With more and more people desiring a stable career path, the number of nursing applicants is increasing.
While this is bringing more attention to an understaffed occupation, the sudden influx of interested nursing
school candidates may leave some schools overwhelmed. To better the chances a student will gain acceptance
into a nursing program, many schools have implemented a pointsí system that ranks applications based on
grades received in their pre-requisite classes, nursing school entrance exams and previous healthcare experience.
Because each school has different requirements for its nursing program, most degree-awarding programs
require completion of basic pre-requisite classes before applicants can be accepted into the professional
phase. While each community college or technical school can require different pre-requisite classes, some
of the most common pre-requisites are:
- Anatomy and Physiology I & II
- College Algebra
- English Composition
- Social and Behavioral Sciences
In addition to completing pre-requisite classes, many colleges require students to take the N.A.T.
(Nursing Aptitude Test). This test is for prospective nursing students only and can be retaken as
allowed at a college or school until the applicant has achieved a satisfactory score. It is advisable
that students not wait until the last minute to take any type of nursing entrance exams, as many tests
require students to wait a specified number of days before they can retake the test and attempt to improve their scores.
A great way to prepare for nursing school is to gain entry-level healthcare experience. Taking brief
training will allow students to work as a C.N.A. (Certified Nursing Assistant) or E.M.T. (Emergency
Medical Technician). To further a studentís education, while completing pre-requisite classes, students
may wish to build upon their C.N.A. or E.M.T. skills and become a Licensed Practical Nurse (L.P.N.),
Licensed Vocational Nurse (L.V.N.) or Paramedic. Once completed, many community college and trade
schools allow students with practical nursing or para-medical training to enter R.N. programs through
a bridge option; eliminating the need for an additional year of study.
If desiring to gain some entry-level healthcare training and begin working in the field, be sure to
see if your employer offers tuition reimbursement programs. Many enjoy seeing their employees transition
to more progressive careers and some offer full or partial tuition reimbursement to R.N. students.
Additionally, if working at a medical facility, some colleges allow students to provide documentation
from their employers stating the nature and duration of their employment. If nursing-related, this
employment may be submitted with a studentís application to assist with applicant selection preference
and the awarding of quality points.