How We Help You Become a Registered Nurse
How can we help you? We do the leg work on nursing career challenges so you can take the best care of your nursing career. We rank RN Programs,help you find scholarships, transfer an RN license to another state, pass the NCLEX exam, pay for nursing school, apply for financial aid, find a job and more.
Meet some of our nursing experts. We are passionate about helping nurses at all levels of their careers. Our team of professional working and retired nurses contribute to the nursing community with their passion, experience and expertise.
MS, RN, WHNP-BC – I
Lauren is a Registered Nurse and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner who works in an OB/GYN clinic in the Boston area. She completed a Direct Entry MSN program at Boston College.
She traveled the long road to her bachelor’s degree – she began her nursing career as an LPN. Then, she pursued first her ADN, then BSN from Excelsior College.
CNM, MSN, MPH, PhD-student
She has extensive experience in critical care nursing and women’s health. She is a certified nurse-midwife.
She started her nursing career in 2010 as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). After working for almost five years she went back to earn her RN. In June of 2015 she passed her NCLEX on the first attempt and has finally put that RN behind her name.
How to Find Best Registered Nursing Program for You
Our 4th Annual Awards for Best-Ranked Nursing Programs
Let’s be real. Googling nursing programs can lead your down a rabbit hole of information that is tough to sort through. That’s why we have created our nursing school rankings to help you understand the various programs out there. Now you can make an educated decision about what program will best fit your lifestyle and background. Here are some of the stats we pulled together:
Using NCLEX exam pass rates, tuition costs, faculty strength and other information important to nurses, we ranked every CCNE, ACEN, and state-approved nursing programs throughout the country. You now have a clear and transparent view into what matters to you most when it comes to deciding which nursing program(s) to apply to.
RN Programs at a Glance
Accredited ADN or BSN
- Total ADN Programs: 1,002
- Ranked ADN Programs: 983
- Total BSN Programs: 685
- Ranked BSN Programs: 668
- MSN Degree Programs: 451
ADN Program Stats
- NCLEX-RN Average: 85.26 %
- NCLEX Rate Range: 37.50 % to 100.00 %
- Average Net-Price $9,456.99
- Net-Price Range: $61.00 to $41,527.00
- Average Student Loan : $9,121.03
BSN Program Stats
- NCLEX-RN Average: 86.37 %
- NCLEX Rate Range: 42.90 % to 100.00 %
- Average Net-Price $17,057.40
- Net-Price Range: $1,846.00 to $39,975.00
- Average Student Loan : $18,637.02
Find an RN Program in Your State
How to Pay for Nursing School
The cost of education in the US is no joke. Luckily for you we have resources that can help you. We can help ease the financial cost of attending nursing school. We’ve compiled a guide to 11 ways to pay for nursing school, offer an annual nursing school scholarship and provide listings of nursing scholarships. You don’t need to let the cost nursing school deter you from chasing your dreams of becoming an RN. You can also research and compare LPN Salary vs. RN Salary.
How to Pass the NCLEX Exam
We have all been there. It is one part of becoming a nurse that none of us can avoid. While most nurses agree that the NCLEX resulted in some anxiety during their training, it does not have to be the insomnia-producing stressful event that you may imagine it to be. Our NCLEX practice exams can help you pass the test in just 75 questions.
Over 12,000 free NCLEX practice tests taken:
Take a Free NCLEX Exam With Rationals Today
Want to Go Beyond the Registered Nursing Degree?
Becoming a nurse can offer you a lifetime of opportunities. You never have to worry about being stuck in a career you don’t like because you will always have the flexibility to change it up — something not everyone can say about their career. You can specialize, move into the business side, teach, do research, become an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) and more. Check out some of our guides to see the possibilities:
RN-Frequently Asked Questions (RN-FAQ)
What is a Registered Nurse?
While having career options is certainly a great thing, the different nursing degrees, certifications, and pathways can cause confusion about what a Registered Nurse (RN) is. An RN is someone who has gone beyond their high school degree to complete an educational program that prepares them to provide clinical care to patients.
RNs are qualified to assess patients health status, administer medications and initiate treatment plans, evaluate outcomes, make recommendations, provide patient education, and work as a part of a healthcare team to optimize patient well-being.
RNs play a key role in making decisions for patients that can have positive impacts on their healthcare. As one of the most trusted professions, RNs are often seen as patient advocates.
In comparison to a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), RNs have more training, responsibility, decision making power, more jobs prospects, and better pay. RNs will often oversee the care provided by LPNs and Nursing Assistants
How Do I Become a Registered Nurse?
Becoming an RN requires a minimum of 2 years of schooling after your high school degree. This is called an Associates Degree in Nursing (ADN). The other option is to earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). This is typically a 4 year program although there are shorter options for people who already have a Bachelor’s in another field.
For any of these programs there may be certain perquisite courses required. During your program you will be required to complete a certain amount of hands on experience (also called clinical hours) where you will put your skills into practice while being supervised.
After earning your degree you must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) test to be able to practice as an RN. Then you must get licensed in the state you want to work in.
What is the Difference Between an ADN and BSN?
An ADN is a 2 year program. While it is shorter, most nurses with ADNs are now being required by their employers to complete a BSN due to the increased training and education needed in the healthcare industry.A BSN is typically a 4 year program although there are different pathways to entry and completion depending on your background.
If you want to specialize or work in certain hospitals you may be required to get your BSN. While getting your BSN may require more time and money, it often comes with additional benefits such as increased salary, more flexibility in the type of nursing work you do, and more opportunity for career growth long term.
How Do I Find a Registered Nursing Program?
There are thousands of nursing programs throughout the country. Finding the one that meets your specific needs can be daunting, but it is not impossible. There are 902 ACEN accredited RN programs and 602 CCNE accredited RN programs, and that is where we advice you to start your search. Obtaining your nursing degree from an accredited institution has many advantages. We have taken the first step for you by ranking nursing programs for you based on their NCLEX pass rates, tuition costs, retention rates, faculty strength and more. Getting ready to leap into your nursing career is exciting and the process of finding the right school should be too. Ask your friends and nurses who you know what schools come to mind when they think of nursing programs. If you are trying to stay local see what is offered in your area and go on campus, schedule tours and meetings to get to know the faculty and program. If you are looking for an online nursing program, talk to alumni from that program and check out their rankings. If you are hoping to relocate, treat this as an opportunity to visit parts of the country you may be interested in moving to. This is your future, get excited about it!
Should I Consider an Online Registered Nursing Program?
Whether you are computer savy or not, don’t overlook online programs. Online RN programs have played a pivotal role in increasing the number of nurses in the country. With technological advances, online programs can be a virtual experience where you hardly realize that you are not in a traditional classroom, and the advantages for students are immense.
Online programs offer students more flexibility when it comes to juggling family, work, school, and whatever other life obligations you have. Clinical experiences can be arranged in a location close to home, and you may even save some money on tuition.
The reality is that many in-person nursing programs nowadays have a strong online component. Regardless of the path you take, you may find yourself online to read, complete assignments, watch classes, engage in class discussions, and take quizzes. Depending on your personal life, an online program may be just the thing you have been looking for. Just make sure it is accredited by the CCNE or ACEN before enrolling.
Is There Really 100+ Careers / Specialties for Registered Nurses?
We think no other career in the world is as diverse as the registered nursing (RN) profession. With nursing the sky is the limit. So if you do not think bedside nursing in a hospital is the career for you, never fear. Your options are endless. With over 100 nursing specialties that ranging from school nurse to forensic nurse and from Woman’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP) to Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (AGPNP), you can be sure your career path is not a dull one. Whatever interest you have, there is nursing specialty waiting for you to explore.
I Want to Go Beyond an RN. What Options Are Available?
Being an RN is a rewarding career that many people love. But it is also not the end point. If you want more you can further your education by getting your Masters in Nursing, a PhD in nursing, or a Doctor in Nursing Practice (DNP). With these degrees you can work as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN), go into research, and play a pivotal role in advancing healthcare.
Advanced Practice Registered Nurse
Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) are masters prepared nurses or higher who provide direct care to patients. There are four different nursing roles that fall under the APRN umbrella. These are Nurse Practitioners (NPs), Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs), Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNSs), and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs).
Become a Nurse Practitioner
Being an NP has become a popular career path due to not only the direct patient care role and impact that these providers have on patients, but also the job opportunities, pay, and prospect for career growth in the future. In your NP training program you will pick a population to focus on that will enable to you to provide more specialized and individualized care. These population foci are Family NP, Adult gerontology NP, Pediatric NP, Women’s Health NP, Neonatal NP, and Psychiatric Mental Health NP. You can further specialize within these populations as well.
Becoming a Nurse Practitioner involves at minimum a Master’s degree. In the future a DNP may become the minimum standard education requirement to become an NP. There is currently a lot of discourse in the nursing community regarding this topic, but up to date information can be found on the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) website. Once you complete your degree, you will be required to sit for the credentialing exam for your given specialty.
NPs are key figures in healthcare as they provide autonomous patient care and have the ability to prescribe, make decisions, and collaborate with other healthcare professionals to enhance patient care. Unlike Physician’s Assistants (PAs), NPs are trained using the nursing model of care rather than the medical model. This emphasizes a more holistic approach to patient care that often results in a strong patient –provider relationship. The scope of practice for NPs depends on the state in which you work. This means that in some states you could have your own practice, whereas in others you may need to practice in a facility where a physician is present. Regardless of your practice setting or location, as an NP you will have an influential role in caring for patients and advancing the healthcare system.
A Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) salary is typically the highest among advanced practice nurses. Learn details about the CRNA salary.
Learn the differences between a Nurse Practitioner and a Physician Assistant.
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