The demand for optimal medical care is projected to skyrocket as time goes by. With this seemingly increasing demand, becoming a registered nurse has become a rewarding profession to many people. In fact, if you are looking to earn a decent living, nursing is probably the career path for you provided that you have the passion and the patience to help people needing medical attention and care. Now the path to becoming a nurse is not as simple as many people think. There is a heavy amount of training that you will need to undergo in order to get certified and practice legally. Here are some steps that you will need to go through in order to become a registered or certified practical nurse.
- Graduate from high school. This is the basic and initial stepping stone to the fulfilling career of nursing. You will need your high school diploma in order to get into nursing school. If you did not finish high school, then don’t fret. Consider enrolling in a GED program wherein you will be trained to take a series of high school equivalency tests. If you pass these tests, you get your GED which is considered as an equivalent to a high school diploma.
- Get your nursing degree. Upon getting your high school diploma, start scouting for nursing schools in your area that you can apply to. Bear in mind that there are actually two options for you to get the training that you need. If you have the resources to go through the standard 4 year bachelor’s degree in nursing at a college or university, then this is the highly recommended route. However, if you lack the financial capacity for this option, then you can actually consider vocational nursing training which is typically a 2 year course and is administered by nursing schools, community colleges, and hospitals. However, this option will only get you to the practical nurse status and will probably have to work under a fully registered nurse. Regardless of the option, complete the training to move on.
- Get your license. If you went with the traditional 4 year course, then once you graduate, you will want to take and pass the state licensing examination for nurses. This will raise you to the rank of registered nurse and you will be allowed to legally practice the profession in the particular state. On the other hand, if you went with the vocational route, then you will need to take the national exam to certify you as a practical nurse.
- Start the job hunt. As a registered nurse, you can start applying in various hospitals and clinics. Since the demand is pretty huge nowadays, finding a job should not be too difficult. Now, if you are a practical nurse, then you can apply the same way but bear in mind you status will be lower than a registered nurse with regards to salary and responsibilities.
- Consider additional training. If you are looking to climb the ladder in the medical field as a nurse, it is highly recommended to keep learning. Getting your master’s degree and even your PhD in nursing can provide you a lot more opportunities in the job front such as a professor, a head nurse, or a nurse manager. These positions will definitely provide you with a substantial increase in compensation and benefits.
While in nursing school, it is a good idea to apply for nursing internship programs. This will provide you with clinical experience that will immensely help you during the job application process since hospitals and clinics will look more favourably on a candidate with a great portfolio.