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Can You Become A Nurse After High School? A Basic Overview

Updated: Jul 26, 2022

Say you are a graduating high schooler with dreams of becoming a nurse. Most people end up going to college, to attain their Bachelor's Degree in Nursing. While this is a perfectly valid route, what if that is not soon enough for you? What if you want to work in the field as soon as possible, right after graduation? For those people, you are in luck. This article will show you how you can become a nurse after high school.


If you want to practice as soon as possible after high school need to look at getting Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) programs. They cover core knowledge and critical skills in the field of nursing and are considerably shorter than bachelor's degree programs. How long does it take to become a registered nurse like this, you might ask? It depends on your program, you typically only need 18-24 months. After this, ADN owners can become eligible for the National Council Licensing Exam-Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) exam. Once you take and pass this test, you can finally become a fully licensed RN. Congrats!

Career Opportunities:

ADN nurses do not earn as much as HCPs with a Bachelor's or Master’s. While it is the quickest way to become a nurse following high school, there are trade-offs to that expedience. That being said, ADN nurses still have many opportunities. These nurses can find jobs in hospitals, doctor’s offices, outpatient care centers, and other facilities. New RNs with an ADN are typically assigned a wide range of important general tasks like taking health histories, carrying out tests, providing medication and assisting doctors with patient examinations.


To become a nurse early, you need to plan things early. Outside of school, there are numerous high school nursing programs. Medical internships or volunteer work lets you gain some initial experience while bolstering your application with real hours. Just remember that you cannot become a post-secondary nurse without meeting your program’s academic requirements. Specifics will vary, but you generally want a GPA of at least 2.5 while completing your general education (English, Math, etc), along with science-focused studies like anatomy, biology and chemistry. Be sure to do your research, beforehand.

Looking Into Your Programs:

Do not pick a program at a whim, after graduation. To find the best possible education, look into each of your options before committing to one. Thorough research and preparation is how you become a nurse in the USA. There are many things you can look at to judge a program’s effectiveness, but one of the best metrics is NCLEX passing ratings. A high passing rating is a good indicator that they teach their post-high school nursing students well. During your research, you also want to find out what entrance exam they implement. From the NLN PAX to the Kaplan Admissions Test, nursing schools use different exam formats. With different priorities and demands. Once you know, you can find specially-tailored practice tests and learning material online.

Further Education: After all the studying, preparation and nursing programs in highschool, your academic journey is not over yet. While working, you can still pursue further education for your bachelor's and master’s. Both open up a host of different job opportunities that would not be afforded to you otherwise. Luckily, there are plenty of weekend or evening classes that let you study for your degree while you work. There are even bridge programs that allow you to work towards a higher degree, with minimal fuss. Even after high school, the process of researching and self-betterment continues.

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