An education to become a Registered Nurse starts before entering a program. Prerequisites are courses that must be completed before being allowed into a nursing program. Some classes may take longer than others, as some require one course in order to progress to another. Specific required classes will vary from school to school, but there are some that are common to most programs. The typical time to complete the needed courses is about two years.


The most common science courses for nursing school are: chemistry, anatomy and physiology, microbiology and nutrition. Depending on the school, certain classes are needed before taking the actual required course. For example, a common prerequisite for anatomy and physiology is lower division biology, and chemistry is usually required before taking biology. Math can be a required course for taking a chemistry course. Each one of these classes takes about one semester. The progression of just these classes translates to three semesters worth of time to complete the classes. Some schools will require the anatomy course before taking the nutrition course; check with the specific school for an exact timeline.


It is important that nurses communicate effectively through the use of composition. English teaches students how to read critically and compose basic papers. Most nursing schools require two semesters --a full year -- of English. Some schools allow students to test out of one or both of the courses. A full year of English is typically done in the first year of college and doesn't require other classes before enrolling.

Math and Statistics

A Registered Nurse has to be competent in math skills. A course in statistics is sometimes required to help students understand published research results. A math class is typically taken in the first year and can be either one or two semesters, depending on the school. Most universities offer multiple statistics courses to satisfy a variety of learning styles. A statistics course is usually done after a math class, which would be in the second year of school.

Behavioral Science

There are a variety of classes designed to help students understand the behavior of an individual or society in general. There is usually no other classes needed to enroll in a psychology course. This introductory course is designed to be taken early in the education as aspects of this course will be built upon in other science classes. Sociology and anthropology are two other courses that may be required. These classes help show relationships in a general population. Taking an English course is usually enough to enroll in either of these two classes.

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