To become a registered nurse, you can take a number of routes including getting an associate’s degree at a community college, a diploma from a hospital-based program, or a Bachelor of Science (BSN) in nursing from a four-year college or university.
The course of study for a BSN is typically four years in duration if you’re attending full-time, but part-time study may be possible because most programs have flexible class schedules and at least some blended formats. Requirements for entry vary by institution. You must first apply to the college or university, which requires a high school diploma or equivalent, good SAT scores, and successful completion of entrance exams. Some require personal essays and letters of recommendation.
Find BSN Programs in Your State:
During your freshman and sophomore years, you will take prerequisite classes required for a bachelor’s degree. To be accepted into a nursing major you must also complete pre-nursing classes such as anatomy and physiology, microbiology, and human development. Your application for a nursing program may also include a criminal background check and screening interviews.
You will have a lot of competition for a few nursing program slots. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) reported that for the 2009-2010 school year, only about 40 percent of those who applied to BSN programs were accepted. Candidates with high GPAs and healthcare experience (even as a volunteer) have a better chance.
Once you graduate, you will take your RN licensing exam. Resources related to your state’s exam can be found at your state board of nursing’s website, or at the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
Aside from caring for patients, having your BSN enables you to work in many nursing roles in almost any healthcare setting, or anywhere that a nurse’s expertise is needed such as in case management for an insurance company or private business. Your BSN is also a stepping stone to leadership roles or a graduate degree such as an MSN, DNP, or PhD.
Check out AACN for more information about this degree.