Admission Requirements for Nursing School

Updated February 21, 2017

A nursing school education provides aspiring nurses with the practical nursing skills required to care and treat for patients. Students can choose to complete either a nursing diploma to become a licensed practical nurse (LPN), an Associate Degree or Associate in Applied Science Degree in nursing (ADN, ASN, AAS) or a Bachelor of Science Degree in nursing (BSN). Qualified and experienced nurses can progress to postgraduate degrees. Therefore the admissions requirements for nursing school will depend on which degree the student wishes to earn, as well as which college or university the student wishes to attend.

National League of Nursing (NLN) Pre-admission Exam

The NLN Pre-admissions Exam is used by nursing schools to admit students to programs such as the ADN. It is a standardised entry test which assesses the student's verbal, mathematics and science knowledge. In addition there is also a separate component to test health and first aid skills and knowledge. Many nursing schools require a pass on this test.

Admissions Requirements for LVN School

In general, LPN programs are offered by local community colleges and vocational nurse training schools. The usual requirements for admission are a minimum of "C" grades in college-level mathematics, reading and English, or the specific college/university's placement test. A criminal background check, a completed health examination and all immunisation, and basic life support certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) are generally required. In addition, most colleges have prerequisite courses that must be completed with at least a "C" grade, such as anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, and pharmacology, and most schools require a minimum GPA of at least 2.0 to 3.5.

Admissions Requirements for Associate's and Bachelor's Degrees in Nursing

ADN, ASN and AAS degree programs require criminal background checks, physical examinations and health checks and certified CPR training. Some colleges also have specific requirements for desirable personality and competencies, such as stable emotional health, motor ability, communication and intellectual ability, such as Austin Community College. Academic requirements include at least a "C" grade in the specified prerequisite courses, and a GPA of at least 2.7, with compulsory courses such as human anatomy, computer literacy, psychology, microbiology, pharmacology, mathematics and human physiology. Some colleges require a composite score of at least 20 on the American College Test or a score of at least 1410 on the SAT. BSN program admissions vary widely. Some colleges simply require that a student has successfully finished four years of English, mathematics and science in addition to satisfactory GED, SAT or ACT scores, has completed prerequisite courses (with "C" grades in anatomy, biochemistry, chemistry, physiology), and has a combined 3.0 GPA or higher. Students must also satisfy criminal background checks, immunisation and health screening procedures. Some universities may also require the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS). In both cases, a current and valid registered nurse license will be required.

Admissions Requirements for Master or Doctoral in Nursing

Different types of Masters in Nursing degrees are available, normally in particular nursing or clinical specialities. Admissions requirements depend heavily on the applicant's previous experience and achievements, which should preferably be related to the specific field of nursing. The nurse must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum undergraduate GPA (typically 3.0 or higher), have several years of clinical or related experience, and have completed all prerequisite academic courses with at least "C" grades in these. The nurse must satisfy all health, immunisation, drug screening and background checks as well as hold CPR certificates. Doctor of Nursing students will need to have a post-baccalaureate or postmaster's entry certification in a particular advanced speciality. There may also be a minimum required duration of clinical residency, such as 1,000 hours for students holding a bachelor's degree and less for master's degree holders. Nurses must also hold a current and valid registered nurse license.

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About the Author

Palmer Owyoung holds a Master of Arts in international business from the University of California at San Diego and a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from the University of California at Santa Barbara and is a trained molecular biologist. He has been a freelance writer since 2006. In addition to writing, he is a full-time Forex trader and Internet marketer.