The Financial Rewards of a Nursing Career
Before beginning a nursing career, a nursing student requires specific training in the sciences and many clinic hours under the supervision of nurses who are already in the field. Much effort is required in order to join the ranks of this occupation, and so many people wonder if enrolling in one of the many fine nursing programs across the country is worth it in the long run. There are many ways that this concern could be addressed. Yet since salary and benefit needs factor into any consideration of a career path, every prospective nursing student should have an understanding of the financial rewards that will be theirs if they complete an LPN program or RN program and become a nurse.
Due to advances in medical technology and an aging population, an increasing number of people require access to healthcare. This means that healthcare-related personnel are in great need in the hospitals, clinics, and other medical settings across the country. Nurses are in especially high demand because they serve on the frontline of medical care, and spend more time with patients than anyone else. Because of this great demand, salaries and benefits related to nursing occupations tend to be much higher than for other careers. There is no doubt that this demand will continue into the future, and average pay and benefits for nurse jobs have therefore nowhere to go but up.
As of 2010, the median annual salary for a registered nurse in a hospital setting was nearly $64,000. Nurses who specialize in particular fields have the potential to earn even more. Nurse anesthetists who complete their nursing education and specialization can potentially earn a six-figure salary after working for many years and climbing their way up the earnings schedule. Nurse jobs that are found in doctor’s offices and nursing homes pay less than what registered nurses in hospitals can earn, but their average salaries are still greater than what those who work in other occupations receive. In 2010, the U.S. federal government puts the median salary of a nurse who works in a nursing home at about $57,000 a year. This is true whether the nurse completes one of the many RN programs in the country or graduates from one of the traditional nursing schools that have trained nurses for generations.
Higher Education Higher Wages
These sums represent only the median wages for various nursing occupations. When benefits’ packages are taken into account, the financial rewards are even greater for those who graduate from nursing schools and become nurses. Most people are looking for quality health insurance that is relatively inexpensive from their employer. Because of the ties nurses already have to the healthcare field, health insurance that is given to those who have finished an LPN program or RN program and secured a nursing position is often excellent. Furthermore, in many cases, the employer will pay all or at least a substantial amount of the premium cost on behalf of the employee. This is a particularly good benefit for those who must insure not only themselves but also their spouses and children as well.
A retirement plan is also an important part of many benefits packages, and those who work in nurse jobs at a large institution can be assured that they will have decent retirement benefits in addition to their actual salaries. Nurses who work for hospitals or as instructors at colleges and universities benefit from the fact that these organizations have many employees in other departments and need to offer competitive benefits to attract quality workers. This means putting together good 401k or 403b plans that benefit both those who graduate from nursing programs and become hospital or teaching nurses and those who work in other positions.
Wages vs. Education Cost
Another way of looking at the financial rewards of a nursing career is to consider the pay for nurses in relation to the actual cost for a nursing education. Because nurses are in such high demand, nursing students can often secure grants or scholarships to help them pay for their nursing education. This lowers the amount they need to borrow for loans and so forth, which means that they will not have as much money to pay back once they start their nursing career. Thus, they get to keep more of their earnings over time. Or, potential nurses could consider online LPN programs or online RN programs, both of which tend to cost less than nursing programs offered in a traditional university setting. Paying less now for a great education offered through one of these online nursing programs lowers the investment in starting a career in nursing and thereby also increases the return on this investment. Additionally, when considering online LPN programs or online RN programs more broadly, potential students should also be aware that these programs allow them to keep their current job while they are in school more easily than if they enroll in a traditional program. This helps keep the cost for online programs down because the nursing student can continue enjoying the earnings of their present career and not be forced into taking a minimum wage job or spending a few years without any earnings at all. Nursing is often a second career for people, and the ease of online education helps to explain why.
When the median salaries for most nurses, nursing career benefit packages, and the cost of a nursing education are all taken into account, it is clear that the financial rewards for nursing occupations are quite substantial.