10 Common Prerequisites for Nursing School You Should Know

Just like in every other profession, getting into a nursing school requires you to meet certain prerequisites.

While many nursing schools have different requirements, the prerequisite courses or programs are usually the same or closely related.

In this article, you will understand what nursing school prerequisites are and the most common ones among all nursing schools.

You’ll also understand where and how you can take nursing school prerequisite courses. Knowing when to take the prerequisite classes is also very important. This is to make sure you leave no stone unturned in your nursing school pursuits.

But, before we go right into it, you might want to look at the top 8 nursing schools in the world.

What are Nursing School Prerequisites?

Nursing school prerequisites are the fundamental courses or programs you’re required to take to get a basic knowledge of what is being taught in nursing schools.

There are different prerequisite classes for both undergraduate and graduate nursing programs. The undergraduate nursing programs require you to complete some prerequisite classes in high school. And the graduate programs require you to have either a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or be a Registered Nurse through any of the program pathways.

10 Common Nursing School Prerequisite Courses You Should Take

Most of these prerequisites have a minimum credit requirement of 3 credits. That is at least one semester of course work.

Let’s look at why they are relevant for nursing programs.

1. Biology

Biology as a course that studies living things and their life processes is an important prerequisite for nursing school programs.  Understanding basic biological concepts like cells, organs, reproduction, evolution, and genetics will lay a solid foundation for you to grasp the deeper concepts you’ll face in nursing school.  

Biology requires you to take normal lectures and also have some practical knowledge of most organisms. So the credit requirements are mostly 4-5 credits. That’s two semesters of course work.

2. Chemistry

This course provides nursing school aspirants with the basic knowledge of the atomic and molecular structures of matter. As a nurse who will be working with medical prescriptions, you need to have a basic understanding of what makes up the substances you will be dealing with daily. That is what chemistry does for you.

Chemistry includes practical programs and, as such, should have between 4-5 credit requirements.

3. Anatomy and Physiology

As a nursing school aspirant, you should have a basic understanding of the structure and functions of the human body. Beginning from the skeletal structures, the central nervous system and to the different organs that make up the body.

This is one of the most important pre reqs for nursing schools, and it requires about two semesters of course work. That’s about 4-5 minimum credit requirements.

4. English Composition

English is a common connector to all the other prerequisites, and everything you’d be doing as a nurse requires clear communication. You must be able to accurately interpret prescriptions and relay information to medical professionals, patients, and others. 

Because of this, acquiring English writing and communication skills is a crucial need for admission to nursing school.

It requires a minimum of two semesters of course work.

5. Nutrition

A good understanding of nutrition is an important requirement for healthy living. As someone who is looking to have the full responsibility of caring for patients, you need to understand how the food they eat affects their lives.

The minimum credit requirement for this program is 3 credits. That’s one semester of course work.

6. Psychology

Psychology deals with the functions of the human mind and how it affects our behaviors. Nurses are required to have good knowledge about psychology because you’d be dealing with different kinds of human behaviors.

You need to understand there are reasons why people behave the way they do and know how to handle them at every point in time.

There’s no practical section in this course, so the minimum credit requirements are 3 credits.

7. Basic Mathematics

Nursing is a profession that deals with lots of data and numerical requirements. You’d be dealing with the collection, recording, and reporting of data on a daily basis. That is why nursing schools require that you have a basic understanding of mathematics and maybe statistics.

The minimum requirements for mathematics or statistics are 3 credits. That’s one semester of course work.

8. Sociology

A basic understanding of sociology is an important pre req for most nursing schools. Sociology deals with human behaviors, human values, and cultural norms and how they affect the things we do as individuals or groups.

This is a one semester course and only requires a minimum of 3 credits.

9. Pathophysiology

This program will give you a good understanding of the human body and how it deals with different kinds of diseases. You will understand better why some people react quickly to some kinds of diseases and how to handle them.

This is an important prerequisite for nursing schools, as it will give you more insight into why you’re treating some patients and why their conditions are the way they are.

Pathophysiology requires a minimum course work of 3 credits to meet the nursing school requirements.

10. Lifespan Growth and Development

This course will introduce you to the growth and development that occurs in humans from the point of conception to death. You will understand how heredity and environmental factors affect the different stages of growth in a human being.

As a nursing student, you will understand when a developmental process becomes abnormal and know how to respond accordingly.

This is a one semester course work, so it requires a minimum of 3 credits to meet the requirements of most nursing schools.

If you’re looking to study nursing in a US state, find The Best 10 Nursing Schools in Chicago, IL here

Other Nursing School Requirements

Taking aside the course prerequisites, most nursing schools have other important requirements that you must meet to be given admission.

It is important to know that most nursing schools require a minimum of 2.5 and 3.0 GPA for their ADN and BSN programs, respectively.

Most nursing schools require that you get a standard letter of recommendation from two or more scholars or supervisors you’ve worked with. This is important as it would help admissions officers judge your work ethic and general behavior.

While some schools require you to take standardized examinations like the SAT and ACT, others require you to take specified nursing school entrance examinations.

It is very important and advisable that you check the specific requirements of your desired nursing school to make sure you’re fully prepared for admission.

Nursing School Requirements for International Students  

As an international student, most nursing schools require you to meet some extra requirements to gain admission.

You will be required to provide your academic transcripts evaluated by an accredited organization.

Proof of English language proficiency is also a compulsory requirement for students from non-native English-speaking countries.

Some schools would require you to take the prerequisite courses in their country before you’d be allowed to proceed with your program.

The school may also want to verify your visa documents to be sure you’re legally permitted to study in the chosen country.

Nursing Schools Without Prerequisites

Though most nursing schools require you to complete the mandatory prerequisite courses, there are others who do not require that before they offer you admission.

This doesn’t mean you won’t take the prerequisite courses. However, these courses have been woven into their normal nursing programs. So, instead of taking them before, you take them alongside the nursing programs.

Some of these schools that offer nursing admission without mandatory prerequisites are:

  • Capital Area of School Practical Nursing
  • Community College of Baltimore County
  • Fayette County Career and Technical Institute
  • Heartland Community College in Normal, Illinois
  • Dakota Wesleyan University
  • St. Francis University, Indiana
  • North Shore Community College
  • University of Pittsburgh Shadyside School of Nursing
  • St. Joseph school of Nursing in North Providence, Rhode Island
  • Graham Hospital School of Nursing in Canton, Illinois

Wrapping it Up on Prerequisites for Nursing School.

Knowing the prerequisites to gain admission into your favorite nursing school is an important step in the right direction. Getting that and other requirements done with gives you an immeasurable amount of relief as you go through other less stressful admission processes.

Additionally, knowing the prerequisite courses to take will increase your chances of gaining admission into your favorite nursing school. I hope you’ll stop at nothing to make that beautiful dream of yours a success.

Frequently Asked Questions on Prerequisites for Nursing School

Are There Prerequisites for Nursing School Online?

Yes, most nursing schools offer prerequisite courses online. Some online course platforms like Coursera, SkillShare, edX also offer these courses in collaboration with relevant universities.

How do I Take Prerequisite Courses for Nursing?

To take nursing prerequisite courses, you have to enroll in institutions that are accredited to do so. Because some courses involve practical sections, you’d have to look for organizations that have the necessary equipment you need.

Can You Get Into Nursing School Without Prerequisites?

The straight answer is no. These prerequisites provide you with the basic knowledge you need to cope with the more rigorous programs in nursing school. Skipping them would not be good for you or your tutors.
However, some schools have considered all these and made provisions for you to take the prerequisite courses in their school before you enroll in the main program.

When Do You Take Nursing School Prerequisites?

Some of these prerequisite courses can be completed in high school. Courses like English, mathematics, biology, etc. are taught in high school.
However, there are some institutions where you can take these courses before you gain admission into a nursing school.
It’s also important to know that most schools only accept prerequisite courses taken within 5-7 years. Anything beyond that, you’d be required to retake the courses. This is because the whole essence of taking prerequisite courses is to have some of this knowledge fresh in your memory as you begin nursing school.

Where Can I Take Prerequisite Courses for Nursing?

While some schools offer on-campus prerequisite courses, there are also online courses available to nursing school aspirants.
Most community colleges also offer nursing school prerequisite courses. So, you would do well to check with the community college in your vicinity before resorting to online courses.
The reason is that most of these prerequisites require lab sections, and you can’t get access to those in online courses.

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