Is Going to Nursing School Worth It?May 11, 2021
The United States is experiencing a nursing shortage, and it’s unlikely to ease up anytime soon. As a result, one of the professions expected to grow at a faster rate in the coming years is nursing.
Depending on your personality and career goals, becoming a nurse might be a good path for you. Here’s what you need to know if you’re trying to decide if becoming a nurse is worth it.
Is nursing school worth it?
In order to become a nurse, you need to attend a nursing program. This might be a specific nursing school or attending a college that offers nursing as a major. Many people wonder, “Is a nursing degree worth it?” The answer to that question depends on your own goals and expectations.
The process of getting a nursing degree
First of all, it’s important to note that there are different types of nursing degrees. When trying to decide if becoming a nurse is worth it, you need to consider the type of nurse you want to be, as well as the requirements of the school you’re considering.
You can become a registered nurse (RN) by going through a diploma program, or by getting an associate’s degree in nursing or a bachelor’s degree in nursing. The bachelor’s path is likely to be more expensive than getting an associate’s degree or going through a diploma program. Becoming a nurse practitioner or going through additional training is likely to come with more expense and requirements.
Weigh your timeline and cost when trying to decide if nursing school is worth it. That will figure into the type of degree you get, as well as whether you think getting a nursing degree is worth it. In some cases, you might be able to accomplish your goals through a diploma program, even if you don’t get a degree, and save some money.
Career prospects after nursing school
Don’t forget to consider the career prospects when asking, “Is nursing school worth it?” According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for registered nurses is expected to grow faster than average through 2029. There’s a good chance you’ll be able to find a job when you finish school, and that makes it a little more likely that a nursing degree could potentially be worth it to you.
On top of that, the median salary for registered nurses was more than $75,000 in 2020. Nurses make, as a median hourly rate, a little more than $36 per hour. In 2019, the median household income for the United States was $68,703, according to the Census Bureau, so RNs make more than the median for households.
Type of work you’re likely to do
So, is becoming a nurse worth it? Well, it’s not just about getting the training and figuring out how much money you could make. You also need to consider whether you’re well-suited for the work. Many people think of nurses as caring for others, and they do.
However, 60% of nurses work in hospitals. As a result, you might be on call, required to work nights, weekends and holidays. On top of that, you might spend a lot of time walking and bending. The Bureau of Labor Statistics points out that nurses are susceptible to back injuries due to how they may have to move patients.
School nurses and other types of nurses who work in other facilities might have more regular work hours, so whether becoming a nurse is worth it might also depend on where you can find a job.
How to repay your nursing loans
Finally, as you consider whether a nursing degree is worth it, you also need to think about how you’ll repay your loans. If you took loans for nursing school, the monthly payments can feel daunting.
There are different programs available to help with nursing loan forgiveness, however. Various states have programs designed to forgive your loans if you meet certain requirements and provide care in high-need areas.
It’s also possible to receive Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) if you work for certain non-profit or government entities. Working in some hospitals can also qualify you for PSLF.
Another option is to refinance your nursing loans so that you have a lower interest rate and term and can pay off your debt faster. If you won’t qualify for PSLF, and if you make a good salary, refinancing can be one way to tackle your debt a little faster and pay less in interest, if you qualify for a lower rate.
So, is a nursing degree worth it? It depends the type of job you can get, and whether you can start with a salary that allows you to afford making loan payments (or if you can qualify for PSLF). Carefully consider your interest in nursing, the demand for nurses in the future and whether the pay is likely to make up for the cost of attending nursing school.