If you enjoy helping people protect their health and wellness, overcome physical limitations, and recover from illness and injury, it’s never too late to consider a career in the healthcare field. Even if you’ve already worked your way down a long winding path in a completely different field, this transition is well within your reach. And as it happens, many area of the country are suffering from a steep imbalance between the demand for healthcare services and provider availability, especially in the area of nursing care. Nursing shortages are a serious and growing problem in both metropolitan and rural areas, and as pressure on the healthcare system rises, these shortages translate into a wide range of job opportunities for those who are ready to make this move. If you think a future as a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse might be right for you, keep these considerations in mind.
To become a registered nurse, you’ll need to complete a four year degree program with an accredited university, which will include labs and practical clinical rotations. Then you’ll need to pass a state exam and gain your license before searching for a position with a local clinic, hospital, or care facility. To become an LPN, you’ll need to complete a state approved training program which may require one or two years of study, depending on the laws in your state. Then you’ll need to pass a licensing exam before seeking a position.
While RNs can provide care as independent practitioners and can develop treatment plans and care for clients on their own, LPNs work in a support capacity with oversight from an RN or physician. Both positions can involve full or part time work, and both involve direct interactions with clients and exam room support.
The median annual wage for a registered nurse in 2016 hovered at around $66,000, while annual salaries for LPNs fell between $39,000 and $42,000 per year. Salaries at the higher end of the spectrum for both positions tend to be concentrated on the west coast and in urban centers.
Between 2012 and 2022, the job outlook for both LPNs and RNs is expected to grow by about 25 percent, since an aging population and greater access to health insurance and care will push more patients and clients into the system. If you’re looking for ways to enter this field, or you’re about to complete your training and start searching for a position, get help from the expert staffing team at CSS.