Becoming a registered nurse typically takes two to three years to earn an associate's degree in nursing and four years to earn a bachelor's degree. Many colleges offer accelerated programs for earning a bachelor's degree to registered nurses who already have an associate's degree or bachelor's degree in another field.
Community colleges and vocational schools offer licensed practical nurse programs that normally take about one year to complete. Students must meet prerequisites, such as English and health science, before entering an LPN program, which can take one to two months. Certified nursing assistant programs typically take six to eight weeks to complete and are recommended for gaining health care experience without the time commitment of an RN program.