(8.2 out of 10)
|Number of Jobs:||711,900|
|This Job is Ranked in|
|Best Healthcare Jobs||#2|
|The 100 Best Jobs||#2|
Nurses may be most visible at the hospital bedside or in the doctor’s office, but this fast-growing community of more than 2.7 million workers is rapidly expanding into a host of specialized jobs ranging from elder care to oncology. While many RNs work in hospitals or physicians’ offices treating and educating patients, explaining prescriptions and procedures, administering medication, or managing medical records, more are finding jobs in public health, home care, or alternate care settings such as rehabilitation centers, schools or businesses. Within the field, you can focus on the care of patients following heart surgery as a cardiovascular nurse, or aid in treating brain or spinal cord injuries as a neuroscience nurse. Even in a tough economy, nursing has flourished compared with most other occupations. Thanks in part to an aging population, long-term job growth is expected to be much faster than the national average. The largest number of new jobs will appear as physicians’ offices expand and staff up. Solid employment growth and a wide range of job prospects help make registered nursing a top healthcare job, as well as the No. 2 career on our list of The Best Jobs of 2013.
Between 2010 and 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects registered nurse employment growth of 26 percent, thanks in large part to higher healthcare demand from aging Baby Boomers.
The BLS reports the median annual wage for a registered nurse was $65,950 in 2011. The best-paid 10 percent of RNs made more than $96,630, while the bottom 10 percent earned less than $44,970. The highest wages are reserved for personal care nurses, or those working for private-sector pharmaceutical or medical-device manufacturers. By location, the highest-paid positions are clustered in the metropolitan areas of northern California, including municipalities in and around San Jose, Oakland, and San Francisco.
At a minimum, an entry-level nursing job requires a bachelor of science degree in nursing, an associate’s degree, or a diploma program administered in a hospital. The two-year associate’s degree can be a quicker and more economical route, but many graduates of associate’s programs eventually aim to complete a bachelor’s degree for a more comprehensive nursing education, and experts say that the bachelor’s degree is fast becoming the industry standard. For those who have already earned a bachelor’s degree in a different field, accelerated B.S.N. degree programs can take from 12 to 18 months. Students must also pass a national licensing examination known as the National Council Licensure Examination, and may have to meet other requirements which vary by state. Many nurses choose to pursue master’s degrees in advanced-practice nursing specialties, such as a nurse practitioner or nurse anesthetist.
“Even though there’s great growth potential, the market is still competitive,” says Donna Cardillo, RN, a speaker known as the “career guru” for nurses. She recommends nurses use both traditional and virtual tricks of the interviewing trade, including printing business cards for the interview process (many nurses don’t) and keeping up-to-date profiles on social-media sites like LinkedIn. The most effective job leads, however, come from one-on-one contacts that can be found by joining professional organizations such as state chapters of the American Nurses Association or other specialized professional groups. For older job seekers looking to enter the field, Cardillo recommends they play up their experience in non-nursing fields, as those experiences can show a diverse set of skills. Another tip: Look beyond the hospital. Nurses are fanning out into a host of jobs, ranging from rehab and long-term care facilities to nurse-run community clinics, schools, or corporations where preventative care and wellness are becoming a bigger focus—and a bigger source of jobs. “The whole job market is shifting,” Cardillo says.
|Stress Level||Above Average|
Last updated by Kirk Shinkle.