Studying Nursing in the United States
Nurses have always been in great demand all over the world, but their services are most needed at times of wars, natural disasters, and other humanitarian crises. Medical colleges in the USA provide excellent opportunities to study Nursing at both graduate and postgraduate levels. In the paragraphs that follow, we shall have a look at the steps a foreign student has to take so as to study nursing in the USA.
Steps of Studying Nursing in the USA
1. Choose your School
In order to start studying nursing in USA, you should first choose a university or college where you’d like to enroll. Currently, the three best nursing schools in the country are the Nursing College with the Johns Hopkins University, the Nursing School of the University of Pennsylvania, and the Nursing College of Duke University. Of course, you can choose any other nursing school, depending on where in the USA you’d like to settle for the period of your studies.
2. Select an Accredited Program
Once you’ve selected a nursing school, you should check if the program it provides is fully accredited by the U.S. government’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). Regarding the wide variety of available Nursing programs in the USA, several options appear to be the most popular.
The fastest track to becoming a registered nurse is an associate degree in nursing. This program typically takes two years to complete. The problem with associate degrees is that some employers may ask you to go through further training.
The next option to study nursing in USA is a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. It can take about four years of full-time study. If you already have an associate degree in Nursing, you’ll be required to do two more years in order to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. Holding a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing gives you better employment chances in the USA.
3. Complete Your Nursing School’s Admission Process
Different nursing schools across the USA may have different requirements regarding the admission of new students. However, there is one general requirement that all nursing students should have a TOEFL iBT score of at least 83. In addition, they are required to produce a score of at least 26 in the Speaking section.
Nursing colleges across the USA require that the candidate produce a Grade Point Average record of between 2.5 and 3.0. Usually, the students enrolled in a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) program are required to complete the college’s general education requirements during the first two years of their training.
The nursing school of Western Illinois University requires that undergraduate students achieve a cumulative GPA of 3.0 out of 4.0 on all of their final assignments. In addition, their GPA average should not be lower than 2.4. The Nursing College of the University of North Carolina (UNC) requires that all undergraduate students should produce a cumulative GPA of 2.7 out of 4.
Those already holding an associate’s degree and planning to earn a B.S.N. should achieve a GPA of 3.0. All international students should produce a transcript of their secondary education diploma translated into English and apostilled. It should contain a total average score equivalent to the GPA values quoted above.
4. Apply for a Student Visa for The USA
Applying for a U.S. student visa is a time-consuming process that usually takes between three and five months to complete. It all starts with you receiving a Letter of Acceptance from the nursing college you’ve applied to.
Then, the university will enter your personal details into their SEVIS system. By the way, SEVIS stands for Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. Shortly after that, you can expect to receive your Form I-20.
If you’ve enrolled in a full-time Bachelor’s Program, you’ll most probably be eligible for an F-1 visa. However, Mexican and Canadian students who wish to commute to their nursing schools are eligible for F-3 visas. The SEVIS fee for all F visas is about $200.
As a next step to study nursing in USA, you should complete an online visa application form called DS-160. This is a lot easier than going to the embassy of the United States in your native country to personally fill in the form there. When you’re done, you’ve got to pay a Machine-Readable Visa Fee, which is $160 for all types of student visas.
5. Schedule and Attend a Visa Interview
No matter if you’ve filed your visa application form in person or online, the next mandatory step is scheduling and attending a live visa interview at the local U.S. consulate or embassy. If there isn’t one in your country of origin, you can schedule a Skype interview or an interview over the phone with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
In either case, you should provide your MRV fee number. When scheduling a visa interview, they will most likely send you a list of documents that you should carry with you. Make sure to present all of them.
6. The NCLEX-RN Exam
Once you complete your training program in the field of Nursing, you should register with the National Council of State Boards of Nursing and sit their comprehensive exam. This unified test is called the NCLEX-RN.
The test is fully-computerized and has about 120 questions. The time allowance for NCLEX-RN is six hours and about 75% of all candidates are successful. However, if you fail the test, you’ll have to wait for at least 45 days before you can retake it.
7. Obtain a State License
Once you have passed the NCLEX-RN test, you should wait for the National Council of State Boards of Nursing to issue a state license in your name. Each state may have specific requirements in this regard such as, for example, a background check.
In the paragraphs above we’ve outlined some of the key steps you have to take so as to become a registered nurse in the United States. Pay special attention to the visa requirements and make sure to produce all the required documents at the visa interview.