Earning a nursing degree is a popular career path that can lead to a rewarding and in-demand profession. If you have a GED and are interested in becoming a nurse, you may be wondering if it’s possible to go to nursing school and earn your degree without a high school diploma.

In short, yes – you can absolutely go to nursing school with a GED. Many nursing programs accept applicants who have completed a GED as an alternative to a high school diploma.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about going to nursing school with a GED, including eligibility requirements, how to apply, tips for strengthening your application, and what you can expect from nursing programs.

Nursing School Prerequisites

Before embarking on the journey to become a nurse, it’s important to understand the prerequisites required to gain admission into nursing school. One common question among individuals with a GED is whether they can pursue a nursing career.

Science Course Requirements

Science courses are an integral part of nursing education, as they provide the foundation for understanding the human body and various medical conditions. Nursing schools typically require applicants to have completed courses in biology, chemistry, and anatomy and physiology.

While having a GED instead of a high school diploma may not be a barrier to entry in itself, it’s essential to meet the science course requirements set by the nursing school. Some schools may have specific prerequisites or recommend additional coursework to ensure students have a solid scientific foundation.

Math Requirements

Math skills are crucial for nursing practice, as nurses often need to calculate medication dosages, monitor vital signs, and interpret lab results. Nursing schools typically require applicants to have a strong understanding of basic math concepts, including algebra and statistics.

Similar to science courses, nursing schools may have specific math requirements for admission. It’s important for individuals with a GED to review the prerequisites of the nursing programs they are interested in to ensure they meet the necessary math requirements.

Non-science Prerequisites

In addition to science and math courses, nursing schools may also have non-science prerequisites, such as English composition, psychology, and sociology. These courses help develop communication and critical thinking skills, which are essential for nursing practice.

Individuals with a GED can typically fulfill these non-science prerequisites by taking equivalent courses at a community college or other accredited institution. It’s important to check with the specific nursing program to ensure that the courses taken meet their requirements.

Applying to Nursing School

Completing program applications

When applying to nursing school with a GED, the first step is to complete the program applications. This involves filling out the necessary forms and providing all the requested information. It is important to pay attention to deadlines and ensure that all required documents are submitted on time.

Some nursing programs may have specific requirements for GED applicants, so it is essential to thoroughly review the application guidelines.

Submitting transcripts

While a GED is generally accepted for admission to nursing school, some programs may require additional documentation. One such requirement may be submitting transcripts from any previous educational institutions attended.

This is done to provide the admissions committee with a better understanding of the applicant’s academic background. It is important to contact the nursing program directly to inquire about their specific requirements regarding transcripts.

Personal statement and interview

In addition to completing the application and submitting transcripts, nursing schools often require applicants to write a personal statement and participate in an interview. The personal statement allows applicants to showcase their passion for nursing and explain why they are interested in pursuing a career in the field.

The interview provides an opportunity for the admissions committee to learn more about the applicant’s motivations and assess their suitability for the nursing program.

Recommendation letters

Another important aspect of the application process for nursing school is obtaining recommendation letters. These letters are typically written by individuals who can speak to the applicant’s character, work ethic, and potential as a future nurse.

It is recommended to reach out to professors, employers, or healthcare professionals who can provide meaningful insights into the applicant’s abilities and strengths. These letters can greatly enhance an application and increase the chances of being accepted into nursing school.

Remember, each nursing program may have specific requirements and application processes. It is crucial to thoroughly research and understand the application guidelines for each school you are interested in.

Strengthening Your Application

Earning good grades in prerequisites

When applying to nursing school with a GED, it is important to demonstrate your academic capabilities by earning good grades in prerequisite courses. These courses typically include subjects such as anatomy, physiology, chemistry, and microbiology.

By excelling in these classes, you can show admissions committees that you have the necessary academic foundation to succeed in a nursing program. Additionally, maintaining high grades in prerequisites can compensate for any concerns that may arise from having a GED instead of a traditional high school diploma.

Gaining healthcare experience

Gaining healthcare experience can greatly enhance your application to nursing school. This can be achieved through volunteering or working in healthcare settings such as hospitals, clinics, or nursing homes.

Not only does this demonstrate your commitment to the field, but it also provides you with valuable insights into the healthcare profession. Admissions committees often value hands-on experience as it showcases your ability to work in a clinical environment and interact with patients.

Additionally, healthcare experience can help you develop important skills such as empathy, teamwork, and problem-solving, which are crucial for a successful nursing career.

Taking exam prep courses

Preparing for standardized exams, such as the SAT or ACT, can be beneficial when applying to nursing school. While these exams may not directly assess your nursing knowledge, they can demonstrate your ability to perform well academically and handle the rigors of a nursing program.

Consider enrolling in exam prep courses or utilizing online resources to familiarize yourself with the format and content of these exams. By obtaining a competitive score, you can strengthen your application and showcase your readiness for the academic challenges of nursing school.

What to Expect in Nursing School

Curriculum and coursework

When you enter nursing school, you can expect a rigorous and comprehensive curriculum. Nursing programs typically cover a wide range of subjects, including anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, medical-surgical nursing, pediatric nursing, psychiatric nursing, and more.

The coursework will require both classroom learning and hands-on practice in simulated healthcare settings.

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, nursing programs also emphasize critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills. These skills are essential for nurses to provide safe and effective patient care.

Clinical rotations

One of the highlights of nursing school is the opportunity to participate in clinical rotations. These rotations allow students to gain real-world experience by working alongside healthcare professionals in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare settings.

During clinical rotations, students may have the chance to observe and assist with various procedures, administer medications, and interact with patients. These hands-on experiences are crucial for developing clinical skills and building confidence in the nursing profession.

Study habits needed

Nursing school requires a significant amount of studying and dedication. Students must develop effective study habits to succeed in their coursework and exams. Time management, organization, and discipline are key factors in achieving academic success.

It is important for nursing students to find study methods that work best for them. This may include creating study schedules, forming study groups, utilizing flashcards or online resources, and seeking help from professors or tutors when needed.

Graduation and licensure

Upon completing the nursing program, students are eligible to take the licensing exam, known as the NCLEX-RN for registered nurses or NCLEX-PN for licensed practical nurses. Passing this exam is essential for obtaining licensure and practicing as a nurse.

Graduation from nursing school is a significant accomplishment, but it is just the beginning. Once licensed, nurses have a wide range of career opportunities available to them, such as working in hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, or even pursuing advanced degrees to become nurse practitioners or nurse educators.

For more information about nursing school curriculum and requirements, you can visit the American Association of Colleges of Nursing website.


Although the path to becoming a nurse may look a little different with a GED instead of a high school diploma, it is certainly achievable with focus and determination.

Make sure you complete all nursing school prerequisites, submit a strong application, and demonstrate your motivation to succeed. With hard work and perseverance, you can attain your goal of launching an rewarding nursing career.

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