Nursing programs provide the opportunity to become an integral part of the healthcare field. Nurses are essential in hospitals, physicians' offices, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities. Common job responsibilities include providing and coordinating patient care and educating patients about health conditions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), registered nurses receive a national average salary of $68,450 per year, and positions are projected to increase by 15% between 2016-2026.
An aging population and increase in chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease, contribute to the growing demand for nurses. According to the BLS, 32,930 nurses are currently employed in Connecticut, and the annual mean salary for nurses in the state is $78,270, which is higher than the national average. Nursing schools in Connecticut prepare students for many opportunities.
How to Become a Nurse in Connecticut
The procedure for becoming a nurse in Connecticut is similar to other states, but there are some differences. Connecticut is not one of the 25 states that belong to the APRN Compact. This compact allows licensed nurses the flexibility to practice in other member states. There are also differences in Connecticut regarding licensing costs.
1. Choose the Path That's Right for You
To become a nurse, individuals need a diploma, undergraduate degree, or graduate degree from one of the nursing schools in Connecticut. Students can earn a nursing diploma or associate degree in about two years. An online nursing degree at the baccalaureate level is typically earned at a Connecticut nursing school in four years. Advanced nurses teach college students or obtain leadership positions guiding other nurses; these positions require a master of science in nursing or a doctor of nursing practice.
2. Earn Your Nursing Degree
Students can earn their online nursing degree by taking distance courses at one of the nursing schools in Connecticut. Online students usually complete clinicals at a local site. Applicants must be high school graduates and take prerequisite nursing courses, such as biology, nutrition, anatomy, and statistics.
3. Pass the Licensing Exam and Earn Your License
After earning an online nursing degree, graduates must obtain employment in a healthcare setting where they accrue supervised experience. Nursing candidates must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Connecticut nurses must pay test and state application fees.
Nursing Licensure in Connecticut
After completing a program at one of the nursing schools in Connecticut, graduates have 90 days to pass the NCLEX-RN. Individuals must submit transcripts to the Department of Public Health outlining their education. The NCLEX-RN assesses student knowledge to determine whether they demonstrate sound judgment and are qualified to practice.
In Connecticut, a nurse from another state is eligible for a license by securing endorsement from the Connecticut Department of Public Health.
Application Fee $180
State Requirements By Nursing Type
To become a registered nurse (RN) in Connecticut, you must complete a state-approved nursing education program. The majority of approved programs hold accreditation from either the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, but Connecticut's board of nursing also authorizes other offerings, such as hospital training programs that lead to a diploma in nursing.
After meeting the state education requirements, you can sit for the NCLEX-RN. The NCLEX-RN incorporates adaptive questioning, meaning the number and type of questions you answer depends on how you responded to questions earlier in the exam. Expect to answer anywhere from 75-265 questions, covering topics such as safety and infection control, parenteral therapies, and physiological adaptation. About 90% of questions are multiple choice, with the remainder requiring test takers to fill in the blank, sequence items, or identify a specific area in an image. You will have six hours to complete the exam.
To take the NCLEX-RN students must pay a base fee, as well as an application and licensing fee to the board of nursing. By applying for an RN license in Connecticut, you consent to a criminal background check.
Registered nurses from another state can receive a Connecticut license through endorsement if their home state also requires licensees to pass the NCLEX-RN. If not, you must take the exam, though you can often receive a temporary permit while you prepare. All endorsement candidates must pay the application and licensing fee.
In Connecticut, certified nursing assistants (CNA) must complete a nurse's aide training program that holds approval from the state's department of public health. To qualify for this authorization, a program must provide at least 100 hours of theory and clinical instruction in areas like infection control, emergency procedures, and resident rights. Many high schools, hospitals, and community colleges offer training to aspiring nurse's aides. You can view a complete list of state-approved programs here.
After completing one of these programs, CNA candidates must pass an exam administered by Prometric. The written portion of the exam consists of 60 questions and lasts approximately 90 minutes. The questions cover topics like therapeutic communication techniques, accident prevention, and the psychosocial needs of residents. The skill-based portion of the exam requires candidates to successfully demonstrate five skills under the supervision of two trained nurses.
Once you become certified as a CNA, you must register with the state board of nursing. If you received certification from another state that required you to pass a Prometric nursing aide exam, you do not need to retake the Connecticut test. You must; however, provide the results from your state exam to the Connecticut board, paying any required fees.
CNAs must renew their certification biannually, submitting proof of employment as a nursing aide at any point during the previous two years. Connecticut does not charge a fee to renew this certification.
Connecticut's state board of nursing has strict educational requirements for those hoping to become licensed practical nurses (LPN) in the state. For example, you must successfully complete a practical nurse training program that provides at least 1,500 hours of instruction in no fewer than 10 months. At least half of the contact hours in that program must involve supervised, direct client care or observational experiences. If your program does not meet these requirements, you may be able to substitute clinical work experience instead.
LPN candidates must also pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). This exam closely mirrors the NCLEX-RN, featuring the same computerized adaptive testing format and covering many of the same subject areas, including safety and infection control, basic care and comfort, and reduction of risk potential. The NCLEX-PN also relies heavily on multiple-choice questions, though about 10% of prompts may require you to sequence items or identify parts of an image. The exam costs $200.
If you hold a practical nurse license from another state and wish to become licensed in Connecticut, you must submit a transcript from your nursing education program, a verification of theory and clinical instruction form, and a work experience verification form. If your state did not require you to pass the NCLEX-PN, you may receive a temporary work permit while you prepare for the exam. All aspiring LPNs, whether seeking a license through examination or out-of-state endorsement, must pay an application fee.
To become a nurse practitioner (NP) in Connecticut, you must seek an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) license. Given that NPs can diagnose and treat some medical conditions in much the same way as doctors, the state imposes strict requirements on nurses seeking this license.
Before beginning the application process, you must hold a license as a registered nurse, as well as a master's degree or higher in nursing from an accredited college or university. You must then receive and maintain certification as a nurse practitioner from one of seven, state-approved certifying bodies, such as the American Nurses Credentialing Center or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. Whether through graduate studies or certification, you must also complete 30 hours of education in pharmacology for advanced nursing practice.
APRN candidates must pass a criminal background check, submit college transcripts and work verification forms, and show proof of professional liability insurance that meets state standards. You must also pay a $200 application and licensing fee. Out-of-state applicants must meet the same requirements and follow the same procedure as nurses working in Connecticut.
Once you receive your APRN license, you must renew it every two years. Some nurses, such as those working in the armed forces, can receive renewal waivers. The state board charges a renewal fee.
Career Outlook for Nurses in Connecticut
Nursing graduates are prepared for employment in general medical and surgical hospitals, physicians' offices, and home healthcare centers. These are the employers with the highest levels of employment of nurses in Connecticut, according to the BLS. Industries with the highest concentration of nurses in Connecticut include home healthcare centers, outpatient care centers, and psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals.
Employment Data For RNs in Connecticut
According to the BLS, slightly more than 34,000 registered nurses worked in Connecticut in 2017, earning an annual median wage of $75,280. The annual mean wage across all occupations in the state approached $58,000 that year, and the national median pay for RNs was $70,000.
In addition to their above-average earnings potential, registered nurses enjoy strong employment growth prospects. The BLS projects the need for an additional 438,100 RNs across the country through 2026, a growth rate of 15%. For all other occupations, the BLS projects a growth rate of 7%.
The majority of registered nurses work in hospital settings. A smaller percentage work in physicians' offices, outpatient care centers, and in government or educational roles. While you can often find jobs providing care to ill and elderly individuals in their homes anywhere in the state, the best job prospects for institutional roles are in urban areas of Connecticut, such as Hartford, New Haven, and Stamford.
Employment Data For CNAs in Connecticut
In 2016, roughly 21,000 nursing assistants worked in Connecticut. These healthcare professionals earned an annual mean wage of $32,140. While this salary trails the annual mean wage of all occupations in the state by roughly $25,000, CNAs in Connecticut earn approximately $5,000 more than nursing assistants across the country.
Below-average pay for CNAs may be attributed to the relatively low levels of education needed for the role. To become a nursing assistant, you need only complete a 100-hour training program and pass an exam. Still, the BLS projects an 11% increase in the demand for nursing assistants through 2026, driven largely by the increased need for care for elderly individuals in long-term care facilities and home settings. This employment growth may create a more competitive market for nursing assistants, potentially leading to higher wages.
As with registered nurses, most certified nursing assistants in Connecticut work in cities and suburban areas, taking on roles at hospitals and larger healthcare organizations. You can often find home-care positions in the more rural parts of the state as well. The physically and emotionally demanding nature of these jobs often leads to high turnover and regular opportunities for job seekers.
Employment Data For NPs in Connecticut
Just over 2,300 nurse practitioners work in Connecticut, according to the BLS. In 2016, NPs earned an annual mean wage of $113,550, which is significantly higher than the annual mean wage for all other occupations in the state and slightly more than the national median pay for NPs.
The BLS projects the need for an additional 56,100 NPs through 2026, the equivalent of 36% growth in national employment. Several factors may contribute to this expansion, including the increased emphasis on preventive care, the need to provide healthcare services to a growing population of elderly individuals, and recognition by the public and healthcare providers that NPs can perform many of the same services as physicians.
Most NPs work in hospitals, physicians' offices, and health centers, though a significant portion also provide home care. While urban centers may boast jobs with the highest salaries, the strong demand in this field means that you can expect to find work regardless of the area of Connecticut in which you live.
Biggest Hospitals in Connecticut
Connecticut has more than 50 hospitals, including Yale New Haven and the University of Connecticut Health Center. There are also several healthcare organizations, such as National Health Care Associates and PSA Healthcare, which provide many in-state job opportunities.
- UCONN Health: This organization is part of the University of Connecticut and includes a teaching hospital, a school of medicine, a school of dental medicine, and a graduate school. UCONN Health employs 5,000 people and is internationally recognized for research in neuroscience, molecular biology, and genetics.
- Yale-New Haven Hospital: This hospital is comprised of a top-ranked medical school and nursing school in Connecticut. The institution is well-known for medical specialties such as psychiatry, geriatrics, and pulmonology. The hospital employs 11,000 people.
Additional Nursing Resources in Arkansas
- Connecticut Nurses Association: CNA, the largest professional organization for nurses in the state, represents nurses across all specialties. The association is an influential voice on issues that affect nurses, such as legislation, education, and compensation.
- Connecticut Department of Public Health: The department provides many nursing resources, including publications, services, and programs.
- Connecticut League For Nursing: The organization provides nurses in Connecticut with information about testing, nursing programs in Connecticut, how to earn additional academic degrees, and how to hone the knowledge and competencies necessary for success.
- National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners: This national organization is comprised of 8,500 pediatric nurse practitioners. There are chapters across the nation, including one in Connecticut, that provide advocacy and many resources for the profession.
Accredited Online Nursing Programs in Connecticut