Many prospective students desire to become healthcare professionals, but are turned off by the time it takes to get a degree. Depending on their specialty, medical professionals usually spend more time in school than any other profession. Many prospective students are also turned off by the lack of affordability associated with getting a degree in the healthcare industry.
Nursing is an easier field to enter than becoming a physician, and it’s also a rewarding career. There are different types of nurses, and different specialties require different levels of training. However, one of the big draws for nursing is that you can attain the necessary education fairly quickly. Continue reading to learn more about how long it takes to become a registered nurse.
What are the different types of nursing?
When you say you want to be a nurse, you have to be specific. There are many different types of nursing, and each specialty comes with its own educational standards and responsibilities.
Certified nursing assistants—called CNAs for short—are essential to the healthcare field, but they aren’t actually nurses. In fact, their title says it all—they assist nurses by performing basic tasks such as helping to move immobile patients and bathing them. CNAs only have to go through eight weeks of training before they’re ready to get their certification as a nursing assistant.
Licensed practical nurses(LPNs) are a step up from CNAs, but they still hold what is essentially an entry-level position. They’re qualified to perform all of the duties that CNAs perform, but they also are qualified to take blood and monitor treatment results. To become licensed, you have to pass the NCLEX-PN, the standardized exam for practical nurses.
Registered nurses (RNs) are nurses who hold at least an associate’s degree in nursing and after passing the NCLEX-RN, are registered with the state licensing board. RNs receive more training than LPNs and CNAs and are therefore better equipped to handle more critical tasks related to patient care.
Registered nurses can perform all of the duties that CNAs and LPNs perform, but they usually don’t have to. They have CNAs and LPNs at their side who perform more menial tasks for them. The extent of responsibilities of RNs varies from state to state.
How long does it take to become an RN?
Becoming a registered nurse opens up opportunities for growth and advancement far beyond the CNA and LPN levels. Unlike CNAs who only have to receive eight weeks of training, or LPNs who go through a year of training, RNs don’t attend vocational schools. Registered nurses attend traditional universities for at least two years to receive their associate’s degree.
With factors such as affordability, campus life, and financial aid, choosing the right public university to continue your schooling can be a lot to take on. If you’re having trouble weighing your options for higher education, then do what everyone else does—ask the internet for help.
You can find national rankings that are backed by U.S. News and World Report on college information sites like ValueColleges.com. Value colleges not only ranks schools by prestige and affordability, but they also offer valuable insights into what you can expect at different schools and in various career fields.
RNs must continue their education.
Medical practices and procedures are always evolving and as an RN, you’re expected to keep up with these changes. Most states require RNs to take education continuation classes every two years to stay up-to-date on new developments and re-certify.
You’ll also have to get your basic life support (BLS), advanced cardiac life support (ACLS), and pediatric advanced life support (PALS) certifications on a biannual basis. The good news is that once you’ve gotten your education in the classroom, you can handle your PALS, BLS, and ACLS renewal classes and exams online.
Some online certification websites allow you to bundle all of your exams and save money by paying for them together. Online recertification websites have made it so that you can get all of your necessary recertifications in a matter of hours!