Nurses standing outside hosptial

Have you ever thought about becoming a nurse? Do you have a passion for helping people? Do you love a challenge and enjoy learning something new every day?

flexible hours,
great pay & benefits

If so, nursing could be a job worth considering, especially if you have or plan on having a family. Though it's definitely one of the toughest jobs there is, the benefits could far outweigh the costs.

Schooling

To become an RN, or Registered Nurse, first you need to decide if you want a two-year degree or a four-year bachelor's degree. The benefits of having a bachelor's degree is that you start at a higher salary, you can become a supervisor and it is easier to find a job right after graduation. A two-year degree, though, is much more cost-effective (about $6,000 compared to $20,000 plus for a bachelor's) and obviously takes less time to achieve. Make sure to research two-year programs, though, as the waiting lists can be quite extensive.

Salary

Across the U.S., the average nurse is paid $66,000 per year. The top 10 percent earn more than $80,000 and the bottom 10 percent earn $50,000. If you advance your skills and become a specialized nurse, such as a nurse anesthesiologist, you can make upward of $120,000 per year. Not a bad chunk of change for a career you love that doesn't take too much time away from your family!

Benefits

Nurses can work a variety of hours, in a variety of locations. If you're looking for the more traditional, Monday to Friday type of job, a doctor's office is for you. If you have kids and are looking to avoid daycare expenses, you could work the weekend shift or night shift at a hospital. You can work at a senior care center, be a traveling nurse (expenses paid and a chance to see the world!) or be an in-home nurse (where you go to patients' homes). The opportunities are endless. Not to mention, you also will receive paid time off, sick time, health insurance, medical/dental/vision coverage, holiday pay, retirement plans, social security and even education benefits (if, for example, you want to go back to school for a bachelor's degree).

If you're not quite sure if nursing is for you, look into becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant, or CNA. Programs are typically six weeks in length and shouldn't cost any more than $1,000. There's usually no waiting list, and you can still work in whatever field you'd like — hospital, doctor's office, nursing home, etc. CNAs are typically paid $11 to $12 per hour and can work full or part time, weekdays, weekends, or nights. Most hospitals offer some sort of education compensation if you're looking to advance yourself, as well. Becoming a CNA will allow you to decide if nursing is the career for you without having to invest much up front.

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Tags: job opportunities


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Comments

Comments on "Nursing 101: Why it could be the career for you"

Amy July 05, 2012 | 12:32 PM

Katie, you make a good point which I forgot to mention which is that nursing is a good career for moms because of its flexible hours. Nurses are also some of the healthiest and most compassionate people I know. I have had many role models in my life who are/were nurses and this has inspired me to see nursing in a positive light. A friend of mine is also married to a nurse and he says that nurses make the best wives. Go figure!

Katie July 05, 2012 | 12:10 PM

Nursing is such a great career path for moms, and this article points out exactly why. There is also always going to be a need for nurses, more so with the fact that the "baby boomers" are reaching retirement. I'm actually considering going back to school for nursing, and this article reminded me of all the benefits. Thanks!!

Amy July 05, 2012 | 12:08 PM

I would consider becoming a nurse. I graduated a couple of years ago with a liberal arts bachelor’s degree and I have been having a difficult time making it work for me. I have considered going back to school to retrain, but being thousands of dollars in debt and having already spent four years completing my bachelor’s, I am reluctant to go down a road that is going to require lots of money and years of extra schooling. I like the thought of becoming a CNA a way to test the waters to see if the nursing profession will be a right fit for me. I also like the potential for upward mobility in the nursing profession as well as the good pay, flexible hours and excellent fringe benefits. As millions of baby boomers retire and embark on their golden year journeys, nurses will be in high demand. Add good job security to the aforementioned list.

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