How to Change Careers to Become a Nurse
Nursing is a satisfying career centered around helping others. If you’ve been thinking about going into nursing, you can do it! It’s never too late to change careers and become a nurse. Simply follow these five steps.
Consider what type of nurse you want to be. Nursing is a dynamic field with many options, which makes it a great career! Knowing what kind of nursing you want to do will help you get the right education for your future career. Perhaps you want to work with children as a pediatric nurse. Maybe you’re interested in combining nursing and data analysis by working in nursing informatics. Most nurses start their careers working with a variety of patients as a registered nurse (RN).
Apply to nursing school. No matter what nursing field you want to work in, you’ll need to attend nursing school. It’s important to choose an accredited nursing school. Not only does accreditation ensure that a nursing education program meets or exceeds quality standards, but many employers will only hire nurses who have completed an accredited program.
You can choose an RN program that offers a nursing diploma, or you can earn an associate degree in nursing or a bachelor’s degree in nursing. (Note that some states require an associate degree at a minimum for licensure—see “Get licensed” below.)
Earn a nursing degree or diploma. Now it’s time to study! As you prepare to change careers to nursing, you’ll learn how to care for patients. You’ll also learn about anatomy and physiology in your diploma or degree program. Depending on what nursing school you enroll in, you’re likely to study pharmacology, psychology, and microbiology.
Get licensed. Congratulations! You’ve graduated from an accredited nursing education program! Your next step in becoming a nurse is to get licensed in the state you wish to work. Each U.S. state, territory, and district has a Board of Nursing that is responsible for issuing nursing licenses, and while there are standard requirements, each board can have additional requirements and specific procedures for licensure. After you graduate, be sure to apply for licensure with your state’s Board of Nursing.
Become a registered nurse. After applying for licensure, you’ll be eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), which is administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). In order to become an RN, you must pass the NCLEX-RN, which is a multiple choice test. Once you’ve passed the NCLEX-RN and met your state’s licensure requirements, you’ll be a registered nurse who’s ready to work with patients.
The next step is the best step. It’s time to start your new nursing career! And in time, you may want to set new goals.
If you don’t have your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree yet, you can earn one quickly in an RN to BSN online degree program, or you can earn a graduate degree in an RN to MSN online degree program. Walden University is an accredited university that offers online degree programs that are ideal for working adults and career changers. Walden’s bachelor’s degree in nursing is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), which is a mark of quality. Get the right education to become the nurse you’ve dreamt of being at Walden.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering an RN to BSN degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.
The baccalaureate degree program in nursing (BSN), master’s degree program in nursing (MSN), post-graduate APRN certificate program, and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program at Walden University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) (www.ccneaccreditation.org).
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