The first step to taking an NCLEX is to request a nursing license from the board of nursing in your state. It will determine whether you meet the criteria or not to sit for the exam. When they approve, you will register for the exam and receive candidate bulletin in your mail then register with the boards testing service by filling the registration form or by providing your details on the phone. When the state board approves your eligibility, it sends you an ATT (Authorization to Take the Test), a list of testing centers and the instructions on how you will schedule an appointment to sit for NCLEX.

Different Academic paths to RN certification

You may become an RN by following one of these methods:

Undergraduate Diploma: A DiN(Diploma in Nursing) was one of the most popular ways to become a registered nurse and start practicing nursing. You can obtain this diploma through hospital-based schools of nursing.

Associate Degree in Nursing: An ADN is a two-year degree for people who want to enter the healthcare fields without going for four years BSN degree. You can join an ADN program directly or as a way to advance from LVN or LCP certificate. To complete this degree course, you should learn about nursing, chemistry, nutrition, microbiology in addition to other specialized subjects. This program includes several liberal art subjects. ADN has overtaken DiN as the most popular way for people without time, money and academic qualifications for degree programs to train for the entry-level position. An ADN is the fastest method to become an RN. In 2-3 years, the program, students complete the program. They can follow it up with courses from community and hospital based colleges.

Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing-BSN: It takes four years to complete a BSN degree at a college or university. You can also enroll for RN-BSN, a fast-tracked program that takes a shorter time span of 2 to 3 years. If you have a non-nursing degree, you are eligible to join an accelerated program. It will only take your 12-18 months to compete. A BSN prepares you to work in all types of a healthcare setting.

Students learn the core subjects in nursing in a concentration of biology, psychology, microbiology, Physiology, Anatomy nutrition and organic chemistry. They also take another concentration of studies on child health, adult care, metal health pediatrics, maternity and community health in their two final years. Students focus on cultural, political, economic and social issues affecting health.

Master’s Degree in Nursing: A Nursing master’s degree (MSN) enables nurses with other degrees to join the field of Advanced Practice Nurse, nurse administrator or educator.

Doctorate nursing degree: Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (Ph.D.) are the two nursing degrees for doctorate level. A DNP specializes in clinical practice and leadership roles. Usually, this is the terminal degree in nursing, and most people who are acquiring this degree are holders of another nursing or non-nursing degree. When you receive this degree, you become a researcher or a nursing educator.

Online options

More people are turning to online nursing programs to obtain their nursing degrees and seek certification to practice as RNs. It was impossible in the past as nursing is a hands-on job, but the trend has been changing. Many nursing schools now allow students to complete an associate or bachelor degrees in a full or partly online program. Nonetheless, you have to obtain some clinical experience at a clinic in your local community. These days you can even enroll for an RN to MSN degree program online.

If you have a calling to care for the patients, you can become a nurse by enrolling to one of training programs and get licensure to practice.