How to Become a Nurse: The Ultimate Guide

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You’ve seen the signs and advertisements with $10,000 sign-on bonuses. It’s one of the most high-paying, in-demand jobs of the century, and yet so many people aren’t taking it. If you’re interested in starting a career in nursing, then you won’t be disappointed with the prospects available to you.

Fortunately, it’s easier and more rewarding than ever to get started. Let’s talk about how to become a nurse in 2022!

Why You Should Become A Nurse In 2022

Without a doubt, now is the time to become a nurse. Qualified nurses, especially specialists, are in higher demand than ever.

Not only are nursing jobs high-paying, but there is a growing shortage of nurses around the country. Consequently, nursing jobs are coming with higher incentives than ever, increased salaries, better job security, and amazing benefits.

For context, a nurse in Cambridge, Massachusetts with the most common specialty earns an average salary of $112,000 a year.

All of that doesn’t even mention the fact that you’ll be working with and helping people for a living. Nursing is a rewarding and fulfilling career for so many, and most nurses walk away with a secure retirement later in their lives, on average by age 58.

If that doesn’t sound appealing enough to you, what if we were to tell you that you can get into the field more easily than you think. Let’s talk about that.

How To Become A Nurse

Now that you know some of the key benefits of a nursing career, you probably want to know how to get started. Well, here are a few ways to launch your new career!

Choosing A Career Path

Of course, there’s nothing to say that you can’t change your mind later on. As many as 80 percent of students change their majors at least once in their college careers.

Fortunately, for nursing, a general nursing degree will still open doors for you in the future, especially if you decide to continue your education later on.

However, it is helpful to have an idea of the salaries, benefits, and job descriptions for different types of nursing. Start by asking yourself a few questions, like “Where do you see yourself working?”(Hospital, Urgent Care, Hospice, etc.) or “What’s most important to you?” (Work-life balance, salary, etc.)

Once you have an idea, it will be easier to narrow down your ideal career path. There are plenty of great specialties in nursing that will offer you more job security, higher pay, an easier time finding a job, and more fulfillment in your work. Some of the most common specialties include:

  • Medical-surgical nurse (med-surg)
  • Nurse midwife
  • Nurse management
  • Dialysis nurse
  • Operating room nurse
  • Emergency room nurse
  • Mental health nurse

The list goes on for miles. Regardless of which specialty you want to pursue, having a specialty will help you secure a job, and some specialties are in particularly high demand.

Again, you don’t have to choose this prior to starting your education, but it is good to understand ahead of time.

Meeting The Education Requirements

To become a registered nurse, you will need at least an associate’s degree. In most states, facilities, and jobs, a nurse with an associate’s degree will need to continue their education while working to maintain licensure or their position.

However, most nurses working in the US hold at least a bachelor’s degree in nursing, and some hold a master’s degree.

For the highest salary prospects, benefits, growth potential, and job security, holding a master’s degree is ideal. If you want to become a director of nursing at some point in your career, it’s nearly essential.

Although there are certifications, courses, and experiential milestones that could help a nurse advance in their careers with a bachelor’s degree, it will be more challenging.

Unfortunately, fewer nurses are pursuing advanced education due to the high costs of college education in the country. Fortunately, there are scholarships for nursing students available that can help students get the most out of their careers!

Obtaining Licensure

Once you meet the educational requirements, you will need to pass an exam in your state to acquire licensure. Costs, requirements, and testing will vary by state, but once passed, you will become a certified registered nurse in your state, barring any special requirements by your state.

From there, you will be able to apply for jobs, but your education isn’t completely done yet!

Maintaining Licensure

In every state, nurses’ licenses expire every two years, and the responsibility falls on them to maintain their licensure. To do this, nurses will need to complete a certain amount of continuing education units (CEUs) within that two-year period.

The reason for this is simple; practices, technology, and medical understanding changes rapidly. Nurses play an important role in the medical field, and they need refreshers and updated information to best serve their patients.

If you want to go above and beyond, you can always take courses that will help you specialize, which can lead to salary increases and jobs that you want to take. However, you can simply meet the requirements and maintain your license. Also, various skills need to be renewed, so healthcare workers are on top of their game. Pediatric nurses, for example, turn to online training to get PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support) certification and refresh their skills regularly.

In most cases, the cost of these courses will be covered by your employer, but you can always seek scholarships or funding on your own if needed.

Start Your Career Today

Now that you know how to become a nurse, there’s no time like the present to start your rewarding and lucrative career. Skilled nurses are in high demand, so start today and keep reading our blog for our latest career news!