If you’re considering your next career move, it pays to be practical. For many careers, like nursing, you’ll need additional education and training to enter the workforce. Going back to school is time-consuming and expensive, so it’s important to ensure that it’s worth the investment before you enroll.
So, is nursing school worth it in 2022? Here are some things to keep in mind.
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The Demand for Nurses is High… And Growing
In the United States, there’s an ongoing nurse shortage. Hospitals in every area of the country are experiencing issues hiring and retaining nursing staff. This shortage is only expected to get worse, too.
So, what’s causing these shortages? Nurses leaving the profession and increased demand for health services. About a million nurses will retire by 2030. That, combined with the aging population of Baby Boomers who will need more care in the coming years, will continue to drive demand for nurses in the field.
This growing demand makes it a great time to attend nursing school. If you get started now, you will likely have lots of job opportunities to choose from when you graduate!
Wages for Nurses Are Competitive
Once you’re trained as a nurse, you can make a comfortable living wage. As a registered nurse (RN), you can expect a median salary of $73,300 (as of 2019). If you become an advanced practice nurse, you can earn more — over $100,000 per year.
Going to nursing school is expensive, and most people need to take out student loans to pay for their degrees. However, it can be a worthwhile investment as you should have the ability to pay back your loans once you start working as a nurse full-time.
Some nurses also make extra money by working as travel nurses. Travel nurses can earn a higher base salary than permanent nursing staff and can get housing stipends. While most people don’t want to work as traveling nurses for their entire career, it can be a good way to earn extra money and build your skillset, once you have a couple of years’ experience.
Can You Commit to Nursing School?
Like any degree program, going to nursing school requires time and effort. You will need to have enough time to attend class, study, and do homework.
Only you can decide if you have the time and energy to commit to school at this point in your life. You might consider an online program or going back to school part-time if you have a busy schedule. Your degree will take longer to finish if you go part-time, but it could make going back to school more realistic.
Does Being a Nurse Fit Your Lifestyle?
After graduating from nursing school, many people realize that being a nurse isn’t a good fit for their lifestyle. Nurses work long shifts, often overnight. It can be emotionally and physically exhausting work.
Before you put your time and money into nursing school, be honest with yourself about whether or not this is the career for you. Do some research into nursing theories, read some firsthand accounts or talk to working nurses, and figure out if the day-to-day work is likely to fit your personality and lifestyle.
Nursing is Demanding but Rewarding
Being a nurse is often stressful. It’s a demanding job that requires you to work on your feet all day. Not all patients are doctors are always kind and respectful, and it can be emotionally challenging to work with patients who are extremely sick, terminal, or have experienced severe trauma.
On the other hand, many nurses stay in the profession for decades. They love the opportunity to help people while also earning an attractive salary. It’s an extremely rewarding job that can become a long-term career path.
Nursing school in 2022 is worth it if you think you will find the career path rewarding, and you’re willing to deal with the ups and downs that go along with being a nurse. For many people, there’s no job in the world they’d rather do!