How long does it take to be a nurse from start to finish?

  1. 1
    Is it true it take 3-4 years just to earn your associates??
    How soon will you be able to work as a student nurse?
    Also, does it really take a year of testing? I'm excited and ready to get started.
    raisincookie likes this.
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  3. 11 Comments so far...

  4. 4
    1. It depends on what school you go to.
    2. You don't work as a student nurse unless you get a job as a nurse intern which is basically a CNA plus some nursing skills as you progress in your program.
    3. After you graduate, you must take the NCLEX before you can call yourself a nurse. It's a computer adaptive test that ranges between 75 and 265 questions. It proves you are able to practice nursing safely with minimal competence.

    Go ahead and try to get your BSN if that is what you want. This is not an easy job, you are not guaranteed employment and you must take your responsibilities seriously.

    That said, I LOVE it! Good luck!
  5. 0
    @slinkyhead, I'm already a CNA now. So are you saying that you can't work a student nurse? An RN at my job told me I could. Because Its going to be hard going to school for years on a CNA's salary. Do you mind me asking how long did it take you? I want to do the associates to BSN. I love nursing and I want it bad. How long have you been an RN and do you have a specialty. Please let me know if I'm getting to personal. Thanks.
  6. 1
    Hello there,
    1.How long completing your ASN takes depends on the school. In my particular case it took me 3 years once I was "inside" the nursing program, I had to complete my prerequisites before considering applying to my nursing program. I find most schools ask for a entrance exam for example;the TEAS, Kaplan, NLN etc. However I would suggest that you first look for schools in your area that offer nursing programs and then research what are their requirements for entrance.

    2. I am not sure if you can work as a Student Nurse . What you can do is while in your perspective nursing program, apply to hospitals that offer internships;they will often have requirements, a certain GPA, recommendations, essays etc. Most of the internships I have seen in my area only offer them in the summer, so you cannot not live off what you earn in those months(if you get paid). Again I do not know about other areas of the US.

    3.I'm not sure I understand what you mean.Some schools will require you to purchase a review course before taking the NCLEX, other will integrate the program throughout you nursing school career or only the last couple of semesters, and others will recommend a course but won't make you take one. All schools have their own plan. In the end you will sit for your NCLEX and if you pass you are now an RN,if you fail you must pay to take it again and see if you pass the next time. There are whole threads of students nurses who swear by different methods, reviews, books,etc. However you shouldn't really worry about this until you cross that bridge.

    If you can I would also suggest to go straight to your BSN,not specifically because it is better, but because in increasing areas of the country it is now a requirement before applying for a job.

    Good luck on your journey to becoming a nurse!
    Last edit by raisincookie on Feb 11 : Reason: Add a punctuation mark
    LadyFree28 likes this.
  7. 0
    Quote from ditsynconfused
    Hello there,
    1.How long completing your ASN takes depends on the school. In my particular case it took me 3 years once I was "inside" the nursing program, I had to complete my prerequisites before considering applying to my nursing program. I find most schools ask for a entrance exam for example;the TEAS, Kaplan, NLN etc. However I would suggest that you first look for schools in your area that offer nursing programs and then research what are their requirements for entrance.

    2. I am not sure if you can work as a Student Nurse . What you can do is while in your perspective nursing program, apply to hospitals that offer internships;they will often have requirements, a certain GPA, recommendations, essays etc. Most of the internships I have seen in my area only offer them in the summer, so you cannot not live off what you earn in those months(if you get paid). Again I do not know about other areas of the US.

    3.I'm not sure I understand what you mean.Some schools will require you to purchase a review course before taking the NCLEX, other will integrate the program throughout you nursing school career or only the last couple of semesters, and others will recommend a course but won't make you take one. All schools have their own plan. In the end you will sit for your NCLEX and if you pass you are now an RN,if you fail you must pay to take it again and see if you pass the next time. There are whole threads of students nurses who swear by different methods, reviews, books,etc. However you shouldn't really worry about this until you cross that bridge.

    If you can I would also suggest to go straight to your BSN,not specifically because it is better, but because in increasing areas of the country it is now a requirement before applying for a job.

    Good luck on your journey to becoming a nurse!



    @DITZYNCONFUSED Thanks you gave me a bunch of great information.
    That what I was hoping, is that I can work as a student nurse because alot of my nurses at my facility say that you can until you finish school. I guess time - is big thing for me. I wanted to do LPN, but don't want to because I don't want to get stuck. I'm 23 turning 24. I was a massage therapist and cna, but now I know that a nurse is where I want to be and passionate about it.
    I called colleges in my area, they say it can take 1-2 just to get into nursing school! Time is a challenge for me. But thanks !
  8. 1
    Well you can work as a student nurse in a CNA position.You cannot do nursing skills at work until you have a nursing license.
    raisincookie likes this.
  9. 1
    Yeah, the time frame to get into nursing school sounds about right. It took me 1.5 years to get into a nursing program, three years to finish.As a CNA you are already ahead of me,a recent grad, because you have experience.
    Just be careful when you finally decide on your program, there a lot of trade schools out there that promise you will have your license in 18months or 2 years and are not accredited. (This means that when you graduate with your degree and you want to continue your education be it BSN or MSN, no credited school will take your credits earned in those trade school programs; english, bio; and you will have to start bottom if they allow you in)

    I am glad you are passionate, don't let the hurdles get to you!!
    LadyFree28 likes this.
  10. 0
    2 years of prereq's (but I had to re-take a few due to classes expiring).
    3 months on wait list
    16 month accelerated program for ADN

    Not sure if I'm going for my BSN yet
  11. 0
    Thanks for being encouraging ditsynconfused. I was thinking about going to ecpi. I'm going to continue, its just hard supporting yourself on CNA salary.
  12. 0
    Anon456 was it easy finding a job with your associates??? how's the pay? I was thinking about specializing in stepdown as well.


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