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RN Nursing Programs in Wisconsin - WI

How to Become an RN in Wisconsin

With an ADN and a BSN to choose from, around half of the RN students in Wisconsin choose the shorter Associate Degree route, while half choose the longer Bachelor Degree program. But why take the longer BSN if it leads to the same license? Because during a BSN, students have the time and classes necessary to reach a much deeper understanding of nursing care, assessment and leadership skills, while also being allotted enough electives to reach a depth and breadth of knowledge that sets them apart from lesser-educated ADN-equipped Registered Nurses. This is not to say that an ADN will not lead to an interesting and fulfilling career; just that pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree can lead to further opportunity that may be even more intellectually stimulating and financially rewarding than pursuing licensure via an Associate Degree.

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Before applying to a school of nursing, both BSN and ADN programs typically require around 10 prerequisite courses in general studies, which usually include microbiology, physiology, psychology, math, English and so forth—courses which help develop general scientific knowledge and communication skills. Nursing programs start by teaching diagnosis, treatment, patient care and so forth, before progressing to more advanced studies, which focus on specific populations and issues in nursing. In a BSN, students then pursue advanced, targeted studies in particular areas of interest, like pharmacology, pediatrics (child medicine), radiology, third world medicine and any number of other topics—they vary significantly by the expertise offered from campus to campus—and choose electives from general studies as well that enhances their knowledge of social, biological, and psychological processes.

The final step to becoming a Registered Nurse is taking the NCLEX-RN, which happens at the end of either RN training program. Students must first complete course work, then they apply to the Wisconsin Board of Nursing, pay the Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing $90 plus $10 if they require a temporary permit, and then take the test and pay $200 to examiners Pearson Vue. The whole process can take a few months, but it also provides ample time to study for the test. Finally, over 85 percent of students pass the NCLEX fresh out of their program, and those who don’t can re-take it within a couple months. Only once licensure is received—it usually takes 7-10 business days to process results—can a new graduate enter the work force as a Wisconsin Registered Nurse.

RN Salary and Jobs in Wisconsin

The average salary for a licensed Registered Nurse working in urban areas of Wisconsin, such as Milwaukee or Green Bay, is $63,400 (according to, with great benefits also being the norm. Wisconsin RNs typically find themselves working at any hour of the day in hospitals, which employ upwards of sixty percent of RNs, or in a more standard nine to five setting in doctor’s offices, private clinics and even nursing homes, public health departments, with pharmaceutical companies, and beyond. In a patient care setting, Registered Nurses work as part of a team and assess and treat patients, and advise lesser trained nurses on patient care. However, their daily routine may vary based upon their workplace.