Should I Make a Midlife Career Change to Nursing?

The benefits of a midlife career change to nursing range from growing employment rates to diverse career opportunities and high earning potential. Nursing is also a highly rewarding field to enter. Nursing might just be the career switch you’re looking for if these advantages appeal to you.

Closeup of feet on pavement with the word GO written on pavement

Working in a diminishing industry? Feeling unfulfilled in your profession? Experiencing the Sunday night blues? You’re not alone. For these reasons and more, a significant number of workers are jumping ship and riding the next wave of their employment. And we’re here to give you five reasons why a midlife career change to nursing is one of the best decisions you can make.

1. Growing Employment

According to its Occupational Outlook Handbook, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the nursing profession will grow 9% between the years 2020 and 2030, which exceeds the 7% average growth rate for all occupations in the United States. Not to mention, Mercer, an HR consulting firm, published a study that calls for adding 2.3 million employees to our nation’s health care workforce by 2025 to help with an aging population.

Because of this aging population, it is also expected that more complex cases will arise. This is one of many reasons why employers are increasingly looking for applicants that hold a BSN education or higher. Not to mention, because these nurses have a more in-depth education, organizations that hire more BSN-educated nurses tend to have better patient outcomes.

2. Rewarding Profession

Nurses are the superheroes of the health care world. While they don’t leap tall buildings in a single bound, they do a lot for the folks they serve, from seeking justice for individual patients to protecting the health and safety of a community. These caregivers are in the business of saving lives — not many people can say that.

Nursing is an incredibly rewarding profession in part because nurses are some of the most trusted individuals in the US. Nurses consistently outrank other professions for honesty and ethics in the annual Gallup Poll, indicating that the general public has an overwhelming amount of confidence in them. This means that as a nurse, you can truly touch the lives of your patients.

three smiling nurses in different colored scrubs

Aside from having an impact on your patients, when considering all the other factors that go into a satisfying career, nursing ranks at the top. U.S. News has ranked nursing as the #5 best job in the health care field and #12 in best jobs overall.

3. Diverse Opportunities

While hospitals are the largest employers of registered nurses, there are plenty of jobs outside of this traditional setting to go around. You can work in an urgent care facility, school, or corporate clinic — really wherever there’s a need for patient care and knowledge of the healthcare field. You’ll also find there are more than 100 nursing specialties from which to choose. You could sail the high seas as a cruise ship nurse or take your skills to the sky as a flight nurse. You can mold your career to fit your interests, schedule, and desired lifestyle.

Keep in mind, however, that registered nurses with a BSN degree or higher have more opportunities for career advancement than those with an ADN or nursing diploma.

4. High Earning Potential

According to PayScale, nursing is a highly lucrative gig when you consider that U.S. nurses with a BSN earn an average of $89,000 annually. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, California nurses make the highest salaries in the country. In fact, The Golden State’s annual mean wage for nurses is at $124,000. Other top paying states include Hawaii, District of Columbia, Massachusetts and Oregon.

Bear in mind that while relatively high pay makes a career switch to nursing attractive, you must pursue the nursing profession because you seek meaningful work that allows you to help others. Nursing can be a challenging career, and you must be motivated to serve your patients above all else to remain satisfied in your career choice.

5. Accelerated Education Options

If you have a bachelor’s degree or some college credits in another field of study, there are several accelerated nursing programs (a.k.a. ABSN programs) across the country that make it possible for qualified students to earn a quality BSN in as few as 16 months.

nurse using laptop at desk

This makes nursing a viable option for midlife career-changers. Because these programs can be completed in a short amount of time, it allows you to get back into the workforce as soon as possible.

These accelerated programs build on your past undergraduate education so that you’re able to jump right into professional nursing study on the first day of class. Just know that every ABSN program has unique prerequisites requirements, ranging anywhere from four to 15 courses, that you must complete before you can start nursing school.

ABSN Program Tips

Not all nursing programs are created equal. When it comes to finding a quality ABSN program that can help facilitate your midlife career change to nursing, you should look for:

  • ABSN programs that offer multiple start dates a year.
  • ABSN programs with an online learning component.
  • ABSN programs with strong clinical partnerships.
  • ABSN programs with high first-time NCLEX pass rates.

All these characteristics will ensure that you are getting an education that will adequately prepare you for your new career while also being flexible enough to fit into your schedule at this stage in your life.

Ready to Make a Midlife Career Change to Nursing?

If you have an undergraduate education outside of nursing, we can pair you up with the best ABSN program based on your qualifications. Simply complete our online form and we’ll put you in direct contact with a nursing school that fits your needs. We provide this as a free service and you’re under no obligation to attend any of the schools that contact you.

FNS logo texture wallpaper

Ready to start your nursing journey?