What is a Registered Nurse?
Become an RN Online in 3 Steps
The first step to becoming an RN is to complete the minimum required nursing education. The second step is to pass the national RN examination (NCLX-RN exam). While obtaining your education, you will need to work at a healthcare facility under the supervision of an RN. To take the RN exam, you will also need to document many hours of supervised nursing experience.
Entering the RN Nursing Field Using Online Nursing Degrees
Many RNs launch their careers by earning nursing diplomas or certificates. Some earn associate degrees first. After becoming employed in nursing as a health aide or LPN (licensed practical nurse), you may enter an online BSN program. Be forewarned, though, that most online BSN programs offer only the online RN to BSN degree option. To gain admission to these online nursing degree programs, you must already hold a valid RN license.
RN Outlook & Growth
If you become an RN, you will work inside one of the top 10 growth careers in the United States in terms of job demand. In 2008, there were 2.6 million nurses, making it the largest healthcare job niche.
RN Salary & Wages
In 2008, RNs earned an average salary of $62,450. The middle 50 percent earned $51,640 to $76,570. The highest 10 percent earned more than $92,240.
Online RN Nursing Degrees & Specialties
If you decide to become an RN, you could major in one of many specialty online nursing degree programs. RNs often specialize in work settings and populations. For example, an RN may become a nurse educator working with HIV/AIDS patients. Public health RNs can also specialize as nurse educators and work for a government health department. Another RN may choose surgery and work in a hospital surgical unit. Surgical nurses can also become nurse anesthetists.