How to Change Your Career to Nursing

Nurse with stethoscope - featured image

Transitioning to a career in nursing involves a decision that can bring about challenges and fulfilling moments. Your work experience or academic background could enhance the skills and knowledge required to switch to nursing. 

Various avenues are available that align with your current educational level or fit into the timeframe needed to complete your degree. Here is how to change your career to nursing.

Select a School

Start by selecting an accredited school to guarantee your education meets the position’s prerequisites. Explore online resources to pick a nursing school, or if you already hold a degree, check if your alma mater provides nursing programs. 

You may already satisfy prerequisite conditions, potentially expediting your path to a nursing degree. Contemplate attending the school’s information sessions (if accessible) to gain a more comprehensive insight into the degree program.

Associate Degree in Nursing

Earning an Associate Degree in Nursing typically takes around two years to complete, enabling you to pursue licensure just like with a four-year degree. While hybrid ABSN programs allow entry into comparable entry-level nursing roles, it lacks the long-term career advantages associated with a bachelor’s degree. 

This means limitations in accessing managerial positions or advancing to higher education levels such as obtaining a master’s degree. 

As noted by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, there is a growing trend among employers toward preferring candidates with a bachelor’s degree, prompting current ADN-prepared nurses to pursue further education to meet industry demands.

Discuss With an Admissions Advisor

After selecting a school, arrange a meeting with an admissions advisor to assist in choosing a program that aligns with your objectives and to create an academic plan. 

Admissions counselors can assess whether you require extra classes to fulfill prerequisites, especially if your prior coursework focused on the arts rather than science.

Advisors will evaluate the necessity of courses in anatomy and physiology, English, math, psychology, chemistry, or biology as they guide you through the admissions process. Explore placement possibilities post-graduation. 

Remember to collect your college transcripts for the advisor to verify your GPA and review your completed courses.

Acquiring Experience in Nursing

When beginning your training, you can enter without prior experience. However, upon completing the qualification process, you will have dedicated around half of your degree to practical clinical experience, including working shifts alongside a nursing team.

Before pursuing a nursing degree, gain work experience, as experiencing hands-on care is essential to truly understand if this career path suits you. 

The pivotal moment arrives when you comfort a distressed, incontinent, and embarrassed patient, shifting your focus to reassuring them instead of fixating on the challenging aspects, signifying your capability for this role.

Exploring Preferred Nursing Specialties

Exploring the numerous nursing specialties available for study involves contemplating various licenses and certifications. Each specialty typically demands different durations of further education. 

Clarify your nursing aspirations and understand the necessary steps to reach them. Proactively research the prerequisites of transitioning to a nursing career to avoid becoming entrenched in a path that may not align with your professional goals.


Making an impact in the lives of your patients amidst the various obstacles encountered is what truly renders this profession fulfilling. The role of an RN involves contributing to the well-being of numerous individuals, and fostering a healthier and safer global community.