Nurses play a vital role in the medical field. From infants to the elderly, nurses work directly with patients in efforts to improve their health, wellness, and overall quality of life.
Currently, there are more open positions in nursing than there are qualified candidates to fill them. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of registered nurses is expected to grow 16 percent between 2014 and 2024. Nearly half-a-million jobs are expected to open up during those same years. The nursing field is growing at a much faster pace than all occupations.
Specifically in Connecticut, nurse job openings are well-exceeding all other occupations. According to the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges, there will be approximately 1,100,000 nursing job openings by 2024. That is twice as many nursing jobs as accounting jobs, more than three times as many nursing jobs as teaching jobs, and about ten times as many nursing jobs as jobs in civil engineering.
If you dream of becoming a nurse, there is no doubt that now is the time to pursue your career path. Amidst an aging baby boomer population, healthcare reform, and advancing medical field, the demand for registered nurses is growing higher than ever. And the opportunities for qualified nurses in Connecticut are steadily rising beside it.
Now, you may be asking, “What are employers looking for when they say ‘qualified’ nurse?” or “What degree do you need to become a ‘qualified’ nurse?” In order to score a high-paying, secure nursing job today, you must stand out above the competition. And to stand out among others, you must pursue a comprehensive nursing education.
Also increasing alongside the high demand for nurses is the number of nursing candidates entering the labor market in recent years. This upsurge has resulted in competition for nursing jobs throughout the country. According to the BLS, those registered nurses holding a BSN degree will be deemed the most qualified candidates and will ultimately have better job prospects than those without one. That said, employers may start to prefer nurses with a BSN degree and/or with direct experience in the field.
It is important to note that the need for nurses is so great that those without bachelor’s degrees are still in high demand. Experts in Connecticut, however, still predict that employers will require nurses to obtain a BSN degree by the year 2024. This is particularly true for Connecticut hospitals, the largest segment of the nursing profession and one of the top paying employers in the state.
Whether you are a seasoned registered nurse, in route towards your RN degree, or are still considering becoming a nurse, you may be apprehensive about this recent call for nurses with a BSN degree. As a leading nursing school in Connecticut, we want you to know that there is no wrong pathway to a nursing career. Having an education, whether through an Associate’s or Bachelor’s program, is the most crucial factor in achieving a rewarding career. Like a BSN program, an RN degree program will prepare you to take and excel on the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX) and become a licensed registered nurse.
The great thing about a nursing education is that there are many pathways you can take towards success. As a prospective nurse, you have several different nursing degree options: RN, LPN, BSN, and more. One of the most popular options is an RN to BSN degree. This is for those individuals who want to turn their RN into a BSN degree and improve their job prospects.
Let’s say you already have your RN degree or have only enough time to complete an Associate’s program, such as Goodwin’s part-time, 18-month RN program. You can always earn your BSN later down the road! With an RN to BSN program, you can complete your Bachelor’s online, part-time, or in hybrid format, in as little as 16 months. You can enroll in this program any time after receiving your RN degree.
There is no right or wrong answer to the question, “What degree do you need to be a nurse?” for there are many academic pathways you can take. Only time and careful consideration will tell which one is best for you long-term.
Goodwin College is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin College was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.