You may be one of those people who have always known they wanted to be a registered nurse (RN), or you could be looking for an occupation with job openings and growth potential. Either way, there is a registered nurse program to suit your needs. Registered nurses work alongside physicians to provide medical care for patients with illnesses or injuries. They may also act in a supervisory role for nursing assistants and licensed practical nurses that can be part of the health care team.

Career Paths to Become a Registered Nurse

There are several routes to choose from if you wish to become a registered nurse. Some registered nurses enroll in hospital-based diploma programs for their registered nurse training. This option is less common than it used to be, and hospital programs are being phased out in favor of university programs. A more popular option is to attend college and enroll in a registered nurse program that awards an associate's or bachelor's degree. The bachelor's degree program can be completed in about four years, and earning your bachelor of science in nursing generally gives you the career options. Just about all registered nursing programs combine classroom work with laboratory and clinical experience. Online registered nursing programs generally allow you to take your coursework online and complete clinical rotations at a nearby hospital. After you have completed your registered nursing program you must pass a national examination prior to working as a registered nurse.

Projected Job Growth and Salary Range for Registered Nurses

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the registered nurse career field should grow rapidly through 2018, and expect an expansion of up to 22 percent. This expansion is partially due to a present shortage of trained personnel in the career field and an increasing need as the population ages.

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