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Registered Nursing


Registered nursing programs prepare people to work as RNs.

Registered nursing programs include topics such as:


In registered nursing programs, students may be able to specialize in:


Many community colleges and two-year schools offer associate degree programs in registered nursing. An associate degree program usually takes two years of full-time study.

Many colleges and universities offer bachelor's degrees in registered nursing. A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree usually takes about four years of full-time study.

Many universities offer graduate degrees in nursing, where students can specialize. A master's degree typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor's degree. Doctoral (PhD) degree programs usually require two or more years of study beyond the master's degree.

See schools that offer this program.

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Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

Most schools require that you pass certain courses before you can officially become a nursing major. Typically these courses are chemistry, human anatomy, statistics, biology, and nutrition. In addition, many schools require you to complete an official application to the nursing program. Admission to nursing programs is competitive, so you should make sure to get good grades.

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Graduate Admissions

Admission to graduate programs is competitive. You need a bachelor's degree in nursing, good grades, and good test scores.

Additional requirements at some schools include:

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

This undergraduate program typically includes courses in the following subjects:

Graduate Program Courses

Graduate programs that lead to a master's or doctoral degree typically include:

Course work will also include rigorous study in the area you will specialize in.

Nursing programs require you to participate in several clinical and laboratory rotations. This means that you work and study in hospitals and medical centers under the supervision of doctors, nurses, and professors. Typically you "rotate" through different hospital units, such as prenatal care, pediatrics, cancer, and surgery. Students continue learning about human biology and illness while also practicing skills and techniques of patient care. This usually includes administering medications, diagnosing illnesses, and writing reports. They also learn to apply their course work to real-life situations. Rotations also give students valuable experience that they can apply to their work after they complete their degree.

Things to Know

Many employers require that you have your Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN) to be hired as an RN.

After you graduate you need to pass an exam to become licensed to provide nursing care in your state.

Several schools have accelerated nursing programs for people who have bachelor's degrees in a field other than nursing. Programs are also available for licensed practical nurses (LPNs) who would like to continue their education to become an RN or earn the BSN.

Many programs require you to have insurance, be immunized, and know CPR before you begin clinical rotations.

Many graduate-level nursing programs are offered part time, with day and evening classes. Online options are also increasingly common.


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