Are There Advantages to Starting Nursing School Later in Life?

Are There Advantages to Starting Nursing School Later in Life?If you’re contemplating a career change, you may be wondering if there are advantages to starting nursing school later in life. With the current nursing shortage, there is a definite openness within the field to older students. While there are challenges involved in going back to school later in your life, there are also some advantages, both to you and your potential employers.

Making a Career Change

Many people who go into nursing later in life do so as part of a career change. You may be contemplating going into nursing from a completely different kind of work. Making a big career change can feel daunting, but it can also be revitalizing. Some people opt to make the change because they are looking for a higher income or better work flexibility. Others may want to make the change because they desire to get into a practical profession in which they can make a real difference in others’ lives. All of those reasons and more can make sense of your decision to attend nursing school as an older student.

If you decide to pursue nursing training as an older student, you won’t be alone. According to the National League of Nursing, about 50% of the students who pursued an associate’s degree in nursing in 2012 were 30 years of age or older. While there is still plenty of room for students taking the traditional college path right out of high school, many students pursue a diploma, an associate’s degree, or a bachelor’s degree when they are slightly older. All of those are valid paths to become a registered nurse (RN).

Some of the Advantages

The fact that more students are pursuing nursing as part of a later-in-life career change seems to be reflected in the way that educational opportunities are currently offered to nursing students. More online, distance-learning opportunities are available, and there is a growing trend toward accelerated programs that allow students to move more quickly from school to work, since some students who want to pursue a nursing degree already have another college degree (please see: Top 10 Best Online RN to BSN Programs). If you already have a first college degree, not only will you likely need to spend less time in getting a nursing degree (since some of your core requirements could be met from previous college experience) but you’ll have the advantage of good study and time management habits already learned in your previous college study.

Even if you don’t have another college degree under your belt, your life experience from other types of work, including skills learned in parenting and managing a home, can make you an effective nursing student. Those other life and job skills, along with more emotional maturity, are also assets that you bring to any potential employment as a nurse. If you have been able to set aside some income from another job or profession, that may also help you pay for your nursing studies.

As an older adult, you can bring a depth of maturity, time management and study skills to your nursing studies. The fact that you are making the choice to return to school or to begin a brand new career will likely motivate you to great dedication in your studies. These are just a few of the advantages to starting nursing school later in life.