How to Become an RN in Connecticut (A Complete 2023 Guide)

How to Become an RN in Connecticut (A Complete Guide)

Calling everyone that wants to become an RN in Connecticut…

Welcome to your complete 2023 guide. 

In this guide, we’re going to take you through all the steps to getting that RN license in the state. This way, you’ll know where to start and what to do next. 

So are you ready to learn how to become an RN in Connecticut?

Let’s go! 

The 5 Steps to Becoming an RN in Connecticut 

You don’t become a nurse overnight — you know that. But having a roadmap can make the journey easier to navigate.

That said, here are the 5 steps to becoming an RN in Connecticut:

  1. Set your goal
  2. Have a strong educational foundation
  3. Choose a nursing degree
  4. Apply for a nursing license
  5. Find your first nursing job

 Let’s take a close look at each of these. 

Step 1: Set Your Goals

Before anything else, ask yourself — why do you want to become a nurse? And more specifically, why an RN? 

Another thing to think about is where do you want your RN career to go? 

Do you see yourself working in a hospital setting in the long term, or do you envision yourself in other environments?

I mean, there are several specializations you can pursue. Some prefer to focus on ambulatory care, while others want to go into critical care. 

Case Management nurses help facilitate and administer healthcare services to patients and families. Flight nurses work with an air medical service provider that transports patients from one location to another.

Knowing the direction you want to take your career (or at least being aware of your options) can affect several decisions. 

This is why it’s so important that the first step is to set your goals. 

Step 2: Have a Strong Educational Foundation

Getting into a nursing school means going through specific subjects in high school. Usually, these include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • 4 years of English
  • 3 to 4 years of Math, including algebra and geometry
  • 2 to 4 years of Science, including biology and chemistry (physics and computer science are not required but are a plus)
  • 3 to 4 years of Social Studies
  • 2 years of Foreign Language

Some nursing schools have additional requirements, so it’s best to check their pre-requisites to ensure you’ve got everything covered.

Step 3: Choose a Nursing Degree

You can either pursue an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Although they lead you to the same endpoint, there are significant differences between the two.

Which one you choose depends on various factors.

When do you get an ADN?

If you want to start your nursing career right away (and start earning money!), then you should get an ADN. 

An Associate Degree in Nursing only takes 2 years (or even less) to complete. This program combines both classroom and clinical experience. 

With this, you’ll be studying and working at the same time. 

However, it’s important to consider that only 52% of nursing vacancies in Connecticut require an ADN. You could work in different departments but may find these limited.

Note: even if you get an ADN now, you can always pursue a BSN in the future. 

When do you get a BSN?

You should pursue a BSN if you want a leadership position or if your desired nursing role requires a BSN degree. 

Now, it takes around 4 years to complete a BSN, so make sure you’re ready for it. 

If you don’t need to begin working right away, it’s a wise decision to get a BSN as it can open multiple doors for you. 

An RN with a BSN qualifies for 92% of nursing vacancies in Connecticut. In turn, you’ll have more opportunities to land a job.

There are also specific roles that only allow BSN graduates. These include:

  • Public health
  • Nursing forensics
  • Case management
  • Military/army nurse
  • School nurse
  • And more

 As you can see, both ADN and BSN have their benefits. It’s up to you to decide which one will fit your goals best. 

Click here for a list of approved nursing schools in Connecticut. 

Step 4. Apply for a Nursing License

Once you complete your nursing degree, you can now apply for a Connecticut RN nursing license. 

There are 2 ways to get your RN license in Connecticut:

  • By examination 
  • By endorsement

The former is for first-time nurse applicants, while the latter is for those licensed in another state.

Licensure by Examination

Here are the steps to apply for an RN license in Connecticut: 

  1. Register to take the National Council of State Board of Nursing Licensing Examination-RN (NCLEX-RN). 

Pearson VUE administers the exam. You can register for it online and pay a $200 testing fee.

  1. Submit the necessary documents. These are:
  1. A completed online application form and payment amounting to $180. The Connecticut Department of Public Health does not accept paper applications.
  1. Your official transcript to prove you’ve completed your nursing education. Applicants trained outside the U.S. only need to arrange for the CGFNS to confirm that they completed the International Certification Program.

Once your documents have been received and reviewed, you’ll be eligible to take the NCLEX-RN. 

You’ll receive an Authorization to Test letter either through mail or email. Make sure you keep this as it has your exam schedule.

  1. Take and pass the NCLEX-RN.

The test has 3 levels of comprehension: basic knowledge in nursing, the ability to analyze and apply knowledge, and an application of rules and processes to identify the best practice of care. 

Licensure by Endorsement

As for the applicants who practiced in another state, they can get their Connecticut RN license by endorsement. 

It also requires a $180 licensing fee.

You’ll need to have your nursing license verified, regardless of whether it is active or expired. If your previous state participates in Nursys, you can get verification online.

If your licensed state isn’t in Nursys, you’ll have to submit a verification form to your previous state. Include a written request for them to send a completed version to the DPS.

When the DPS receives and approves your application, you’ll get a temporary license. It allows you to practice in Connecticut for 120 days while waiting for full licensure. 

Step 5: Find Your First Nursing Job

Now that you have your RN license, all that’s left is to find your first nursing job.

There are many opportunities for RNs in Connecticut, so it helps if you can narrow down your options. Consider doing the following:

  • Check what’s currently happening in the nursing job market
  • Network with other nurses you know
  • Find a mentor or talk to your professors

Base your decision on where you want to work (it doesn’t necessarily have to be in a hospital), what role you want, and the salary and benefits you need.

From there, prepare for your interviews, and don’t forget to present yourself as the ideal candidate.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Before we go, let’s answer some frequently asked questions about RN nurses in Connecticut. 

How often should I renew my RN license in Connecticut?

You’ll need to renew your RN license annually in Connecticut. Although you don’t need to fulfill any CE requirements, you must pay a $110 renewal fee.

Which hospitals should I consider in Connecticut?

If you want to work in a hospital, you might as well gun for the best ones. Consider the following:

  • Yale New Haven Hospital
  • Hartford Hospital
  • St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center
  • Albert J. Solnit Psychiatric Center — South Campus
  • Bridgeport Hospital

How much do nurses in Connecticut earn?

The average annual salary of Registered Nurses in the country is $82,750. Those in Connecticut earn more — RN salaries in the state average at $84,850.

Of course, it varies depending on several factors, one of which is your educational background. RNs with BSNs typically earn 20% higher than those with ADNs.

What to look for in a nursing school in Connecticut?

Deciding whether you want to take an ADN or a BSN is one thing. Finding the right school is another. 

Remember, the best school depends on your needs and preferences, but here are some questions to ask:

  • How’s their curriculum? Does it match your style of care?
  • How’s their NCLEX-RN pass rate?
  • Are instructors available to support their students?
  • Does it offer career search support after you graduate?

Helpful Resources for Connecticut RNs

List of Associate Degree Programs (ADNs) in Connecticut

Here’s a list of ADN programs approved by the Connecticut DPH:

Capital Community College
950 Main Street
Hartford, CT 06103

Goodwin College
1 Riverside Drive
East Hartford, CT 06118

Naugatuck Valley Community College
750 Chase Parkway
Waterbury, CT 06708

Three Rivers Community College
7 Mahan Drive
Norwich, CT 06360

Norwalk Community College
188 Richards Avenue
Norwalk, CT 06854-1655

Gateway Community College
20 Church Street
New Haven CT 06510

St. Vincent’s College at Sacred Heart University
5151 Park Avenue
Fairfield, CT 06825

Northwestern Connecticut
Community College
Park Place East
Winsted, CT 06098

Visit the Connecticut DPH website for updates.

List of Baccalaureate Degree Programs (BSNs) in Connecticut

Here’s a list of BSN programs approved by the Connecticut DPH:

Fairfield University
North Benson Road
Fairfield, CT 06430

Quinnipiac University
275 Mount Carmel Avenue
Hamden, CT 06518

Sacred Heart University
5151 Park Avenue
Fairfield CT 06825

University of Saint Joseph
1678 Asylum Avenue
West Hartford, CT 06117

Southern Connecticut
State University
501 Crescent Street
New Haven, CT 06515

University of Connecticut
231 Glenbrook Road, Unit 4026
Storrs, CT 06269-4026

Western Connecticut State University
181 White Street
Danbury, CT 06810

Central Connecticut State University
1615 Stanley Street
PO Box 4010
New Britain, CT 06050

University of Bridgeport
169 University Avenue
Bridgeport, CT 06604

Visit the Connecticut DPH website for updates.

In Conclusion

So that was how to become an RN in Connecticut. 

To be sure, the road to becoming an RN in Connecticut may be long and winding. But if you are armed with a roadmap, it becomes significantly less overwhelming.

And with this guide, you now have an easy-to-follow process that covers everything from understanding your personal reasons to finding your first nursing job.

Good luck!

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