How To Become A Registered Nurse in the US

Nurses are the most popular among American health care professionals and the demand for them remains high. In addition to that, Nursing is still one of the most lucrative jobs in health care with an estimated annual salary of $66,000 up to $135,000 per year.

If you are planning to work abroad and further your career, then you must prepare yourself on how to become a registered nurse in the U.S. Below is a helpful guide on how to meet the criteria.

how to become a registered nurse

Step 1: Get a high school diploma

You need to have a high school diploma and advance credits in English, math, biology and chemistry for you to be accepted in an accredited school. A minimum of 3-year Nursing degree is one of the registered nurse education requirements.


Step 2: Enroll in an accredited Nursing program

Complete the required standard training hours for surgical, medical and community nursing. In addition to that, you also have to earn 40 to 80 clinical hours in obstetrics, pediatrics and psychiatry. These trainings are coordinated by the Nursing school with the local hospitals and clinics.


Step 3: Pass the Nursing licensure exam

After completing your education and practical units in Nursing, you need to pass your country’s nursing licensure exam. This is a competency test that will measure what have you learned about the Nursing curriculum and its related fields.


Step 4: Take the CGFNS certification program

Because you finished a Nursing program outside the U.S., you need to take the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) certification program. This requirement involves the evaluation of your credentials, a one day nursing exam to gauge your knowledge in Nursing practice and an English proficiency test. Though some states like California don’t usually require this, you still have to apply in the same office to ensure that your records pass the US standards.


Step 5: Pass the NCLEX-RN exam

Contact the board of nursing in the state where you want to practice your profession. Inform them that you were educated outside the U.S. and request for an application for a state license. Here you will be asked to take NCLEX or National Council Licensure Examination in which you must obtain at least 70% passing grade.


Step 6: Secure your Nursing license

After the licensure, you need to contact the board for other necessary requirements on how to become a registered nurse. Some state would issue temporary permits and would need additional information while the majority would require a U.S. Social Security Number to complete the license. The procedure varies so it is very important to always get in touch with the board so you will know when you can legally start to work.


Secure a proper work visa so you will be allowed to practice in the States. It is not the state or the territory but the U.S. Federal government who has the authority to determine the set of requirements based on immigration procedures.


Request for a copy of the Nursing Practice Act from the state where you are licensed to work.  This is handbook contains the state rules and regulations in which all nurses are expected to adhere.


You should also be familiar with the renewal process. It is very important so that you can always remain legally authorized to practice. If you are planning to move from one state to another, simply repeat some of the steps to inquire on how to get a license.

So these are the guidelines on how to become a registered nurse in the U.S.  Statistics show that there will be a rapid growth of 26 percent in the Nursing profession by 2020. The present year shows a big demand for nurses with advanced degrees that is why critics forecast that the competition is getting tougher.  Therefore, beefing up your credentials will certainly keep you one step ahead of other aspirants.


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