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Freshman Applicants | Change of Major | Transfer Students | How to Become an RN

How to Become a Registered Nurse

There are several major educational paths you can follow to become a registered nurse (RN). You must successfully complete one of these degree programs to be eligible for the NCLEX-RN licensing examination. Once you pass this exam, you are able to practice as an RN.

Associate’s Degree in Nursing Programs (ADN)

These programs require at least two years of college academic credit and award an associate’s degree in nursing. They include some liberal arts and science courses but focus more on the technical aspects of nursing.

California Board of Registered Nursing approved ADN programs ›

Bachelor of Science in Nursing Programs (BSN)

These basic entry-level programs admit students with no previous nursing education and award a baccalaureate nursing degree. BSN programs require at least four — but no more than five — academic years of college credit.

The UC Irvine program has a strong emphasis on research and science, and it includes the university’s general education requirements. Research supports the ongoing trend in healthcare to hire nurses with bachelor’s degrees.

California Board of Registered Nursing approved BSN programs ›

Second Baccalaureate (BSN) Programs

These programs are accelerated baccalaureate programs for non-nursing bachelor’s degree graduates. They admit students with baccalaureate degrees in other disciplines and require no previous nursing education. Their curricula are designed to be completed in less time than the generic baccalaureate programs, but they also award a baccalaureate nursing degree.

California Board of Registered Nursing approved BSN programs ›

Entry-Level Master’s of Science in Nursing Programs (EL-MSN)

EL-MSN programs are for non-nursing bachelor’s degree graduates. These programs admit students with baccalaureate degrees in other disciplines and require no previous nursing education. They prepare you for entry into the profession and award a master’s degree in nursing.

They are not advanced-practice nursing programs (nurse practitioner, anesthetist, midwife, clinical nurse specialist). Although these programs generally require a baccalaureate degree, a few programs admit students with associate degrees. EL-MSN programs can take two to three years to complete.

California Board of Registered Nursing approved EL-MSN programs ›

You should refer to the Board of Registered Nursing to determine licensing eligibility in the state of California.