Nursing School Requirements: How To Get Into Nursing School

Nursing School Requirements: How To Get Into Nursing School

26 September 2019 By Kate

Nursing Student

2035 will mark a milestone in US history. For the first time, census analysts estimate that those over 65 will outnumber those under 18. And we’re already seeing the effects of this shift throughout the economy. As the US population continues to age, the need for skilled and compassionate nurses for patients of all ages grows year over year.

For many, now is a great time to explore this fascinating career choice and learn more about what kinds of nursing requirements to expect and how to get into nursing school. Here’s what you need to know.

Nursing Prerequisites and Requirements

Getting a nursing degree begins before actual nursing school as you’ll need to meet a set of prerequisites for the nursing program. The level of prerequisites depends on the level of nursing you seek to achieve right now and the school’s own requirements.

Post-Secondary & GPA Requirements

To enter and Practical Nursing program, you’ll typically need a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Some schools will require a minimum high school grade point average (GPA) while others will have no minimum GPA requirements. 

If you’re interested in becoming a Registered Nurse (RN) or even a Nurse Practitioner (NP), you can start in a practical nursing program and continue to work on your educational goals over time. This is a great way to get into the field fast and determine where you’d like to focus your more advanced education.

Testing Requirements

Before starting a program, you’ll take a nursing-specific assessment. This test demonstrates that you have the necessary aptitude for nursing. In addition, the Wonderlic SLE exam ensures that you have the basic academic skills necessary for the program (e.g, reading, writing, math, etc.).

While these tests should be taken seriously, keep in mind that they’re not testing you on things that you probably don’t already know. They don’t expect you to already know how to be a nurse. You’ll learn that during the practical nursing program.

Fast Track Requirements

If you already have a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field, you may qualify for a fast-track RN program in which you become a Registered Nurse with Bachelors’ Degree (BSN) in as few as 18 months instead of the four years for those without a degree. For those eligible to fast track into nursing, you will likely have to complete certain undergraduate courses in anatomy, biology, and chemistry to prepare yourself for nursing coursework.

How Hard Is It to Get Into Nursing School

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for nurses is very strong, growing around 15% in the next 10 years. Because of this, nursing schools are continuing to increase capacity for new students. For those who are seeking to enter a program, this means that admissions may be more difficult at some institutions, not because of the individual applicant but because the school has a limited number of openings.

Don’t despair. Look for programs that are actively recruiting new nursing school applicants. They are demonstrating that they have the bandwidth to take on many new students. And each year, more programs and spaces are opening up, which will not only allow more people to achieve their dreams of becoming a nurse; it will help meet the national demand for nurses.

How to Get Into Nursing School with Bad Grades

Just because you did not excel academically in “traditional” school doesn’t mean that you won’t make an amazing nurse. If you have basic academic skills, can learn new things when you have a passion for that topic, and love to help people, then you could be on your way to becoming a great practical nurse.

Look for a nursing program that doesn’t have minimum GPA requirements and instead assesses your skills and abilities now as you embark on your new career. If you think you may have difficulty passing entrance exams because you’ve been out of school for a few years or more, talk to your school about potential tutoring or online test preparation.

Given how in-demand nurses are, your nursing school wants you to succeed, and if certain nursing school requirements are a barrier, they can help you navigate those hurdles.

Nursing School Requirements and You

From Practical Nurse to Nurse Practitioner and beyond, nurses are in demand as nursing schools continue to enhance their capacity to admit and train more nurses for this important and interesting career. Each school’s requirements may vary slightly, but at the basic level, you need a diploma or GED in addition to completing some basic knowledge and nursing-specific aptitude tests.

Pioneer Pacific College works with students to help eliminate any barriers they may face in order to get the best potential nurses into their programs. Do you have the compassion and passion to become a nurse? You’re on your way to a new, rewarding career in practical nursing when you learn more about nursing school requirements at Pioneer Pacific College.


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