How to become a Registered Nurse (RN) in USA?

RN – the most trusted profession in the US!

In the United States, a registered nurse (RN) is a clinician who has completed at least an associate degree in nursing or a hospital-based diploma program. The RN has successfully completed the NCLEX-RN examination for initial licensure.

Find out below how to become a Registered Nurse (RN) in your state, the benefits and requirements of this profession:


When contemplating a career in nursing, one of the factors that should be considered is that of a nurse’s salary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for a registered nurse in 2013 was approximately $62,450. The top 10% of RNs earned an average of $92,240 per year while the bottom 10% made about $43,410 per year. Nurses specializing in government, hospital (state, local, and private) and home health care services earned the highest wages of any of the sectors in the nursing field. By location, the highest-paid nurses in 2013 were those working in major metropolitan areas of northern California, including areas in and surrounding San Jose, Oakland, Sacramento and San Francisco.

Also, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Projections 2012 – 2022 released in December 2013, Registered Nursing (RN) is listed among the top occupations in terms of job growth through 2022. The RN workforce is expected to grow from 2.71 million in 2012 to 3.24 million in 2022, an increase of 526,800 or 19%. The Bureau also projects the need for 525,000 replacements nurses in the workforce bringing the total number of job openings for nurses due to growth and replacements to 1.05 million by 2022.

TO-DO List in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN) in the US:

1. Get a high school diploma or pass the General Education Development (GED) test.

2. Pursue one of the following educational paths. There are three ways to become a registered nurse. Whatever path you choose, the coursework involved will include physiology, biology, chemistry, nutrition, and anatomy.
– Obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN). Programs typically take four years to complete and vary in cost depending on which institution you choose. Bachelor’s programs usually include more training in social sciences than other nursing programs. You may take courses in sociology, communications, leadership and critical thinking.
– Complete an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN). These programs usually take two to three years to complete. Many students transition to BSN programs after having completed an ADN.
– Get a diploma from an accredited nursing program. Though most RNs complete a BSN or an ADN, you can also be eligible for licensure by completing a vocational nursing program. These programs vary in length – depending on which institution you choose.

3. Take the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN). This test is the nationally recognized licensing exam for registered nurses. You will need to have completed one of the three types of nursing programs before you can be eligible to enroll for this examination. Prerequisites to the exam may differ between states. Check with the requirements for your state or for the state you plan on practicing in. To enroll for the test, you will need to have completed the proper educational requirements and provide documentation that shows that you are a US citizen.

4. That’s it! Go and find a job as a nurse!