Nurses care for patients, offer emotional support, and educate the public about health conditions. Individuals can pursue various types of nursing careers, including roles as licensed practical nurses and registered nurses. Professionals in the field can also specialize in caring for a specific patient group, such as neonatal, rehabilitation, and critical care nurses.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 12% job growth for registered nurses from 2018 to 2028, a rate much faster than the national average for all occupations. The increasing demand for healthcare workers may be due in part to new global viruses and aging populations. You can learn more about the nursing profession on the College Choice nursing homepage.
Types of Nursing Careers
Nursing students can pursue a variety of career paths, including roles as registered nurses. Learners can qualify to obtain an RN license by earning an associate degree, a bachelor’s degree, or a diploma in nursing.
Most associate and diploma programs require 2-3 years to complete, while learners typically earn a bachelor’s degree in four years. These paths each qualify graduates to obtain licensure and secure entry-level employment. However, some nursing careers, such as teaching, research, and administrative roles, require a bachelor’s degree.
To prepare for a specialized career, learners can study a particular subject. Nursing students may specialize in an area such as pediatrics, gerontology, or ambulatory care. Learners pursuing a specialization area can complete relevant elective courses, choose a specialization or concentration, and obtain certification through a professional organization. While certification is voluntary for nurses, these credentials can improve graduates’ job prospects.
- Staff nurses care for patients in hospitals.
- Advanced practice nurses often work as primary care providers or specialize in a certain area.
- Nurse managers lead and manage other nurses.
- Nursing researchers conduct research to improve health outcomes and shape policy decisions.
- Nursing educators teach and train aspiring nurses.
Benefits of a Career in Nursing
Nursing careers offer benefits including above-average job growth and salary potential. The BLS projects employment for registered nurses to increase by 12% from 2018 to 2028. According to the BLS, nurses earned a median annual salary of $71,730 in 2018. For each nurse, salary specifics depend on factors including work setting and specialization area.
Many advanced, specialized nursing professionals reap even greater benefits. The BLS projects a 26% job growth rate for nurse practitioners, anesthetists, and midwives from 2018 to 2028. The median pay for these professionals was nearly $114,000 in 2018. Of these nurses, anesthetists make the highest median salary. Anesthetists typically work in hospitals and outpatient care centers.
According to a 2016 report by the Pew Research Center, job satisfaction for Americans is tied to household income and education. Highly educated employees, including nurses, who earn more than $75,000 per year claimed very high job satisfaction in the center’s survey. Additionally, approximately 62% of healthcare workers reported that they receive a sense of identity from their job.
The Future of Nursing
The nursing field shows promising growth, with demand for healthcare workers increasing. While geopolitical events and trends can affect the healthcare industry, overall demand for nurses should remain constant.
To benefit from the career opportunities in the field, nurses can consider pursuing a higher level of education to expand their job options. Registered nurses can enroll in an RN-to-BSN program to obtain a bachelor’s in nursing. An advanced degree can help professionals advance in the workplace. According to College Choice, graduates with a bachelor’s degree in nursing often secure high-paying leadership positions. Some employers offer tuition reimbursement plans to help employees further their education.
College Choice provides information to help professionals transition into a bachelor’s program in nursing. After earning a bachelor’s degree, students can enroll in a graduate program. Earning a master’s degree in the field qualifies graduates to pursue roles such as nurse midwife, anesthetist, and practitioner.