Getting Into Nursing Schools Without Pre-Requisites
Interested in attending nursing school, but afraid you’ll lack the pre-requisites for a good program? Fortunately, there are many ways for a high-school graduate or someone with equivalent credentials to begin training as a nurse immediately, with minimal requirements. Today, we’ll look at what you might need to begin something like a Certified Nursing Assistant program.
Most programs will require entrants to be at least 18 years old for normal entry, but 16 or 17-year-old high school graduates or equivalent may be able to enter a program with parental consent. Regardless of age, you’ll need a high school diploma, transcript, or certificate for an equivalent education, i.e. a GED.
Students who graduated in a foreign country also need to have their courses evaluated to ensure equivalency, and may need to complete a GED or a proficiency exam to shore up any deficiencies. Some states may also enforce more or less stringent educational requirements for entering a program, and test accordingly.
Testing and Accreditations
In addition to a basic high school education, you’ll be expected to acquire Basic Life Support accreditation, i.e. training in CPR and other first-responder tactics and techniques. You may be able to find free training in your area, or attend a low-cost course at your prospective school to obtain this pre-requisite.
Some nursing programs also test applicant capabilities with the Wonderlic Scholastic Level Exam (SLE), which you’ll need to research and attend on your own. Make sure you do your research to determine what, if any, additional testing or accreditations your program expects from you beforehand; it can be difficult to schedule a test at the last minute, which may result in a lengthy delay for your training.
Safety and Security
Since even entry-level nursing assistants are likely to be in a position of some authority and have access to personal data, medications, immune-comprised patients, etc., there are several other procedural hurdles you’ll need to clear:
- Many schools will want you fingerprinted for security and background check purposes.
- You’ll be expected to complete a physical examination for basic health and a tuberculosis test close to your enrollment time to make sure you’re not exposing patients and peers to any potentially life-threatening illnesses.
- Should you test positive on the initial PPD test, you’ll need a chest x-ray to clear you, with the specifics varying across programs and regional guidelines; you may need to test clear for as much as a year before you begin any medical program.
There are countless routes to an education as a nurse, each with its own set of required skillsets, tests, and experience. The easiest route for a fresh graduate or someone looking to make a career change with no prior medical experience will usually be a CNA program, however.
You may need to take an extra test or sit through a few weeks of CPR training on your own time, but relative to the requirements of some other programs, these pre-requisites are basically nonexistent.
Once you’re in a nursing school, it’s easier to make lateral or vertical move to other, more advanced programs; just get your foot in the door and start developing the necessary skills as soon as possible. Here at Trinity we take a lot of pride in the education we offer to our students. We’ll teach you the skills necessary for a lifetime of career fulfillment. Don’t wait, contact us today!