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Can I become a nurse by going to school part-time?



Dear Donna,

I have received a master’s degree from China and have no background in nursing. I’m interested in becoming a nurse. Now that I reside in the U.S., I notice several community colleges in my area offer nursing programs, but most of them have some pre-nursing course prerequisites like human anatomy, human physiology and general microbiology.

I need to know where I can take these prerequisites and earn the credits they require before I apply for a nursing program, what the pediatric and ob/gyn nurse education and job conditions are in the San Francisco Bay Area, and if I can become a nurse if I can only attend school part-time because I have two children?

Interested in Nursing

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Interested in Nursing,

I advise you to seek a BSN nursing program rather than an associate’s degree (community college) program. Most employers, both hospital and non-hospital, are primarily hiring nurses with BSN degrees these days and that trend will only continue. You can also seek a master’s level entry to practice program but that will take a bit longer.

Many schools have flexible programs for people just like you who have a family and sometimes even a job. Find a program that works best for you and your family. Here’s a list of accredited schools in the California area ( You’ll have to contact those in your area for additional information.

The current job market for nurses in most parts of the country is tight, but by the time you get your nursing license, opportunities will be much better. Read this article “New nurse, new job strategies” ( to see what’s happening with the job market.

You should also connect with the Asian American/Pacific Islander Nurses Association Inc. for additional support and advice (

Best wishes,



About Author

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at and, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://www.

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