Waiting lists at nursing schools around the country are reaching record lengths. Aspiring nursing students are finding that many schools have waiting lists of three or four years length these days, because there are so many applicants for each available position.
State schools and community colleges have especially long waiting lists because they are the cheapest options.
Why such a crush of competition to get into nursing school?
Nursing is seen as an especially desirable job in today’s unstable economy. While most professions are seeing layoffs and uncertainty, there is a huge demand for nurses, and the career pays pretty well – anywhere from $25 to $60 an hour depending on experience level, area of the country that the nurse is working in, and where the nurse is working.
So across the country, hundreds of thousands of people who want to change careers or start their career are applying to nursing school – only to end up crushed and frustrated to find out that it might be years before they are accepted.
However there are other alternatives.
One of these is to apply to what is known as a “career nursing school” or “degree school”. These schools, rather than being liberal arts schools, concentrate specifically on a nursing education and tend to graduate nurses much more quickly than traditional nursing schools.
These schools also cost a lot more than traditional nursing schools, and therefore, they can afford to pay their teachers more. This means that they can usually attract all of the nursing teachers that they need, and therefore they can let in a lot more nursing students.
The wait to get into these schools is often months rather than a year or many years.
Traditional state colleges and four year colleges can not afford to pay their teachers very high salaries which means that it is very challenging for them to attract enough teachers.
Is it worth it to these students to pay forty or fifty thousand dollars for an Associate’s Degree in Nursing? It may well be. Most employers will repay a portion of the nursing student’s education in exchange for an agreement to work for the employer for a certain amount of time.
And the alternative may be a three to four year wait just to START school, which will then take at least another two years.
So in order to get started with one’s nursing career faster, it’s not a bad idea to consider a “degree school” as an alternative to the traditional state or community college.