Certification and Degree Requirements Before Becoming a Registered Nurse

Nursing is an incredibly stable professional path that provides individuals with great salaries and many opportunities to grow professionally.

Given these amazing benefits, many are curious about the process of becoming a registered nurse. 

While it may seem overwhelming at first glance, pulling back the veil and gaining some clarity about the process can make it easier to pursue. As such, anyone curious about pursuing the role of a registered nurse can significantly benefit from an understanding of this process. 

Here are the certification and degree requirements you must have before becoming a registered nurse. 

Understanding the Minimum Requirements to Become a Registered Nurse

The truth is that there are different paths you can take to become qualified to work as a registered nurse. In particular, there are different educational programs you can pursue that will allow you to step into the registered nurse role. 

However, there is a bare minimum that you must accomplish to be legally eligible to step into a registered nurse position. It’s important to understand these bare minimum requirements before exploring other educational options to pursue. 

To become a registered nurse, you must:

  • Obtain an associate’s degree: As you’ve probably guessed, you must attend a nursing program before becoming qualified to work as a nurse. While there are different degree options you can pursue during this phase, you must at least obtain an associate’s degree from an accredited institution to become qualified to work as a registered nurse. 
  • Pass the NCLEX: The National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX, is a key aspect of every nurse’s journey. You must study for and pass this exam to be legally able to step into any registered nurse position. 
  • Obtain a state-specific license: While you’re required to pass the NCLEX to become eligible to work as a registered nurse in the USA, you’ll also need to obtain a state-specific license to operate in your state. As such, it’s important to decide where you want to practice as a nurse before taking this key step. 

By completing these three key steps, you’ll become legally qualified to work as a registered nurse in America. However, only doing the bare minimum won’t necessarily make you an attractive candidate to employers or allow you to pursue a specialized nursing path. 

For these reasons, many nurses and aspiring nurses pursue more robust nursing programs that qualify them for different professional options. Exploring these different educational routes can be beneficial for anyone working in the nursing profession or thinking about pursuing it as a role. 

The Benefits of Pursuing a BSN

A Bachelor of Science in nursing degree, or BSN, is an amazing nursing degree that sets nurses up for career success in healthcare. While most associate’s degree nursing programs take only two years, BSN programs typically take around four years. 

Though they are typically longer and more costly than associate’s degree programs, BSN programs offer nurses a chance to better hone their skills, become more attractive candidates to employers, and set themselves up for career advancement. 

For employers in the healthcare space, looking for candidates with BSN degrees is common practice. The reason for this is that those with this degree show that they’re committed to nursing excellence and growth. 

In terms of career growth, a BSN is a great foundation for nurses to qualify themselves for more advanced and lucrative nursing careers. For example, there are currently many RN to MSN programs that require students to have a BSN. This being the case, whether you want to become a nurse practitioner or a nurse administrator a BSN can be a great stepping stone to reach your goal. 

The Benefits of Pursuing a DNP

A Doctor of Nursing practice, or DNP, degree is an amazing advanced nursing degree that can help you qualify yourself for a variety of amazing and lucrative careers. For many aspiring nurses, the role of nurse practitioner is an amazing role to aspire to. The reason for this is that these advanced nurses can command higher salaries and act with more autonomy in their nursing practice. 

If you’ve thought about becoming a nurse practitioner, obtaining a DNP is a key step on your path to reaching career satisfaction. As such, exploring your options for obtaining a DNP is a great way to kickstart your advanced nursing career. 

Ways to Bolster Your Chances of Landing an Amazing Registered Nurse Role

Now that you’ve gained some clarity around what it takes to become qualified as a registered nurse, it’s important to look at ways to increase your chances of landing an amazing role. By being aware of these strategies, you’ll have an easier time transitioning into the professional sphere after school. 

Here are ways to bolster your chances of landing an amazing registered nurse role. 

Networking with the Right Professionals

In any industry, knowing the right people can make landing a job far easier of a process. In nursing, the case is no different, and knowing the right professionals can help you land an amazing registered nurse role. 

You have an opportunity to meet more of the right professionals by engaging in networking practices that allow you to meet more people. This can include practices such as volunteering at medical institutions, attending healthcare events, and cold calling other nurses to meet up for advice. 

Bolstering Your Resume and Cover Letter

Your resume and cover letter can play a huge role in landing the perfect registered nurse position. This being the case, you can bolster your chances of landing an amazing role by investing time and energy into making these documents perfect. 

To improve your resume, it can help to engage in actions such as nursing-related volunteer work and extracurricular activities. When it comes to making your cover letter perfect, it’s wise to revise and edit until you feel it’s absolutely perfect. By being proactive in these areas, you’ll vastly improve your chances of landing a fantastic registered nurse role. 

Becoming a Registered Nuse Is Possible

Though it can seem like an overwhelming undertaking, becoming a registered nurse is more than possible if you’re willing to put in the time and effort. By making sure you cover all of the requirements and possibly going beyond to make yourself a more attractive candidate, you can set yourself up for nursing success.

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