A Nursing Degree Might Be the Best Career Move for You!
Nursing is one of the most sought-after professions in the world. In fact, nursing is the United States’ largest medical profession. The nation has an ever-growing, rapidly aging population and therefore it’s a good time to get into the field. There are currently almost four million registered nurses in the U.S. Pursuing a nursing degree might be just the right career move for you! We’ve taken the guesswork out of research and resources, rounding the best of the best up for you right here. When looking for the top nursing degrees in the nation, we’ve got you covered and an online search is the ideal place to start.
Without a college education, you can still become a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN). A diploma in nursing or an associate’s degree in nursing is a short-term program option that is a good fit for many people wanting to get into the profession as quickly as possible. These programs range in duration anywhere between 18 months to 2 years long. With a four-year degree at a college or university, you’ll walk away with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Require courses include microbiology, anatomy, psychology, chemistry, and often other science-related fields. Hands-on application and experience are gained through clinical practicums throughout nursing programs that usually take place either in hospital settings or nursing homes, schools, community centers, palliative care units, as well as other options where your expertise could be honed. Graduate degrees in nursing set you up for potentially the highest-paying positions. Registered nurses must obtain licensing before they practice. Frequently, they are required to get additional certification in basic life support and occasionally in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
Nursing schools have become increasingly competitive as they seek out the absolute best candidates. A relatively high grade point average (GPA) is important, as is volunteer experience, a solid letter of intent, and mention of leadership experience. With numerous options for admissions to online programs and on-site, navigating these choices can feel like a daunting task. These resources and tips should come in handy.
In just four short years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics is projecting that employment opportunities for nursing degree graduates will increase by an impressive 16%. The American and Canadian population continues to age, with life expectancy rising. As a result, more and more workers in the health care field are required. A sharp increase in the demand for registered nurses is expected to accommodate needs in long-term rehabilitation centers and residential care facilities. The payout for pursuing nursing specialties is most definitely appealing. Nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists, and nurse practitioners take home an average of more than $100,000 annually in the United States. The demand for specialty positions is expected to see an increase of more than 26% between now and 2030.
Duke University School of Nursing (DUSON) is one of the highest-ranking schools for nursing in the United States, among the U.S. News & World Report’s top Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs. The National League for Nursing has designated the school a Center of Excellence five different times. John Hopkins University, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and the University of Pennsylvania also rank among the best nursing master’s programs in the country.
For the highest paying nursing jobs, certified registered nurse anesthetists bring in the most, topping off more than $165,000. General nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists hover around the $106,000 mark annually. Psychiatric nurse practitioners aren’t too far behind, making more than $105,000 per year. Certified nurse-midwives and neonatal intensive care nurses each make between $102,000-103,000 per year on average (www.nurse.org; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
There are so many avenues to explore and settings where you can potentially practice nursing, depending on the nature of your expertise. There is always a high demand in hospitals and nursing homes, of course. But other employers often include drug counseling centers, drug dependency clinics, oncology clinics, sports rehabilitee facilities, mental health units, psychiatric hospitals, fitness centers, schools, ambulatory centers, birthing centers, pediatric outpatient clinics, and so much more. The sky’s the limit! If you’re interested in private practice, options include becoming a private duty baby nurse, opening a private clinic, or becoming a private nursing consultant.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics