How Fast Can You Become an RN? | 3 Things You Should Look For In an RN Program | Dorsey College

How Fast Can You Become an RN? 3 Things You Should Look For In an RN Program

Currently, the nursing field is facing a huge shortage, fueled in large part by the pandemic. The demand for nurses means that you’re likely to find employment opportunities as an RN after school and becoming licensed. That makes right now the perfect time to get an RN degree.

RN stands for registered nurse. Registered nurses differ from practical nurses and nurse assistants. RN’s have either an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing. They also have to pass a licensing exam specific to the scope of practice of their role, in order to pursue employment in this field.¹

This extra education can pay off tremendously. RN’s typically make more than LPN’s and CNA’s. For example, according to the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average wage for an LPN in 2020 was 48k per year while the average wage for RN’s in 2020 was 75k per year.²⁻³  Keep in mind, these are averages among all RNs and LPNs regardless of where they work and how much experience they may have.  It’s always important to remember that salaries for entry-level nurses likely will vary based on a number of factors including (but not limited to) the workplace, the location, the candidate’s experience/background, and any specifics related to the job.

RN’s also have more control over patient care in their role and communicate directly to and with doctors.

So, you might be wondering: how do I get my RN degree? What do I need from my RN degree program?

Read more below to find out.

1. Not all registered nurse programs are the same length

If you’ve spent any time searching “RN programs” you know there are lots of programs out there. There are two basic kinds of RN programs: bachelor’s and associate degrees in nursing.

A bachelor’s degree typically requires 4-5 years of schooling at an accredited institution, usually a college or university.

An associate degree typically requires 2 years of schooling at a College or University.

When choosing whether to pursue a bachelor’s or an associate it’s important to focus on what works best for you. Each degree level can meet the educational requirements of becoming an RN, but curriculum varies from school to school.

You’ll be expected to already have real-world experience from your education when entering the field.  So, pick a school with a program that offers a balance of classroom instruction and hands-on clinical training.

2. Does the registered nurse school help you prepare for the NCLEX?

In addition to checking out the curriculum, it’s important to know how the registered nurse school helps prepare its graduates for the NCLEX-RN. Remember RN’s require both a degree and a passing score on the licensing exam in order to pursue gainful employment.

The licensing exam for RN’s is called the NCLEX-RN exam. If your program doesn’t prepare you for the exam, you might have to retake it. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your program is going to help you pass the license exam (on your first attempt) before you start the program.

When contacting a school to learn more about their program be sure to ask these important questions:

  • Does their curriculum help prepare a student for the NCLEX?
  • Are there tests throughout the program to ensure students stay on track?
  • Do they offer a review for the NCLEX at the end of the program?

3. What type of career services assistance does the registered nurse school offer?

Nurses are in high demand currently, 4 but this may change over time. Even if it doesn’t, good networking can help you get the nursing position you want.  It can also help you throughout your career.

Networking can be awkward and difficult. One way to make networking easy is to make sure your RN program offers career services assistance to students BEYOND graduation.

Be sure to ask about career services before committing to an RN program. You’ll want to ask the following questions:

  • Does your school have an established relationship with local employers?
  • Can your program provide resume assistance?
  • Do you offer practice interviews with graduates?
  • Does your program provide leads on RN jobs in the area?

You’ll want a program that provides all of these things so you can begin pursuing your career as soon as you’re licensed and graduated.

Associate of Applied Science in Nursing degree program | Dorsey College in Michigan

If you’re searching for an RN program in Michigan, consider Dorsey College. Especially if you’re looking for a program that focuses on both education and getting you out into the field as soon as possible.

Dorsey College offers an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing program. This program covers the RN requirement of having a degree, as well as prepares you to take the NCLEX-RN exam.

There are lots of advantages to the Dorsey College program. Since it is an associate degree it fulfills the degree requirement of becoming an RN but it is also faster than a 4-year degree. This is great for students who want to become an RN as soon as possible.

Dorsey College’s curriculum focuses on both hands-on training and traditional classroom learning. This blend is designed to help students prepare to challenge the NCLEX-RN. Also, Dorsey College will cover the cost one time for graduates to challenge the NCLEX-RN exam upon graduation and meeting the exam preparation requirements.

Dorsey College also offers career services assistance to all program completers.  This means, the career services team can help you with networking, interviewing, and the job searching process, especially after graduating.  Dorsey College is well established with local healthcare facilities, which can also be a benefit to graduates.

Interested? You can read more about Dorsey College’s Associate of Applied Science in Nursing program here.

NOTE: Dorsey College has determined that its Associate of Applied Science in Nursing program curriculum is sufficient to fulfill educational requirements for licensure in the State of Michigan only. No educational determinations have been made for any other state, district, or US territory in regards to licensure requirements.

Career services assistance is available to all program completers, however, job placement is not guaranteed.


  1. Person. “What Is a Registered Nurse? What They Do and How to Become One.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 19 July 2021, 
  2. “Registered Nurses : Occupational Outlook Handbook.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 8 Sept. 2021, 
  3.  “Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses : Occupational Outlook Handbook.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 8 Sept. 2021, 
  4.  “Registered Nurses : Occupational Outlook Handbook.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 8 Sept. 2021, 


Michigan DTMB, Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, Long-Term Occupational Employment Projections (2018-2028) Michigan Statewide, Registered Nurses (SOC Code: 29-1141), (visited November 4, 2020).