The field of nursing has some of the best job prospects of any career in the nation, but it may not be right for everyone. Read on to learn whether a career in nursing is right for you and to find out about the education you need to find a job.
Nursing is a dynamic field that offers career opportunities at many levels. A diploma that can be completed in under a year will let someone become a Certified Nursing Assistant, while some nurses earn multiple degrees in order to become highly specialized nurse practitioners. In addition to earning a diploma or degree, aspiring nurses need to satisfy state certification and licensure requirements. For example, Registered Nurses (RNs) must pass the NCLEX-RN exam in order to earn their credential.
Regardless of a specific job titles or career levels, nurses share several characteristics. First, they're passionate about helping others. While working in a hospital or medical center, nurses assist doctors with tasks like taking blood and administering medicine. Nurses are often responsible for family and patient education and may explain how to take a particular medicine or follow a doctor's advice. Since nurses work directly with patients, they should have a warm demeanor and be comfortable interacting with people who are ill or injured.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) expects demand for nurses to rise 22% from 2008-2018. RNs and other nursing professionals have some of the best job prospects in the nation as well as solid earning potential. As in many other professions, salaries for nurses increase based on level of education and experience. In May 2010, RNs earned an annual salary of $67,720, on average, and worked in all sorts of medical facilities, including hospitals and doctor's offices. Nursing aides who work in hospitals earned an annual average salary of $26,770 in May 2010 (about $12.87 per hour).
Learn More About Nursing
Nursing is a diverse career field with opportunities at many different levels and across various specialties. Whether you'd like to begin as a Certified Nurse Assistant or earn a bachelor's degree and become a Registered Nurse, Education-Portal.com has all the information you need to make your career and education decisions.
The degree levels in nursing are closely aligned to career level and salary. Introductory programs like diplomas and certificates are usually designed for Certified Nursing Assistants or Licensed Practical Nurses. The associate's degree is the basic level of preparation for a career as a Registered Nurse, but many RNs hold bachelor's or master's degrees. Nurses who specialize in a particular area of medicine (such as oncology or pediatrics) typically hold a master's degree or Ph.D.
- Diploma in Nursing
- Associate's in Nursing
- Bachelor of Nursing
- Master of Science in Nursing
- Ph.D. in Nursing
The career options below are listed in order of required education. A Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) can begin working after earning a diploma and getting certified while a nurse practitioner needs at least a master's degree.
Distance Learning Options
Although hands-on training in nursing can't be done through fully online programs, current nurses can earn advanced degrees through distance learning. Aspiring nurses can complete hybrid programs in which they take some courses online and others on campus. RNs who would like to earn a bachelor's degree can find many Bachelor of Nursing options through online schools.
There are dozens of specialization options available for nurses at all levels. You can specialize in home care, critical care, pediatrics, oncology… the list goes on. Here's a sampling of some options, but click around Education-Portal.com for information about many more specializations.
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