Education Requirements

The education requirements for becoming a registered nurse consists of completion of a college degree. Degree requirements vary, however the components needed for nursing are consistent. All nursing school programs require a combination of classroom work and clinical work. Clinical work involves learning hands on skills required to function as a nurse. These skills include: taking vital signs, performing activities of daily living (ADL), giving medications, changing bandages and dressings, giving injections, and assisting others such as physicians. The first degree to consider is an associates degree.

Associates Degree in Nursing

The ADN is the typical 2-year degree and the minimum required degree in order to become a registered nurse. This is by far the most popular degree since it allows you to get licensed and begin working and earning more money. It provided the essential foundation needed. 

Education requirements specific to the RN Include:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Microbiology
  • Nutrition
  • Psychology
  • Chemistry
  • Nursing Practice
  • Nursing Theory

In addition to the nursing requirements, you will need to satisfy the general degree requirements such as liberal arts, math, English, and electives. The general credit requirements for the ADN is typically 60 semester credits. It is important to research the exact education  requirements the school requires to obtain the degree.

The Bachelor's in Science in Nursing (BSN) is a 4-year degree obtained from a college or university. The student nurse can obtain the ADN degree first and then enroll in a RN to BSN program. The BSN is the preferred nursing degree by many hospitals and healthcare organizations. In addition to the ADN nursing components, the BSN requires:

  • Bioethics
  • Nursing Research 
  • Advanced Nursing Theory
  • Nursing Leadership

Education Requirements: Clinical

Clinical is part of the education requirements and vary from school to school, but one thing is certain.; You will learn to take care of people in lab simulations and in hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and even their own home. When the student learns procedures during nursing theory (why they are doing what they are doing), next is to practice on dummies or each other, then they can work on patients. In addition to the clinical nursing instructor, student nurses are often paired with a co-assigned RN who they will work with.  Clinical uniforms are often required based on the school requirements and hospital or nursing home dress code. 

Clinical for the ADN can be different for the BSN. For instance both require basic foundations such as patient care clinical where the student nurse is at the bedside and working with the patient, Co-Assigned RN, and other healthcare members. As the student nurse learns more theory, clinical can then turn into following a nurse manager or performing research and working on an evidence based project. 

Education Requirements: Summary!


This was a lot of information just thrown at you. It may seem very overwhelming, but remember - It takes time to get through it and you will have an academical adviser to help you. You will not be in this alone. Take a deep breath and keep researching this site. You will want to read more at the Educational Programs Unit on this site and dive a little deeper. There you will see online programs, traditional colleges, online and offline programs, and more. Nursing school continues to adapt to stay current with the future.

NOT SURE WHICH DEGREE TO CHOSE? First and foremost, do what you can in the situation you are in. If an ADN allows you to start earning more money to continue your education then so be it. Regardless take a look at this study that assesses the impact the degree has on nursing practice>>>>READ ARTICLE<<<<