For many people looking to enter the nursing field there is one common question that seems to confuse many. How long does it take to become a RN? Now this seems like a straightforward question and should have a straight forward answer, only it doesn’t.
The reason this question can confuse so many people is because there are so many variables with very different answers. So I will try to go through the different situations and variables to help you fully understand just how long you’ll be in school.
Now most schools only offer nursing programs that are full-time, meaning you will need to devote a lot of time and attention to your studies. It also means that if you do happen to get into a program that is part-time it will take you longer to finish. I will only be covering the amount of time it takes if you are going full-time though.
The most quickest method to becoming a RN is by getting your ADN, or associates degree in nursing. This program usually takes 2 years to complete but often has pre-requisites that take a semester or two to finish. Meaning you will be in college for roughly a year and a half to two years. If you want to become a RN then make sure you speak with the nursing department as soon as you start to apply at the college that way you can get your prereqs done right away.
If you are already an LPN (licensed practical nurse) or LVN (licensed vocational nurse) then many colleges offer a LPN or LVN to RN bridge course. The course usually gives you the ADN and takes about a year to complete. This is a great way to go if you really need to work while going to school.
If you are looking to take your time and get the highest pay as a nurse then you will want to go for the BSN or bachelors of science in nursing. This program is four years but offers you much more employment opportunities and advancement the the ADN does.
You can find colleges and universities that offer an ADN to BSN program but they may have a wait so you will want to get on the waiting list asap. This program, depending on the school and schedule takes 18-30 months to complete.
If you are looking for a career change but already have a bachelors or masters degree in another field then there are a few places that offer accelerated programs for you. The program often runs full-time on the weekends or in the evening and it usually takes 2-3 years to complete and receive your BSN.
No matter which course you choose you will have take the state licensing exam before you can begin working.