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Nursing Career Roadmap - How to Advance Your Career


Nursing Career Roadmap - How to Advance Your Career

Nursing Career Roadmap - How to Advance Your Career There are few careers as admirable or as demanding as nursing. Whether you're eager to help patients or are fascinated by modern medicine, working as a nurse is immensely gratifying. Unlike other industries, there is always room for growth in the healthcare field. There are always new opportunities to challenge yourself and advance your career. Whether you're a new nurse early in your career or have worked for years in your role, a bevy of options await you on the other side of a few tests! Choose your path wisely and you're sure to find yourself in the right fit!

The Path to Nursing

After graduating high school, you'll have a couple of options to get your career started. For those eager to get into the field, the Licensed Professional Nurse track may be best. Get certified at a vocational or professional school and begin working as a nurse as soon as possible. If you're willing to put in a bit more time in the classroom, consider the Associate's Degree in Nursing instead. You'll still be on the fast track to becoming a registered nurse (RN) while having a more traditional college experience. A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is also an option, with a four-year university program required to complete. Once you obtain your BSN, you'll be ready to pursue more advanced forms of nursing.

After graduating with a four-year degree, your options become even more diverse. If you didn't study nursing in undergrad, you can opt for the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing, or ABSN. The program is fast and doesn't require you to repeat any of the college courses you've already taken. After receiving your ABSN, you'll likely have your pick of jobs.

If you graduated with a BSN, you're all set to move onto a Master of Science in Nursing, or MSN. You can earn such a degree from a traditional university or from an online program. An MSN sets you up to work in hospital management roles, in research and in educating future nurses. Those with their MSN can pursue a role as a Nurse Practitioner after additional schooling.

Certifications Needed

Before becoming a nurse of any kind, you'll need to pass certain exams to become certified. For Licensed Professional Nurses, the NCLEX-PN is the test you'll need to pass. Those with ADNs and BSNs should also prepare for the NCLEX-PN. For Registered Nurses, take the NCLEX-RN instead. Nurse Practitioners are required to pass the NP Certification Exam, while Certified Nurse Anesthetists need to pass the National Certification Exam.

All of these tests are created by national certification boards of nursing. Generally speaking, you'll need to pass at least one of the above to become a practicing nurse. Standards do vary from state to state, though, so check with your certification board to ensure you're preparing for the right exam.

Job Opportunities

Once certified, there are a number of exciting opportunities awaiting new graduates. Nursing is consistently listed among the top jobs as ranked by the U.S. News and World Report. A popular career can often mean that the industry is incredibly competitive. Thankfully, the number of nursing jobs grows each year. An estimated 1.3 million additional nurses will be needed by the year 2024, which is an astounding 20 percent increase in the industry.

With the greying of America's Baby Boomers, we'll continue to see a need for geriatric nurses who work in nursing home facilities. Aiding the elder generations is a great path for anyone looking for job security. There is also expected to be an increased demand for primary care nurses. Whatever your area of interest, there are plenty of great options for your future.

The Future Looks Bright

While becoming a nurse is certainly no easy undertaking, the future looks bright for this industry. Scenic states like California and Florida are expected to see high rates of nursing position vacancies over the next year, which is promising for anyone hoping to head to a warmer place to live and work. Gorgeous states like Hawaii and Oregon offer some of the most competitive pay rates in the industry. Best of all? About 70 percent of test takers pass their NCLEX exam on their first try. Your future is just a test result away!

With the greying of America's Baby Boomers, we'll continue to see a need for geriatric nurses who work in nursing home facilities. Aiding the elder generations is a great path for anyone looking for job security. There is also expected to be an increased demand for primary care nurses. Whatever your area of interest, there are plenty of great options for your future.

If you're eager to get started, consider volunteering at a hospital near you. Get the first-hand experience necessary to make informed choices about your career path. While you're at it, ensure that your grade point average is up to snuff to get into nursing school; many programs require a 3.0 or higher for acceptance. Finally, consider taking the Test of Essential Academic Skills, or TEAS, to show off your general knowledge. Schools and future employers will look to such a data point to track what you know!

Nursing Career Roadmap - How to Advance Your Career

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