Registered Nurse at a Glance

Projected Job Growth

  • +0% Job Growth for
    Registered Nurse

  • 2013
  • 2023

Average Salary for Registered Nurse

  • $0 Annual Pay
    National Average
  • $0 Hourly Pay
    National Average

Best States for Registered Nurse

in 2011
Annual Salary
Hourly Pay
Mississippi 28,200 $57,740 $28
Rhode Island 11,840 $73,070 $35
South Dakota 11,030 $52,800 $25


Becoming a Registered Nurse

There are a few different education routes you can take to become a registered nurse. The Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN) is the most traditional degree route for prospective RNs, which requires a high school diploma or some college credit to be considered for admission. Other routes to licensure include earning an associate's degree in nursing (ADN) or a diploma from an approved nursing program. In addition to their general education classes and electives, nursing students will also take many nursing courses and a variety of physical, social, and behavioral science courses.

All nursing programs require supervised clinical practicums in different hospital departments, like pediatrics, maternity, surgery, and geriatrics. During these learning experiences, students can get a first-hand look at different health care specialties and put their knowledge and skills into practice. In general, BSN programs take four years to complete, while ADN and diploma programs last two or three years.

  • Basic Skills of Nursing Practice
  • Legal and Ethical Issues in Clinical Practice
  • Care in Illness
  • Psychosocial Nursing in Health and Illness

To practice in the United States, all registered nurses must have an active nursing license. After completing a nursing program, graduates will prepare to take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Test scores and other state-specific licensing requirements are evaluated by boards of nursing and used to determine a candidate's career readiness. Certification is another option for those seeking specialty credentials, such as ambulatory care or gerontology.