Registered Nurse Certificate and Diploma Programs
Registered nurse diploma programs can be completed in 1-3 years. Diploma programs focus on providing students the skills to enter the nursing field as well as prepare them for successfully passing the NCLEX-RN. Diploma programs should be accredited through the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission. Accelerated diploma programs can require the completion of courses in anatomy or mathematics, or may require that applicants are licensed practical nurses.
Registered nurse diploma programs combine clinical experiences with laboratory and classroom studies. Common courses include:
- Medical-surgical nursing
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that registered nurse employment was expected to grow at a rate of 16% from 2014 to 2024 (www.bls.gov). An increase in outpatient services and continually advancing technology will aid in the growth of RNs in the industry.
According to the BLS, RNs earned a mean annual salary of $71,000 in 2015. Registered nurses in the bottom ten percent of earnings made $46,360 or less per annum
and RNs in the top ten percent made $101,630 or more annually.
All students who have completed a registered nurse education program must pass the National Council Licensing Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to be eligible to legally work in the field. The NCLEX-RN is offered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, a governing body that also requires RNs to complete continuing education every few years in order to maintain licensure. Additional licensing may be required within individual states.
RNs may choose to pursue further training through a number of advanced education programs in nursing, such as Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree programs or Master of Science in Nursing degree programs. Completing additional education can lead to greater income, greater specialization, more responsibilities and enhanced career opportunities.
RN certificate and diploma programs offer a combination of classroom work mixed with clinical experiences. Advanced programs offer more specified coursework. All students must pass the National Council Licensing Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) toy work in the field.