Are you thinking about changing careers?

Perhaps you want a more rewarding role, or you need a job that offers more financial stability?

Whatever your reason for seeking out new employment, you should definitely consider pursuing a nursing degree and a career within the healthcare sector.

As one of the most sought-after industries in the United States, and in fact worldwide, the healthcare sector is crying out for qualified and experienced nurses and other health professionals.

What does this mean for newly qualified professionals?

In a nutshell, you can command a high salary, enjoy high levels of job satisfaction, future-proof your career, and so much more.

Still, need more convincing?

Keep reading to find out more reasons why you should study for a nursing degree in 2022. Plus, how to choose the right degree program and what roles you can expect to obtain once qualified.

What are the different types of nursing degrees?

Whether you are just starting your nursing career or you are looking to take the next step in nursing, there are degree programs for all levels of experience and current qualifications.

There are five main levels of nursing degrees which are as follows:

  1. Diploma in Practical Nursing (PN)

    Offering the fastest way to kickstart your nursing career, a diploma in practical nursing provides you with basic nursing care knowledge and allows you to work closely with registered nurses to gain valuable experience.

    With a diploma in practical nursing, you can become a licensed practical nurse (LPN) and work in a range of healthcare environments, including hospitals, doctor’s offices, nursing homes, and hospices.

    Many nurses often choose to become an LPN before going on to study more advanced nursing degree programs.

  2. Associate in Nursing (ASN)

    If you are searching for a way to become a registered nurse quickly, then an ASN program can be finished in as little as two years. Registered nurses (RNs) are increasingly in demand in the U.S., with a 9% expected employment growth between 2020 and 2030.

  3. Bachelor’s in Nursing (BSN)

    Nurses with a bachelor’s degree can expect to earn a higher salary than those without one, and they can expect to be able to advance more quickly in their careers. If you are not yet a registered nurse, then a BSN degree offers one of the quickest routes to this position.

  4. Master’s in Nursing (MSN)

    For those who to pursue an advanced nursing degree, either to specialize in a specific area of nursing or to progress in their careers.

    There are three main MSN specialties:

    1. Nurse Practitioner (NP) including Family Nurse Practitioners (FNPs)
    2. Nurse Educator (NE)
    3. Nurse Leadership & Administration
  5. Post-Master’s Nursing Certificates (PMC)

    This advanced degree program is designed to help working nurses build on their graduate education and expand their knowledge and experience in a specialized field. For example, a Family Nurse Practitioner Certificate readies APRNs to become board-certified family nurse practitioners. Or a Post-Master’s Nursing Educator Certificate allows students with an MSN to become certified for educator roles.

Click here to learn more about pursuing a post-master’s nursing certificate.

Why study for a nursing degree?

If you need a little more convincing before you sign on the dotted line and invest your time and money in a nursing degree, let’s now take a closer look at the benefits of this type of program and the career options that come with it.

  1. Job Security

    If you are worried about finding, and keeping a job within the field of nursing, then you needn’t be.

    Nursing is one of the most employable degrees, with 94% of graduates finding employment in a nursing role within 6 months of completing their degree.

    Furthermore, the job outlook for the nursing sector in the next decade is optimistic. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that the expected employment growth for registered nurses is 9% between 2020 and 2030.

  2. A rewarding career

    The reason that people decide to go into nursing is to make a difference in patients’ lives. They want to do something that actually has meaning.

    As a registered nurse or nurse practitioner, you can expect to enjoy a rewarding and fulfilling career in which you are respected and trusted by the local community. You can also experience instant feedback on your performance and see how your hard work has had a positive impact on patients’ wellbeing. This enables you to form close bonds with the people you work with as you become invested in their lives and their struggles.

    Although this level of interaction is not suitable for everyone, if you are a compassionate individual who wants to make their life’s work all about helping people, then a career in nursing is the right choice for you.

  3. A global career

    Have you ever thought about moving abroad? If yes, then a career in nursing can allow you to make this dream a reality. Once you are qualified in your chosen field of nursing, you will be able to be able for roles all over the globe, as long as you know, or are willing to learn, the local language.

    While you will find that some countries are more developed than others, and you may need to adapt to different medical systems, the fundamental role of a nurse is the same wherever you go.

    For those that want to remain in the U.S. once qualified, you are not restricted to purely working in a hospital. There are a wide range of places that will require your skills, including:

    1. Private clinics
    2. Nursing homes
    3. Military bases
    4. Schools
    5. Rehabilitation centers

    While private clinics are likely to offer the highest salaries, schools and other public facilities tend to provide more flexible working schedules. It is simply down to what matters to you most as a working professional.

  4. Flexible studying

    When it comes to pursuing a degree in nursing, if you are already working in the healthcare industry or you have another demanding job, you may be worried about how you are going to juggle your studies with your professional commitments.

    If this is the case, then you may want to consider carrying out your chosen nursing degree 100% online. While online degree programs used to be inferior to on-campus ones, you can now find an extensive selection of accredited online universities that deliver an even better learning experience than traditional schools.

    Some of the main benefits of choosing to study online rather than on-campus include:

    1. Flexibility. You can complete your coursework around your schedule, whenever, and wherever.
    2. Affordability. You can save money on commuting costs, childcare expenses, and course materials.
    3. Better networking opportunities. You are not restricted to students and tutors in your local area. You will have the chance to learn from and engage with learners from all over the world.
  5. Diverse working day

    If the thought of carrying out the same tasks, day in and day out, brings you out in a cold sweat, then you will be pleased to hear that no day is the same when you work in the field of nursing.

    Each shift, you will encounter different patients, new challenges, and the opportunity to push yourself outside of your comfort zone.

    You can also expect to have to constantly set priorities and make sure that everyone under your care is properly looked after.

    Again, this type of role is not suited to everyone, but if you are hardworking, determined, and willing to rise to any challenge, then you will thrive working in the nursing sector.

  6. Competitive pay

    Although money is not everything, if you are going to invest in your education, you want to know that it will be worth it once you have graduated.

    As mentioned earlier, you are almost guaranteed to find a job in nursing once you graduate, with the effects of the pandemic and the aging population resulting in an increase in demand for skilled healthcare professionals.

    However, you can also expect to receive good levels of pay and other attractive benefits such as flexible working hours, dental cover, and health insurance.

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the average annual salary for a registered nurse is $75,330. However, if you pursue a more advanced degree in nursing such as an MSN and you qualify to become a Nurse Practitioner or Family Nurse Partitioner, you can expect to earn $114,510 per annum.

  7. Variety of specializations

    The field of nursing is diverse and exciting, and when choosing your degree program, there are different areas of nursing that you can choose to specialize in, including:

    1. Midwifery nursing
    2. Adult nursing
    3. Pediatric nursing
    4. Mental health nursing
    5. Anesthesia nursing

    Alternatively, if you choose to pursue a more general degree in nursing and keep your career options wide open, you can do this also.

  8. You undergo placements

    If you hate the idea of spending 2-3 years studying in a library, then you will be happy to know that a nursing degree is just as much about learning hands-on practical skills as it is about studying techniques and theories.

    In fact, you can expect your nursing degree to include placements at a hospital in your local community where you can experience caring for patients firsthand and gain a better understanding of what area of nursing you would like to pursue.

  9. Variety of careers

    Although this will be dependent on the type of nursing degree that you choose to pursue, once qualified, there will be a huge variety of careers waiting for you.

    You could choose to go into teaching, management, or politics. You could work in a drug rehab center, in a forensic laboratory, or even in a prison.

    Alternatively, if you find you loved studying, you could choose to pursue a more advanced degree such as a Ph.D. in nursing which would allow you to specialize in areas such as cardiac and oncology.

What are the most popular careers in nursing?

If you are keen to pursue a degree in nursing in 2022, but you are still unsure what type of career you would like to pursue once qualified, then maybe one of the below most popular careers in nursing will catch your eye:

  1. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CNRA)

    With a competitive salary of $181,000 per year, the role of a nurse anesthetist is in the top 10th percentile of salaries in the United States.

    To become a nurse anesthetist, you need to obtain a master’s degree from an accredited nurse anesthesia program and pass the NCLEX.

  2. Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

    Another highly popular and well-paid role within the field of nursing, as a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, you can expect to earn around $125,000 per annum.

    While you can be placed on a neonatal unit as a registered nurse, if you want to advance in this field, you should aim to earn your neonatal nurse practitioner certification.

  3. Family Nurse Practitioner

    If you want to make a difference in your local community, then pursuing a career as an FNP is a good choice. With a median annual salary of $110,00 per year, to become a Family Nurse Practitioner, you need to earn your MSN and your family nurse practitioner certification from the ANCC.

  4. Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner

    With an average salary of $113,000 per annum, an Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner provides care to patients living with injury or disease of the musculoskeletal system.

    To become an Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner, you need to earn your MSN and gain over 2,000 hours of experience as an APRN. You will need to apply to take the certification exam provided by the Orthopedic Nurses Certification Board.

  5. Oncology Nurse Practitioner

    As an Oncology Nurse Practitioner, you can expect to earn $113,000 per annum, with the potential to earn as much as $121,000 per year.

    To qualify as an Oncology Nurse Practitioner, you will have to gain a master’s degree from an oncology nurse practitioner program and earn your license by completing the oncology nursing certification exam that is administered by the ONCC.