Nurses are in demand. If you are a Patient Care Technician (PCT), you may have considered advancing your career to become a Registered Nurse (RN). You can make the transition by returning to school and taking advanced courses in nursing. With your background in the healthcare field, you will have an advantage over those who do not have previous experience. As a nurse, you will manage patient care and have more responsibilities, and will earn a higher salary. The forecast looks good for you, so make the decision to become an RN today.
You must complete a nursing program approved by your state's Board of Nursing. After this achievement, you must pass a comprehensive nursing exam from the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN).
Many prospective students believe it will be faster to complete the educational requirements for an RN program because of your previous training. Your previous training and experience in the nursing field helps you to understand and absorb the advanced nursing courses, but it will not earn you credits or advanced placement in nursing school.
Some hospitals hold nursing programs for students wanting to become an RN, but most of them are available at community colleges. If you apply to a nursing program located in a hospital, they will require you to complete some general education and science courses before you are admitted into the clinical courses that are offered at the hospital.
It will take 2 to 3 years to complete the educational requirements for a PCT to become an RN. You may need additional time to study for the state's nursing exam.
The minimum requirement to become an RN is an associate's degree, but you can also earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Both degrees offer graduates the skills needed to sit for an RN exam, but the associate's program teaches more technical skills, while the bachelor's program teaches more on the theory of nursing.
Before the 1970s, there were over 800 diploma programs that allowed students to earn the educational requirements by completing 2 to 3 years of experience in a hospital. Now, most states require an associate's degree from an accredited college, even though a small number of approved diploma programs still exist.
Most nursing programs required students to complete courses in English and mathematics, along with anatomy and physiology or other science courses. Today, some nursing programs allow concurrent enrollment so you can take your some of your general education courses while you are in the clinical program.