Nursing is not a simple or singular profession. Each individual has a potential career path that can take them in a number of different directions. Did you get into nursing because you like helping people? Or do you prefer the back office where you can make a difference by organizing information? Here is a short guide to understanding nursing and how to choose the career path that best fits your long term goals.
- Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). CNAs represent one of the largest groups of healthcare employees in the US. A CNA program can last only months and this certification can give you opportunities toward advanced programs. However, some people enjoy staying a CNA and often work with home healthcare agencies where they can choose their own hours and are flexible about the types of assignments they take. CNAs can expect to make around $25,000 a year depending on their location and the needs of area facilities.
- Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). The next step on the nursing career path is typically becoming an LPN. These nurses work under the supervision of an LP and supervise CNAs on staff at their facility. Many individuals choose to immediately begin training as an LPN after becoming a CNA. These courses can take an additional year and half but LPNs are sought after and opportunities are typically available in skilled nursing facilities. Someone with prior medical experience before starting a CNA to LPN program is given more consideration. LPNs may make salaries closer to the $30,000 to $40,000 range.
- Registered Nurse (RN). RNs are typically the supervisors of the nursing staff at their facility. Sometimes this means less face to face patient interaction and more administration but it can also lead to more opportunities. This career path requires a college degree and a license to practice in the state where you live. Some people will obtain their CNA and LPN certifications before applying to universities to complete a program to become an RN. Staff nurses and related job titles can make a much higher salary according to Salary.com, potentially in the $60,000 and up range.
Are you looking for a rewarding and flexible career in nursing? Contact the professionals at NRI to see how we can assist you.