With our rapidly changing world comes uncertainty and instability. Sometimes that feeling of instability manifests in our careers and job security. But some career paths offer a door to much-needed steadiness and promise. A registered nursing job is one of those paths. Not only is it a stable profession to enter; it’s also slated to grow, making it an ideal career path for many. The National Library of Medicine projects that between 2020 and 2029, there will be a 15% growth in healthcare, creating over two million jobs—222,000 of which will be nurses.
You might find yourself wondering, is nursing right for me? Successful nurses are empathetic, outstandingly ethical, and have a love for helping people. They are also bound to professionalism and are seeking a competitive career. If these sound like qualities you possess, keep reading.
Despite popular belief, there are very many different career paths for a registered nurse and, frankly, there is a role suitable for just about anyone. There is direct care, which is probably what you imagine when you think of the work of a nurse, but it doesn’t stop there. If you’re interested in driving innovation in the medical and care fields, you could go into nursing research, or if you feel like your talents are best used as a leader, you can aim for a nursing training and management track. If you feel like you’re a well of teachable knowledge, you can go into nursing education. The possibilities are truly endless.
Why nursing? Five goals that prove it's a good career for you.
1. You Want Growth and Variety in the Job Market
Career stability is really important in today’s job market and going into nursing guarantees you that. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a 12% growth in nursing careers in the United States by the year 2028, which is much higher than average. What does this statistic mean for nurses? A surplus of jobs and a natural agility in the job market. There’s nothing quite as anxiety-inducing as dealing with job scarcity in your hunt for work; as a nurse you’ll never have to face that. A career in nursing also puts you right on the cutting edge of innovative medicine and growing long-term care for chronic illnesses, which means you’re in an environment that’s constantly changing and offering you new opportunities to learn and increase your market value as a nurse.
2. You Want to Earn a Decent Salary
With the job growth mentioned above comes competitive salaries, which, as a nurse, comes to your advantage. A registered nurse salary is $77,000 a year on average. If you become an advanced practice nurse—a nurse with post-graduate education and training in nursing—you stand to earn an average salary of $90,000, plus sign-on bonuses due to profession shortages (which, as stated, are projected to grow). Many senior-level nurses make an average salary of well over $100,000 and have the sought-after luxury of terrific job security, which can’t be undervalued in this day and age. Depending on which nursing field you pursue, you can make even more, according to a recent article featured on nurse.org.
Highest paying nurses jobs
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist$183,580
General Nurse Practitioner
General Nurse Practitioner$111,680
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner$111,496
Certified Nurse Midwife
Certified Nurse Midwife$111,130
Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse
Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse$101,727
Pain Management Nurse
Pain Management Nurse$100,647
Family Nurse Practitioner
Family Nurse Practitioner$96,973
Registered Nurse First Assist
Registered Nurse First Assist$99,733
Gerontological Nurse Practitioner
Gerontological Nurse Practitioner$90,128
Health Policy Nurse
Health Policy Nurse$79,178
3. You Want Lots of Job Options with Real Impact
If you like to have options in your profession, consider nursing. Nursing professionals can work in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, homes, hospices, clinics, and doctor’s offices—even the military, schools, or businesses. Nurses in management or a particular specialization work with diverse teams and populations in their journey to advance healthcare. Are you the type who wants to do more with their profession than simply earn money? If you want your career to be marked by impact, then nursing is a great route for you. Nursing is one of the few jobs where you can be an integral piece in offering immediate and life-changing interventions directly to people and communities every day.
4. You Want to Learn (and Keep Learning)
Working in nursing means always finding yourself in new situations with new people and with new knowledge and information. Every single day you work as a nurse, you’ll be exposed to opportunities to learn. Even the normal schedule of a nurse brings challenges and constant change. On top of that, the demands of the profession itself include constant education and credit requirements to maintain licensure or gain additional certification as the science of care becomes more advanced. Learn more about advanced nursing education options.
5. You Want to Make a Difference in a Niche
Nursing can be as broad or as specific as you like. You can cultivate knowledge in general medicine or you can specialize in psychology, obstetrics, and so much more. Whether you feel called to a specialized, technical niche or you feel more at home in family practice, there are countless opportunities for you as a nurse. You can seek a profession in telehealth, outpatient, bedside, and legal settings. Nurses play a life-changing role in hundreds upon hundreds of settings. Rest assured, you can make a meaningful and significant impact in any one of these settings as a professional nurse.
How to Begin a Career in Nursing
Considering the competitive nature of the role and the gravity of caring for humans in need, almost all nursing roles—especially where the registered nurse salary hovers around six-figures—require an RN and a bachelor’s degree. As mentioned above, you can take this type of work in any direction you see fit. For example, consider starting your career in a field similar to nursing and explore the healthcare degree programs from WGU. WGU’s healthcare degree programs are online and CCNE accredited, classes are 100% virtual (giving you total flexibility), and 95% of students say they would recommend the program. Begin your future career today by learning more about the healthcare and nursing programs available to you through WGU.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is nursing a good career?
The nursing field is an ever changing, high-paying, and always in-demand career field with high rates of job satisfaction overall. In fact, Advisory Board found that the vast majority of nurses in all positions—NMs, CNSs, CRNAs, NPs, LPNs, and RNs—all reported 94–98% job satisfaction. Becoming a nurse also opens you up to flexibility. Whether you choose to pursue nursing part-time or full-time, there is a large and growing number of occupations for a nursing school graduate.
What can you do with a nursing degree?
While most nurses are registered nurses (RNs) who have earned a bachelor’s degree in the science of nursing (BSN), that’s just one of so many career paths you can take with your nursing degree. Depending on your interests, you can pursue a career with a broad application of nursing or you can seek a specialty area like community nursing, burn unit nursing, or epidemics research nursing. You can also specify what type of people you’d prefer to work with (children, older adults, or researchers). The same goes for setting; if you don’t see yourself working in a hospital, you could work at an elderly care home, in a research lab, on the road as a travel nurse, or even on a cruise ship. That’s one of the beauties of working as a nurse: the variety across the board.
What are careers in nursing?
There are many career paths you can pursue as a nurse. Here are some of the popular nursing specialities you can pursue:
- Registered Nurse (RN)
- Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
- Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
- Cardiac Nurse
- ER Nurse
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
- Critical Care Nurse
- Geriatric Nursing
- Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
- Mental Health Nurse
- Perioperative Nurse (Surgical/OR Nurse)
- Nurse Educator
- Nurse Manager
- Nurse Practitioner
- Nurse Midwife
- Basic Life Support (BLS)
- Oncology Nurse
- Nursing Administrator
- Orthopedic Nurse
- Public Health Nurse
- Pediatric Nurse
- Travel Nurse
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