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In order to become a learning disability nurse, you should have a high school diploma or suitable equivalent and a nursing degree from a college or university. You may need a license to practice nursing, and this normally means taking a licensing exam. You should apply to the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) for certification or to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).
The first step to become a learning disability nurse is to ensure that you complete your secondary education and receive a high school diploma or general education diploma (GED). Recommended subjects include biology, social sciences, and math. A diploma program with health-related subjects may also allow you to study further.
A degree in nursing should be the next step if you want to become a learning disability nurse. The time it will take to earn your degree will depend on where you register and the degree you choose. If you enroll at a two-year or community college, you should expect to study for two to three years to complete your degree. A Bachelor of Science in nursing could take four years to complete.
Once you are qualified, you may need a license to practice professionally, but the requirements vary depending on the country you reside or work in. Becoming licensed usually means completing a licensing exam. If you are US based, for example, you will need to pass the state or national level examination.
The final step to become a learning disability nurse is to apply for certification. You should contact the ANCC if you are US based, but international applicants are also encouraged to apply. The process includes passing an exam to verify your knowledge and skills, after which, you are certified for two years. During this time progress reports may be required. The second certification is valid for four years and may include a probationary period if you have not complied with the ANCC standards.
If you plan to work in the UK or if you qualified in the UK, you should contact the NMC to start the registration process. The process and requirements will vary depending on where you qualified and your country of origin. If you are from a non-European country, you may be asked to complete an international English language test, and you will need at least 12 months of practical experience in your chosen field. Proof of your qualifications will also be required. You should send in both copies of the original certificates or documents and translated versions.