In order to be an RN, you can already be an LPN or an LVN and then you'll want to take accelerated nursing courses to get your ADN nursing degree or equivalent, so that you can complete a registered nurse program.
Most RNs follow three different educational paths - a bachelor's degree (BSN), an associate degree (ADN), or a diploma from an approved nursing program.
Most BSN programs take about 4 years to complete and are typically offered by colleges and universities.
Many times, ADN programs are offered by community and junior colleges and take about 2 to 3 years to complete.
The Diploma programs are administered by hospitals and take about 3 years to complete.
While there are a lot of BSN and ADN programs, there are fewer diploma programs. When a student graduates from a BSN, ADN or a diploma program, then they can usually obtain one of the entry-level positions in a hospital, for example, as a staff nurse.
Once you have your degree, then you will need to get your licensure and certification. Licensure is required in all states, DC and in all U.S. territories and the licensing exam is known as the National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX-RN. Once you pass it, you can get a nursing license. Depending on your state, you might have additional licensure requirements. Be sure to check with your state as to the particulars.