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How to Become a Nurse in Alabama, AL

Becoming a nurse in Alabama provides entry into one of the fastest growing professions in the United States. And Alabama Registered Nurses (RN) average $59,000* per year plus benefits, while Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) in the state earn a median salary of $38,000 per year. So, how to become an Alabama nurse? *salary information provided by

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* (USC) University of Southern California - Master of Science in Nursing

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The First Step: Nursing Education Prerequisites

All nursing education programs in Alabama require high school graduation and prerequisite studies in introductory undergraduate college courses. This typically means around 5 courses for LPN students and up to 10 courses for those pursuing RN training, and they focus upon baseline introductory topics like biology, physiology, chemistry, English, math, statistics and so on. Although prerequisites vary slightly by program, it is very important to do well, as grades are a huge factor in gaining entry into an Alabama nursing education program.

The Second Step: Alabama Nursing Education

Once prerequisites are complete, students apply to an Alabama nurse training program of their choice. There are generally three choices: LPN programs, which take about a year, Associate Degree, Nursing (ADN) degrees which take around two years and lead to RN certification, and Bachelor of Science, Nursing (BSN) programs which take four years and also lead to licensure as an RN.

While LPN programs provide a solid understanding of patient care and some nurse management skills, becoming an RN provides much greater flexibility of knowledge and more broad-scale nurse management training. ADN students still focus mostly on intensive patient care skills and receive some training in research and nursing theory, while BSN students have time to pursue in-depth research, care and management training, while also having time to choose elective courses in a broad array of specialized topics like maternity, radiology, pharmacology, and much, much more.

The Third Step: The Nursing Licensure Examination

The final step to Alabama nursing certification is the NCLEX licensure exam. A nationally-standardized test, there are different version for both LPNs and RNs, and it is not something to be taken lightly. However, upwards of 85 percent of graduating students pass the test and become licensed to begin work as an Alabama nurse.

Further Information on Becoming a Nurse in Alabama

For further information on Alabama nursing education, visit our in depth state page. For more information in the NCLEX examination, visit our NCLEX information page.