Whether you’re choosing a college major for the first time, thinking about going back to school, or the coronavirus crisis has inspired you to pursue a rewarding career in healthcare, this short guide will introduce you to the requirements you’ll need to meet in order to land the nursing job of your dreams.
While some colleges are waiving certain nursing school admission requirements amid COVID-19, you’ll typically need to earn a degree in your chosen career path, obtain clinical experience, and become licensed in the state where you live. To learn about the schooling and training requirements you’ll need to meet to pursue a rewarding career in healthcare, read on!
Types of Nursing Careers
If you’re ready to embark on a career in nursing, you’ll first need to explore the different types of job opportunities requiring a nursing degree. With a degree in nursing or healthcare, you could work as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), Registered Nurse (RN), or an Advanced Practice Nurse such as a Nurse Practitioner (NP), Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), or Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM). Other possible career paths include nursing administration and nursing informatics.
When choosing the right nursing career path for you, you’ll want to consider things like annual pay, job outlook, work environment, and schooling and training requirements. Registered Nurses earned a median salary of $73,300 in 2019, but you’ll earn the highest salary if you work as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, General Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, or Certified Nurse Midwife. However, these career paths require more schooling and certifications than other nursing careers do.
Schooling and Training Requirements
For most jobs in nursing, schooling and training requirements vary by career path. However, you’ll typically need a Nursing diploma and an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN). Advanced nursing careers often require a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) and/or Doctoral degree.
If you’ll be working toward your college degree while continuing to work full-time, an online bachelor’s or master’s degree program in nursing or healthcare could be right for you. Online degree programs provide you with the flexibility to complete your coursework as your schedule allows, and you’ll learn everything you need to succeed as a healthcare worker. Through schools like Western Governors University, for instance, you can earn a nursing degree online and obtain the skills and credentials you need to make a positive difference in the lives of your patients and the local community.
In addition to these schooling requirements, you’ll need to undergo clinical training as part of your education program, become licensed in your state of residence, and complete one or more nursing examinations. Depending on your chosen career path, these examinations include the:
- National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN).
- National certifications under the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners or American Nurses Credentialing Center.
- National certifications under the American Midwifery Certification Board and/or National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists.
Land a Rewarding Job in Nursing
Once you’ve obtained the schooling, training, and certifications you need to pursue a career in nursing, you can begin to utilize nurse staffing agencies and online job boards. Some of the best job boards for nurses include NurseJobz, RNWanted, NurseFinders, and Healthecareers. If you love to travel and welcome the opportunity to work in new and interesting places, a job as a traveling nurse can be a great choice once you have one to two years of experience, but you can use this time to develop and grow in your career. Traveling nurses can work around the country, with additional perks like great pay and extra bonuses. Agencies like Trusted Nurse Staffing can put you on the path toward a rewarding travel assignment.
To find the most rewarding nursing job for you, take the time to think about your greatest interests and passions before you start applying for available positions. Nursing is a stressful field — especially in the age of COVID-19 — and it’s important to choose an area you’re passionate about to prevent burnout and be the best healthcare worker you can possibly be.
If you’re ready to jump into the healthcare field, earning a degree in nursing can be an incredible way to make a living and make a difference in the lives of others. Get started today so you can take your career to new heights!
By Julia Merrill