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How to Become a Nurse

by Brendan Purves

Why should I choose nursing?

Choosing to study nursing can put you on a path to a rewarding career with many job opportunities across the country. According to the U.S. News and World Report, a Registered Nurse (RN) is ranked second in the top 100 jobs of 2013 and comes in second on the list of best healthcare jobs. The unemployment rate for an RN is only 2%, which is staggeringly low compared to the current national average unemployment rate of 6.7%, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The future appears to hold even more opportunities for nursing students, as the need for nurses is expected to rapidly grow within the decade. According to an infographic recently produced by Brown Mackie College, the majority of nurses in the U.S. are over the age of 40, and more than half of nurses surveyed over the age of 50 indicated that they intend to retire by the year 2020. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 711,900 nursing jobs will be available by the same year. Additionally, the current job growth rate for the field of nursing is 26%, which is much greater than the national average of 14%. Whether you’re ready to enter your nursing career now, or several years from now, there will still be a large demand for the skills you learn in nursing school.

Where do I start?

A variety of Nursing programs are available—you could earn a diploma, an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree--so  be sure to select a nursing education that matches your career goals. The Brown Mackie College system of schools offers programs in both Practical Nursing (diploma or certificate) and Nursing (Associate of Applied Science, Associate of Science, or Bachelor of Science in Nursing).

How to become an LPN?

The Practical Nursing program at Brown Mackie College prepares nursing students for entry-level jobs in the healthcare industry, including positions in hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and other healthcare facilities. This program also helps future nurses prepare for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). The Practical Nursing program can be completed in as little as 16 months, following the ONE COURSE A MONTH® schedule.

Coursework varies from school to school; however, here are some courses you may take in your Practical Nursing program at Brown Mackie College:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Musculoskeletal and Protective Health Programs
  • Needs of an Older Adult
  • Endocrine/Neurological and Elimination Health Problems
  • Oxygenation and Cardiovascular Health Problems
  • Nutrition
  • Pharmacology
  • Professional Development
  • Human Growth and Development


Schools that offer a diploma in the Practical Nursing program include:

  • Akron
  • Cincinnati
  • Findlay
  • Indianapolis
  • Louisville
  • North Canton
  • Northern Kentucky
  • South Bend
  • Tucson


Brown Mackie College schools that offer a certificate in the Practical Nursing program:

  • Kansas City
  • Salina


How to become an RN?

The Nursing programs at Brown Mackie College, which include an Associate of Applied Science and Associate of Science program, combine general education, biological sciences, and behavioral sciences with the science of nursing and can help you to prepare for a career where you can make a difference in the lives of others.  This program will also help to prepare you for the NCLEX to become a Registered Nurse (RN). As an RN, you’ll have the knowledge to treat patients, record patients' medical histories and symptoms, help perform diagnostic tests and analyze results, operate medical machinery, administer treatment and medication, and assist with patient follow-up and rehabilitation.

Coursework in the Nursing program will teach nursing skills in areas like critical care, surgery,  and the emergency room as well as trends in the nursing industry. Here are some courses you may take during your time at Brown Mackie College:

  • Health Assessment
  • Pharmacology
  • Principles of Psychology
  • Care of Clients with Complex Health Needs
  • Foundations of Nursing
  • Care of Older Adults
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Care of Women and Childbearing Families
  • Leadership and Transition to Nursing Practice


The Nursing program can be completed in as little as 24 months using the ONE COURSE A MONTH® schedule at Brown Mackie College. Schools that offer an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing include:

  • Albuquerque
  • Findlay
  • Fort Wayne
  • Greenville
  • Kansas City
  • Oklahoma City
  • Phoenix
  • Salina
  • St. Louis
  • Tulsa


Brown Mackie College – Miami offers an Associate of Science in Nursing, with similar coursework as the Associate of Applied Science in Nursing degree program.


Increasing demands in healthcare have encouraged some RNs to continue their education with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. A BSN degree can help graduates with career advancement in teaching, research, and administration. Coursework for this program varies but could include courses like:

  • Principles of Sociology
  • Managing Quality Care and Patient Safety
  • Research and Evidence-Based Practice
  • Leadership in a Diverse Society


Brown Mackie College schools that offer the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program include:

  • Dallas/Ft. Worth
  • Merrillville
  • Miami
  • Northern Kentucky
  • San Antonio
  • South Bend


About Brown Mackie College

Brown Mackie College makes it possible to become a nurse while balancing the rest of your hectic schedule. It’s possible to work, prioritize family, and earn your nursing diploma or associate’s degree with the ONE COURSE A MONTH schedule, which allows you to focus on one class at a time, while still completing your program in a typical time period.

The Student Advantage Program at Brown Mackie College also reduces the cost of textbooks for students. Instead of paying for expensive nursing textbooks, all students enrolled at Brown Mackie College will receive a tablet on which they can utilize e-textbooks for heir courses. In addition to e-textbooks, students can use their tablets for video demos, taking notes, and consulting with classmates and instructors.

For the past three years, Brown Mackie College has been designated as a Military Friendly School by G.I. Jobs. With no withdrawal penalty and over 25 locations across the country, we strive to make higher education possible for Active Duty service members, Reservists, and Veterans.