How Long Does It Take to Become a Registered Nurse?

Learn how long it takes to become an RN, including information on general education requirements, the RN professional program, and work-based learning/internships.
Typical Duration of an RN Program

One of the most common questions that prospective Registered Nurse (RN) students ask is how long it will take to complete their training. The answer to this question varies depending on the school, the student's placement exam scores, and whether the program requires work-based learning or intern/externships. However, the following information can give you a general idea of how long it takes to become an RN:

General Education Core Curriculum

During your RN training, you will need to complete a certain number of general education courses, such as English, math, and science. The length of time it takes to complete your core curriculum will depend on your placement exam scores and how many credits you can transfer from another institution. If you need to take additional general education courses, it could take you anywhere from two to four semesters to complete your core curriculum.

RN Professional Program

After completing your core curriculum, you will begin the RN professional program. This portion of your training will consist of a variety of nursing lectures and clinical rotations. The actual courses you will need to take will 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. If you attend school part time, it could take you anywhere from three to six semesters to complete the program.

Work-Based Learning and Intern/Externships

Some schools require RN students to complete work-based learning or intern/externships. This type of training is hands-on and 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.

Overall, the typical duration of an RN program can last anywhere from five to ten semesters, depending on the school you choose, your placement exam scores, and whether the program requires work-based learning or intern/externships.

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