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How do you become a registered nurse?

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Becoming a registered nurse requires passing the National Council Licensure Examination for registered nurses. This test determines if a license candidate is prepared to start work as an entry-level nurse. In order to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam, a candidate must have one of three academic credentials: an associates degree in nursing, a bachelor of science in nursing or a second baccalaureate in nursing.

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An ADN program requires two years of college coursework that includes liberal arts, science and nursing. BSN programs are entry-level programs that admit students with no previous nursing education. It takes 4 to 5 years to earn a BSN, depending on the program. The emphasis of a BSN program is research and science, though BSN students must take the general education curriculum required by the university.

As of 2014, there is an ongoing trend toward hiring entry-level nurses from BSN programs over ADN programs. This is because nurses with a BSN are considered better prepared. Many NCLEX-RN candidates also come from second baccalaureate programs. These are students who earned a bachelors degree in another area of study before returning to school and earning a BSN in an accelerated program that did not require them to repeat general educational requirements.

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