Being a nurse is a rewarding career. As the population ages, the demand for nurses is expected to grow.
Considering a career in nursing means that you’ll have a lot of options to choose from when it comes to the type of degree that you can earn as well as different specialties and credentials.
No matter which area of nursing you choose to go into, you’ll have to complete the minimum requirements to be able to have that “PN” or “RN” designation behind your name.
How Long is Nursing School?
To become a PN, it takes up to 2 years of school.
To become an RN, you can take one of two paths; ADN which is 2 years, or BSN which takes 4 years to complete.
What Can I Expect During Nursing School?
Nursing School PN Route
The time it takes to finish school for practical nursing can vary anywhere between 7 months and 2 years depending on which program you choose. A typical PN program includes 40 or more credit hours of classroom instruction as well as off-site clinical.
Your first semester of nursing school to become a PN will cover the introductory courses for the discipline that you have chosen. These introductory courses will be your first exposure to PN and will help you get a better understanding of the subjects that you’ll see in the next semesters.
Some of the classes you’ll take in your first semester of the PN route include:
- Nursing 101
- Nursing 102
- Nursing 103
- Nursing 104
You’ll also learn about pharmacology, how the human body works, assessment of health, and introduction to nursing.
The courses that you took in your first semester are further expanded in your second semester. You’ll also be given additional classes such as:
- Nursing 105
- Nursing 106
- Human anatomy and physiology
You’ll also have more nursing classes and you’ll learn the basics about adult care, infant care, and maternal nursing.
Your third semester is when you’ll start to wrap up classes and finishing up your preparation for the NCLEX-PN exam. You’ll also complete a few classes to finish up before taking the exam.
- Nursing 107
- Nursing 108
- Nursing 109
Associate Degree in Nursing Route
An Associate Degree in Nursing is the fastest route to becoming an RN. It takes about 2 years to complete this degree.
The coursework for your first year in nursing school depends on the nursing school that you attend. However, you can expect to take a lot of the same subjects no matter what school you attend.
The courses in your first semester will be primarily your core classes. These classes can include Math, Communications, Humanities, and Psychology.
You’ll also have additional classes such as anatomy and microbiology. Some of your science classes may require you to participate in labs as part of your introductory nursing classes.
Depending on your school and program, your first year can also include working with patients which will be done during clinical rotations. However, each school may vary on how they structure their clinical rotations.
A larger portion of your clinical will happen during your second year of nursing school. During this time, you’ll fine-tune your skills and learn how to do specific procedures such as change dressings, insert a catheter, and start an IV.
During your second year, it’s also common for nursing students to complete rotations in areas such as the emergency room or intensive care unit. Some nursing programs include rotations in a community nursing home.
Depending on your state board of nursing, a certain amount of clinical hours may be required before you can apply for registration as a nurse.
As long as you meet the academic and clinical requirements for your state, you can then register and sit for the NCLEX-RN exam.
Some students choose to take the NCLEX-RN exam so that they can go ahead and become registered nurses and start working. Others may wish to continue their education for a BSN.
Bachelors Degree in Nursing Route
A BSN, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, is also another pathway to becoming an RN. A BSN takes a total of 4 years to complete, just 2 years longer than the Associates degree route.
The BSN route offers a more in-depth experience in terms of education because students are able to learn more skills and gain more knowledge than what they would in the ADN program.
So, the short answer for “How long is nursing school?”
It depends on which nursing program you choose to go into. It can range anywhere between just a few months to 4 years.