Can You Be a Nurse with a Health Science Degree?

a stethoscope on a textbook

Here’s the answer to the question of whether or not you can become a nurse (LPN, RN) if you have a health science degree.

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Can I Become a Nurse with a Health Science Degree?

No, you cannot become a nurse with a bachelor’s degree in health science. To become a nurse you have to complete nursing school and pass the nursing licensure exam (NCLEX).

Because you already have a lot of the general education courses from your health science degree, becoming a nurse will be a little faster for you.

Find Nursing Programs

Search our school database to find schools and get information on the right programs for you. (Don’t worry, it’s fast and free!)

Check out the video below on my YouTube channel for more information.

If you don’t want to watch the video or need more information then definitely keep reading.

The Differences Between a Health Science Major and a Nursing Major

It’s important to understand that there are some differences between a health science major and a nursing major.

Health science majors learn how to keep people healthy. Nurses on the other hand learn how to provide direct care to patients. While they do learn how to keep patients healthy their primary function centers around direct patient care.

How to Become a Nurse with a Health Science Degree

a nurse aide helping patient in wheelchair

1. You’ll Need to Complete Prereqs

The good thing about already having a general degree in health science is that you probably already have a lot of the prerequisites you need for nursing school.

For instance, some of the courses required for a health science degree include:

  • Nutrition
  • Microbiology
  • Human Anatomy
  • Human Physiology
  • Medical Terminolgy

While you’ll probably have many of the prereqs in all likelihood, there’s probably going to be some you don’t have. So you’ll have to go back and finish those.

I suggest contacting an academic advisor for a nursing program (you can go here to find a nursing program).

Every school is slightly different you’ll want to make ensure you’re taking the right classes.

2. Apply to Nursing School

After completing the prerequisites for nursing school, you’ll have to actually apply to a nursing program.

Here are the four different options you have:

  • Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) | Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN)
  • Associate Degree in Nursing
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (Traditional)
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (Accelerated Program)

Below I’m going to discuss each one and help you figure out which one is best for you.

Option #1: LPN & LVN Route

Personally, I wouldn’t go the LPN route unless you really had to. I would stick with the other routes that will get you a registered nurse (RN) licensure at the end.

Side Note:
If you’re wondering the reasons why you might go down the LPN route, the main one is if you’re looking for the quickest (and cheapest) pathway to becoming a nurse.

You will have more limited options. Check out this article where I compare the differences between an LPN vs. RN vs. BSN vs. ADN for more information.

Option #2: Associate Degree in Nursing

An associate’s degree in nursing is an okay option, but something to keep in mind is that in many markets, nurses with only an associate’s degree are starting to become less competitive.

Even if you already have a bachelor’s in something else you’re still going to be a nurse with only an associate’s degree.

Furthering Your Education
Something else to keep in mind is if you ever decide you want to go back to graduate school and become a nurse practitioner.

You would need to go back and get that bachelor’s degree before moving forward and getting that master’s degree or doctorate in nursing.

Option #3 and #4: Bachelor’s Degree (Tradition or Accelerated)

Lastly are the traditional and accelerated BSN programs. Either one is a good option and will land you in the same place.

The major difference is that the accelerated nursing program (ABSN) is condensed into about 13-16 months with very little breaks.

The traditional BSN is stretched across 24 – 30 months and follows the “traditional” school schedule.

Getting into an accelerated program is more competitive, and the program will be more stressful, but you’ll be done quicker.

3. Pass The Nursing Licensure Exam

Regardless of which nursing track you take, you’ll have to pass the nursing licensure exam.

If you go the LPN route, you’ll have to take the NCLEX-PN. If you go the RN route, you’ll have to take the NCLEX-RN.

You’ll take the NCLEX exam after graduating from your nursing program.

Check out my NCLEX resource page if you want to find out more information about the NCLEX or if you’re just curious about how hard the NCLEX is.

Find Nursing Programs

Search our school database to find schools and get information on the right programs for you. (Don’t worry, it’s fast and free!)

Learn More About Becoming a Nurse

a nurse taking a blood pressure

Becoming a nurse is a noble profession and a calling.

Here are some helpful articles to help you learn more about becoming a nurse.

If you have any questions, you can ask them in the comment section.

Find Nursing Programs

Search our school database to find schools and get information on the right programs for you. (Don’t worry, it’s fast and free!)

Frequently Asked Questions

Nursing and health science are different degree fields. Nursing is about providing direct patient care, whereas health science is about keeping people healthy.

Health science does not include nursing. You have to go to a nursing school to become a nurse.

A bachelor of science in nursing is also referred to as a BSN degree.