With nearly three million nursing jobs in the U.S. and a rapidly aging population, almost half a million new nursing jobs will be added by 2026. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of registered nurses is expected to grow 15% over the next 10 years. Additionally, nurses earn an average of $30,000 more per year than the average wage for all occupations. The industry is especially attractive in certain states. Nevada, for example, combines an exploding population with the fact that nurses earn over $10,000 more than the average U.S. nurse.
Getting your nursing license requires a post-secondary education in nursing and passing a comprehensive exam. Nurses in Nevada may be interested in online RN programs, BSN programs, or online master's or doctorate programs. According to PayScale, more nursing experience equates to a higher salary, as the nursing industry rewards long-term careers. An investment in an online nursing degree is an investment in your future. An online nursing degree from a nursing school in Nevada can lead to a lucrative career in a rapidly growing field.
How to Become a Nurse in Nevada
Requirements to become a nurse are similar in every state. All states require students to have a certain level of education and pass an exam. However, each state has its own board of nursing, so while basic requirements are comparable, each state's process is unique. The licensing procedure, for example, differs given state requirements concerning the licensing exam. Additionally, licensing costs may vary by state.
1. Choose the Path That's Right for You
Many online nursing degrees are available. To be licensed in the state of Nevada, candidates must graduate from an approved school of nursing with a nursing certificate, diploma, or nursing degree, such as those offered at nursing schools in Nevada. Nurses hoping to teach or receive a terminal degree must pursue a master's degree in nursing (MSN) or a doctor of nursing practice (DNP). While there are online nursing degrees that allow students to move directly from a BSN to a DNP, most require DNP applicants to hold a master's degree. A DNP leads to a career as a nurse educator, nurse practitioner, or clinical nurse specialist.
2. Earn Your Nursing Degree
Nursing degrees are offered both on-campus and online, allowing students to decide which is best for their schedules. Accelerated nursing programs in Nevada are offered online with varying requirements for enrollment, some of which may include residency restrictions, GPA minimums, or licensure requirements for RN-to-BSN programs. Additionally, some online programs require students to come to campus for lab work or may require students to complete fellowships or internships. The length of nursing programs differ based on the program, number of credits required, whether a student is enrolled full or part time, or whether the student has transfer credit.
3. Pass the Licensing Exam and Earn Your License
While each state has their own licensure, the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) is a national exam required by every state. Experts recommend taking the NCLEX soon after graduation, especially for online nursing degree graduates, while learned concepts are still fresh. Your degree prepares you for much of the subject matter, but test prep books, online resources, and prep courses prepare you to take the exam itself. Exam lengths vary, with six hours maximum for the RN exam and five hours maximum for the PN exam. Many recent graduates apply for nursing jobs before they take the exam but cannot start work until they pass the NCLEX and are licensed. The registration fee is $200.
Nursing Licensure in Nevada
According to the Nevada State Board of Nursing, there are several qualifications for licensure in Nevada. Future nurses must graduate from an approved nursing school with a certificate (LPN) and diploma. Nurses must also pass the NCLEX, which is the National Council Licensure Examination. There are two exams, the NCLEX-RN, for registered nurses, and the NCLEX-PN, for practical nurses. Students who complete an ADN or a bachelor of science in nursing are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam. Other licensure requirements for Nevada include a social security number and a fingerprint card that clears the Board.
Once a nurse is licensed in one state, they can usually transfer the license to another state. For example, a currently licensed nurse can apply for Nevada licensure by submitting verification from the state within which they are licensed without having to retake the NCLEX. Nevada is not a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact, a group of about 25 states that recognizes nursing licenses among member states, so individuals must apply to the state for licensure. Fees for Nevada licensure vary based on an applicant's previous licensure, with applications for LPNs and RNs ranging from $90-$105.
Career Outlook for Nurses in Nevada
To become a registered nurse (RN) in Nevada, an applicant must have graduated from an approved nursing program. Typically, this would be an associate's or bachelor's degree in nursing, but may also be a program culminating in a nursing certificate. Other requirements for licensure as an RN include successfully completing the NCLEX licensing exam, and passing a background check.
Recent nursing graduates looking to take the NCLEX exam should first apply on the Pearson VUE website and pay the exam fee of $200. Once you have applied to the Board of Nursing and applied for the NCLEX, the Board will confirm your eligibility and Pearson VUE will send an Authorization to Test (ATT). The ATT allows an individual to schedule an exam with Pearson VUE, which should be done within 90 days. If a recent graduate wants to work as a nurse before taking the NCLEX exam, an interim permit may be issued for practice in Nevada with documentation of graduation from an approved nursing program; this permit is only valid for 90 days and expires upon receipt of examination results.
In order to maintain and renew an RN license, practitioners must complete 30 hours of nursing-related continuing education coursework. RNs are also required to complete a one-time bioterrorism course.
To become a certified nursing assistant (CNA) in Nevada, the Board of Nursing requires applicants to successfully complete a state-approved training program that complies with OBRA (Omnibus Reconciliation Act) requirements and culminates in a certificate, take and pass the clinical and knowledge examinations, read and understand the Board of Nursing's CNA skills guidelines and Advisory Opinion of CNA Hours of Employment for Renewal, pay a $50 application fee, and submit a fingerprint card. Temporary certificates may be issued to eligible applicants, but are valid for just six months and are ineligible for renewal.
Upon submitting an initial application to the Board of Nursing, prospective CNAs must be approved to take the Nursing Assistant Competency Examinations by the Board. Once approved, the candidate should contact a testing center. Examination fees vary by testing site. The exam has both a skills and a knowledge section and applicants must pass both within a year of application in order to be certified.
Out-of-state CNAs may apply for licensure in Nevada through endorsement. Endorsement applicants must present a copy of their active certificate or license from another state, provide proof of eight hours of employment as a CNA in a licensed medical facility within the past two years, and endorsement forms from the state where they were originally licensed.
To maintain certification and be eligible for renewal, CNAs must complete 24 hours of continuing education related to the CNA knowledge and skills and 40 hours of employment performing work within the CNA scope of practice.
Requirements for licensure as an licensed practical nurse (LPN) are very similar to those for an RN. In order to become an LPN in Nevada, candidates should have graduated from an approved school of nursing with a nursing certificate or a nursing associate's or bachelor's degree. The application process involves submitting an application form through the Board of Nursing Nurse Portal, paying the appropriate application and fingerprinting fees, applying to the NCLEX testing service, sending official transcripts to the Board, and completing a fingerprint card. Applicants should follow the same process as RNs to schedule an examination with NCLEX. Prospective LPNs must pass the NCLEX licensing exam to obtain permanent licensure. However, an interim permit may be issued to eligible graduates of approved nursing education programs to allow work as a Graduate Nurse while awaiting exam results and application processing. Interim permits are valid for 90 days and expire when the applicant is notified of exam results.
Out-of-state LPNs may apply for licensure in Nevada through endorsement. In addition to the regular requirements for initial licensure by examination, those applying for licensure through endorsement need official verification from their original state of licensure. If the applicant's original state of licensure is enrolled in the National Council of State Boards of Nursing Nursys Verification database, they can go to the NURSYS website and submit a form of verification online. If the applicant's original state of licensure is not enrolled in NURSYS, they must send an endorsement form to their original state along with the appropriate fees.
To maintain licensure, LPNs should complete 30 hours of nursing-related continuing education and a bioterrorism course.
Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) in Nevada include nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, clinical nurse specialists, and nurse anesthetists (although the state administrative code discusses nurse anesthetists separately and lays out different requirements for licensure). In addition to fulfilling one of these general positions, APRNs also tend to have a population focus (family/individual across lifespan, adult gerontology, neonatal, pediatrics, woman's health, or psychiatric/mental health) and a specialty (oncology, palliative care, orthopedics, nephrology, or older adults).
To become an APRN, an applicant must have graduated from an accredited master's or doctoral level nursing practitioner program and must be certified through a nationally recognized certification agency. A recent graduate is eligible to apply for temporary licensure to begin work while waiting for certification results.
Nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and clinical nurse specialists use the same application in the Nurse Portal. They are required to submit transcripts from their advanced degree program, pay an application fee, and complete a fingerprinting card.
To maintain licensure eligibility for renewal, APRNs should complete 45 hours of continuing education related to their roles or population focus, which may overlap with the continuing education requirements for RNs (30 hours of nursing-related education). Recent legislative changes require continuing education in suicide prevention for APRNs beginning July 1, 2017, to be completed within 2 years of licensure. After that, APRNs should complete at least two hours of training on evidence-based suicide prevention and awareness every four years. Beginning in January 2018, APRNs registered to dispense controlled substances must complete two hours of continuing education related to substance misuse and abuse.
Biggest Hospitals in Nevada
While nursing employment across the country is expected to grow much faster than average, Nevada's population size and resulting nurse employment growth exceeds national growth projections. According to the Governor's Office for Economic Development, healthcare is considered one of the key industries in the state. Telemetry, emergency room, and intensive care nursing are especially poised for growth. Several nursing degree specialties have optional designations or certifications that may supplement a BSN or ADN degree.
According to the BLS, Nevada's annual mean wage for registered nurses is among the highest in the country along with California, Massachusetts, and Hawaii. Nurse practitioners in the state earn an annual mean wage of $103,220, slightly below the U.S. average at $104,610.
Employment Data for RNs in Nevada
Registered nurses are responsible for providing patient care, educating patients, and communicating with patient family members about patient care. The national median annual salary for registered nurses in 2017 was $70,000. The Nevada annual mean salary is $84,980. Industries employing the most registered nurses include hospitals, physicians' offices, home healthcare services, nursing care facilities, and outpatient care centers. However, these industries are not the top-paying industries for the profession: Some of the highest-paying industries for RNs include pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing, with an average annual salary of $90,510, and the federal executive branch, with an average annual salary of $87,030. While Nevada doesn't have a high employment level for RNs compared to other states, it is among the states that offer the highest mean salaries, with a range of $75,250-$102,700. Employment for RNs is expected to grow 15% by 2026.
Employment Data for CNAs in Nevada
CNAs usually work under the supervision of RNs or other nursing practitioners and help in providing basic care for patients in hospitals or long term care facilities. In 2017, the median annual pay for CNAs in the US was $27,510. The Nevada average salary, however, is $34,480. Nevada is the third highest-paying state in the nation for nursing assistants after Alaska and New York.
The industries with the highest CNA employment are nursing care facilities, hospitals, retirement communities and assisted living facilities, and home health care services. A few of the top-paying industries for CNAs include the federal executive branch, facilities support services, scientific research and development services, educational support services, and colleges and universities. For example, the annual mean wage of a nursing assistant working for the federal executive branch is $38,340. Employment of nursing assistants in the U.S. is projected to grow 11% by 2026.
Employment Data for APRNs in Nevada
Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) generally refer to nurse midwives, nurse practitioners, and nurse anesthetists but in Nevada, refer to nurse midwives, nurse practitioners, and clinical nurse specialists. APRNs work in collaboration with physicians and are responsible for prescribing medications, ordering medical tests, and diagnosing health problems. They often have an area specialty and an age group focus. In 2017, the median annual salary of APRNs in the U.S. was $110,930. However, the Nevada annual salary for nurse practitioners was $105,520, while nurse anesthetists earned an average $196,730.
The industries with the highest employment levels of APRNs are physicians' offices, hospitals, outpatient care centers, offices of other health practitioners, and colleges and universities. Physicians' offices employ roughly 77,840 APRNs while hospitals employ 42,220. The profession is projected to add 64,200 jobs from 2016 to 2026, growing 13% in the process. Top-paying industries for APRNs include personal care services, management and consulting services, religious organizations, dental offices, and administrative services.
Biggest Hospitals in Nevada
According to the American Hospital Directory, there are 30 hospitals in Nevada with over 5,500 staffed beds. Hospitals employ 61% of registered nurses, and large hospitals are more likely to have openings for nurses. For those seeking fellowships, internships, or interim employment after completing an online nursing programs in Nevada, or for those recently licensed in the state, large hospitals are a good place to begin job searching.
- Renown Regional Medical Center : Located in Reno, this hospital has over 800 beds. The Renown Health System has over 6,000 employees who take advantage of savings plans, health coverage, wellness programs, and paid time off for full- and part-time employees. The medical center includes a trauma center, Children's ER and hospital, and the institutes for robotic surgery, neurosciences, heart and vascular health, and cancer, which provides many career options for graduates of nursing schools in Nevada.
- Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center : This hospital, located in Las Vegas, has over 700 beds and employs 1,500 doctors. It is the city's largest acute care facility and includes a children's hospital. Graduates of nursing schools in Nevada may be interested in Sunrise's competitive salaries, benefits packages, tuition reimbursement, and leadership development. As part of a network of 165 hospitals, employees can also transfer to another facility.
Additional Nursing Resources in Nevada
- Nevada Advanced Practice Nurses Association: Based in Reno, this organization is for advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) in Nevada. It provides education, representation, and leadership for nurses. NAPNA also provides search boards for local jobs, resource links, and lists of upcoming events for students enrolled in nursing schools in Nevada.
- Nevada Nurses Association: The NNA represents all registered nurses in Nevada and has done so for 90 years. Continuing education options include a bioterrorism self-study, antimicrobial stewardship, and environmental health. Graduates of nursing schools in Nevada can search the job board for available positions in Nevada.
- Nevada Organization of Nurse Leaders: Promoting leadership through mentorship, collaboration, and education, the NONL is a chapter of the American Organization of Nurse Executives. NONL offers nine $1,000 scholarships; students enrolled in BSN programs in Nevada, online MSN programs in Nevada, and DNP online nursing degrees in Nevada are eligible for the award.
- Nevada State Board of Nursing: The state board of nursing includes information on licensure and certification, practice information, and educational information. Prospective online nursing degree students may be interested in NCLEX pass rates for Nevada schools.
- Philippine Nurses Association of Nevada: Founded in 1992, PNANV promotes professional growth in areas of practice, leadership, and research. PNANV offers free seminars every fall with different themes. The website includes links to other resources that Nevada nursing school students may find useful, like the Journal of Nursing Administration and the Philippine Medical Association of Nevada.
Accredited Online Nursing Programs in Nevada
There are several types of accredited online nursing programs in Nevada. Associate degrees in nursing (ADN programs) are the minimum requirement to earn a nursing license. However, no school in Nevada currently offers online ADN programs. Online bachelor's degrees in nursing (BSN programs) in Nevada prepare students to become RNs. There are also many online RN to BSN programs in Nevada for licensed nurses that wish to earn a BSN. Online master's degrees in nursing and online doctoral degrees in nursing are available to nurses seeking to advance their careers, especially in the field of education.