Getting into nursing school involves multiple steps, and one of the biggest is completing the necessary prerequisite classes. Because you cannot start nursing school without prerequisites, learning how to check this requirement off your list will help you move forward with confidence. Find out how many credits you need and how to get nursing prerequisites online with this guide.
Do you need pre reqs for nursing school?
Yes, you need pre reqs for nursing school. While exact requirements differ from school to school, all nursing programs include prerequisite or general education classes because they lay the foundation for your core nursing education.
Nursing classes get more and more challenging the further you get into the program, especially with many of the science-based subjects. For example, you won't be able tackle pharmacology without first taking basic chemistry.
Prerequisites help ensure all nursing students are starting with a similar knowledge base so that future classes can build from there.
In addition to prerequisites, you’ll also need to complete a few other milestones to get into nursing school. Applicants will need:
High school diploma or GED
Passing score on nursing school entrance exam (TEAS)
How many credits do you need for nursing prerequisites?
Prerequisite courses often make up the first year or two of most degree programs: nursing is no different. How many credits you’ll need, however, will depend on which nursing degree you’re pursuing.
To become a registered nurse, there are two different degree paths:
2-year ADN (Associate Degree in Nursing)
4-year BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing)
The biggest difference between an ADN vs. BSN is program length and subject-matter depth.
BSN programs are more comprehensive than ADN programs, and therefore take more time. A 4-year degree averages around 120 credits to graduate; prerequisites add up to about half of those requirements.
Every nursing program has different credit requirements, so check with your accredited school of choice to determine exactly how many nursing prerequisites you’ll need.
Is nursing school harder than the prerequisites?
For most, nursing school is harder than the prerequisites. This is because your core nursing classes will dive deep into complex medical material necessary for job performance. Common nursing courses include anatomy, microbiology, pharmacology, and more, all of which require a lot of memorization and learning completely new things.
Nursing school is also harder due to clinical hours. Not only will you be attending classes and studying for tests, but you’ll also be getting hands-on experience learning how to care for patients. This real-world component challenges students mentally and physically, replicating the long hours and quick thinking required by full-time nurses. Nursing students learn how to think on their feet while delivering compassionate care, all of which can take a toll as you learn how to balance responsibilities.
That’s not to say that nursing prerequisites aren’t without their challenges. Especially for adults going back to school after significant time away, jumping back into the classroom can be a major adjustment. Many students also worry they may not be smart enough for nursing school. Relearning the rhythms of school takes time, and recalling facts about math, history, and more can be trying. For anyone who struggled with these subjects back in high school, prerequisites will be hard, though not impossible.
How to get nursing prerequisites online
One way to make nursing prerequisites more manageable is to complete them online. Earning college credits from the comfort of home offers a lot more convenience than commuting to a physical classroom, especially for parents juggling a family and school responsibilities.
When taking nursing prerequisites online, there are two different teaching styles to consider:
Self-guided programs (asynchronous learning): Asynchronous courses allow you to move through material at your own pace. Lessons are typically pre recorded and available to you at any time. Asynchronous programs are best for those with good self discipline who are able to keep up with learning new topics all on their own.
Live-instruction programs (synchronous learning): Synchronous courses guide all students through material on the same schedule. Lessons are typically live and take place at scheduled times. Synchronous programs are best for those who want additional support such as the ability to ask questions while learning new topics.
Consider which style best suits your learning needs when researching online options.
Another way to get nursing prerequisites online is through a system called credit by exam. This method allows you to test out of nursing prerequisites by proving your subject-matter understanding through a proficiency test. By passing one test (known as a CLEP test), you can bypass a semester-long class, saving significant time. The faster you get through your prerequisites, the sooner you can start nursing school.
Online nursing prerequisites with Achieve
You can get nursing prerequisites online with Achieve Test Prep. We offer the most flexible, supportive path to an RN, helping you save time through the credit by exam system. Our synchronous test prep courses fit into your life and allow you to make real, manageable progress towards your nursing school goals. Connect with our Advisor team to learn more.