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How to Become a Nurse in New York

Nurses are in high demand in New York. And while becoming a nurse in New York isn’t a cakewalk, it may take less time than you think. For instance, becoming an entry-level Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) can be achieved in as little as a year once you graduate from high school. On the flipside, becoming a Registered Nurse (RN) takes 2.5 years with an Associate Degree (ADN), and around 4.5 to 5 years with a Bachelor of Science, Nursing degree (BSN).
With all these options, it can often be hard to decide which degree to choose when pursuing nursing education in New York. The average salary for an LPN is substantial at $45,000 statewide (according to, plus benefits, but Registered Nurses make significantly more at an average salary of close to $70,000, and even more in New York City. The amount of responsibility also varies from job to job—LPNs hold the least, while those with an ADN enter the workforce as entry level RNs, and students who pursue a BSN achieve a degree of specialization and advanced knowledge that puts them in a position to pursue positions of seniority with greater wages, more diverse roles, and greater opportunity.

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Regardless of which nursing education program you choose, there is always the opportunity to upgrade. And regardless of which nursing degree you choose, there are also similar undergraduate prerequisites before application to a college of nursing: 5 to 10 courses in sciences and the humanities, ranging from communications to physiology, math and English. They are also the biggest factor in determining entry into competitive nursing schools; demand outstrips supply when it comes to nursing education, so it is important to do well.
Once accepted into a New York nursing program, students take courses in basic nursing skills, which become progressively more specialized and advanced based upon which degree they pursue. For instance, with a BSN, students may take pharmacology, radiology, and more, while those in faster programs receive training in patient care and more, but have little time for specialization.

Graduating nursing students take either the NCLEX-PN, for New York LPNs, or the NCLEX-RN, for graduating RNs. The tests are nationally standardized and comprehensive; they are the gateway to becoming a nurse in New York.

For more information on becoming a nurse in New York, visit our in-depth state pages.