How to Become a Registered Nurse


Overview & Salaries

Recommended Degree:
The right degree for you depends on the hospital you apply for. Those looking for an entry positions need a diploma or an associate’s degree in registered nursing or LVN-to-RN from an accredited program. Some states may also require a specific license. If you are looking to get into a competitive or advance position, then a bachelor’s degree along with real world experience and earning specific licenses can help you stand out in the hiring process.

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How Much Does a Registered Nurse Make? 
$65,470 (national median salary, learn about salaries in your state by clicking on the “Best Places to Work” tab up top)

Expected Growth from 2012-2020:
+526,800 additional people employed

Specialization Options:
Labor and delivery, pediatrics, intensive care, clinical nursing and emergency care

(all information above provided by the 2012 BLS Registered Nurses page) 

Discover the Best Places to Become a Registered Nurse

California has the greatest number of employment opportunities in the nation, with well over 250,000 jobs currently being filled with registered nurse practitioners. It also boasts the highest annual mean wage, on average giving registered nurses $96,980 in salary. Texas is second, with nearly 200,000 jobs in the field, and an average yearly salary of $67,860.

Registered Nurses are able to work in a variety of different settings, including the following.

  • Hospitals
  • Doctor’s Offices
  • Nursing Homes
  • Senior Citizen Facilities
  • Rehabilitation Centers
  • Cruise Ships
  • Airports
  • Schools

Employment and Salary Information by State for Registered Nurses

Use our interactive map below to find out which areas of the United States are currently experiencing the greatest amount of growth and job availability for graduates looking for a career in Registered Nursing. All data has been derived from the 2012 Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Employment and Information Data for Registered Nurse

Why Become a Registered Nurse

Nursing is a rewarding career that allows you to support yourself through helping others. Typical nursing tasks include: documenting patient histories and symptoms, administering treatments, doctor consultations and diagnosis and analyzes, patient education and treatment planning.

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, registered nurse career paths have a projected growth rate of 19% over the next 10 years, higher than most professions.

Nursing is a career in high demand all across the United States, and a nursing career allows you to work in a variety of settings in nearly every city. Nurses receive higher starting salaries than many other occupations. Although working hours can be unpredictable based on patient needs, nurses usually have flexible schedules, as well as the option of choosing their specialty. Nursing is a growing profession and is expected to increase in demand for years to come.

Recommended Courses to Become a Registered Nurse

  • Health Assessment Basics
  • Pharmacology
  • Maternity & Pediatric Nursing
  • Mental Health
  • Medical-Surgical Nursing
  • Lifespan Psychology
  • Clinical Nutrition

Degrees Options for a Registered Nurse Career

Nursing Bachelor of Science
Students in the Bachelor of Science Nursing program learn about anatomy, physiology, microbiology, chemistry, nutrition and psychology. The program also includes supervised clinical experience and takes about four years to complete.

This program provides Licensed Practical Nurses the opportunity to obtain nursing degrees. Nurses with academic knowledge and clinical practice experience are rewarded with credits that count toward their degrees.