Although the current recession has resulted in tremendous downsizing and job losses across the country, at least one career path has flourished. Registered nursing continued to add jobs and saw salary increases at the same time many other industries or contracting. There are currently more than 2 1/2 million active registered nurses now working in the United States.
Registered nursing has once again emerged as one of the top 50 careers for 2011. By its nature, nursing can encompass a wide variety of roles within the health care industry. And as our society continues to age, the need for health care providers continues to grow. That has driven the need for more nurses particularly as the last influx of highly trained nurses has begun to hit retirement age and is now leaving the workforce.
The role of registered nurses can range from working in delivery rooms to hospice care at the end of life. And as more medical facilities are trying to see more and more patients, the need for highly trained reliable registered nurses is also on the rise.
According to workplace experts, growth opportunities for nursing will rise faster than average compared to other occupations. The US Department of Labor predicts the country is expected to add just under 600,000 new registered nurses job by the year 2018. Most of that hiring will take place to fill positions in private physicians offices.
Nursing salaries have continued to increase as well. In the middle of the great recession the median salary for a typical nurse was around $64,000. The highest earners in nursing were making nearly $100,000 in 2009.
The nursing field has also remained attractive because of its chances for advancement. As incentives to attract top nursing candidates, many medical facilities are offering fast track career paths. In addition to signing bonuses, these facilities may pay for education which can lead to faster career advancement and higher pay. That has allowed many nurses to obtain masters degrees which can allow them to enter into more advanced practices such as becoming a nurse practitioner.
In order to obtain an entry-level job in nursing, employees must first have a bachelor of science or Associates degree in nursing. Associates degrees can be completed in two years which can get a nurse on the job more quickly. However those who have already obtained a four year bachelor of science degree can start at a higher pay level. For that reason many employees with an associate degree try to quickly obtain a bachelor’s degree soon after being hired.
As the economy shrunk the past three years the need for highly-skilled health care workers did not. That especially has created a need for more people to fill nursing positions. With a predicted 22% growth rate in hiring, the future for careers in nursing remains bright even if the economy remains bleak.
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