How to become a Registered Nurse

Registered nurses usually take one of three education paths: a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN), an associate's degree in nursing (ADN), or a diploma from an approved nursing program.

In all states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories, registered nurses must have a nursing license. To become licensed, nurses must graduate from an approved nursing program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN).

Nurses may become certified through professional associations in specific areas, such as ambulatory care, gerontology, and pediatrics, among others. Although certification is usually voluntary, it demonstrates adherence to a higher standard, and some employers require it.

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What skills help Registered Nurses find jobs?

  • Medication Administration
  • Nursing
  • Acute Care
  • Hospital Experience
  • ICU Experience
  • Home Care
  • Critical Care Experience
  • EMR Systems
  • Workers' Compensation Law
  • Hospice Care
  • Tube Feeding
  • Catheterization
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Career progression for Registered Nurse

Education levels for Registered Nurses

Based on the requirements of Registered Nurse job openings on Indeed in the United States within the last three years.

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Expected salary by experience

Based on resume data from Indeed users who reported working as a Registered Nurse in the United States within the last three years.

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Common qualifications for Registered Nurses

  • RN
  • BLS Certification
  • ACLS Certification
  • CPR Certification
  • Compact State Nurse License
  • PALS Certification
  • Emergency Nursing Pediatric Course
  • AHA Certification
  • TNCC Certification
  • NRP Certification
  • LPN
  • Certified Emergency Nurse
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Frequently asked questions

Common questions about career advices for a Registered Nurse

Is nursing considered an ‘in-demand’ occupation?

Yes. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an increased demand for registered nurses (RNs). Additionally, according to Indeed's Hiring Lab, the top job title search in 2019 among employers was for registered nurses.

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What are some nursing skills to put on a resume?

Registered nurses should include the following skills on their resume if applicable:

  • Attention to detail.
  • Teamwork.
  • ICD coding.
  • Patient care.
  • Acute care.
  • Triage.
  • Leadership
  • Dialysis experience.
  • Utilization review.
  • Empathy.
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What other jobs can I do with a nursing degree?

If you have a nursing degree and don't want to be a registered nurse, here are some other career options to consider:

  • School Nurse.
  • Telehealth Nurse.
  • Research Nurse.
  • Legal Nurse Consultant.
  • Forensic Nurse Consultant.
  • Camp Nurse.
  • Case Manager Nurse.
  • Health Coach.
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Is a registered nurse (RN) a good career?

Once I become a registered nurse, can I practice in all 50 states?

What certifications are needed to become registered nurse (RN) from certified nursing assistant (CNA)?

How much more I can earn if I become a registered nurse from a certified nursing assistant?

How fast can you become a registered nurse (RN)?

What is a nursing residency?

As a registered nurse, how do I list my nursing skills on my resume?