Programs to Become an RN in Alabama
The Alabama Board of Nursing (ABON) regulates the nursing industry across the state, including licensing and license renewal, suspension, revocation, active and inactive status and the board sets policy to assure patient care is the best quality it can be.
RN candidates are required to earn at least an Associate’s degree in order to qualify to take the National Council for Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).
The student must attend a nursing program approved by the ABON. Such nursing programs are typically found at colleges and universities around the state. The program will be a combination of class work and clinical training. There are 21 schools offering an Associate’s degree, 14 schools that offer a Bachelor’s degree, 11 schools that offer a Master’s degree and 5 schools that offer a Doctorate degree in nursing. There are some nursing programs that offer a fast track program for nursing candidates with degrees in other fields. The candidate can fast track a Bachelors of Science in nursing degree (BSN) with a contiguous 12 month year round program and then morph into the Master of Science in nursing (MSN) after another contiguous 12 months of study. Both programs will prepare the student to take the NCLEX-RN upon completion of the program.
After completing the nursing program, graduates are required to pass the NCLEX-RN. An application to test is submitted to the ABON with the required information, including fingerprint card and information for a criminal background check and a 2”x2” passport type photo taken no more than 6 months prior to submitting the application. The applicant also has to register with Pearson VUE, the exam administrator. When the ABON approves the application the applicant will receive an authorization to test (ATT). With the ATT in hand the applicant makes an appointment to take the exam at the Pearson VUE testing center. On the day of the exam, the applicant will be required to show proper identification and the ATT in order to be admitted to the testing site.
RNs are required to renew their license every two years to keep the license active. RNs are not allowed to practice nursing in any manner without a valid license. RNs must complete 24 continuing education hours every two years. The programs must be approved by the ABON and any hours beyond 24 hours within one renewal period cannot be carried over to the next renewal period. When renewing an RN license for the first time, four hours of the continuing education classes must be related to the nursing board’s functions, accountability and regulations, professional conduct and the state’s Nurse Practice Act.
The average RN salary in Alabama is $58,000 and the entry level RN salary is $40,000. The high end of the RN salary scale is about $110,000. Actual salaries and salary advancement depend on geographic location, type of facility where employed, level of responsibility assumed, type of nursing specialty and years of experience. RN’s in a supervisory position will earn closer to the high salary mark.
RNs will find employment in a variety of facilities including occupational health centers, nursing homes and assisted care facilities, hospitals, clinics, visiting nurse and hospice organizations, travel clubs and private duty care. RNs dispense medication, dress wounds, chart recovery progress, perform diagnostic testing and assist surgeons in the operating room.
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