How to Become a Nurse
Nursing is a rewarding and fulfilling career that offers a variety of job options, specialties and opportunities. For individuals interested in nursing, here are our best tips on how to become a registered nurse (RN) in Ohio.
1 Know Your Path
In general, every nursing path has the same 3 basic elements:
- Obtain a diploma, associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing
- Apply for licensure with the Ohio Board of Nursing (OBN)
- Pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to earn licensure
Look for these three basic steps in the programs you research and use them as milestones to help guide you in your educational plan.
"It was like I was always supposed to be a nurse because I care so much about people. It just kept popping up in my life. This voice saying 'What about nursing? What about nursing?'" – Cassie, nursing major
2 Know Your Options
Nursing is a growing field that offers more options than ever for students to pursue specialties, dual degrees, managerial opportunities and more. As you pursue your nursing degree, make sure to know and understand your options so you can make the right choices early (which can save you time and money).
Here are some options we always encourage potential nursing candidates to understand:
- Degree Type: A student may complete a diploma or associate degree more quickly than a bachelor’s or master’s degree; however, many employers (hospitals, extended care facilities, physician offices, surgery centers, etc.) are requiring nurses to have at least a bachelor’s degree in nursing. This hiring change is in response to the Institute of Medicine report , which indicated a higher number of bachelor degree nurses at the bedside my result in improved patient outcomes.
- Make sure your program is fully accredited: Accreditation is important because it signals that outside regulatory agencies are making sure that the school is assessing its effectiveness and student outcomes. Aultman College is authorized by the Ohio Department of Education (ODHE) and regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The BSN program is accredited by Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Learn more about our accreditation .
"There was a lot of instability and many layoffs in manufacturing, which was my industry. I wanted a job I could count on to provide long-term employment, and that’s what you have in the health care field." – Dave (’06)
3 Know Your Details
As you research potential programs and begin to settle on ones you like, review the following details that can help you make a final decision.
- Review the program’s NCLEX pass rate: This rate signals how prepared nursing graduates are to pass the licensing exam to become an RN. In 2018, 98.44 percent of the first-time test takers from Aultman College passed the NCLEX. This is above the Ohio and national average of 88 percent.
- Check for direct admission policies: Many nursing programs only admit students initially as a “pre-nursing” major. After a year or two of courses, students must then compete for a seat in the professional division. Sometimes, there are more than 200 students vying for fewer than 30 seats in the nursing program. At Aultman College, accepted students are directly admitted into their program/major at the same time they are accepted into the college. Learn more about our direct admission policy .
"One of the reasons I came to Aultman College is because the graduates here have a very high passage rate for their licensure exams. That is very important to me." – Karen, nursing major
Other Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the answers to a few FAQs on how to become a nurse, but if you still have questions, fill out the form below.
How long does it take to become a nurse?
At Aultman College, our entry-level RN nursing programs include an Associate of Science in Nursing and Bachelor of Science in Nursing. The ASN program is five semesters long, while the BSN program is a traditional four-year degree. Students who are committed and focused can complete their program on time.
How hard is it to become a nurse?
In order to become a nurse, you must be dedicated to getting your associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing, apply for licensure, and pass the NCLEX-RN—and that’s before finding a job.
At Aultman College, we have a 5 to 1 student-to-faculty ratio, so you’ll be guided every step of the way through your classes, labs, and clinicals. We’re here to ensure you successfully graduate from our nursing programs.
After graduation, the majority of our students begin working at Aultman Hospital, with which we share a campus.
What qualifications do you need to become a registered nurse?
If you want to start as an entry-level RN, you’ll need to have an ASN or BSN degree, passed the NCLEX-RN, and obtained licensure in your state. This gives you the foundation for a nursing career in a variety of settings . Your own career goals may require you to get a master’s degree , additional education, and/or certifications.
There are many programs that can help you become a nurse. Whether you’re fresh out of high school or looking to make a career change, find the path that works best for you, your time and your budget.