There are several paths to becoming a nurse, including an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Both require completing prerequisite courses in liberal arts, math, and science. The BSN program includes a mix of general education courses and nursing specific courses, and it can take three to four years to complete.

Registered nurses are the most common and widely employed nursing position. They can work in a wide variety of settings, such as hospitals and medical offices, and they have the highest salaries. RNs also can become board-certified in an advanced practice specialty, such as critical care or oncology.

Advanced clinical nurse specialists are licensed RNs who have gone through additional training to gain extra specialization and responsibilities, such as directing patients’ care or serving as an intermediary between physicians and patients’ families. ACNPs can assess and diagnose patients, prescribe medications, establish treatment plans, and direct RNs.

Pediatric clinical nurse specialists are advanced practice RNs who have specialized in the care of infants and children. They can direct the care of children with complex health problems, perform clinical assessments, and serve as an intermediary between doctors and parents.

To start your career as a registered nurse, you must first obtain an RN license through an accredited nursing school. You’ll then need to pass the NCLEX-RN exam. In addition, you can pursue further nursing training through an RN-to-BSN bridge program or by getting a master’s degree.