As the field of nursing expands across the country, graduates of nursing schools in Wyoming can expect to find a rewarding career with a competitive salary. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), registered nurses in Wyoming earn $62,980 on average annually. A 2017 study by the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services projects that Wyoming will see a shortage of nurses in the next 10 years, especially in the field of geriatric medicine. The report also states that registered nurses saw the most growth of all healthcare professions in Wyoming with a 14.8% increase from 2010 to 2015.
For students considering nursing school online, Wyoming boasts many organizations such as the Wyoming Nurses Association that offer support, advocacy, and continuing education to nurses. Students interested in an online nursing degree can learn about these resources and the steps that it takes to become a licensed nurse in Wyoming on this page, along with the job outlook for graduates of nursing colleges in Wyoming.
How to Become a Nurse in Wyoming
Graduates of nursing schools in Wyoming go through a similar process as those becoming a nurse in other states. All potential nurses must complete an in-person or online nursing degree and then pass a licensing exam. In Wyoming, nurses must renew their license every two years. Because there are several paths to becoming a nurse in Wyoming, it is helpful to think about the career you would like before choosing an in-person or online nursing degree.
Choose the Path That's Right for You
ADN coursework prepares students for the RN licensing exam and can lead to a career as a psychiatric or school nurse. If you are already an RN and you are looking for the career opportunities that a BSN can bring, several nursing schools in Wyoming offer RN to BSN programs. Nurses who complete an online BSN program in Wyoming are qualified to become nurse anesthetists and flight nurses, and can go on to advanced degrees like the MSN or DNP. If you are interested in teaching nursing at the college level, consider an advanced nursing degree.
Earn Your Nursing Degree
Many Wyoming nursing schools offer online nursing degrees which fit the busy schedules of working students. Students typically complete an ADN in two years and a BSN in four. Accelerated nursing programs in Wyoming make it possible for students to complete their degree even more quickly. Registered nurses may complete an online RN to BSN program in Wyoming, which allows them to earn their bachelor’s degree in two years. According to the Wyoming State Board of Nursing (WSBN), all nursing programs in Wyoming must have a clinical component to their curriculum.
Pass the Licensing Exam and Earn Your License
After completing an in-person or online nursing degree, aspiring nurses must obtain a license. The RN license in Wyoming costs $395, including fees for the application, a criminal background check, and the licensing exam. The National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) is a six-hour exam and accounts for $200 of the overall RN licensure costs. An ADN or BSN prepares graduates for the NCLEX-RN, but students should complete additional study. The WSBN has approved a list of refresher courses for those preparing for the exam. After passing the exam and becoming licensed as a registered nurse, you are ready to enter the nursing job market.
Nursing Licensure in Wyoming
After completing an online nursing degree, anyone wishing to work as a nurse in Wyoming can become a registered nurse through the WSBN. Those applying for a nursing license for the first time can register for the NCLEX-RN as part of the application. This computer adaptive exam tests all of the main areas of knowledge covered in any of the online RN programs in Wyoming. The test is administered by Pearson VUE for the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). Any of the BSN programs in Wyoming are also an excellent way to prepare for this exam. When you apply, be sure to have your nursing program send your transcript to the WSBN.
If you are already a licensed RN in another state, you can apply for licensure by endorsement and pay a $135 endorsement fee. The application to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), a position which requires less training than becoming an RN, requires the applicant to complete a nursing program and register for the appropriate NCLEX exam. Applicants should note that all nursing licenses in Wyoming expire December 31 of every even-numbered year. You can apply for renewal of your license after October 1 of every even-numbered year.
Nursing Licensing Costs in Wyoming
Exam Fee $130
Background Check $60
Credit Card Fee $5
Career Outlook for Nurses in Wyoming
As more people focus on preventative health and the rate of chronic illnesses like diabetes grows, the field of nursing is expanding. The BLS projects a 15% growth rate for the national employment of registered nurses from 2016 to 2026, a rate much higher than the national average. The highest concentration of nursing jobs in Wyoming is in Casper, with about 24 nurses per 1,000 jobs.
Registered nurses in Cheyenne earn the highest hourly wage at $32.56. With an online nursing degree, you can embark on many career paths. Some nurses with a BSN work with more specific patient populations like newborn babies and patients with heart or kidney disease. With an advanced degree like an MSN or DPN, nurses can be researchers, teachers, or administrators. Online MSN programs in Wyoming also prepare students to become nurse practitioners.
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Biggest Hospitals in Wyoming
Hospitals are the largest employer of nurses in the United States, with over 61% of all registered nurses working in private or nonprofit hospitals. Students and graduates of online nursing programs in Wyoming can also expect to find nursing internships and other educational work opportunities in a hospital. The Wyoming Hospital Association has over 30 member hospitals and is an excellent resource for job listings and other opportunities.
- Cheyenne Regional Medical Center: With over 2,000 employees and 222 beds, Cheyenne Regional Medical Center is the biggest hospital in Wyoming. Cheyenne Regional Medical Group is the largest medical group in the state, with over 75 providers and 15 locations. This hospital also boasts a year-long Graduate Nurse Residency Program for new nursing graduates.
- Wyoming Medical Center: Located in Casper, Wyoming Medical Center is a nonprofit, community-focused hospital that employs 1,125 people and provides 212 beds. Their year-long nursing residency program includes intensive training and a mentorship program. The hospital also offers certification and continuing education in topics like EKG interpretation and advanced critical care.
Additional Nursing Resources in Wyoming
Wyoming State Board of Nursing (WSBN)
This board issues nursing licenses and regulates the practice of nursing in Wyoming. The WSBN is a great resource for continuing education opportunities and local nursing refresher courses. The board also participates in the Wyoming Nurse Summit and Convention and provides information on other upcoming conferences.
Wyoming Hospital Association
The Wyoming Hospital Association represents and advocates for hospitals in Wyoming. It also maintains a list of job openings and educational opportunities. Graduates of nursing schools in Wyoming who would like to work in a local hospital can quickly compare potential employers on the association’s website.
Wyoming Nurses Association
This affiliate of the American Nurses Association is a professional organization that represents nurses in Wyoming. With events like Nurses Day at the Legislature, the association provides ample opportunities for networking and education. Approximately 14,000 RNs and LPNs subscribe to its quarterly newsletter, Wyoming Nurse.
Wyoming Center for Nursing (WCN)
The goal of the WCN is to put the Institute of Medicine Future of Nursing report’s goals into practice. The WCN sponsors a nursing curriculum called Revolutionizing Nursing Education in Wyoming (ReNEW), which is now available at the University of Wyoming and many Wyoming community colleges. The organization partners with nursing schools in Wyoming, healthcare employers, foundations, and professional organizations.
National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP)
NAPNAP is the professional association for nurse practitioners who work with children. The association lobbies Congress for healthcare policies that benefit children and families and provides educational resources to current pediatric nurse practitioners and nursing students studying to specialize in pediatrics. NAPNAP also provides accreditation to continuing education programs in nursing.
Accredited Online Nursing Programs in Wyoming
Nursing schools in Wyoming offer a number of online nursing degrees, including two-year associate degrees in nursing (ADN), bachelor’s of science in nursing degrees for registered nurses (RN to BSN), and online master’s of science in nursing (MSN) degrees. All ADN, BSN, RN to BSN, MSN, and doctor of nursing practice degrees (DNP) programs in this database are accredited.