With job opportunities expected to increase and options available for a broad range of specializations, the field of registered nursing could provide you with a rewarding career. While many registered nurses work in hospitals or physician's offices, others work in home health care settings, for companies making home visits to clients and in other atypical situations.
Whatever you choose, specialization could be the key to finding work following graduation from one of the RN programs. Unique work situations aren't the only way to build your niche in the field. You could also specialize in a specific area during your training with one of the RN schools. For example, you could seek the education and clinical experience to allow you to work as an occupational or trauma nurse afterward.
Advanced education is another way to distinguish yourself. While RN schools allow you to seek certification following graduation, a master's degree could open up other fields to you. As a nurse with a master's degree, you would be an advanced practice nurse, or APN, and could seek opportunities in occupations such as clinical nurse specialist, nurse anesthetist, nurse practitioner, or nurse-midwife.
Follow up your RN schools education with certification
Training to become an RN begins with a diploma, associate degree or bachelor's degree program. However, upon completion of the program, you will also need to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam. Passing will allow you to seek certification in your state. However, if your background training is not comprehensive enough, you might be unprepared to pass. Degree programs should require you do complete clinicals as part of your training. These clinicals provide hands-on experience in a variety of settings and can test your mettle as far as preparation.
Wage estimates for graduates of RN programs
Once you've graduated from one of the RN schools and achieved your certification, you are ready to start work in the field. Your career path could take you through a variety of settings, but you should earn competitive wages. According to May 2009 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nurses employed nationwide earned mean annual wages of $66,530. On top of that, career opportunities are projected to grow in the RN field during the 2008 to 2018 decade, according to the BLS. The sector's job growth of 22 percent is considered much faster than average by the BLS.