This question is about becoming a nurse.

At what age can you become a nurse?

By Justin Parker - Mar. 13, 2023

You can become a nurse when you are 18, but the specific age requirements for a nurse can vary depending on your country and the nursing program you pursue.

It is worth noting that you must attend nursing school in some form to become a nurse. You can unlikely become a nurse right when you turn 18 because most nursing students start their nursing education at 18 or older.

This stipulation dictates that most aspiring nurses become licensed nursing professionals at the earliest ages of 20 and 22, depending on whether they have attended a two-year nursing program for an associate's degree or a four-year nursing program for a bachelor's degree.

The path to becoming a nurse affects the exact age you will be able to become one. Here is the path and the estimated amount of time it takes to complete each step:

  • Associate's degree in nursing. The degree you aim for and how long it will take you to earn depends on what nursing field you want to get into.

    In certain states, registered nurses only need an associate's nursing degree to practice. An associate's degree in nursing takes an average of two years.

  • Bachelor's degree in nursing. Most BSN programs give you the necessary knowledge and expose you to hands-on experience as a nurse.

    This is invaluable because the nursing profession can sometimes be stressful and unpredictable. Bachelor's nursing degree programs normally take around four years to complete.

  • Complete and pass the NCLEX exam. After you've obtained your degree, this is the required next step. The National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses, also known as NCLEX or NCLEX-RN. You must pass this exam to obtain state licensure and become a registered nurse.

    The time it takes to complete this step is relative and depends on if you must take the exam once or multiple times. Most can complete and pass the exam shortly after they have graduated from nursing school.

  • Get state licensure. This is another mandatory step. You must get a nursing license in the state where you want to practice. To become a traveling nurse, you must obtain state licensure in every state you plan to practice in.

    Certain regions have licenses that can be utilized in multiple states but do your research, as this is the exception, not the rule.

    Each state also has its unique requirements for obtaining a nursing license, and this usually takes a few weeks to complete the application process and receive the license.

  • Get advanced training. This is optional, but it does open you up to a wider range of nursing positions and higher salaries. There are many different certifications you can seek as a nurse.

    Some common options include oncology, gerontology, neonatal, pediatrics, and many more. If you choose to specialize, you could attend school for another two to three years.

At what age can you become a nurse?

Search For Nurse Jobs

Nurse Jobs

Nurse Jobs

Learn More About Nurse Jobs

Related Questions For Nurse