How to Become a Nurse After High School

Updated on June 13, 2023
The Most Common Career Paths for Nurses

Covid-19 has highlighted how understaffed the nursing profession is. Increasing patient numbers and an aging population created a demand for nurses pre-pandemic, and Covid-19’s onset proved that the nursing industry is ripe for a fresh wave of new graduates.

A career in nursing can take you many places, far beyond a hospital bedside. From management to education, there are many roles nurses play in the community. Here is how to pursue nursing as a career after high school:

High school program

To pursue a nursing degree, individuals are typically required to hold a high school diploma. However, with the increasing popularity of this profession, some individuals may consider using high school diploma replicas without fully considering the potential risks. It is important to consider that the nursing profession requires a high level of knowledge, skills, and responsibility.  Before getting to a tertiary education institution to study nursing, consider paving the way for your studies and a career in nursing during high school by taking courses that will help you, such as biology and math.

Research the nursing course you would like to complete after school and choose high school subjects that meet the admissions requirements, especially advanced placement courses if your high school offers them. Additionally, find out about volunteer programs and job shadowing opportunities at local hospitals. It will give you exposure to the nursing profession to determine if it is for you. 

A course to match your career path

You will need to choose between several nursing diplomas and degrees available at community colleges, vocational schools, and universities. Wherever you study, prepare yourself for rigorous courses that require submitting essays and term papers. These tasks can be challenging if you are not used to them. SuperiorPapers writing services offer students top-quality custom papers for their tertiary studies at affordable prices.

An all-important consideration is what type of nurse you plan to become. Choose between becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Licenses Practical Nurses (LPN), Registered Nurses (RN), and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN). The latter are nurses who specialize in anesthetics, midwifery, and clinical work.

Course availability, admission requirements, class capacity, and financing will factor into your choice of nursing qualification. While diplomas and associate degrees will get you employed as a nurse, applicants with degrees receive preference and are likely to earn more money. However, you can upgrade your qualifications once you find a job, and many employers will fund your additional studies. Successful nurses are lifelong learners and continue studying throughout their careers, learning about new technologies and developments in their field.

Practical aspects

Nursing is a hands-on job, and your training will incorporate theoretical and practical components. You will need to go on nursing rotations to put what you learn in the classroom into practice. Teachers and qualified nurses will assess your skills during these sessions, and completing them is necessary to obtain a qualification.

Most nurses describe their job as a passionate calling. It does not suit everyone’s nature, and you will learn a lot about yourself during these practical sessions. The practicalities of doing the job are equally important as the relevant academic knowledge. It takes a certain personality, including being compassionate and caring, to carve out a successful career in nursing. This career is gratifying and requires professionals to be resilient enough to deal with the ugly realities of medical care, including watching patients die.

Not everyone is cut out for nursing, and you need to be sure that you can handle its rigors. Do not be fooled by what you see on television shows, as nursing is seldom glamorous and includes many routine difficult tasks that few others want to handle. Nurses must be hardworking problem-solvers with a capacity for compassion while still maintaining their composure.

Finding a job

Before assuming a position, you need to obtain a license or other mandatory certification to practice. Typically, you register with a governing association and might need to pass additional examinations.

The demand for nurses far exceeds the supply, so finding employment should not be challenging once you have the relevant qualification. However, the availability of nursing jobs varies from one state to another, and your ideal job might require relocation. Due to the various career opportunities in nursing, you can pursue areas of interest within the field, utilizing your work experience as a background for making career advancements.

People live longer today, and there is an increasing need for nurses to care for elderly patients. This includes working at old-age care facilities, offering in-home care, and working in hospitals with specialized geriatric wings. Each year, more babies are born, making a nursing career in midwifery, neonatal, perinatal, or pediatrics a field where job prospects will remain steady. 


There has never been a better time to become a nurse than now. Many colleges, universities, and hospitals have scholarship programs to help students fund their nursing studies. Your qualifications could get you into the military, overseas positions, or lecturing and research. 

Evolving medical technology means that nursing is a fluid field where there is always room to upskill. Therefore, you will never feel stuck in a job with no potential for growth and development.

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The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.