RN Requirements By State + Qualifications

medical-assistantsWithin the United States there are a number of degree programs and educational institutions available through which a student may become a registered nurse. Some provide 2, 3 or 4 year programs, with the minimum level of education being an Associate’s degree.

A Bachelor of Science in Nursing tends to be the RN standard for education as it opens more doors, and many Associate level nurses will turn to this level of education later in their careers for better salary options, according to BLS.

For a closer look at how these requirements and qualifications vary by state, take a look at the following information regarding RN related degrees across the country.

1. Alabama

The State of Alabama requires a minimum degree completion of an Associate level, but this is often not enough to warren a registered nurse position within an established hospital of medical practice. Nursing students are encouraged to pursue a Bachelor level education or higher. The Alabama Administrative Code says that the curriculum contents to qualify a nursing degree program must include Liberal arts and sciences, physiology and anatomy, pharmacology, nutrition, and nursing foundations affiliated with community based nursing.

2. Alaska

In the state of Alaska, an Associate degree in nursing is the minimum degree allowed to become a registered nurse. Curriculum requirements vary from college to college but the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program requires a total of 126 credit hours to be completed over a four year period with 42 of those credits belonging to the upper level division.

3. Arizona

The Arizona State Board of Nursing Guide for Prospective Nursing Programs explains that the lowest level of degree available for an RN position within this state is an Associate’s degree which takes 12 to 18 months to complete.

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4. Arkansas

Within Arkansas a diploma, Associate degree or Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree allows graduates to continue into the registered nursing profession. The Arkansas State Board of Nursing provides a list of all eligible programs within these levels of academics for the state.

5. California

The minimum level of education to qualify for RN status after examination is an Associate degree, followed by a Baccalaureate degree, Masters or Doctorate. The California Board of Registered Nurses gives a list of appropriate schools and courses on their website.

6. Colorado

The Colorado Government Department of Regulatory Agencies requires an Associate or Baccalaureate level degree as a minimum qualifier for an RN career path. The official website also provides a list of accredited universities to fulfill this need.

7. Connecticut

The Connecticut department of Public Health explains that a program taught through a hospital, which is licensed pursuant to Chapter 368V of the state Statutes can lead to a diploma in nursing which can then be furthered into a registered nurse title through licensure examination and other requirements that are met.

8. Delaware

Degree Tree explains that the state of Delaware has one institution offering an accredited diploma in nursing program, but the most positions require at least an Associate level degree or a Baccalaureate degree, which is viewed as a much more acceptable level of education. Within the state prospective registered nurses are expected to enroll in accredited college programs that include at least 400 hours of clinical hands on experience.

9. Florida

The Florida Board of Nursing advises that an Associate or Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree are the basic requirements to qualify for registered nurse licensure after examination. Florida accepts on campus or online courses for qualification, but they must be accredited programs and meet the requirements of the board on all levels.

10. Georgia

The basic requirement for registered nurse status education in the state of Georgia is an Associate’s degree or higher, although most graduates will find the professional world more competitive if they don’t have a Bachelor’s degree. Degree Tree provides a list of accredited institutions and programs within the state.

11. Hawaii

Hawaii has a minimum education requirement of an Associate level degree in order to achieve RN status. Following graduation there are 2 nursing examinations that must be taken through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing to become a registered or practical nurse, this is called the National Council Licensure Examination.

12. Idaho

Idaho requires a two year Associate level degree or a 4 year Baccalaureate degree to be eligible to write the licensure examinations to become a registered nurse. The State of Idaho Statutes states that approval of graduation from these programs rests on a student’s ability to work in compliance with state standards.

13. Illinois

The Illinois Center for Nursing states that an Associate’s degree or a Baccalaureate degree is necessary in order to qualify for an RN license. However, there is one hospital training program that offers a diploma in nursing that may also qualify within the state.

14. Indiana

The Indiana Center for Nursing states that an Associate level degree is the minimum requirement for qualification in the RN field within the state. In Indiana this can take two or three years and include both classroom learning and field work.

15. Iowa

Iowa state has many LPN to RN tracks available within the college system that allows licensed practitioner nurses to become registered nurses without having to partake in the entire four year BSN program. Nursing-school-degrees.com states that Iowa’s minimum educational requirement for nursing is an Associate’s degree.

16. Kansas

In Kansas this means a Baccalaureate degree in nursing according to the Kansas Board of Nursing’s Educational Requirements.

17. Kentucky

The Kentucky Board of Nursing gives a list of educational requirements for RN qualification and lists an Associate level degree at 2-3 years of study and practical experience as the minimum requirement.

18. Louisiana

The Louisiana State Board of Nursing lists a minimum RN requirement of a diploma, which can be achieved through the Baton Rouge Medical Center. An Associate’s degree is the next level of education that meets state requirements for RN qualification.

19. Maine

According to the Maine State Board of Nursing an Associate’s degree is the standard requirement for the educational qualification of an RN nurse before the national examination for licensure can be taken.

20. Maryland

Citytowninfo.com explains that in the state of Maryland an RN position can be qualified for with a diploma level education, or an Associate’s degree as the minimum academic requirement.

21. Massachusetts

In Massachusetts an RN certification can be earned through a diploma, Associate’s degree, Baccalaureate Degree, Masters, or Doctorate. Nursing-school-degrees.com explains that these programs train you for the NCLEX national examination.

22. Michigan

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs confirm that a hospital based three year nurse training diploma program qualifies students for an RN occupation.

23. Minnesota

The Minnesota Board of Nursing states that a Baccalaureate education or higher is required to academically qualify for licensure as an RN.

24. Mississippi

The University of Southern Mississippi lists the state academic requirement to be an Associate’s degree or higher to become qualified to write the examination for licensure as an RN.

25. Missouri

Missouri allows for two to three year hospital training diplomas for the minimum qualification as an RN, although a two year Associate’s degree also qualifies students for this position according to the Missouri Nurses Association.

26. Montana

Nursinglicensure.org advises that in order to qualify academically for an RN position, students must complete a 2 year accredited Associates degree as a minimum requirement; a Bachelor of Science in Nursing is often a more suitable choice.

27. Nebraska

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services suggests that two to four years at an accredited university Is required for RN licensure.

28. Nevada

The College of Southern Nevada supplies the minimum academic requirement for an RN degree as an Associate’s degree followed by national licensure.

29. New Hampshire

The New Hampshire Board of Nursing requires nurses to complete a licensure examination following either a 2 year Associate’s degree or a 4 year Bachelor level degree.

30. New Jersey

The New Jersey Nursing Initiative concludes that the required educational qualification for an RN position involves either a three year hospital trained diploma, two year Associate’s degree, or a four year Baccalaureate.

31. New Mexico

The New Mexico Board of Nursing expresses through their list of Educational Nursing Programs that a 2 year Associate of Science degree is the basic requirement for an RN nursing certification.

32. New York

Within the state of New York the RN nursing degree requirements as set out by the NYSED Office of the Professionals states that a two year diploma or degree from an accredited university is the minimum qualifier.

33. North Carolina

The North Carolina Nurses Association provides the state RN requirements as a three year diploma, two year Associates degree or four year Bachelor degree.

34. North Dakota

North Dakota holds an educational requirement of an Associate’s degree, Baccalaureate degree or Master’s degree for an RN position; this is according to North Dakota Board of Nursing.

35. Ohio

According to citytowninfo.com, Ohio requires a three year hospital diploma, two year Associate’s degree or four year Baccalaureate as the minimum requirement for an RN position.

36. Oklahoma

Nursinglicensure.org states that the Oklahoma qualifier for an RN degree requires an Associate level degree or higher to write the national licensure examination.

37. Oregon

The Oregon State Board of Nursing requires nursing students to complete a 3 year diploma through hospital training; alternatively, an Associate degree, Baccalaureate degree or Master’s degree can also be completed.

38. Pennsylvania

According to Degree Tree, the Pennsylvania Board of Nursing requires a two year Associate’s degree or higher to pursue licensure.

39. Rhode Island

The Road Island Department of Health reports that the Rhode Island RN nursing degree qualifications require an Associate degree or higher.

40. South Carolina

Nursing School Resource writes that South Carolina requires 3 to 6 months of prerequisite courses such as match, psychology, and physiology before a 2 year Associates degree or 4 year Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree is completed.

41. South Dakota

South Dakota’s Board of Nursing states that in order for nursing students to qualify for the national licensure exam they must first graduate from a two year Associate’s degree or a 4 year Baccalaureate degree.

42. Tennessee

An Associate level degree is enough to qualify for the national licensure examination in the state of Tennessee, but students are encouraged to complete a Bachelor’s degree as it opens doors for more positions. This is according to degreetree.com.

43. Texas

Texas Nurses Association lists the common minimum qualifier for an RN degree as being an Associate of Science or Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, which requires 2-4 years.

44. Utah

Utah allows for a hospital training education over a three year period for a diploma to qualify for an RN degree, but most facilities require an Associate, Bachelor, or Master’s level degree to find a good position; this is according to the Utah Nurses Association.

45. Vermont

Degree Tree lists the minimum educational requirement for an RN position as an Associate’s degree, although a Bachelor’s degree helps get further in the nursing industry.

46. Virginia

The Virginia Board of Nursing lists a 3 year college diploma, 2 year Associates degree, or a 4 year Baccalaureate as the minimum requirements for qualification to write the RN national licensure examination.

47. Washington

According to Degree Tree, Washington requires nursing students to graduate from an accredited Associate, Bachelor, or Master’s degree to qualify for licensure.

48. West Virginia

The West Virginia RN Board insists that students complete an Associate level degree as a minimum educational requirement for national licensure.

49. Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services states that diplomas from hospital training is the minimum training requirements for RN licensure.

50. Wyoming

The state of Wyoming requires that nursing students complete a 2 year Associate degree in order to qualify for licensure, although a Bachelor of Science in Nursing will provide further success and a higher rate of pay in the field.