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How to Earn Your Nursing Degree Past 50

January 26, 2016

Is it practical to consider starting a new a career or even your first one after the age of 50? The truth is, there is less security in retiring than there was 20 years ago. The cost of living is high while social security remains a gamble. A 2014 Gallup poll shows older adults are going back to school with mixed results.

The key is to pick the right industry, so age is less of a factor. As the nursing shortage continues, this choice becomes a solid option. Since you can take a percentage of your courses online, a nursing degree after the age of 50 can make sense for the right motivated person. Tack on the possibility of making money and receiving great benefits and suddenly life as a nurse looks pretty good.

The question is, how to earn your nursing degree at this late stage?

Consider Your Motivation

This is no small task you are undertaking, so a good place to start is with an assessment of your motivation. Why do you want the degree?

  • Do you need to switch careers for job security?

  • Have you always dreamt of getting your degree, but life got in the way?

  • Are you interested in making more money?

Whatever your reason is for taking this path, there is a lot of work ahead. A nursing degree will require both classroom and clinical training.

Do Your Research

There are many types of nursing degrees available. You may benefit from starting with a two-year associate degree and then continuing your studies online while you work. Even an LPN degree will give you some work options while you move your career forward.

  • Find out up front what you can do online, what your clinical responsibility is and how much time a day you will spend working towards the degree.

  • Investigate the schools in the area and organize a financial plan. Many community colleges and universities offer a Plus 50 incentive program to encourage nontraditional students to get back into the classroom.

  • What prerequisites are required before entering the nursing program? Some schools require you to complete a certified nurse’s assistant or CNA program first.

  • What documentation do you need to apply to a program – high school transcript, letter of recommendation, essay?

What Happens After You Graduate?

Once you have your degree in hand, what are you going to do with it? It may be possible to get a hospital job or to work at another medical facility such as a rehab center or nursing home. Travel nursing is another practical choice, especially if you dreamed of traveling later in life. As a travel nurse, you plan your own schedule and pick assignments in cities you have been wanting to visit. Travel nurses tend to make more money than entry level startup jobs, too, so you can save for when you really retire.

The fact is, people are living longer than they did 20 years ago. This has led many to go back to school after the age of 50. If you are one of them, then consider a career in nursing. It is an option that allows you to see the world and make money at the same time.

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