People who want to make a difference in their community and are drawn to the medical field will find a fulfilling and stable career as registered nurse. Registered nurses devote themselves to the well-being of their patients. They are in the front lines in direct patient care, dedicating their lives to tend to the sick and the injured.
Individuals who have gone into the nursing profession feel a sense of job stability and financial security. Not only is registered nursing one of the most in-demand jobs in the world, it also has an attractive job salary. The median income for registered nurses falls at $30 an hour with an annual wage of about $60,000 a year. Depending on experience, specialty and education, a registered nurse may earn up to $100,000 annually. Occasionally, hospitals also offer sign on bonuses to attract or to keep competent registered nurses.
There are also a lot of employment options for registered nurses. RNs are not limited to the hospital setting as they may choose to work at a private home, at a physician’s office, nursing care facilities, home health care services, government agencies or in school clinics. Furthermore, those who prefer not to do bedside care may choose to work at an administrative level if they meet the educational and professional qualifications. Registered nurses may also work in research, in the military, or academic institutions as professors or clinical instructors.
In order to become a registered nurse, an individual must complete his/her RN education from an accredited RN school. An RN degree is required in order for an individual to be eligible to sit for the nursing licensure. An RN degree may be obtained in two ways- by graduating from a two-year community or junior college and from a four-year university. A two-year college offers an Associate degree while a four-year university grants a Bachelor’s degree. In some states such as California, some two-year colleges also offer non-degree diplomas to licensed practical/vocational nurses who choose to take an LVN-RN 30-unit option program. Graduates of these nursing programs are eligible to sit for the same type of NCLEX-RN examination. However, compared to two-year degree nursing graduates, registered nurses who have been given with a Bachelor’s degree may hold positions at a supervisory level. Diploma holders can only practice nursing within their state.
The next step after graduating from nursing school is to get a nursing license. All of the 50 states require nurses to take pass the NCLEX-RN examination before they are given a license to practice nursing professionally. All NCLEX candidates must first submit an application to The National Council of State Boards of Nursing to determine their eligibility. Application fees, fingerprints or live scans, transcripts sent directly from the nursing school and other required documentations must be provided to the nursing board before a candidate is given the Authorization to Test (ATT). All nursing candidates must first receive their ATT before they are able to schedule for a licensure examination.