Google keyword research suggests that people hoping to become nurses frequently search the question, “what are common entry-level RN jobs?” It is a fascinating question inasmuch as the position of a registered nurse (RN) is not considered an entry-level position. However, there are entry-level positions that could lead to one becoming an RN.
RN jobs require a degree. And in most states, a bachelor’s degree is the bare minimum. Some states require their RNs to eventually earn master’s degrees as well. And of course, RNs looking to become advanced practice nurses require even more schooling and clinical training.
Suffice it to say there really is no RN job that would be considered entry-level. However, if you are looking for an entry-level position while you are training to become an RN, there are plenty of RN job opportunities. Below are descriptions of just a few of those opportunities.
1. Military Nursing
Military nurses perform all of the same functions as civilian nurses. The big difference is this: training to become a nurse in the U.S. military is free. You sign up to become a soldier in a traditional sense, but then you deviate into nurse training after basic training. The military covers the cost of your education and awards you the military equivalent of the RN title. You can then transfer your education and training to the civilian world when your military service is concluded.
2. LVN/LPN Options
Many states allow people to become licensed practical nurses (LPNs) or licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) with just a two-year associate degree program. In addition, there are a number of educational programs that allow a person to be licensed as an LPN/LVN through a transitional program that leads to RN licensing within a year.
This sort of program combines classroom education with real-world clinical practice. You essentially earn while you learn and, at the same time, make connections within the nursing community. This only enhances the chances of getting a good RN job in the future.
According to Health Jobs Nationwide, a national jobs board for healthcare workers, LPNs and LVNs perform a variety of functions in a medical setting. They can be responsible for creating and revising a patient’s plan of care. They can administer and monitor certain medications. They can even perform advanced life support functions.
3. Certified Nursing Assistant
One of the more popular entry-level positions that lead to registered nursing is that of a certified nursing assistant (CNA). Your typical CNA works in a skilled nursing facility or hospital under the supervision of LPNs, LPNs, and RNs. CNA training can be completed in most states in less than a year.
CNAs are more clinical than administrative in their day-to-day jobs. They do things like monitoring vital signs, administering medications, feeding and bathing patients, etc. Note that CNAs work very closely with the nurses who supervise them. They can learn from those nurses, making it easier to complete the education necessary to become an RN.
4. Travel Nursing
The closest thing to an entry-level job for RNs is travel nursing. As the name suggests, a travel nurse doesn’t work in a single facility for years on end. Rather, he or she works on temporary contracts ranging from 3 to 9 months. Travel nurses can be RNs, LPNs, or LVNs.
RNs are especially in demand in the travel nurse arena. Travel nursing is a different kind of RN job that combines traditional nursing skills with travel – and all its implications. If travel nursing is not for you, some of the other entry-level jobs described in this post could be your ticket to becoming an RN.