How to become a Registered Nurse

How to become a Registered Nurse

Registered Nurses (RNs) support doctors and patients by providing high-level care to patients in hospitals, aged care and other facilities, even within the community.

If you’re caring, compassionate as well as level-headed and practical, then nursing could be a rewarding career to consider.


About you:


  • You’ll need to be patient, empathetic and professional at all times – even under pressure
  • An excellent team player
  • An effective communicator with patients and colleagues, both orally and written
  • Attention to detail is essential, as is the ability to prioritise, be a critical thinker, and have the willingness to keep learning


The job:


  • Observe and record patients progress, perform diagnostic tests and administer medication
  • Reassure and explain to patients and their families the treatments and procedures
  • Coordinate activities that could help patients to feel better, working with other health care professionals to achieve the best outcome for individuals
  • Prepare patients for further examinations, testing or surgery, assist in operations and post-operative care
  • Maintain and update patient and hospital records accurately and promptly
  • Help or supervise other nursing staff

Lifestyle Impact: High


  • Part Time opportunities: High – 50% of RNs work part time (Source:
  • Average hours for full-time workers: 41 per week.
  • Registered Nurse salary (average): *$75,000 per year (Source: *Salary varies between states, level of experience, part/full time hours, and the potential for overtime.
  • Future career growth: Very Strong (Source:
  • Working from home is not an option. Levels of responsibility and stress may be high, and shift work could also be consideration.
  • There are opportunities for promotion, career changes, flexible hours and choice of location.


Registered Nurses are most in demand in these locations:


Registered Nurses are needed Australia wide, with the majority of jobs advertised in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.

As an RN you could probably choose any location in Australia to look for work as they are so in-demand. There could also be overseas opportunities. Nurses work in a huge variety of settings, from hospitals (in every department), schools and GP surgeries, to community services, the tourism industry and more.


How to become a Registered Nurse in Australia


You’ll need to obtain a relevant qualification (at least a Bachelor’s Degree) and be registered to practise.


Step 1 – Successfully complete Year 12 – English and Maths are essential. One of biology, chemistry or physics are often prerequisites for nursing degrees too. Other useful subjects to consider include social studies and psychology.


Step 2 – Work experience could help to decide if healthcare is the right career for you and look good on your degree applications.

You could look for work experience in aged care, pharmacies, GP’s, community health clinics and hospitals in a variety of departments. There are also programs in Australia and projects abroad to look into, (these will probably have a fee attached).


Step 3 – Find and complete a degree that will give you the right qualifications. For example:

Or complete any undergraduate degree then achieve your Master of Nursing (but make sure to check that your chosen undergraduate degree will meet the entry requirements).


Step 4 – Apply to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA), for a license to practise as a Registered Nurse.


Step 5 – Get a few years of experience then move into a more specialised role, transfer into the medical administrative sector, or apply to become a nurse unit manager.


Find out more here –


Similar Careers to Registered Nurse


Enrolled Nurse

Aged Care Worker

Tele Health Nursing


Nurse Educator

Pathology Collector


Cosmetic Nurse

Occupational Therapist

Dental Nurse

Social Worker





Find out more about alternative careers.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Do I need qualifications to become a Registered Nurse?


Yes, you will need to obtain a minimum Bachelor’s degree in nursing and be registered to work as an RN. You should also check with the state or territory where you’ll be working about any other requirements.


Where do Registered Nurses work?


Nurses can work in hospitals, GP clinics, schools, in the community (visiting people’s houses or working in clinics), courts of law as forensic nurses, war zones and military bases, prisons, in teaching or training environments, on cruise ships and at resorts, and may even in publication houses as writers and reporters.


How long will it take to qualify as a Registered Nurse?


Usually it takes a minimum of three years to become an RN, but it could take longer if you take a different pathway, e.g. 5 years if you complete a related undergraduate degree (3 years) then a postgraduate nursing degree (2 years).


What is the difference between and Enrolled Nurse (EN) and a Registered Nurse (RN)?


ENs are only required to complete a Diploma (2 years) not a Bachelor’s Degree, so the job comes with less responsibility than an RN’s role. An EN won’t have to supervise other nurses, undertake complex patient care, administer medications or carry out some diagnostic tests.

Be the first to find out

Join our free newsletter crew – we don’t send spam, just news and opportunities to help you build your career.

You might like...

Pathways to Geospatial Careers
$0 AUD
Change of Preference Guide 2023
$18 AUD
School Leaver Toolkit
$18 AUD

Quick Links

Recent Articles

Latest Video

Our latest Guides

Digital download
Pathways to Geospatial Careers
$0 AUD
Digital download
Change of Preference Guide 2023
$18 AUD
Digital download
School Leaver Toolkit
$18 AUD
Digital download
Apprenticeships and Traineeships Guide
$18 AUD

Sign up for our Newsletter

We won’t send you spam, or fifty emails a week. We just send opportunities that could help you find a career you love

Scroll to Top

Fill in the form to update your details

Oops! You need to be logged in to use this form.

Welcome Back

Everything's where you left it