If you’re thinking about going to nursing school, and you’re reading this in the fall, you should be gearing up to start visiting your target schools, talking to advisors, and applying. Some schools have programs that start two or three times a year, so even if you’re looking at this in the spring or summer, all is not lost.

And if it’s not fall, and you’ve missed the deadlines for the nursing schools that you were interested in, there are some other steps you can take as you get ready to apply to nursing school, which we’ll get to in a minute.

Here is what you need to do to get started on your journey to getting that RN or LPN degree:

Go to your State Board of Nursing and get a list of accredited nursing schools in your state. You can do this, in most cases, by going on your favorite search engine, and typing in, just as an , “Texas Board of  Nursing “. Then, search the site for their list of accredited schools. Some sites will have it listed under education, some will have it listed under resources. If you can’t find it, call the Board of Nursing and ask. You are doing this because you want to make sure that the school is accredited by the State Board of Nursing.

For more information, and a link to all of the State Boards of Nursing, cut and paste the link below into your browser bar: http://nursingschoolprograms.com/category/board-of-nursing

Identify the schools that offer the program that you are interested in, and that you want to attend. Most of them start having information sessions in the fall and early winter for their programs which start next summer or even next fall. Call each school that you are interested, and take notes on what you will need to apply. This is generally going to include a copy of your high school diploma, GED, or college degree.

Find out what entrance exam you will need to take – frequently the TABE or the NET – and either buy reference books that will help you pass the test or find the information online. Generally you will need a knowledge of English and some high school and possibly college level algebra – decimals, fractions, graphing, etc. Find out the dates that those tests are given at the schools that you are interested in, and take them.

For Associate’s Degree in Nursing Programs: You will need to have completed most or all of your prerequisites before you apply to the program. So, check the schools that you are interested in, find out their deadlines and prerequisites, and sign up for the prerequisite classes. It is important to keep your grades up, because nursing schools are very competitive these days.