How to Get Started in Nursing Part 2

Educational Pathways to Nursing

1- Earn College Credits Before Enrolling in Nursing School

You can complete nursing prerequisites through online college course providers no matter what nursing degree you plan on earning. Earning college credits before you enroll in a program can put you on the fast track to earning your degree. Since nursing has a very clear set of educational requirements, and the healthcare field has clearly defined educational progression paths, it’s easy to make a personal educational plan. Having a plan can not only help you save time and money, it can place you in the right nursing program for where you are and set the stage for where you want to be next.

At StraighterLine, the premier online college course provider for students looking to earn their nursing degree, you take online classes for $99/month plus a one-time $49 per course registration fee. Alternatively, you can take 10 online college classes through their Freshman Year of College Program for just $1299. All StraighterLine college courses come with a credit transfer guarantee to an extensive list of partner colleges – the majority of which offer degrees in nursing, no wait list for enrollment, and the ability to take courses anywhere.

You can take dozens of courses for college credit through StraighterLine – many of them prerequisites for a full spectrum of nursing programs. Keep in mind that though it may seem odd that a course like English Composition or History is considered a prerequisite to becoming a nurse, they oftentimes are. When enrolling at a nursing college or university including StraighterLine partner colleges such as Western Governors University or Excelsior College, you’ll need to take prerequisites beyond the science core which can include courses in the Humanities and English as well as math.

No matter what nursing degree you’d like to graduate with, you can save money each step of the way by earning college credits for the basic college courses you know you will need. Bypass paying premium tuition prices for prerequisite courses that you can take at StraighterLine for $99/month. Instead, earn those college credits for introductory courses taken at StraighterLine, and have those credits transferred to a StraighterLine partner college’s nursing degree program.

2- Licensed Practical Nurse or Licensed Vocational Nurse: (LPN/LVN)1

You can earn your LPN or LVN during yearlong programs typically offered through a technical school, community college, or online. These programs are occasionally found in high schools or hospitals as well. As you earn your LPN or LVN, you will most likely combine hands-on supervised clinical experience with taking classes in subjects such as nursing, biology, and . Once you receive your certificate, you are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). You must pass the exam to get a license to work as an LPN/LVN.

3- Nursing Diploma (Hospital Earned):2

You can earn a Nursing Diploma by enrolling in a hospital nursing program. Generally, these programs take 2 years to complete and offer you the ability to observe and practice patient care in a variety of environments. Typically, hospitals partner with community college or online colleges and universities where students complete the college course work necessary to earn an associates degree in addition to a nursing diploma.


1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, How to Become a Licensed Practical or Licensed Vocational Nurse, p.1
http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/licensed-practical-and-licensed-vocational-nurses.htm#tab-4

2 The Campaign for Nursing’s Future, Starting Out, p.1
http://www.discovernursing.com/starting-out