The American Nurses Association (ANA) wrote the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in 2021, stating that the nursing shortage in the country should be declared a national crisis. Also, according to ANA, more than 20 percent of the 4.3 million U.S. registered nurses (RN) are retiring from 2020 to 2025, with the pandemic accelerating the pace.
A nursing career is a stable choice for anyone choosing a path because there are many job openings to be filled in the health care industry. As of 2021, registered nurses made a median of $ 77,600 per year, and certified nursing assistants made a median of $30,290 per year. So there are plenty of opportunities for people who want to enter the nursing profession.
Becoming a CNA
Starting out as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) is the most affordable way to start a career path toward being an RN. CNAs provide basic patient care, such as bathing, dressing, and feeding patients. They also take vital signs and provide emotional support to patients and their families.
To become a CNA, you must complete a state-approved CNA training program and pass a competency exam. You can find a training program for as low as $550, including the use of a borrowed basic textbook, preparation for the state exam, and assistance in job placement after passing.
You can take the course for a maximum of two months, but you can also finish it earlier according to your own pace. On average, students finish in two to three weeks. The only requirement for application is to be at least 16 years old and proficient in written and oral English. Once you are certified, you can work in hospitals, nursing homes, or other health care facilities.
As a CNA, you are qualified to take a credit by exam program at Achieve Test Prep. They provide the opportunity to get qualified for certain college courses by just taking four classes and one exam. Passing the exam gives you the credit required for what is usually a semester-long class.
By taking as many courses as possible, you can save as much as 50 percent from tuition and books when you get your degree. You must, however, take your degree from an institution that recognizes these credits.
You do not have to study to become an RN immediately. The next step you can take is to study to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN).
Becoming an LPN
LPNs provide basic nursing care under the supervision of RNs and doctors. They work in hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and doctor’s offices. To become an LPN, you must complete an accredited practical nursing program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN).
Practical nursing programs usually take about one year to complete and cost between $5,000 and $20,000. The NCLEX-PN exam costs around $200 to take. After passing the exam, you will be licensed to practice as an LPN in your state.
You can also continue to take bridge courses as an ADN to fast-track your way to becoming an RN. However, you can first get an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN).
Becoming an ADN
An ADN is the minimum level of education required to become an RN. To get your degree, you must complete an accredited nursing program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN).
Nursing programs usually take two to three years to complete and cost between $10,000 and $30,000. The NCLEX-RN exam costs around $200 to take. After passing the exam, you will be licensed to practice as an RN in your state.
You can also study to get a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) to become an RN after getting your ADN.
Becoming an RN
If you want to further your career in nursing, you can study to become RN. RNs may administer medication, perform diagnostic tests, and provide treatments.
To become an RN, you must first complete an accredited nursing program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). You can find RN programs at community colleges, technical schools, and online. The cost of attending an RN program varies depending on the type of school you attend and whether you study full-time or part-time.
Community college programs are the most affordable option, with tuition averaging $3,440 per year for in-state students and $10,830 per year for out-of-state students. Technical schools charge more for tuition, averaging $14,090 per year. Online programs are the most expensive option, with tuition ranging from $15,000 to $30,000 per year.
After completing an RN program, you must pass the NCLEX-RN exam to become licensed. Once you are licensed, you can work in hospitals, clinics, physician offices, and other health care settings.
There are many opportunities for people who want to enter the nursing profession. You can follow this career path without needing a lot of money upfront.
By taking the CNA training and examination, you can already get a job to fund your next training program. By training to become an LPN and then taking the ADN, you can afford to advance while working. You can also avail of the credit-by-exam opportunity to further fast-track your career in a more affordable way. Soon, you can achieve your goal of becoming a full-fledged RN.
Nurses are in high demand, and with an aging population, the need for nurses is only going to increase. You can be there to help fill this need.