What Qualifications Do I Need to Get a Nursing Degree?

The field of nursing is complex but vital. As a whole, the nursing industry continues to show employment growth and nurses themselves are often the glue that holds hospitals and clinics together. So, are you thinking of joining them? If so, you're going to need a license. We've got some advice to help you decide which one is right for your educational and career goals. To help you best prepare for nursing school, you'll need to check with your academic advisor before investing time and money.

If you’re brand new to the nursing world and looking to get your Registered Nurse license through an associate degree, you probably won’t need pre-reqs to get into the school. However, you might need to complete a few classes before starting the clinical portion of your program. There might be differences in earning an associate of arts versus an associate of science in terms of the general education requirements you need to complete, so be sure to check with your advisor to make sure you’re taking all the classes you need to graduate.

Those who already have an RN license and are looking to advance their knowledge with a bachelor’s degree will generally need to have:

  1. An associate degree
  2. An up-to-date RN license

Most RN-to-BSN programs will help you transfer in your existing credits and experience from your associate degree and current job or internships. You can find out which credits will transfer toward your bachelor’s degree through your academic advisor or using tools such as the Transfer Equivalency Portal from Columbia College.

The further you go in the nursing field of academia, the more requirements there will be. Those looking to get their start in nursing will most likely lean toward a two-year associate program with fewer pre-reqs or a four-year traditional program earning a bachelor’s degree which might require a separate application to the nursing program and thus allow time to build up pre-reqs. Those who have already gotten their license will probably have the credits and pre-reqs required to enter an RN-to-BSN program straightaway. 

Degrees, Classes

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