Course Duration

How Long Does it Take to Become a Registered Nurse?

Course Duration of an RN Program

A common concern among many prospective Registered Nurse (RN) students is how long it will take for them to finish an RN training program. While the answer to this question varies significantly from one student to another and one school to another, the information provided below can help you determine the average course duration for RN programs.

The Core Curriculum

During your RN training, you will spend much of your time completing various general education courses. These courses make up what is known as your school's core curriculum. How long it will take you to complete this curriculum depends on the scores you receive on your school's general education placement exams.

For example, if your school's core curriculum requires you to complete a quantitative literacy course, you will need to fulfill all of that course's prerequisites first. Depending on your placement exam scores, this could mean that you will need to take one or more courses before you can take the quantitative literacy class.

On the other hand, if you scored high on your placement exams, you can plunge right into the required course. Additionally, if you have transferable credits from another institution, you may be able to apply some of them to your core requirements. With that said, it could take you anywhere between two to four semesters to complete your core curriculum.

Your Professional Program

After completing your school's general education core curriculum, you will spend the rest of your RN training participating in healthcare-related coursework. This portion of your program will consist of a variety of nursing lectures and clinical. The actual courses you will need to take depend on your school of choice.

In most cases, a full-time RN student can complete the RN professional program in about two to three semesters. Of course, your course duration will vary if you attend school part time. In that case, it could take you anywhere from three to six semesters to complete the RN professional program.

Work-Based Learning and Intern/Externships

Although this section is devoted to work-based learning and intern or externships, it is essential to note that not all schools require this type of training for their RN programs. However, since some do, it is to your benefit to anticipate them. This type of instruction is hands-on training that is typically conducted in a local medical facility.

Schools that require work-based learning or intern/externships typically work with local medical facilities to provide students with the required training. Common facilities usually include nursing homes, general hospitals, or other long-term care facilities. A typical course duration for this type of training is about eight weeks.

The course duration for RN programs can last anywhere from five to ten semesters depending on the school you choose and your placement exam scores.