How to Become an RN Fast

You may want to learn how to become an RN fast, but in most circumstances it takes two years to be a registered nurse.

This profession requires a lot of time, hard work, and resources.

However, you do have options to become a nurse quicker depending on the degree you currently have.

Well look at short routes to becoming a registered nurse.

Quick routes to an RN career

Associates degree

To be eligible for a registered nursing certification, a minimum of an associates degree in nursing (ADN) is required.

An associates degree in nursing is a quick route at about two years in length.

They are offered at community colleges and vocational school across the U.S.

Despite their availability, there may be a waiting list of students at many educational facilities.

Add to this the prerequisite courses required to be admitted to a associates degree in nursing program and you may find that it will take longer than two years realistically.

If you want to get working in healthcare right away while you are working towards being an RN, consider starting a certified nursing assistant program, which is 6 to 8 weeks in length.

A CNA program will get you working in the nursing field quickly, will teach you about patient care, and if the profession is right for you.

During that time, work on getting the prerequisites for an RN program met.

Should you decide to take this route, consult a nursing advisor at a community college nearest your area about the process, prerequisite courses and the much needed requirements to qualify for their ADN program.

Second degree BSN

If you are already a bachelor’s degree holder, there are accelerated baccalaureate programs which take 12-20 months and offer an RN degree and prepare you for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).

But the volume of information presented in a short time can be overwhelming.

Indiana University School of Nursing has a 20-month program and they list the difficulty of the program:

The second degree BSN track is an accelerated program and requires a dedicated time commitment in order to graduate in the 20-month time frame. It is absolutely crucial to understand this time commitment in order to progress and graduate as expected, as there is little opportunity to adjust for absences or tardiness in this program.

John Hopkins University, also, has a similar program done in 13 months. If you check universities in your area, you may find one of these quick options.

A second bachelors degree makes sense for a lot of people but its worth noting again that these programs are fast paced, especially if you want to complete your degree in around a year.

BS to MSN option

One more appealing aspect of nursing degrees is the potential advancement in career, better working conditions, and much higher pay rate.

Because of this, the natural next step for current Bachelor degree holders is to enroll in a master’s degree program rather than complete an associates or another bachelors degree.

Many universities offer professional master’s degree in nursing and healthcare practice.

There are programs like this one from John Hopkins catering to both nursing and non-nursing college graduates but are intense.

But youll need to be motivated and they still take about four semesters to finish.

These programs focuses more on research and theory, preparing students for advanced practice and as clinical faculty for future students of nursing.


To practice the profession, you still will need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination also known as the NCLEX.

Different states may impose different requirements, so inquire from the state board first.

Work environment

The nursing job is the largest occupational group in the healthcare field in the country.

Nurses work in various work settings, such as hospitals, doctors’ clinics and offices, medical facilities, elderly care homes, assisted-living facilities, schools, and government agencies and offices.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has roughly estimated the demand for more than 580,000 replacement and new registered nurses by the year 2018.

The challenge then is for nursing schools nationwide to immediately produce highly skilled and proficient nurses without sacrificing the quality and integrity of the nursing education and profession.

Coupled with the shift in the economy, many have shifted their interest toward the nursing education.

Other options

Universities in your area may offer programs and tracks that are not listed here.

After all, each educational facility provides its own take on a program, so it would be in your best interest to research their programs and see what fits for you.

I hope this has helped you learn how to become an RN fast. Good luck with your studies to be a registered nurse!