How to Become a Registered Nurse

Projected Job Growth: 26%
Projected Employment Change: 711,900

Registered nurses are in charge of providing patient care, assisting patients with treatments and medicine, operating medical technology, and interacting with doctors and health care officials. Not only does the field have strong growth, as indicated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), but registered nurses can also choose to specialize in a variety of areas, including neonatology, gerontology, mental health, and emergency care. Individuals interested in becoming registered nurses can therefore set a career path that follows their interests.

Why Registered Nursing?

In addition to having faster-than-average growth, the field of registered nursing also may offer competitive salaries. Registered nurses earn, on average, $64,690 annually, according to the BLS. The field also presents the opportunity for registered nurses to advance into supervisory or research assisting roles. Registered nurses also have the option of pursing a bachelor’s degree in nursing, which may help them advanced their careers faster than those who only hold associate degrees. RN-to-BSN programs are common, and many universities offer online degree completion programs. Online degree programs offer registered nurses the opportunity to attend school while maintaining their careers.

Getting Into Registered Nursing

Prospective registered nurses must receive formal education in the field. They can do so by completing a bachelor’s degree, an associate degree, or a diploma, though more employers may be looking for those with at least a bachelor’s degree. They must also apply for a nursing license, which can be obtained after passing the NCLEX-RN examination. During their educational programs, nurses will take classes in anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, biology, and the social sciences. Students have the option of attending schools with online degree programs, which is common for registered nurses who want to advance their degrees and careers.