Sometimes you have to get into a career before deciding it’s not for you. This can be especially true of teaching, where expectations and reality can be at odds. Or perhaps your career goals have changed and now you’re wondering if it might be time to start down an entirely different route.
No matter your reasons, if you’re a teacher considering changing professional paths but still want to educate and make a difference in the lives of others, switching from teacher to nurse may be a good second career for you. Below, we outline six reasons why you should consider transitioning from teacher to nurse.
While you likely would never consider a career path based on salary alone, a little extra padding in your bank account never hurts. You’ll often find that’s the case when going from teacher to nurse. As of May 2017, registered nurses made $65,080 a year in Central New York and $64,890 a year in Florida, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Not to mention, the more specialized in nursing you become, the higher your earning potential. For example, registered nurses who hold a bachelor’s of science in nursing can go back to school to become nurse practitioners, midwives, and clinical managers, among other high-paying jobs. Nurses can even find work at law firms specializing in healthcare cases, or, you could get the best of both worlds by helping to train the next generation of nurses as a nurse educator.
Though the jobs themselves could not be more different, both share many key “soft” skills, not the least of which are compassion, problem solving and patience. Of course, these attributes are musts if you want to be a nurse.
Equal in importance is the ability to communicate and educate effectively. Much of the time, the task of educating patients and their families on their condition/diagnosis, medications, prescribed lifestyle changes and overall health falls to nurses, and that can be a tall order. For example, you could teach a patient about the home management of diabetes one day or about the importance of hand hygiene the next. It requires someone who can explain concepts in a manner that is easy to understand — not always an easy feat in a country where only 12 percent of adults are considered to have proficient health literacy.
If interacting with students every day is something you love about being a teacher, becoming a nurse still leaves the door open for continued work with children. Pursuing a nursing position with a pediatric or obstetric specialty is one way, or if you still want to work in a school setting, you can always become a school nurse.
Either way, your previous background of working with children as a teacher is a boon to any future nursing career you may choose. Devising treatment plans has much in common with lesson planning, and noting students’ academic and developmental progress is a lot like monitoring a patient’s health status, for example.
The healthcare industry is facing a major nursing shortage, with the profession expected to grow 15 percent between 2016 and 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s not even factoring in the increasing number of nursing job openings resulting from retirements, of which there will be many as the Baby Boomer generation moves toward exiting the workforce over the next several years.
Many also consider nursing to be an almost recession-proof job. In fact, between 2002 and 2015, about one in every 15 new jobs was a registered nurse position, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Not to mention, nurses can find work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, outpatient clinics, schools, non-healthcare-related companies, insurance companies and more.
Chances are you already have a bachelor’s degree — or at the very least, 65 college credits. That’s great news! Assuming you meet the admission requirements, you could be eligible to enroll in an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program, such as the one Utica College offers in Syracuse, New York; St. Petersburg, Florida; or Miramar, Florida. This means you can earn your nursing degree in as few as 16 months.
Besides, depending on the focus of your teaching degree, you may already have completed many of the six science-based and general education prerequisites required to enter the Utica College accelerated nursing program.
Don’t fret if you don’t have them all done, though — Utica College offers all ABSN prerequisites via its Prerequisite Priority Program (PREP), which offers these courses 100% online, even those with labs. An added bonus: enrolling in PREP reserves your spot in the Utica College ABSN program.
While teachers may get summers off — that is, if they don’t teach summer school classes or work at a year-round school — the job requires a lot of time outside school hours. There are papers and tests to grade, parent-teacher meetings to attend, lesson plans to develop and tweak and more.
As a nurse, you will likely work very different hours. Nurses in hospitals tend to work three 12-hour shifts a week while nurses in clinics and other non-hospital settings work five 8-hour shifts a week. Sure, some nurses will need to work overtime, but this is usually by choice. Not to mention nurses are well compensated for their overtime, receiving time and half and even double-time in some cases.
Registered nurses also have a lot of flexibility to work different hours. Some work a few hours a week, others work nine days out of 10. Nurses aren’t confined to working during the day, either. Many nurses prefer working night shift, and not just because it tends to pay slightly more.
If nursing sounds like a better career fit for you, we can help. With three start dates each year and no current waitlist, we may have a spot for you in our Accelerated B.S. in Nursing program. Blending the convenience of online coursework with hands-on practice in high-tech skills and simulation labs and real-life clinical experience, the Utica ABSN program is perfect for career changers.
To find out how you become a registered nurse in as few as 16 months with Utica College’s ABSN program, fill out the form to have an admissions representative reach out to you.
Our ABSN has three start dates a year, so you can begin nursing school whenever you're ready.