Which nursing school is the right choice? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for nursing degree grads are poised to grow at a nine percent rate from 2020 to 2030—with the addition of 276,800 jobs. If you're ready to become a registered nurse (RN), take a look at the questions to ask before you choose a nursing program.
What Type of Degree Do You Want?
There is more than one route to becoming a nurse. These include diploma programs, an associate's degree, and a nursing bachelor's degree. Diplomas from accredited nursing schools are typically the shortest options. These programs may vary in length (based on the school's curriculum and graduation requirements)—but won't take as long as an associate's or bachelor's-level degree.
An associate's program provides basic, comprehensive knowledge and may take two years of full-time study. While this type of program will lead to RN licensure, it isn't the right option if you want to pursue an advanced nursing specialty someday. To work as an advanced practice nurse (such as a nurse practitioner), you will need to start at the bachelor's level. After you complete a four-year bachelor's degree, you will need to continue your studies and earn a master's or doctoral degree.
What Type of Schedule Do You Need?
Some nursing students can commit to almost any school schedule. If you won't work during school and have no family obligations (such as caring for a child or an elderly parent), you can choose a program with daytime, evening, or even weekend schedule. But if you do have other commitments, you will need to select a school that fits your scheduling needs.
Along with the days of the week and the times of your classes, consider whether you will need to choose a part or full-time schedule. A part-time schedule provides the flexibility working or parenting students need. But this flexibility may come at a cost. Instead of a two (associate's) or four (bachelor's) year program, a part-time option could double the number of years. If you want to finish school and start working as soon as possible, a full-time program is the best option.
What Types of Classes Do You Want or Need?
Most nursing schools have a standard curriculum. This means you'll find many of the same science prerequisites and basic skills courses at almost every school. While these classes may not differ (between programs), some schools do offer higher-level or specialized courses. If you want to explore specialty areas of nursing, such as research or psychology, you will need to select a school that offers these undergraduate options.
For more information, contact a local nursing school.
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