Steps To Becoming A Nurse In High School

The article below describes top-notch information on what are the requirements to become a nurse & nursing programs while in high school.

In addition to that, you will also find posts on collegelearners on what classes in high school should i take to be a nurse & what qualifications do you need to become a nurse?. 

Steps to Becoming a Nurse

Throughout the United States, qualified nurses are needed not just for bedside care, but also for leadership roles, education, and advocacy. As patient numbers grow and the population ages, compassionate, savvy nurses have an opportunity to make a difference. Keep reading to learn how to become a nurse.

The first step to becoming a nurse is getting a solid education, whether you hope to be a licensed practical or vocational nurse (LPN/LVN), registered nurse (RN), or administrator. Every state and the District of Columbia require students to graduate from an accredited nursing program to become licensed.

How to Become A Nurse Practitioner | How to Become Nurse Practitioner

Choose a Nursing Path

Nursing can take you in many directions, from starting out as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) or staff nurse to working your way up to nurse administrator.

When choosing your career path, think about the type of work environment you prefer. For example, RNs can be found in hospitals, doctors’ offices, and other medical settings, but certified nursing assistants often work in nursing homes. What type of setting will inspire you most?

You should also consider what role you want to play. If you want to support medical staff as part of a team, a CNA or LPN/LVN could suit you well. If you want to manage other nurses and assistants or oversee systems, a career as an RN or advanced practice nurse is likely a good fit.

Because there are so many facets to healthcare, nurses often specialize in certain areas, such as geriatrics or critical care. If you have a passion for a certain type of nursing, consider the type of education you’ll need to get there.

Step 2:

Earn a Degree

The career path you’re interested in pursuing will typically dictate the type of nursing degree you’ll need. Nursing programs include classroom instruction as well as clinical experience. Clinical training will allow you to gain hands-on knowledge, ask questions in real-life scenarios, and connect with nurses. The experience will also give you the chance to observe how a medical facility runs.

Before choosing a program, determine how nursing school will fit into your busy life. If your program is on campus, will you have time to get there? Many bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing can be earned online, with clinical requirements completed in a medical setting in your community.

If you want to become an RN, an associate’s degree program takes less time to complete, allowing you to enter the workforce sooner. The downside? Employers may be more apt to hire a nurse with a bachelor’s degree because they have a more in-depth education. However, plenty of nurses with ADNs go on to earn higher degrees, often with the help of tuition reimbursement from their employer.

Here are the types of nursing degrees available:

  • Nursing diplomas » Community colleges and vocational schools
  • Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) » Community colleges
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) » Available at colleges and universities
  • Master of Science in Nursing (BSN) » Colleges and universities
  • Doctoral degrees (DNP, ND, PhD, DNSc) » Colleges and universities
Online RN Programs: How to Become a Nurse Online

How Can I Decide which College to Attend?

When narrowing down what university or college you want to attend, consider visiting any contenders within travel area. Ask for a tour and see where you will be studying and learning. See if you can talk to any current students around campus and ask them what they think about the school. This is a great chance to ask questions and narrow down your choices.

Why Should I Consider Enrolling in an Accelerated Nursing School?

The obvious answer that you will be able to graduate sooner. But there are other benefits to accelerated nursing schools as well. Students at accelerated schools tend to be more dedicated and career-focused. You won’t find slackers and party people in an accelerated nursing school like you might at a four-year college. If you’re intent on becoming a nurse, it can be easier to work around those who have the same goals and won’t distract you from your studies.

Will I Miss Out on the Traditional College Experience?

When people think of a traditional college experience it’s often less than academic and more socially motivated. An accelerated nursing school will most likely not have the same culture as a four-year institution, especially one where students live on campus.

But just because you had a different college experience doesn’t mean that you didn’t have one at all. Some college students don’t want to party or sleep through class. It’s great there is an option for those who want a traditional college experience and those who aren’t interested, so each can get what they need out of their education.

High school students interested in nursing should review the list below for 10 ways they can prepare for their future careers while still in high school.

Take the Right Classes

Because nursing relies heavily on an understanding of math and science, students should prioritize these at the high school level. They should also take as many AP courses as possible in these subjects, as this can help them meet requirements while still in high school and become familiar with college-level topics. Nightingale College provides a list of prerequisites.


Spending a couple of hours each weekend at a hospital, assisted living facility, or in another healthcare setting can help students learn more about the profession and understand whether it offers a good fit for their personal and professional needs. Volunteer work hours also look great on a college application.

Choose a Career in Nursing

Interview Your School Nurse

Even if your goal isn’t to become a school nurse, don’t neglect this excellent professional resource. Most students have easy access to these professionals during the school day and can ask about their experiences. School nurses can share advice and offer tips on how to avoid common mistakes in nursing education.

Become a HOSA Member

Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) provides an opportunity for future health leaders — including nurses — to take advantage of professional and academic resources while still in high school. The group offers events, competitions, scholarships, and plenty of resources to help connect learners with the nursing world while still in high school.

Research Degree Types

Many different nursing degrees exist at various levels, making it important for prospective students to get a clear sense of the path that best serves their needs. Those who are unsure about a lifelong nursing career may pursue a licensed practical nurse qualification or an associate degree in nursing. Others who feel confident in their decision may move directly to a bachelor of science program in nursing.

Learn About Waiting Lists

Some nursing programs — particularly those at community colleges and vocational schools — may have waiting lists, even for learners who meet all admission requirements. Ask prospective schools about their acceptance rates and when you could start the program.

Check Out NCLEX Pass Rates

NCLEX pass rates are one of the best and easiest ways to determine whether a postsecondary nurse training program actually prepares students for the rigors of the working world. Avoid schools with low pass rates, as this means learners did not gain the skills needed to meet basic competency requirements.

Learn CPR/First Aid

First aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation skills come in handy for a variety of professionals, including students who aspire to become nurses. Weekend training courses can help familiarize learners with basic skills and help boost college applications.

Research the TEAS

Used widely by nursing programs, the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) assesses a student’s mastery of basic education topics such as language, math, and science. Take a practice test while still in high school to identify areas that could use improvement.

Stay Up To Date

Reading publications such as the American Journal of Nursing or Science Daily can help learners stay aware of current trends and issues in the field of nursing. Following these publications also provides insight into some of the challenges facing the profession in the aftermath of COVID-19.