nurse1The days when people were expected to have just one career throughout their lives are over. Today, many people succeed at two or more careers, changing tracks as circumstances change throughout their lives. Maybe your first career choice isn’t as satisfying as you believed it would be, or you’re struggling to find regular work in your chosen first career. If that sounds like you, it may be time to consider switching career tracks.

Nursing is a popular second career choice because it’s rewarding, fulfilling work in a respected profession. It pays well, barriers to entry are relatively low, and demand for nurses is high enough across the country that you can feel confident about your job prospects no matter where you want to live. The hours are flexible, there’s plenty of room for advancement, and it’s easy to earn additional academic credentials while working full time.

1. You Don’t Need Much School To Get Started In Nursing

Unlike many professional careers, you don’t need to spend four to seven years at university earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree just to get an entry-level nursing job. You can enter the work force as a registered nurse with only an associate’s degree, or ADN. It’s true that many employers now want RNs to have at least a BSN, if you really need to, you can still enter the work force as soon as you earn your ADN. There are still plenty of jobs available for RNs without BSNs, and most employers who require BSNs will still hire an ADN-educated nurse if you agree to earn the higher degree within a certain amount of time after being hired, typically 10 years.

nurse22. It’s Easy To Earn Higher Degrees While Working

Many people who enter the nursing field need to get into the work force as quickly as they can — they have families to support and can’t afford to spend four years going to school full time for a BSN. They certainly can’t afford to put in an additional one to three years for an MSN. And employers have only recently started asking ADN-educated nurses to get BSNs.

For these reasons, there are many programs that make it easy for working nurses to earn a BSN, MSN, or even a doctoral degree online while working a full or part-time schedule. You’ll always have the option to take advantage of one of these programs. If you already have a degree, you may be able to take advantage of scholarship programs that cater to second-degree nursing students.

3. Nursing Offers Both Great Pay And Great Flexibility

Considering the low barrier to entry, nursing is an exceptionally well-paid profession. You can earn more than $65,000 a year as a registered nurse, and the further you go in your nursing education, the higher your salary will be.

Nursing also offers a degree of flexibility you simply can’t find in most jobs. That’s why it’s so popular among working mothers; the scheduling flexibility makes it ideal for working parents who need to juggle the demands of home and family. You can work days, nights, evenings, weekends only, three 12-hours, four 10-hours — it’s up to you.

nurse34. You Won’t Have To Worry About Finding A Job

The high demand for nurses makes this profession especially appealing to those who have put in the time to earn a credential, only to find that they can’t now get a job. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that demand for registered nurses will go up by 19 percent before 2022, and demand for nurse practitioners is expected to grow by 31 percent in the same time period.

5. Nursing Is An Intellectually Challenging Field With Plenty Of Opportunities For Advancement

The nursing profession is rooted firmly in science, so you’ll enjoy the intellectual stimulation that comes with integrating new discoveries into your practice each day. You’ll also be able to pursue any number of opportunities, whether you want to stick with patient care, go into research, or educate the next generation of nurses. Nursing today is a dynamic field with a strong need for intelligent problem-solvers who can see the big picture.

If you’re considering a career change, consider nursing. The nursing profession has something to offer everyone. It’s a great way to support your family while making a valuable contribution to your community and doing satisfying and fulfilling work.