US nursing is one of the most lucrative professions that students are choosing over other courses. The other day I met a first-year student taking a course in nursing and had the opportunity to ask him a few question. The major question was what informed him to choose the course despite having a number of choices all of which he had qualified. One thing I got from his insight is that there are many chances as a nurse in the US and he wanted to take advantage of the ever surging market.
Yes, the nursing profession in the US is a prestigious one and the chances for landing a job even before someone graduates are higher as compared to other courses. That is one of the main reasons why many students with an interest in nursing will not think twice before making their career choice. Numerous sources of credible information have projected that the profession will grow by approximately 22% in the year beginning 2012 to 2022. This is not factoring the number of nurses who will retire leaving vacancies. For this decade, all the nursing specialties will see a surge in demand of not less than 15% and this places the field as one of the top growing career in terms of demand for new entrants.
- Education Programs for Nurses
- US Nursing Examination, Certification, and Licensure
- Types of Nurses in the US
- Nursing Salaries in the US
- US Nursing Demand
- Career Outlook for Nurses in the US
- Where to Work as a Nurse in the US
- Benefits of Being a Nurse in the US
Education Programs for Nurses
The educational requirements for each kind of nursing type vary. There are some who will take a couple of years while others will need only a year of study. Here are the educational programs that lead to qualification, certification and licensure of different nursing courses:
- Nursing master’s degree: RNs who want to advance their careers will take a master degree in nursing. Licensed nurses are among those who qualify for this program. The topics of study vary from one specialty to another. The major specialties for this course include midwives, clinical nurses, and clinical specialists.
- Nursing bachelor’s degree (BSN): this is the course for those who want to qualify as RNs. It equips learners with medical experience both in theory and practical situations. The curriculum for this course is wide and touches on general care, specialized care like infants and the old, Chemistry, and nursing theory.
- Nursing associate’s degree: this is the course for you to grow from the lowest nursing ranks. Those who undertake the course qualify to apply for exams to become RNs and grow their careers in their desired path. Common topics of study in this course include nutrition, medicine practices, and anatomy.
- Training programs in LPN/LVP: after high school, if you want to start your nursing career early, this is the entry level course you should go for. It takes 1 year at community colleges, vocational, and technical schools. It is both a theoretical and practical course that touches on general hospital care. The study topics include anatomy, nutrition, and physiology. It is a way to start your path in nursing in a small way and you will be where you always wanted to be if you advance your education.
US Nursing Examination, Certification, and Licensure
The body charged with licensing nurses in the US is the Nursing Council Licensure and Examination abbreviated as NCLEX. It exists in 2 parts: NCLEX-RN and NCLEX-PN. The first one is for registered nurses while the second goes for practical nurses. The requirement for licensure is to pay a fee and take an examination over a computer. The questions vary from one candidate to another. They touch on experience, trending knowledge in the field, and general healthcare. Certification shows that a nurse is qualified and competent to give care to a certain group. Many employers will require certification before taking nurses on board to ensure quality performance at their institutions. There are different nursing certification bodies and some of them are the National League for nursing, and the American Nursing Credentialing Center (ANCC). Once you have done all these stages, you are fully qualified to operate at any place in the federations but there are different regulations of the nursing practice in different states and you have to know them.
Nursing in the US is a wide profession and requires one to specialize in one field. Each of the specialties requires a certain level of qualification before one is certified and licensed. Here are the major types of nurses making the entire nursing fraternity in the federation:
- Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs): this kind is at the top tier of the profession. They have earned a postgraduate qualification, licenses and are registered practitioners. Due to their experience and level of education, they draw the highest salaries in the region of $96, 460 per year by 2012. In the entire federation, there were 151, 400 by 2012 and this figure should have grown over the years. They are specialties such as nurse anesthetics, midwives, and nursing practitioners.
- Registered Nurses (RNs): for one to qualify for this one, you should have a bachelor of nursing in science or an associate nursing degree. They are the majority in the US and in 2012 they were 2, 711,500. Their experience and qualification make them the second highly paid nursing professionals with an annual salary of $65,470 by 2012. Their roles are supervisory over the professions under their watch and they only get involved where their inferiors are not qualified.
- Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurses (LPN/LVN): it only takes one year at nursing vocational college for one to qualify as an LPN /LVN. They are in direct contact with patients and they perform duties like injection, surgical procedures, maintaining medical records among other clinical chores. By 2012, there were 738,400 LPNs/LVNs. In a year, they draw a median salary of $41,540.
- Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs): these are at the lowest tier of the nursing profession. They are the second largest pool of nursing professionals in the country and in 2012 there were 1,534,400. They are paid an annual median salary of $24,000. In some quarters they are referred as orderlies and their range of duties include prescriptions and generally taking care of patients. They work under the supervision of RNs for their qualification and experience does not give them independence of practice.
Nurses are among the generously paid professionals in the US and all over the world. Their median annual salaries are higher than most of their equally qualified professionals in other fields. Salaries for nurses in the US are determined on the basis of specialty, level of education, and practical experience. Those specialized in complicated niches are paid higher than those in simple specializations. For instance, geriatrics, midwives, nurse anesthetics, nurse practitioner, gerontological nurse, neonatals, and nurse educators are some of the highest paid nursing careers courtesy of their specialty. If you are looking to make more in your career then these are some of the choices you should be thinking about. On the level of education, the advanced nursing practitioners are the most highly paid nursing professionals. They are followed closely by the RNs and then it comes down to LPNs/LVNs and assistant nurses in that order. The higher you advance in your education, the heftier your check will get. Those who have been in the field for long will get more salary than those who are just starting their career. For instance, a new graduate nurse will get lesser than what a nurse with 10-year experience is getting. Another factor that will affect the amount of salary you get is where you work. Different states offer varying pay for nurses. California pays the best for their nurses at $43.71 per hour and $98,400 in a year. Other high paying states include Alaska, New Jersey and Hawaii. On the other hand, the lowest paying states include Connecticut, Nevada, Oregon and Mary land all of which pay an hourly wage of $22.5. Besides, it will also depend on the institutions you work in. Some workplaces have fixed salaries for their nurses while others allow for a personal bargain to increase salaries. On the international turf, nurses in the US are among the list of the well-paid lot as compared to other developed nations.
With the growing need for healthcare, the US nursing sector will continue to expand for the foreseeable future. It is already projected that in the next decade (2012-2022), the field will grow by a 22% margin. Over the years, true to this prediction, the demand for nurses has been rising. In 2016, the nursing field expanded by 23% taking in more new nurses than the previous years. The US department of labor predicts that this will be the trend for the years to come. This growth in employment opportunities has been attributed to the US economic expansion and demographic changes. Policies like Obamacare have even enhanced the field to bulge as more people who could not afford proper medication are now enabled through affordable health insurance. Anyone planning to follow a career in nursing should, therefore, be bold about it knowing that there are chances for jobs in the future.
The US population may not be growing rapidly but the need for health care is ever growing. This leaves nurses at a better place in terms of jobs. The assurance for a job opportunity is almost 100% and this is the only profession with such a guarantee. Every area of specialization in the nursing niche is expected to grow in the future with not less than a 15% margin. New health care policies also give a bright side for the profession and those in this career path can only look forward to getting jobs faster than their counterparts in other professional lines.
Both the private and public sectors offer massive chances for nurses. Among the areas where you can get a job include nursing homes, mental care institutions, general hospitals, physicians’ offices, private home care services, and outpatient centers. Some of the areas of work are easy to get jobs since they only require basic qualifications as opposed to others that will need certification before you are employed. There are so many places you can find a job as a nurse and the choice is yours depending on where you prefer to work.
As nurse in the US, there are countless benefits that come to you:
- You can study as you work. This is something that many other professions do not offer.
- Fees reimbursement. When you study as you work, some employers will reimburse your fees. You will not spend your money to advance your education.
- Nurses may not be motivated by monetary gains but it is no secret that nursing career pays averagely higher than most other professions.
- You can start in a small way by getting a post-secondary diploma and advance your education to as higher as you wish. Growing your career is easy no matter where you start your journey.
- Once you are qualified, you can seek jobs abroad since the qualification meets international standards.
If you ever dreamed of joining the US nursing fraternity, you have all the information to the nitty gritties to help you scale the heights in this prestigious vocation. Nursing has a very bright future for existing and new practitioners if the 2012 predictions are anything to go by. Jobs will be created in the expanding health sector and retirees will leave vacancies. You can always count your lucky star if you chose this path since jobs will be easy to come by as compared to other professions. If you ever need any information about Nursing in the US, this is your authoritative website. Ask any question and you will get accurate answers instantly. Good luck in your nursing journey!