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So You Want to Go to Nursing School

The United States may be going through a nursing shortage so now is as good a time as any to enroll in nursing school! The recent changes in healthcare have caused many high school students to become more aware of this career path, and as a result, there has  been a higher interest in nursing school enrollment and it is becoming quite a competitive application process. Nursing is an exciting field and a very flexible one at that! You could work with babies, elders, teens, adults or unicorns (okay maybe not the last one, but you most certainly can work with people who think they're unicorns, so that counts). The pay for nurses is competitive and ranges anywhere between $30 and $60k depending on the location you chose to work in and the facility you apply to. So, if you want to get started drawing blood and taking names, read on to learn how to become a nurse!  

Nursing School Admission Requirements

So, you're ready to step into some sexy scrubs and get started using words like "stat" and "hepatic," but first you have to get accepted into a nursing school (boo). We know, the fast track seems so nice. Just dreaming about being a nurse and then suddenly waking up with a $60k paycheck, isn't it just the way it should be? Well, until that day occurs, there's some very "real" requirements that you need to fulfill. For ease, we've broken these requirements down into two sections: paperwork and examinations.  

Paperwork

Just like any other school, you have to fill out an application for enrollment, but before you do, you'll want to make sure you meet the requirements to apply. Unfortunately there's no "one size fits all" requirement list here, as each school is different and they all have the right to change their requirements at any time. However, for the sake of informing you here and now, the basic requirements you'll need in order to apply are: a high school diploma or G.E.D, completion of at least 20 hours of pre-nursing courses (these include biology with lab, fundamentals of chemistry with lab, anatomy and physiology 1 and 2 with lab) as well as GPA of 3.4-3.7. For more information on specifics, view the university's freshman or graduate admissions requirement form.  

Examinations

Before you can enroll in a nursing school program, you'll have to sit for the TEAS exam. The TEAS, or Test of Essential Academic Skills, is used to assess your ability to "fit" into nursing classes. The scores for this test will conclude whether you need additional courses before starting nursing coursework and also which program you're best suited for. The material you'll be tested on include: reading, math, science, and grammar/English. The good thing about the TEAS is that you can study and prepare for the test as well as take practice tests online before sitting for the official one.

Note: Not all nursing schools require the TEAS test for admissions, in fact, some schools may request a totally different exam or one similar to the TEAS with a different name.

General Tuition and Book Costs

Nursing school is becoming more affordable. Maybe because of the nursing shortage or because more schools are offering the courses now, either way it's good news for you, right? When it comes to tuition, each school is different. Medical schools tend to have a higher tuition than other universities, but they offer pretty much the same level of education and the same graduate degrees. The one difference that makes up for the higher tuition is the fact that you can put a medical school on your CV or resume, which looks a little better to a medical facility than a regular university (although you shouldn't be discriminated against for the school you choose). The tuition for nursing schools is about $1000 per credit hour on average, $2000 for books (although there are many ways to cut this cost), $2000 for insurance (if the school requires it), $100 for clinical placement, $40 per year for occupational exposure, and a transcript fee of around $30. These are the basic costs broken down for full-time study. Tuition fees also differ depending on the type of degree you're after. There are two main degrees for nurse practitioners (NP) beyond the less advanced registered nurse (RN) degree: MSN and DNP. MSN is a Master of Science in Nursing, which takes nearly 5 years to obtain. A DNP, or Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, takes 2 years more to complete than an MSN. A one year course of study for a student heading towards an MSN is around $80,662 for a full-time student and for a student aiming towards a DNP around $56,020 full-time and $47,012 for part-time. Obviously these are just estimates and each school will have differing tuition rates, which can be found on their websites. So now that you know how to become a nurse, what are you waiting for? You already have the confidence you need to get started, now just gather the above materials and you're good to go!