7 Important RN School and Career Questions Answered

What careers can I pursue in nursing as an RN?

RNs work in hospitals, physician’s offices, nursing homes, military hospitals and other medical facilities. Travel nursing is another option if you’re interested in short-term assignments that take you to different locations. In this career, you’re assigned to a location usually for eight to 26 weeks.  In some cases, RNs who hold a BSN are eligible to supervise other RNs and LPNs/LVNs.

What degree path can I take?

Aspiring RNs can choose between earning an associate’s degree (ADN) or a bachelor’s degree (BSN). Each option has their merits and disadvantages, so consider what you’re education and career goals are. For example, an ADN is the fastest way to become an RN, but if you’re interested in future advancement, you’ll need to earn a BSN eventually.

How do I choose a specialization?

Some nursing students enroll in courses already knowing which area they want to specialize in. Often they have personal reasons for their choice. However, some students choose a specialization once they’ve taken classes and found something that interests them. Taking classes which cover a wide range of topics will expose you to different areas of nursing which may help in your decision.

How do I apply for financial aid?

Financial aid is available from a variety of sources. Government financial aid is the most common and to be considered, the first step is filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Ensure the school or program you’re enrolled in is accredited since government aid is not provided to non-accredited institutions. Other types of financial aid include scholarships, grants, private loans and PLUS loans. Read our Financial Aid article to plan ways to finance your nursing education.

What type of accreditation should a nursing school have?

There are two main accreditation organizations that you should look for when choosing a school. They are the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). If you go on to earn an advanced degree, look for schools that are also accredited by organizations specific to the specialization.

How do I become licensed to work as a nurse?

In order to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), you need to apply for licensing from your state board once you’ve earned your RN degree. Applicants should check with their state board to find out the requirements to become licensed as criteria may differ among jurisdictions.

What continuing education requirements should I expect throughout my career?

Most states require RNs to participate in continuing education (CE) in order to renew their license, while others have no CE requirements at all. As an example, the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation requires RNs to complete 20 hours of continuing education every two years, while Georgia’s State Board of Nursing has no CE requirements to renew a license. It’s best to check with your individual state board to ensure you fulfill necessary criteria.

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