How to Become a Nurse in Wisconsin

A sign welcoming nurses to Wisconsin
A sign welcoming nurses to Wisconsin

If you are interested in becoming a nurse or looking for a change in pace, this article will help you determine if an online RN program in Wisconsin is right for you. In today’s health care climate, nurses are in very high demand. The Job outlook for registered nurses is expected to rise 9% by the year 2030 sothere has never been a better time to become a registered nurse in Wisconsin than now. 

The state of Wisconsin has a number of advantages for its residents who are nurses. The state currently employs more than 63,000 nurses. Nurses in Wisconsin earn just under $75,000 annually, and the state’s cost of living is 6.5% lower than the national average. The cost to apply and renew your nursing license is also on the less expensive side when compared with the cost of other states.

Whether you are a first-time student looking for a rewarding career, or you are considering nursing as a second career, Wisconsin has a nursing program for you. If you want to learn how you can become a registered nurse in Wisconsin, then continue reading to discover how easy it is. 

 

What are the various pathways to becoming a nurse, and which are the fastest? 

Nursing is an amazing career for individuals who want to obtain skills that can be transferred to many specialties and across state lines. A nursing role comes with the opportunity to live and travel anywhere in the country, as long as you obtain the necessary licenses and certifications. 

Nursing programs can vary in length and intensity, with many schools offering more online learning opportunities so that students do not have to attend classes in person. No matter which state you want to be licensed in, becoming a nurse requires at least an associate's degree level of education. 

In addition to online accelerated bachelor's degree programs, there are also master's degree programs for individuals with no prior nursing coursework but who wish to enter the nursing field at a master's level. These programs can help you become a registered nurse with a master's degree in less than 2 years, positioned to move up into a leadership or managerial role after obtaining bedside nursing experience first. 

The fastest way to become a registered nurse is to complete an accelerated program that can get you into the workforce in as little as 16 months. For those who have already obtained a college degree and want to become a second career nurse as quickly as possible, an accelerated program may be the best option for you. In this instance, many courses that you have already taken for your first degree may count toward an accelerated program. That means you don’t have to waste time repeating classes you have already completed or spend months taking unnecessary prerequisites. 

 

The benefits of an online nursing education

Due to the number of clinical hours that need to be spent on the floor with patients, online nursing programs cannot be fully remote. Instead, they are more of a hybrid model with both online coursework and in-person clinical rotations. 

Online nursing programs are perfect for individuals who have a busy lifestyle and seek flexibility in a program. Most second-career nurses find online classes convenient because they are simultaneously juggling household and family obligations. 

Good time management skills and a self-starter attitude can go a long way when starting an online program. Staying organized can help keep you on track and motivate you to continue the next assignment. Self-discipline will ensure that you are able to retain the necessary information for exams. This resource can be helpful for providing survival tips for those who are nervous about going back to school online.

 

Wisconsin license requirements

The first step to become a registered nurse in Wisconsin is to complete an accredited nursing program with an associate’s degree or higher in nursing at a qualified school. Once you have graduated from an accredited nursing program, you will then need to pass the nursing licensing examination known as the NCLEX-RN. 

To hold a job in Wisconsin as a registered nurse, you must apply to the Wisconsin board of nursing. You can visit the Wisconsin board of nursing website to learn more about state-specific nursing license requirements.

Since 2018, Wisconsin is one of 28 states that have enacted the enhanced nursing license compact (eNLC). The purpose of the eNLC is to increase the mobility of nurses by allowing them to practice across state lines, while still protecting the safety of patients. If you are interested in traveling or unsure of where you want to settle down, beginning your career in a state that is part of the eNLC could be helpful. Once licensed, you can work in any state that participates in the eNLC without needing to pay additional licensing fees. 

 

Why Wisconsin students choose Elmhurst for online nursing programs 

Students in Wisconsin choose Elmhurst University because of its student-friendly environment and free clinical placement. Elmhurst has a variety of options for second-degree students and those who are seeking a career change. This ranges from Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) to a Master’s Entry in Nursing Practice (MENP). 

The online ABSN program at Elmhurst University is designed for individuals who have a previous degree that is unrelated to nursing. As this is an online accelerated program, it is advised that you not work during the program to ensure that you can give the program your 100% commitment. With that said, you can go from not working in the healthcare field to obtaining a bachelor’s in nursing in as little as 16 months. 

The ABSN program is designed to help you every step of the way along with facilitating clinical placements to make the transition from classwork to a clinical site as smooth as possible. Wisconsin is one of the first states in which residents can study in an online program like this that is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). 

The online MENP program is specifically designed for an applicant with a previous unrelated bachelor’s degree who wants to fast track to earning a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). It can take as little as 20 months to earn a master’s in nursing, be prepared to take the NCLEX-RN, and obtain clinical nurse leader certification. The program is accredited by the CCNE and has a 96% passing rate for the NCLEX-RN from students between 2016-2020. With an emphasis on leadership, this program is for those who want to be directly involved in creating policies and enacting change with patient safety as the bottom line. 

If you are interested in becoming a registered nurse in Wisconsin and want to learn more, download our program guides here.