October 31, 2022

How to Become a Nurse with a Psychology Degree

by Psych Times Staff

When you want to work as a nurse, you may find that having a psychology degree can make a lot of sense. Knowledge of psychology is not only a good skill to enjoy as a nurse, but it is sometimes one of the most basic of prerequisites or required courses when you attend nursing school. 

Having a degree of any kind in psychology could help provide you with the shortcut to becoming a registered nurse and could even lead you right to a career in mental health care. Some of the steps that you can take to become a nurse when you already have a psychology degree include:

Basic Nursing Education

Registered Nurses will be able to qualify for the NCLEX-RN, by completing one of three programs. They could get a nursing diploma through a hospital-based school of nursing, though there are some of these programs that are offered through a school of nursing as well if you so choose. 

Another option is to go for an associate degree. This is often going to be a degree found in some universities, in community colleges, and many technical schools. They will typically take two years for the professional to complete. 

And the third option is for the professional to go to the BSN, or get a bachelor’s degree. The amount of time that these programs take will be two to three years to complete. The student will need to choose which of these they would like to use to help them meet their goals. When the degree is over, the professional will need to take the national exam. 

The Pre-Requisites and Electives

Most nursing programs will have prerequisites that the student needs to meet before they enter the program, as well as some courses that are required to help them get the degree done. A Psychology degree, whether you get it at the associate or the bachelor’s level, will often include many courses that meet these requirements. 

This means that if you have already finished a psychology program, you may meet a lot of the requirements that are necessary for a nursing student as well. There may be a few classes that you need to take to become a nurse, but you can skip ahead quite a bit because you already meet some of the requirements listed out as a nurse. 

You will take some time to finish the nursing-specific courses and then you can finish that degree and take the NCLEX-RN. Once that is passed, you can move on and become a nurse in your field. No matter what type of nursing career you would like or what path you took to get there, the NCLEX-RN will be required by the state before you can start working. 

You will have to consider which type of nursing program is right for you. Some will take your psychology degree and be able to use a lot of the classes that you already have under your belt and put them to the nursing degree. Others will take a look at your degree and only be able to use a few classes. This can change how long you will have to go back to school. 

Choosing an Accelerated Program

There are some universities and colleges that offer a type of accelerated program. These are unique programs that are designed for individuals who already have a degree in another discipline, helping them to become an RN and speeding up the process as well. These programs can often help the professional get a BSN or a master’s degree in nursing if they want. 

This can be a great way to utilize your psychology degree and see some amazing results, but check into the nursing school that offers this to ensure that it will work for your needs. Most of these accelerated programs will allow you to do this while still meeting the requirements that you need to become licensed in your state. 

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, these accelerated BSN programs can take between 11 to 18 months and the accelerated MSN will take closer to 3 years. When the student is done with the program, they will then be able to graduate from it and can work on completing the NCLEX-RN so they can become a nurse. 

Take your time to look at some of the different types of these programs. They are sprouting up quickly as a way for professionals to get their education and get to work quickly, but the effectiveness and the amount of information that you will get out of the program depends on where it is from. Use caution to make sure you pick the right program for you. 

Look at the Mental Health Track

If you would like to use your psychology degree and still stay in the field of mental health when you dive into a nursing career, you could consider a career that will allow for this. A good option here is a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. This one will utilize your skills as a nurse and as a psychology professional if you so choose. 

In addition to a general accelerated nursing program, there are a few schools available that will allow you to do an accelerated program for a nurse practitioner that includes a track in mental health. In some instances, a psychology graduate would be able to get a BSN in just one year and a master’s degree within two more years if they choose. 

Choosing to Become a Nurse with a Psychology Degree

There are a lot of benefits to having a psychology degree and then pursuing a degree in psychology. It can set you up to having a wonderful career you would love and will ensure that you can land any career that you want. Take a look at some of the steps above to help you become a nurse when you have a psychology degree. 


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