Thinking of becoming a registered nurse? Don’t know where to start or what the differences are in the programs offered? Wondering the difference between an associates degree vs bachelors degree in nursing? We know there are a lot of questions you need to consider when deciding how you will get your degree and what kind of degree you want. The thing to know is that there are three main types of programs available for you to choose from:
A 4-year bachelor’s degree (BSN) is a four-year program that offers more clinical experience in non-hospital settings than an associate degree. A BSN degree can be obtained through a traditional university or via an online nursing degree program, which offers more flexibility and is usually less costly.
A 2-year associate degree (AD) is a nursing degree acquired in two to three years and is offered at community and junior colleges. It focuses more on technical hands-on skills than the theory of a BSN. If you need more flexibility and control of your schedule, this degree is frequently offered through distance education or online programs like www.RNBridgeprogram.com.
The nursing diploma has a long history and was very common before the 1970’s when there were literally hundreds of programs offered. The number of programs available today is fairly limited. This program prepares you directly for work in a hospital or inpatient setting, and is most often offered by hospitals. A nursing diploma usually takes two to three years to complete.
No matter which route you decide is best for you, you should strongly consider attending a school that is accredited by one of two national organizations: The National League of Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC), which accredits all types of nursing programs, or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) which accredits baccalaureate and master’s level programs. You can still get a quality education from a non-accredited school, but if you ever decide you want to continue your nursing education with an advanced degree in nursing, you may not be qualified unless you have graduated from an accredited program.
Each state sets its own standards in “approving” a nursing program. To be eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam, you must have graduated from an approved nursing program. With programs like RN Bridge Program you will only receive your degree from NLNAC accredited schools, but there are many other programs online that claim false accreditation so make sure you do your due diligence. The NCLEX-RN is the final step in becoming a registered nurse. Without it, you won’t get your license.
But what exactly is the NCLEX?
The NCLEX-RN exam is the National Council Licensure Examination. It is a multiple-choice test that is computerized and gauges your level of competence in various areas of nursing. As a registered nursing candidate, the minimum amount of questions you will need to answer is 75. Once you have answered at least this many questions, the computer program will begin attempting to assess whether or not you have either answered enough correct questions to pass, or too many incorrectly and failed. This will prompt the test to end. If, however, the computer is not yet able to determine your level of competence, you will continue to answer questions until it is either determined that you are competent or have failed. The maximum amount of questions you could be asked is 265. You have 5 hours to complete the examination. It generally takes about a month to receive your results from the state board of nursing. If you fail the exam, you may retake the test after a 91-day waiting period. If you have passed, congratulations, you are now a registered nurse!