Nursing: Prerequisites for Nursing

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Nursing: Prerequisites for Nursing

Nursing is a career that allows you to find a job even in a failing economy. But what are the prerequisites for nursing that will help you get into a good nursing school? Let us try to find out by going through the following article.


Nurses are considered to be next lifesavers after doctors. We have seen them in hospitals and other health care institutions providing medical care and treatment to patients suffering from illnesses and injuries. Their primary work is to provide medications and therapies to patients as well as explain to them the test results and other treatment options. Like any other careers, nursing also requires certain nursing prerequisites and training in order to become a successful nurse. Though most colleges or universities have their own set of course prerequisites or requirements to become a nurse, a majority of them have some common courses that a nursing student needs to complete.

What are the Prerequisites for Nursing

  • The foremost step is to receive a high school diploma, including subjects related to health science and biology.
  • Next step is to receive an Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) before moving on to completing a bachelor’s degree. Since most Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs have long waiting lists, and if you have studied the basics of nursing in a community college, it can lead to an entry-level position in nursing.
  • The most essential nursing prerequisite is to complete a BSN program from an accredited four-year university. The degree program should contain both classroom lectures and clinical experience.
  • To become a licensed nurse, a practicing nurse should clear the NCLEX-RN exam to obtain a qualification. Also, the license should be regularly renewed.
  • To specialize in a particular field, like a nurse practitioner, nurse-midwife, clinical nurse or nurse anesthetic, one must go for a master’s degree, which may require two years of full-time study and clinical experience.

Prerequisites for Nursing School

Prerequisites for nursing school varies according to the college or university and program level. Graduation from high school or completion of a General Education Development (GED) is the basic prerequisite for enrolling into a nursing school program. Many aspiring nurses enroll in a registered nurse (RN) program at the nursing school or institution leading to either an associate degree or a diploma. The basic nursing and health-related prerequisite courses include:

  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Microbiology
  • Nutrition
  • Chemistry
  • Sociology
  • Psychology
  • Mathematics
  • Statistics

These courses are transferable and can be earned at community colleges or schools providing college level courses.

A complete year of anatomy and physiology is required, which can be done either as two individual classes–anatomy followed by physiology, or as a combined class, divided into two terms for both the subjects. Whichever way you choose, it will satisfy the admission requirements for most programs, and will demand the same amount of total class time. Another important course requirement is general microbiology, which in some schools may be known as bacteriology. Check your college requirements as it is quite possible that you might have done the course in your school before–if that is the case, you can save time during the admissions evaluation procedure instead of having to retake the course.

Some schools allow students to replace a certain course with other courses. Like, economics can be exchanged with math or statistics. You need not master math, but learning simple formulas that help you with conversions is a good skill that will help you in the long run.

Psychology and sociology are additional courses that may be included in some nursing programs. Some nursing schools may also require college level English in addition to these two courses; hence check your nursing school requirements properly. Additionally, many nursing schools require the candidates to be certified in Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and clear a physical health exam. For an upper-level nursing degree like the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), the candidates are expected to possess a bachelor’s degree, and considerable experience as a nurse in a specialty area.

To avoid unwanted obstacles and delays, plan the course of study under a guidance counselor who is well versed with the nursing prerequisites. Also remember that nursing school is a challenging, full-time curriculum, adding extra courses along with the regular nursing courses can affect successful completion of the entire program. Hence, if possible, study such courses in advance before enrolling into the program, or between nursing sessions in a summer term. All the Best!

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