Can You Become a Nurse with a GED? Exploring the Path to a Nursing Career with a General Educational Development (GED) Diploma

In today’s rapidly evolving healthcare industry, pursuing a career in nursing has become an increasingly popular choice for individuals passionate about making a difference in people’s lives. However, some aspiring nurses may wonder if they can enter this rewarding profession with a General Educational Development (GED) diploma instead of a traditional high school diploma. The good news is that a GED can indeed be a stepping stone towards a nursing career. In this article, we will delve into the requirements, opportunities, and challenges that individuals with a GED may encounter on their path to becoming a nurse. So, if you’re considering a career in nursing but hold a GED, keep reading to discover the possibilities that lie ahead.

The Importance of Meeting State Licensing Requirements

When pursuing a nursing career with a GED, it is crucial to understand and fulfill the state licensing requirements. Each state has its own set of regulations and guidelines for becoming a licensed nurse, which typically include completing an approved nursing program and passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) or the Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) exam.

It is important to note that some states may have additional prerequisites, such as specific high school coursework or minimum age requirements. It is essential to thoroughly research and understand the requirements set by the state nursing board where you intend to practice.

Meeting these licensing requirements ensures that you possess the necessary knowledge and skills to provide safe and competent patient care. Nursing programs, whether at the associate’s degree, diploma, or bachelor’s degree level, equip students with the foundational knowledge in nursing theory, clinical skills, and practical experiences required to pass the licensing exams.

By diligently following the state licensing requirements, GED holders can demonstrate their commitment and competency as aspiring nurses. This process not only ensures patient safety but also strengthens the credibility and professionalism of the nursing field as a whole.

Educational Pathways for GED Holders Pursuing Nursing

GED holders who aspire to become nurses have several educational pathways available to them. While a high school diploma is the traditional route for entering nursing programs, many institutions now accept GED credentials as an alternative.

One common pathway for GED holders is to pursue an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN). ADN programs typically span two to three years and provide a comprehensive education in nursing theory and clinical practice. Graduates of ADN programs are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN examination and become registered nurses (RNs).

Another option is to pursue a diploma program in nursing, offered by certain hospitals or specialized nursing schools. Diploma programs tend to be shorter in duration, typically lasting two to three years. Upon graduation, students can take the NCLEX-RN or LPN exam, depending on the program, and enter the nursing profession.

GED holders can also choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) through a four-year university program. BSN programs provide a more in-depth education, emphasizing leadership skills, research, and evidence-based practice. Graduates with a BSN degree often have broader career opportunities and may be preferred for certain positions.

Ultimately, the choice of educational pathway depends on individual circumstances and career goals. It is important to research and carefully consider the various programs available to find the best fit for your aspirations and resources.

Overcoming Challenges: Strategies for GED Nurses in Nursing Programs

While pursuing a nursing education with a GED is certainly possible, it can come with its own set of challenges. GED nurses may encounter obstacles such as academic expectations, self-doubt, and perceived stigma. However, with determination and the right strategies, these challenges can be overcome.

One effective strategy is to develop strong study habits and time management skills. Nursing programs require a significant amount of studying and coursework, so establishing a structured study routine can help GED nurses stay organized and on track.

Seeking support from peers and faculty members is also crucial. Engaging in study groups, forming relationships with classmates, and reaching out to instructors for guidance can provide valuable academic and emotional support throughout the program.

Additionally, GED nurses can take advantage of tutoring services or academic resources offered by their educational institution. These resources can help fill any gaps in knowledge or skills and provide additional support in challenging subjects.

It is important for GED nurses to maintain a positive mindset and believe in their abilities. Remember that your GED diploma is evidence of your determination and dedication. Embrace your unique journey and use it as motivation to prove your capabilities as a nursing student.

By proactively addressing challenges, seeking support, and maintaining a positive mindset, GED nurses can excel in nursing programs and graduate as competent and confident healthcare professionals.

Advancing Your Nursing Career with a GED: Opportunities and Limitations

While a GED diploma can open the doors to a nursing career, it is essential to be aware of the opportunities and limitations that may arise along the way. GED nurses may initially find themselves starting at entry-level positions, such as Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) or Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), before advancing to higher roles.

However, it is important to note that further educational attainment can significantly enhance career prospects. Pursuing higher degrees, such as a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or even advanced practice degrees like Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), can open up doors to more advanced positions and specialized nursing roles.

It is also important to research specific employer requirements and preferences. Some healthcare facilities may prioritize candidates with higher educational qualifications, while others may value practical experience and skills. GED nurses can increase their marketability by gaining practical experience through internships, volunteer work, or part-time positions in healthcare settings.

Continuous professional development is crucial for career advancement. GED nurses should actively seek out opportunities for ongoing education, certifications, and training to stay updated with the latest advancements in nursing practice.

While there may be limitations and challenges along the way, GED nurses who demonstrate their dedication, competence, and commitment to lifelong learning can build successful and fulfilling nursing careers. By strategically planning their educational and professional journey, GED nurses can maximize their opportunities for growth and advancement in the dynamic field of nursing.


In conclusion, aspiring nurses with a GED diploma have the opportunity to pursue a fulfilling career in nursing. By meeting state licensing requirements and exploring the available educational pathways, GED holders can enter nursing programs and embark on their journey towards becoming registered nurses or licensed practical nurses. While there may be challenges to overcome, such as academic expectations and perceived stigma, with the right strategies, support, and a positive mindset, GED nurses can excel in their studies and graduate as competent healthcare professionals. It is important to continually seek opportunities for professional development and consider further education to enhance career prospects. With dedication, hard work, and a commitment to lifelong learning, GED nurses can achieve success and make a meaningful impact in the field of nursing.

Marlene J. Shockley

My name is Marlene J. Shockley, and I am a Registered Nurse (RN). I have always been interested in helping people and Nursing seemed like the perfect career for me. After completing my Nursing Degree, I worked in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, and home health care. I have also had the opportunity to work as a Travelling Nurse, which has allowed me to see different parts of the country and meet new people. No matter where I am working, I enjoy getting to know my patients and their families and helping them through whatever medical challenges they may be facing.