The Top Questions To Ask Before Choosing A Nursing School
Is nursing school the right choice for you? You're ready to start your first career. Whether you recently graduated from high school or you're a stay-at-home parent who is ready to enter the workforce, take a look at the questions to ask right now.
Why Do You Want To Become A Nurse?
This question can help you to decide if you truly want to explore a career in nursing. There is no universal or standard reason to become a nurse. Your decision is personal and may differ from any other soon-to-be nurse's reasons. But this doesn't mean there aren't some common points to consider. You may want to become a nurse if:
You genuinely enjoy caring for other people. You're a natural helper or just enjoy making sure everyone around you is healthy, happy, and feels well-cared-for. If you enjoy caregiving, nursing is a career to seriously consider.
You want a job with options. Nurses work in a variety of roles and in many different settings. You could specialize in areas such as pediatrics, obstetrics, gerontology, or family medicine or work in research or administration as a nurse.
You want to make a livable wage doing something you love. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), registered nurses (RNs) make an average of $77,600 annually or $37.31 per hour.
Along with these reasons, you may also want to explore a career in nursing if you enjoy science or plan to eventually earn an advanced degree in a health-related (nursing or non-nursing) area.
What Type of Degree Do You Want?
Unlike some other career paths, nursing isn't always a straight road. Instead of one specific type of school or degree, you have options. These include two-year associate's degrees from community colleges and vocational schools, shorter hospital-based or career school degrees, and four-year bachelor's degrees.
If you're not sure whether to choose a nursing bachelor's degree or a shorter type of program, consider:
Your long-term career goals. Do you want to work as an advanced practice nurse (such as a nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, or nurse anesthetist) someday? You will need a bachelor's and a graduate-level degree to start out in one of these jobs.
The types of classes you will take. Are you searching for a full program that offers general education, liberal arts, or higher-level science courses along with nursing-focused classes? You may need a bachelor's for this type of study.
Your resume. A bachelor's degree may make you a more desirable hire—and could potentially score you a higher salary (depending on the type of nursing job, field, hospital/medical center, and region).
Before you choose one nursing program, talk to the school's admissions staff or an advisor. These nursing school professionals can help you to understand the course of study, how long the degree will take to complete, the overall costs, and what types of jobs you can expect to get as a graduate.
Contact a nursing school near you to learn more.