How Long Does it Take to Become a Nurse?  

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Do you want a career that makes you feel like you’ve actually made a difference in the world? If so, then there’s no better career to follow than that of a nurse. Nursing is a career that extends into many specialty areas, providing you with many job options based on your preferences. Even better is that there is a high demand for nursing. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic, this career field is expected to grow by 16 percent through the year 2024. If you think this is a career path you are interested in, it is of the utmost importance that you pinpoint the specialty area of nursing you want to go into as this will affect the type of education you need to obtain. For now, let’s take a close look how long it takes to become a registered nurse and the education path you will need to follow.

The Quick Way

The quickest way to become a registered nurse is to enroll in an associate’s program, with the average time of completion taking anywhere from 15 to 24 months. To complete in as little as 15 months, you will need to keep a full schedule and take summer courses. The focus of your courses in this type of nursing program will include nutrition, pharmacology, and anatomy. In addition, you will be required to complete clinicals and gain hands-on working experience. One of the best advantages to completing an associate’s program is that you can find them at many local community colleges, meaning you won’t have to travel far to earn your degree.

The Long Way

Your next option for becoming a registered nurse is to enroll in a bachelor’s program, which will be offered by colleges and online universities. Sure, this type of degree is going to take about twice as long to earn when compared to an associate’s nursing degree, but the time invested will be well worth it. In fact, many hospitals are leaning toward hiring practices that only consider nurses with at least four years of schooling; this means you will have a competitive advantage if you earn a bachelor’s in nursing rather than an associate’s. These two degrees are set apart primarily by the amount of ground covered. A bachelor’s program dives much deeper into the following subjects:

  • Social sciences
  • Leadership
  • Communication
  • Critical thinking
  • Medical administration
  • Nursing research

Which Option is Best?

A bachelor’s in nursing will give you an advantage, but if you are limited in regards to the time you can devote to earning a nursing degree, then an associate’s may be the best option.