

What kind of education do I need? 

To become an RN, you’ll need to attend an accredited nursing program, such as an associate degree in nursing, a diploma from a nursing program, or a bachelor’s in nursing (BSN). Additionally, you must pass the NCLEX-RN examination and obtain licensure in the state where you plan to practice.

What kind of salary can I expect? 

Salaries for RNs vary depending on the specialty field they pursue, their experience level, and the state they practice in. Generally speaking, full-time registered nurses make around $98,571 annually, with many employers offering benefits packages on top of salaries.

What advancement opportunities are available after becoming a registered nurse?

If you’re looking for a career that offers plenty of growth opportunities, then becoming an RN is a great choice. After starting out as an RN, there are plenty of ways to advance your career. 

One way is to pursue an MSN degree and become an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN). An APRN is a nurse with specialized skills in areas such as pediatrics, gerontology, or women’s health. 

Additionally, RNs can take continuing education courses to stay up-to-date on the latest treatments and procedures. This will also allow them to renew their licensure and certification in their specialty area. Finally, gaining experience as a nurse manager can help them further develop their leadership skills.

Is it hard to be a nurse?

Being a nurse can be both challenging and rewarding. The difficulty of the profession depends on various factors, including an individual’s personality, work environment, and the specific nursing role they are in. Here are some aspects that can make nursing a difficult profession:

Emotional and physical demands: Nurses often work long hours and have to be on their feet for extended periods. They also need to cope with the emotional stress of working with sick or dying patients, their families, and sometimes dealing with difficult situations.

Shift work: Nurses may need to work irregular hours, including nights, weekends, and holidays, which can affect their work-life balance and personal relationships.

High-pressure situations: Nurses need to make critical decisions, often in time-sensitive situations. They must be prepared to respond to emergencies and deal with high-stress situations.

Continuing education: Nurses are required to stay updated with the latest medical advancements, techniques, and regulations. This often means pursuing continuing education and certifications throughout their career.

Exposure to illness: Nurses are at risk of being exposed to various illnesses and infections while providing care to patients.

Workplace challenges: Nurses may face workplace issues such as understaffing, lack of resources, or challenging interactions with colleagues.

However, nursing can also be incredibly rewarding. Many nurses find satisfaction in helping people, making a difference in their patients’ lives, and working in a team-oriented environment. The nursing profession offers diverse career opportunities, job stability, and competitive salaries.

Ultimately, whether nursing is hard or not depends on an individual’s perspective and how well they can adapt to the challenges of the profession.

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