How to Become a Registered Nurse

By Adriana Carda

nurse and patient

So, you want to become a registered nurse. You know that you want to help people, and you have a passion for it. Though you may be eager to start, you might not know exactly how to get there. Continue reading to find out the requirements that are necessary for becoming a registered nurse:

What Degree do You Need to be a Nurse?

In order to become a registered nurse, you must have a nursing diploma, certificate or an associate degree in nursing. You may also choose to further your education by earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), which has the potential to provide you with more career opportunities.

In addition, a potential criterion for a BSN program may be to take and pass the Elsevier’s HESI Admission Assessment (A2) prior to admission. This test is comprised of seven sections, ranging from sciences to grammar and reading comprehension (HESI Admission, n.d.).

Passing the NCLEX-RN

Upon graduating with the registered nurse education requirements, you must take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Before you take the NCLEX, if you have not already, you must register with the Board of Nursing (Before the Exam, n.d.). This may or may not include a background check, fingerprinting, a physical examination and/or a drug screening.

Overall, passing this exam will ensure that you are officially a licensed RN, and it is a requirement to have a license to practice nursing in your state of residence.

Once you have completed the requirements from your desired institution, you will be on your way to reaching your goal! Overall, completing these steps will allow you to experience the benefits that come with being a registered nurse.

As a student in Grand Canyon University’s College of Nursing and Health Care Professions, you explore effective communication strategies demonstrated through inter-professional practices, critical thinking, ethical decision-making, spirituality in healthcare, nursing management and servant leadership. For more information about our healthcare degree programs, visit us at our website.

Written by Adriana Carda, a junior earning a degree in psychology at GCU.


  • Before the Exam. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  • HESI Admission Assessment Exam FAQs. (n.d.). Retrieved from

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.

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