Nursing has always been a great field to get into, and for good reason. The pay is solid, the benefits are great, the training time to get into the field is relatively low, and there has always been an abundance of jobs in this field. These days, nursing school is becoming even more popular than in years past. This can be attributed to the economic downturn and the increasingly aging demographics of most developed countries.
The aging populations virtually guarantee job stability in this field for at least the next few decades. And with job stability an increasingly rare commodity, rarer still is the opportunity to get into a good paying and stable career with only a couple years of training outside of high school.
When it comes to choosing the right nursing program, there are generally three options. You can become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or Registered Nurse (RN). The CNA option for most people is a stepping stone to a more prestigious position. The program only takes a couple weeks to complete and pays around $15 an hour. But for those that are in need of an immediate income, this may be a good route to take. Many CNAs will take part time training at a practical nursing school or a regular university if they are going the RN route.
The majority of students entering the field choose to enroll in a practical nursing program and become an LPN. Becoming an LPN offers several advantages that make it kind of the “sweet spot” of the nursing profession. First of all, training at a practical nursing school only runs about a year attending full time and around 2 years part time. This is really a small amount of time to train in order to enter such a lucrative field.
Speaking of lucrative, the pay for an LPN fresh out of a practical nursing school is somewhere in the mid five figures, depending on the region of the country. That’s higher than the national average and higher than many people make after getting a four year liberal arts degree from a regular college or university. One other thing that makes practical nursing training so attractive is the ability to move quickly into a good paying job, while having the option to continue on toward becoming an RN, where the pay is even higher.
For those who are ambitious and can afford to wait a few years before earning a good salary, the RN career may be best for them. RN training takes a couple years longer than practical nursing training, but the payoff is a higher pay scale and greater challenges/responsibilities than an LPN.
Whichever of the three nursing programs you choose, the final result is a stable and rewarding career in a good paying field. As stated above, the CNA program is a good starting point, but most are not satisfied to remain in that position forever and will want to move up to LPN or RN. Practical nursing training is great for most people to get them into the career in a short period of time, while retaining the flexibility to go on to higher places. The Registered Nurse is the highest prize, and where most want to ultimately end up, but few choose to go directly into an RN program.