If you want a meaningful career that pays well and offers stability, consider becoming a nurse. No matter if you are a traditional student or an adult learner who is planning on going back to college, becoming a nurse is an excellent career to consider. Nursing is a growing field. One great benefit of this field is that it allows you to earn while you learn.
To become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), most programs are only 18 months long. These degrees can be obtained at vocational school or community college. In most states, after a nursing student finishes the Intro to Nursing or Nursing 101 class, they can sit for their states Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) License. This allows a nursing student to work as a CNA while they are still in nursing school. Working as CNA will allow you to earn a wage that is higher than what other unskilled jobs pay. It also allows you to gain experience and develop your bedside manner as a care giver.
Once you become a LPN, there are many job opportunities. Many hospitals don’t hire LPNs anymore. Never the less, there are many job opportunities in home health care, long term care, school districts, and in primary care offices. The average wage for a LPN is more than $22 per hour.
While you are working as a LPN, it is a smart career move to become a Registered Nurse. To become a RN, only an Associate’s Degree is required. This degree can be earned at most community or Junior Colleges. Becoming a RN will give you the opportunity to work in a hospital. There are a vast amount of different nursing positons including ICU, Med-Surge, ER, and Pediatrics. The average wage for a RN is almost $32 per hour.
If you are interested in a Bachelors Degree in Nursing (BSN), most hospitals will provide tuition reimbursement or assistance towards the degree. Earning a BSN allows a nurse to advance into a specialist or management position. With a BSN, a nurse can work as a Facility Educator, Case Manager, or become an Administrator. The average salary for those positons range from $72K to well over $100K.
There are also advanced degrees in nursing. A nurse can go to graduate school for a Masters in Skilled Nursing (MSN) or even a Ph.D. program. An advanced degree gives a nurse the credentials to teach at a university. An advanced degree is also required to become a Nurse Anesthetist or a Nurse Practitioner. Both of those positions have an average annual salary of over $104K.
Another benefit of becoming a nurse is the stability and variety of career options that it offers. Due to the aging Baby Boomer population, the demand for nurses is more than almost any other profession. The demand is projected to grow by 16% annually up to 2024. Also, if you are not interested in working in a hospital setting, you can work for a law office auditing files, the government conducting surveys of facilities, in health care marketing, or in the insurance industry.
It does, however, take a special person to become a nurse. A person must have compassion for others. There is little room for error, so one must provide excellent care. Also, you must be reliable because patients are counting on you. If you feel that you meet those qualifications, consider becoming a nurse. It is rewarding on many levels.