Degrees in Nursing: Emerging Trends for RNs

Registered Nursing Degrees: See Fastest Job Growth

If you’ve ever thought about degrees in nursing and becoming a registered nurse (RN), there is literally no better time than NOW.  Out of all occupations in the U.S. Economy, nurses with nursing degrees will be the highest in demand from 2014 through 2022. With that many nurses needed, the emerging trend in the U.S. is projecting the most severe shortage of nurses in its history. Even one year from now, in 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that there will be 515,000 RN positions that will need to be filled.

If the U.S. were to meet the need of the nurse shortage, it would require an additional 30,000 nurse graduates every year (and RNs only require an Associate’s Degree!). Moreover, if you live in (or relocate to) states with the highest number of vacancies – like California, Texas, New York – not only will some institutions pay for your education, but once you graduate, you could be making as much as $65,000 per year.

Registered Nurses expect to experience 26% job demand growth in the next decade (almost twice the demand for all other occupations).

The numbers of above only include average nurses, typically with an AA Degree, and very little experience. If you’re already an RN – or decide to specialize after becoming an RN – you could make as much as $120,000. Check out this small sampling of high-demand nurses, education requirements, and salaries:

  • Registered Nurse; Associate’s Degree; $65,000
  • Nurse Practitioner: Master’s Degree; $90,000
  • Nurse Midwife; Master’s Degree; $90,000
  • Emergency Room Nurse; Master’s Degree; $100,000
  • Intensive Care Unit Nurse; Master’s Degree; $100,000+
  • Neonatal Nurse; Master’s Degree; $100,000+
  • Nurse Anesthetist; Master’s Degree; $148,000 

Many Nursing careers only require an Associate’s Degree to get started.

There’s more good news: many states allow persons with only high school diplomas (or even students still in high school!) to start down the nursing track. In only one year, you can become a “Licensed Practical Nurse” or “Licensed Vocational Nurse.” Sometimes both of these are simply abbreviated together as LPN/LVN. This certification is a great start on the way to your AA, BA, & RN, if you want to start working as soon as possible.
Degrees In Nursing - Emerging Trends for RNs

Emerging Trends: Why be a nurse, anyway?

There’s always a certain amount of peace of mind knowing that particular professions have high salaries and unlimited demand. But are those good enough reasons for becoming a nurse? Some of the most “caring and helpful” people get into nursing, simply because they are caring and helpful. Thing is: some very caring people find out that it’s too emotional to be around injury, illness, and pain. This is not a small point. The concept is the same as flying in an airplane: always put your own oxygen mask on before helping others. If you cannot detach your personal instinct to help everyone, there’s the risk of not taking care of yourself. Some nurses get out of the profession for this very reason.

On the other hand, successful nurses find that the benefits far outweigh the cautionary aspects of providing patient care:

  • helping others in need
  • critical demand for more nurses
  • high salaries (according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2012, the average salary for a nurse anesthetist was $148,000)
  • many opportunities for advancement, specialization, & travel
  • flexible hours & a variety of work settings 

“With such a direct influence on the lives of those in need, it’s no surprise that most nurses feel their work changes the world.” 

Degrees in Nursing: Are there other positions similar to nursing?

Not only are there countless other healthcare professions in demand, many of them only require an AA Degree to get started. If you’re not exactly sure that you want to be a nurse, take a look at this short sample of exciting, high-paying jobs that are also in the healthcare field … and they only require an AA:

  • Cardiovascular Technologist; Associate’s Degree; $49,000
  • Dental Hygienist: Associate’s Degree; $68,000
  • Diagnostic Medical Sonographer; Associate’s Degree; $64,000
  • Medical Equipment Repairers; Associate’s Degree; $45,000
  • Occupational Therapy Assistant; Associate’s Degree; $48,000
  • Physical Therapist Assistant/Aide; Associate’s Degree; $38,000 

Nurses in the USA: Where you are needed RIGHT NOW 

Referring to a 2012 report put out by the American Journal of Medical Quality, by 2030, some states quite literally will not enough nurses to meet the demands of the aging population. While all regions will suffer shortages, the South and the West will face the worst scenarios. While the largest total number of nurses needed will come from big states, such as California, Florida, and Texas, the states with the most critically low nurse-to-patient ratios are projected to be New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada. In other words, if you’re an RN in one of those states, you’ll never have to worry about employment. 

Nursing Programs – from Diplomas to Master’s Degrees

From entry-level diploma programs to discipline-specific master’s degrees, you’ll find plenty of support in this career choice as you build your confidence and credentials. Contemporary nursing degrees prepare students to enter the nursing profession at many levels of practice, from basic to advanced, and enable graduates to develop and apply the knowledge, skills, and values gained from their education to serve effectively in whatever nursing roles and settings they choose.

American Journal of Medical Quality, United States Registered Nurse Workforce Report Card and Shortage Forecast 2012
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Registered Nurses