Have you been looking into the health care field for quite some time? Not sure what route to take? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 19 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. With an increased emphasis on preventative care, a growing elderly population, and chronic conditions such as obesity and diabetes on the rise, nursing is clearly a stable and secure career path to explore. To become a nurse in Arizona you must complete an approved program and pass the national certification exam. This article will explain the process of becoming a licensed practical nurse (LPN) and a registered nurse (RN).
LPNs and RNs typically take one of three educational paths: an associate’s degree in nursing, a bachelor’s degree in nursing, or a diploma from an accredited nursing program. Currently, there are 38 institutions in Arizona that offer either an LPN or RN nursing program. To be admitted into a nursing program in Arizona, most schools require that you pass a TEAS or Test of Essential Academic Skills. They also ask that you have at least a GED or HS diploma. An associate’s degree or diploma will typically take 12-20 months to complete whereas a bachelors degree in nursing takes around 3-4 years.
As explained by the Arizona State Board of Nursing, LPNs have a limited scope of practice and must always be under the supervision of an RN of physician. LPNs are usually employed in long term care and residential settings. RNs have a broader scope of practice and function more independently. RNs are employed in a variety of settings, most commonly acute care. Many students feel it is a better fit to get admitted into an LPN program while completing their RN prerequisites. This allows them to move forward as an advanced placement student in an RN program.
Whether you choose an LPN or RN program, the final step in the process is to take the NCLEX exam – which will certify you to practice nursing in Arizona. Upon successful completion of this test, the Arizona State Board of Nursing requires nurses to practice in some manner for at least 960 hours every 5 years. The Board also encourages nurses to continue their education by attending conferences and taking occasional refresher courses.
The educational and licensing requirements to become a nurse in Arizona can be tricky to understand. Hopefully this article has provided you with some insight into the industry of nursing and how you can become a part of it.
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