What Education is Needed to Become a Registered Nurse? Complete Guide

Updated on: September 8, 2020

Registered nurses are a critical part of the healthcare system, and they make up the majority of the workers in the healthcare field. They assist physicians in examining and treating patients with ailments and injuries.

Also, they provide direct patient care by assisting patients in bathing, dressing, and grooming and they administer medication as well. Moreover, they take and record patients’ vitals.

Position Overview

The typical duties of a registered nurse depends on the work setting and patients that they are catering to. Registered nurses may specialize in specific health conditions such as oncology, pediatrics, diabetes management, and cardiovascular diseases depending on their interests and available opportunities.

Not everyone can live up to the demands of working as a registered nurse.

Apart from being compassionate by nature and possess the patience to handle difficult patients, registered nurses need to be adequately qualified.

There are specific educational requirements that employers look into before they hire registered nurses.

Because nurses provide one-on-one care to patients, it is essential for them to understand the nature of their work completely; after all, there is patients’ health and wellbeing on the stake here, something which cannot be taken non-seriously.


A registered nurse must possess an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) to begin working at an entry-level position. People who own nursing diplomas are also eligible for entry-level positions.

Many nurses who possess nursing diplomas or associate’s degrees in nursing end up entering a bachelor’s degree program so that they can undertake a broader range of duties.

An associate’s degree in nursing prepares nurses to work at hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare settings.

Some typical courses that an associate’s program includes are adult and family health, pharmacology, human development, psychiatric nursing, and anatomy.

These courses prepare new nurses to work in real-time healthcare environments.


Nurses can opt for a degree in nursing (bachelor’s of science in nursing or BSN) that can provide many benefits to new nurses as they focus on advanced nursing methodologies and clinical training.

This is especially important as this type of education instills nursing students with both administrative and critical thinking skills.

A BSN course will focus on nursing research, community health, leadership in nursing, health assessment, and healthcare management.

To practice this profession, registered nurses must become licensed. Different states have separate licensure requirements, but typically they include a state-approved program – NCLEX-RN – National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses – which every aspiring nurse must go through.

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