How Long Do You Have to Go to School to Be a Nurse?


Nursing is a fulfilling profession that offers various career paths and specialties. If you’re asking yourself, “How long do you have to go to school to be a nurse?” you’re in the right place. This guide will help you navigate the educational requirements for different nursing roles.

Educational Pathways to Nursing

1. Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) (1-2 years)

This role requires a certificate or diploma, typically completed in 12 to 24 months. More information is available on official vocational schools’ websites.

2. Registered Nurse (RN) with an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) (2-3 years)

An ADN program can be completed in 2 to 3 years. Explore ADN programs at community colleges and universities.

3. Registered Nurse (RN) with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) (4 years)

A BSN degree offers more extensive training and usually takes 4 years. Details can be found at university nursing programs.

4. Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) (2-4 additional years)

APRNs need a Master’s or Doctorate in Nursing. Check the graduate nursing program websites for specifics.

Licensing and Certification

After completing education, nurses must pass a licensing exam (NCLEX) and meet state-specific requirements. More information can be found at the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.


Q: Can I become an RN with an online degree?

A: Yes, some schools offer online RN programs. Visit online nursing program websites.

Q: What specialties can nurses pursue?

A: Nurses can specialize in areas like pediatrics, oncology, or critical care. Explore specialties on professional nursing association websites.

Q: Are there accelerated nursing programs?

A: Yes, some schools offer accelerated BSN or MSN programs. Details can be found at university websites.

Q: What is the NCLEX exam, and how do I prepare for it?

A: The NCLEX is the licensing exam for nurses in the U.S. Preparation resources are available at NCLEX preparation websites.


The time needed to become a nurse depends on the chosen pathway and can range from 1 to 8 years or more. Whether you aim to become an LPN, RN, or APRN, each path offers unique opportunities and challenges. Always consult official sources like universities, nursing schools, and professional associations for accurate and up-to-date information.