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How to become a Nurse

There are a few steps for completion to become a registered nurse.

1. The first step is the successful completion of an accredited nursing program or options such as an associate's or bachelor's degree, or nursing diplomas with additional training.

2. The next step is the successful completion of the National Council Licensure Examination.

3. Third, obtain a license that allows you to practice. Licenses are issued at the state level, and the requirements will differ. The type of license you obtain will depend on the nursing specialty you pursue.

4. Search job boards to find nursing positions that match your qualifications and skills. While in school, you will also likely complete a shadowing program, which will help you build connections in the industry and learn quickly about open positions in your area.

Additional training or education, such as a master's degree, is often needed for roles as certified nursing specialists, or nursing practitioners and RNs can also be certified for roles in critical care or nursing management.

Apart from the certification and educational requirements, some desirable qualities for success as a nurse include critical thinking, attention to detail and good communication skills.

How to become: Registered Nurse · Registered Nurse - Operating Room · Clinical Nurse · Licensed Practical Nurse · Registered Nurse - Medical/Surgical
These qualifications are required: CPR Certification · PALS Certification · AED Certification
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What skills help Nurses find jobs?

  • Acute care
  • Addiction counseling
  • Bilingual
  • Care plans
  • Communication skills
  • Computer literacy
  • Computer skills
  • Contracts
  • Critical care experience
  • Customer service
  • Data collection
  • Discharge planning
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Career progression for Nurse

Education levels for Nurses

Based on the requirements of Nurse job openings on Indeed in the United States within the last three years.
required level of educationpercent of job openings
Bachelor's degree40.1%
Associate's degree32.2%
High school diploma or GED17.2%
Master's degree9.5%
Doctoral degree1.1%
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Expected salary by experience

Based on resume data from Indeed users who reported working as a Nurse in the United States within the last three years.
Years of experienceAnnual salary in USD
0 - 4$39,100
4 - 8$45,300
8 - 12$50,000
12 - 16$51,800
16 - 20$55,500
20 - 24$55,500
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Common qualifications for Nurses

Explore popular schools to earn these qualifications

ACLS Certification

Code One CPR Training
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Explore other and more common qualifications
  • certificationLPN
  • certificationPhysician Assistant License
  • certificationLVN
  • certificationCompact State Nurse License
  • certificationRN License
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Common questions about career advices for a Nurse

Do I need a degree to become a nurse?

It depends on the actual role of the nurse. Roles such as licensed vocational nurses need certifications, but they do not need college degrees. However, most registered nursing positions and advanced nursing positions require at least a bachelor's degree.

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