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The growth that is expected in the field of nursing, becoming a registered nurse has never been a better idea than now! In our article below we will be covering all the steps to become a nurse, how to select the right program, how to prep for the NCLEX-RN, tips to find your first job and become a registered nurse! By the time you are done reading you will be over prepared for beginning the process and you will be on your way! Starting one of the best medical field careers starts now!

What is the process to become a Registered Nurse?

All registered nurses have 3 pathways to licensing. First is a (BSN) Bachelor of Science degree in nursing. Second is an (ADN) associate’s degree in nursing. Third is earning a diploma from an accredited nursing program. We will get in to the details of each one below so you can get started towards becoming a registered nurse.
The steps to become a RN are simple in theory but take time and careful decision making along the way. WE will do our best to make that easier for you.

Step 1: Finding the Right Nursing School
Step 2: Complete Your RN Program and Pass the NCLEX-RN
Step 3: Find a Registered Nursing Job

Find Registered Nursing Programs Today

STEP 1 – Select the Right RN Program for you

As we mentioned above, nurses are the gateway between patients and physicians and in many situations, the voice for the patients who cannot advocate for themselves in the healthcare system. Registered nurses can bring happiness into a situation where most would think sadness would prevail. It is a huge responsibility to be a nurse and those who are get a huge reward and gather huge personal satisfaction from the ability to assist someone in need. Many begin the process with entry level allied health positions but aspire to climb the ranks within the nursing field with continued education.

When selecting a RN training program or nursing school, looking at the schools nearest you is the best way to start. Make note of them and check their NCLEX-RN pass rates and graduation rates. You may want to see examples of course work if possible to get a feel of how they go about teaching in their programs. Check social media for more information (it is remarkable what you can find on Facebook for example). For a list of accredited nursing schools near you see the (ACEN) Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing database or the (CCNE) Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education databases of approved RN programs at the links below.

ACEN Approved RN Programs

CCNE Approved RN Programs
Passing the TEAS test is a mandatory prerequisite for entry into registered nursing school. Below we cover the details of the TEAS test.

TEAS is a timed test that has only multiple choice questions with four possible choices.

Each of the four areas have different maximum time allotments and each has a different number of questions. The TEAS test is broken up in to 4 parts. Reading, Math, Science and English. We breakdown the TEAS so you can get on the path to become a RN.


Max. Time Allotment: 64 minutes
# of Scored Questions: 47
# of Non Scored Questions: 6
Total # of Questions: 53


Max. Time Allotment: 54 minutes
# of Scored Questions: 32
# of Non Scored Questions: 4
Total # of Questions: 36


Max. Time Allotment: 63 minutes
# of Scored Questions: 47
# of Non Scored Questions: 6
Total # of Questions: 53

English and Language Usage

Max. Time Allotment: 28 minutes
# of Scored Questions: 24
# of Non Scored Questions: 4
Total # of Questions: 28

Find the Hidden Costs While Becoming a RN

Books – You can save money on textbooks if your school allows you to use multiple vendors for textbooks. Double check with your school before you buy books.
Supplies – A few examples of supplies beyond pens and pencils are stethoscopes, pen lights, medical scissors, comfortable shoes and n some cases medical scrubs. Some schools include scrubs in the tuition cost.
Transportation – Getting to and from school is a cost a lot of students forget about.
Childcare – Added child care costs for those with children can be a added cost.
Food – When you are at school and have a lunch break, you will be spending more money eating.
NCLEX-RN – The cost of the exam is an added cost that has to be remembered.
Other Program Fees – Additional costs could be parking permits, lab fees or clinical training fees. Check with your school to see if there are any added costs.

If you are looking for a cheaper way to get your nursing degree, you may want to look in to online training. See our guide to online RN programs and get more information.

STEP 2 – Complete Your RN Training and Pass the NCLEX-RN Exam

IF you are the path to becoming a registered nurse in your respective state you will have to pass the NCLEX-RN to be eligible for nursing licensure. Below we cover what it takes and more.

What is the NCLEX-RN

The NCLEX-RN is the final examination for aspiring registered nurses before they receive their license to be employed as nurses in their respective state. Below we will cover the ins and outs of the exam from before the exam, during the exam and after the exam. For more information about frequently asked questions for the exam see the NCSBN FAQS page listed here. You will find all the details from the organization that gives the examination there. Also, see their test plan page to get intimate preparation planning for the exam tailored just for your needs.

Balancing Work, Life and Nursing School When Becoming a RN

The balance between your studies and life and in some cases, work can be daunting. Many nurses look back at their time in nursing school as the hardest and most stressing time of their lives. That being said, it is important to remember that the regard at the end is a rewarding and wonderful career and life as a registered nurse. A working nurse changes lives everyday for the better. The time spent grinding out your education will be paid back ten fold in so many ways. And the pay is not so bad either! You will be on a pathway to a rewarding full life.

NCLEX-RN Pass Rates in United States

Below are the first time pass rates for students who took the NCLEX-RN from 2010 to 2017. For more details about the pass rates and the test itself see the NCLEX-RN fact sheet provided by the NCSBN who is the provider of the NCLEX. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) is a partner of the state boards across the country that does testing to all Registered Nurses.
2017 – 157,720 Takers, 87.11% Pass
2016 – 157,073 Takers, 84.57% Pass
2015 – 157,882 Takers, 84.53% Pass
2014 – 157,372 Takers, 81.78% Pass
2013 – 155,098 Takers, 83.04% Pass
2012 – 150,226 Takers, 90.34% Pass
2011 – 144,583 Takers, 87.89% Pass
2010 – 140,889 Takers, 87.41% Pass

Tips for the NCLEX-RN Exam

Below are tips for prepping for the NCLEX-RN, tips for taking the exam and tips for what to do after taking the NCLEX-RN examination.

Tips for Before the Exam

Before students can take the NCLEX-RN test they will need to get an (ATT) Authorization to Test. An ATT comes from your respective state board or regulating body and must be applied for. Once that is received students can then register for the exam with Pearson VUE. Do not wait for the last moment to do this, it is important to start this process early and give it time to play out. in short, follow these steps. First, get eligible then apply for licensure/registration with a your board of nursing or regulating body. Secondly, register for test and pay the fee to Pearson VUE. Thirdly, schedule exam once you receive the ATT from your state board or regulating body, then schedule your exam with Pearson VUE. If you follow these steps you will be set up to take the exam.

Tips for During the Exam

Be prepared before you even show up that day. Dress comfortably and arrive a minimum of 30 minutes early. This will allow you to not be rushed and do your pre-exam duties like signing in and giving your bio-metrics (signature, photograph and palm vein scan). The test is a 6 hour examination so take your time and pace yourself. There is a short tutorial at the start and you will get 2 short optional breaks (2 hours into testing and after 3 1/2 hours of testing). Test takers will receive their materials for the exam (You may not bring in paper/writing instruments for this computer-administered exam). You will be using an on-screen calculator and erasable note board and marker for making any needed notes during the testing period. The test uses the CAT method, which is a pass/fail test method.

Tips for After the Exam

If your state participates in the Quick Results Service (see the list of states that do here) you can receive your “unofficial” results about 2-3 business days following the examination. The cost of the expediency is a small fee of $7.95 to Pearson Vue. Official results come from your state board of nursing or regulatory body about 6 weeks following the completion of the exam. If you do not pass the exam, one will receive a (CPR) Candidate Performance Report. A CPR breaks down what parts of the exam you struggled with and what parts you excelled in. Your CPR is critical and should be the focus of study for the retaking of the test. To retake the NCLEX-RN, candidates will have to go through the same process that they did to take the test originally. If you follow the steps laid out here success will be in your future!

Step 3 – Finding a Registered Nursing Job

Upon the passing of the NCLEX-RN and receiving your nursing license, you are then eligible to find a job as a licensed RN! We will show you some great tips and ways to get started on the job search successfully and in a way that serves your career and future!

How to Make a Great Registered Nurse Resume

Here are some basic resume tips for your success.
1 – Make your name pop and stand out.
2 – List your email along with phone number/address in a clear way that can found easily.
3 – Correct all spelling errors and grammar (Proofread and have someone else proofread it).
4 – Stick to clean basic fonts and make it short and simple.

Use Clear Sections on your RN Resume

Here are the commonly used sections on resume for registered nurses:
Work Experience
Technical Skills
(Here are some optional sections if they apply to you)
Honors and Awards
Professional Memberships
Volunteer Experiences

Make a Clean and Concise Cover Letter on Your Nursing Resume

Using a one page cover letter is important, but, it needs to be clean and concise. Do not over do it.

Interview Tips

It is important to arrive early for your interview (10-15 minutes minimum) and be prepared. Dress accordingly (suits for men and long skirts or pant suits for women) and answer all questions honestly and with confidence. Do not be afraid to ask questions and make eye contact. Do not fidget and try not to force a smile and be yourself). Interviewers know that people are not robots and they know you will be nervous. Do not let it get to you. Just let the interview happen and act natural, while avoiding any slang or improper language, of course. If you do this while being properly prepared you will be just fine!

What does the job outlook for Registered Nurses Look Like?

According to the latest statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics the field of nursing is adding over 438,000 jobs over the next decade and is growing at 15% over that period. That is tremendous growth! The median pay is $70,000 per year and $33.65 per hour for working nurses across the country. With the baby boomer generation needing vast amounts of healthcare and living much longer than previous generations, the need for skilled healthcare and medical field professionals like registered nurses is extremely high and will continue to be just that. Include the high amounts of immigration every year and the demand does not have an end in sight. The time could not be any better to become a registered nurse and we could not be more excited about the career as a whole!

See all the Types of Nurses you can Become

There are is a vast array of types of nurses in the medical field. Below we show a list of the most common ones for you:

Ambulatory Care Nurse, Burn Care Nurse, Camp Nurse, Cardiac Care Nurse, Laboratory Nurse, Nurse Case Manager, Charge Nurse, Correctional Nurse, (CVOR) Cardiovascular Operating Room Nurse, Dermatology Nurse, Developmental Disability Nurse, Domestic Violence Nurse, (ER) Emergency Room Nurse, Enterostomy Nurse, Fertility Nurse, Flight Nurse, Forensic Nurse, Gastroenterology Nurse, Genetic Nurse, Geriatric Nurse, Holistic Nurse, Home Health Nurse, Hospice Nurse, ICU Nurse, Infection Control Nurse, Infusion Nurse, Labor and Delivery Nurse, Legal Nurse Consultant, Long-Term Care Nurse, Managed Care Nurse, Medical-Surgical Nurse, Military Nurse, Missionary Nurse, Nephrology Nurse, Neuroscience Nurse, NICU Nurse, Nurse Administrator, Nurse Advocate, Nurse Care Coordinator, (OB) Obstetrics Nurse, Occupational Health Nurse, Oncology Nurse, (OR) Operating Room Nurse, Ophthalmic Nurse, Orthopaedic Nurse, Palliative Care Nurse, Parish Nurse, Pediatric Endocrinology Nurse, Perianesthesia Nurse, Perinatal Nurse, Plastic Surgery Nurse, Postpartum Nurse, Psychiatric Nurse, Public Health Nurse, Radiology Nurse, Rehabilitation Nurse, Research Nurse, Respiratory Nurse, Rheumatology Nurse, School Nurse, Substance Abuse Nurse, Telemetry Nurse, Transplant Nurse, Trauma Nurse, Travel Nurse and a Wound Care Nurse.

What does a Registered Nurse do?

(RNs) Registered nurses care for patients in many healthcare scenarios and situations. They also educate their patients and even educate the public about various health conditions. Nurses also provide emotional support and advice to patients and their family members when it is needed the most. A good nurse cares and soothes, all while providing great patient point of care. Nurses makes the healthcare system work and are the bridge between patients and their doctors. Their ability to communicate is needed in most situations. This is just a sample of what nurses do. For more details see our list below, which just scratches the surface.

Administer medicines/treatments to patients
Assess conditions of patients
Consult/collaborate w/doctors and other medical field workers
Explain treatments
Perform diagnostic tests/analyze results
Record medical histories/symptoms
Observe patients and take observations
Operate/monitor necessary medical equipment
Set up plans for care
Show patients/families how to manage illnesses/injuries

About Registered Nurse Salary

RN salary by state

StatesAvg. Hourly PayAvg. Salary
District of Columbia$43.32$90,110
New Hampshire$33.67$70,040
New Jersey$39.43$82,010
New Mexico$33.58$69,840
New York$40.12$83,450
North Carolina$30.08$62,560
North Dakota$30.35$63,140
Rhode Island$36.85$76,650
South Carolina$30.59$63,630
South Dakota$27.41$57,010
West Virginia$29.03$60,380


RN Salary by employer type

Government $75,900
Hospitals $72,070
Ambulatory services $66,300
Nursing/residential care facilities $62,320
Educational $60,300

RN Programs Near you