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Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

Earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) qualifies individuals to enter the world of nursing as a registered nurse (RN). Overall job prospects for nurses in the next decade are excellent, with RN jobs expected to grow faster than most other fields, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median annual salary of an RN was $63,750 per year in 2009. There are a few simple steps to take before embarking on the two- to four-year long journey. Here, find the steps it takes to become a BSN.

Step 1: Earn a High School Diploma or GED

Before even thinking about attending a college or university to go into nursing, one must have a high school diploma or GED (General Educational Development). Earning either of these certificates allows individuals to advance in their learning careers by entering a community college, online program, or university to earn a nursing degree. If one doesn't have a high school diploma, there are a number of online and on-campus resources that can provide information on how to obtain a GED.

Step 2: Pick a Program

Everyone from diploma RNs who want bachelor's degrees to move to the next step to individuals who already have bachelor's degrees in something other than nursing, but want to break in--there are programs to match. Depending on one’s pervious experience, there are options to become a BSN:

  • Recent high school graduates who know they’d like to pursue nursing should look into applying to colleges or universities that have a bachelor's in nursing program.
  • Those who already have the RN title (from a community college or a diploma program), can apply to an accelerated (usually no more than two years) BSN program.
  • Those who already have a bachelor's degree in something other than nursing might want to apply to accelerated 2nd-degree programs where a BSN is the end result. These programs are usually eighteen months to two years long.

Step 3: Take The Prerequisite Courses

Depending on which nursing school or nursing program one wishes to attend to become a BSN, prerequisite courses might vary. Individuals should check in with target programs for specifics, but in general, most nursing schools require potential nursing students to take anatomy and physiology with a lab, as well as statistics. Other nursing schools require microbiology, nutritional science, developmental psychology, organic chemistry, bioethics, and biology.

Step 4: Complete the Program

This can often be the hardest step for want-to-be BSNs. The field of nursing is not right for everyone, and nursing school can be demanding. Many clinical hours in the hospital or clinic setting are required. This way, nursing students get an idea of what it will be like to become a BSN, and encourages them to understand all kinds of conditions and people.

Step 5: Licensure and the NCLEX

After earning a BSN, individuals may sit for a RN license by signing up for, taking, and passing the National Council Licensure Examination or NCLEX. Passing this exam allows individuals to work as an RN in the state where the NCLEX is passed. There are different guidelines if an individual crosses state lines and wishes to work in a state other than where the NCLEX is passed. Check with the state’s Board of Nursing to find details on transferability laws.

Step 6: Advance in Nursing

Many people choose to become a Bachelor of Science in Nursing after having worked as a CNA, LVN/LPN, or diploma RN for some time. After earning a BSN, these individuals can go on to earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), opening the door to allowing them to work as a nurse practitioner or other high level job. After a MSN is complete, nurses may choose to go into research, earn a doctorate in nursing practice (DNP) or even go on to earn a PhD in nursing.

Learn more about the BSN career:

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