If you choose to proceed with a nursing career, you would probably want to know how long it takes to become a nurse.
In this blog, I have explained clearly the time duration for becoming a nurse. Let’s get into it!
How long does it require to become a nurse?
First of all, the time duration depends on the type of nurse you want to become. For example, if you’re going to become a licensed practical nurse (LPN), the time taken is much lesser than the time required to become a registered nurse (RN).
So, I will quickly list some popular types of nurses, and then I will explain the time required to become one of them.
Popular types of nurses and the time required to become them
- Registered Nurse (RN)
- Nurse Practitioner
- Home Care Nurse
- Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)
- Travel Nurse
- Oncology nurse
- Nurse anesthetist
- Nurse educator
Registered Nurse (RN)
Registered Nurses (RNs) are involved in nurse-related activities like checking patient’s blood pressure, administering injections, observing patient’s health, etc.
There are two ways through which you can become a registered nurse:
- Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN)
- Complete the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program
If you opt for getting an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN), you can become a registered nurse within two years. An ADN fulfills the requirements to become an RN, but nowadays, many are looking to hire those who have completed a BSN program.
It takes around four years to finish a BSN program. However, you can consider an accelerated BSN program if you want to get your bachelor’s degree quicker.
Finally, to become an RN, you have to get your license.
Nurse practitioners perform functions pretty similar to that of physicians. So, they diagnose patients, interpret the results, etc.
Since nurse practitioner is a type of Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN), it requires high-level training and education.
To become a nurse practitioner, you have to get your bachelor’s degree, gain some experience, and then get your graduate degree. So, obtaining a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is essential to become a nurse practitioner. Once everything is done, get your license.
As you might have guessed, it takes a pretty long time of around seven years to become a nurse practitioner.
Home care nurse
Home care nurses are Registered Nurses (RN). As the name suggests, home care nurses provide treatment to their patients at their homes.
The time required to become a home care nurse is pretty similar to the Registered Nurse (RN). So, you should either possess an associate’s degree in nursing or complete a BSN program. However, as mentioned above, completing a BSN program is better.
Once done, you can gain some experience to get better exposure as a home care nurse.
Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)
As you might already know, Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) are higher-level nurses, and they have higher responsibilities. This means compared to other types, it takes much longer to become an APRN. But, it is worth it as the APRNs are paid a pretty good amount of money.
Firstly, to become an APRN, you will have to possess either ADN or BSN. Next, you should complete your master’s degree (i.e., MSN). Once completed, you need to take the APRN certification exam.
Generally, you can become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) in and around eight years.
Again, similar to home care nurses, travel nurses perform pretty much the same function as a registered nurse.
Travel nurses work in hospitals, healthcare centers, etc., temporarily. As their name suggests, travel nurses keep traveling from one place to another.
The time taken to become a travel nurse is quite similar to becoming a Registered Nurse (RN). So, it takes around two to four years.
Oncology nurses specialize in treating cancer patients.
To become an oncology nurse, you have to complete BSN and obtain licensure as a Registered Nurse (RN). Next, you will have to write an oncology certified nurse exam. By doing so, you can become an oncology nurse.
In my view, it can take up to four to five years to become an oncology nurse.
The Nurse anesthetist is Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN). As the name suggests, nurse anesthetists administer anesthesia to patients. As you might know, it is vital to administer the correct dose of anesthesia to the patient. If the percentage increases, the patient might go into a coma or even die. If the percentage decreases, the patient might feel the pain during the operation.
Since nurse anesthetists are involved in critical work, they need to undergo a long education and experience process.
Step #1: Get a BSN (i.e., bachelor’s degree).
Step #2: Become a registered nurse (i.e., get the registered nurse license).
Step #3: Gain experience in acute care settings.
Step #4: Get an MSN (i.e., master’s degree).
Step #5: Get the nurse anesthetist license. To get the license, you will need to pass the National Certificate Examination (NCE). The exam is offered by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA).
So, it may take around nine years to become a nurse anesthetist.
Nurse educators are involved in teaching and mentoring. To become a nurse educator, a master’s degree is the minimum requirement.
Nurse educators are found in universities, colleges, hospitals, etc. If you plan to become a full-time professor in a university, holding a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) or Ph.D. is strongly recommended.
If you want to become clinical nurse educators, having nursing experience is essential.
In general, to become a nurse educator, you will need to get your BSN, become a Registered Nurse (RN), get an MSN, and then get a DNP.
It can take around eight years to become a nurse educator.
I hope this blog answered your question about how long does it take to become a nurse.
As mentioned in the blog, the time required depends on the type of nurse you want to become. All kinds of nurses are good and have their set of advantages and disadvantages. Choose the type of nurse that you like and are passionate about.