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Tips for Selecting a Nursing Career

The right research can help you select the right nursing school, nursing degree, and nursing career.

To call nursing an in-demand job is an understatement. By 2029, the U.S. is expected to add 221,900 new positions for RNs,1 and that’s not even counting positions for nurse practitioners, nurse educators, and those in nursing management, nurse informatics, and public health. Obviously, a nursing career is a great choice for anyone who wants to work in a growth industry. The question is: how do you determine the right nursing career for you? The following tips can help.

Think About Your Personality

The variety of available nursing jobs means there’s likely to be some that are a better fit for you than others. Before you enroll in a nursing school, take some time to research the types of nursing jobs and consider which ones will work best with your personality. Common nursing jobs include:

Tips for Selecting a Nursing Career

  • Nurse Practitioner
    These highly trained nurses operate similarly to doctors. They see patients, provide treatments, and prescribe medications. Common specialties include, psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner, adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner, adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, pediatric nurse practitioner primary care and family nurse practitioner. This is a great career if you want significant autonomy and your own patient panel.
  • Registered Nurse (RN)
    Most typically employed by hospitals and other healthcare facilities, RNs provided care for patients in a clinical setting. This is a great career if you want daily contact with patients.
  • Nurse Educator
    These non-clinical nurses can work in the classroom teaching students or in the field teaching other medical professionals about new medical treatments and products. This is a great career if you enjoy teaching and/or designing educational programs.
  • Nursing Informatics
    Nurses working in health informatics use computer technology to improve healthcare delivery services, management, and planning. They ensure information is gathered appropriately, understood fully, and flows smoothly between physicians, hospitals, labs, insurers, researchers, and patients. This is a great career if you have a mind for data and a desire to improve systems.
  • Public Health Nurse
    Public health nurses have the knowledge and skills necessary to serve in a wide range of public health roles, from program development to community education to policy advocacy and implementation.
  • Nurse Executive
    If you’re ready to assume a leadership role in nursing, studying to be a nurse executive is a great career move. Nurse executives have a number of strong skills, such as coaching, motivating, and leading a professional team. They also have expertise in areas of administration and decision-making.

Review the Data on Nursing Jobs

Is the nursing job you want readily available where you live? Is demand for the job increasing or declining? Will the job pay what you want to earn? Before you finish nursing school, it’s a good idea to answer these and other questions. Fortunately, the internet provides plenty of resources. In particular, you should review the data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This U.S. government department provides a wide variety of information on specific careers, allowing you to research salaries, potential job growth, regional variances, and more. Here are just a few:2

  • The median annual wage for nurse practitioner in 2019 is $115,800.
  • From 2019–2029 employment rates are estimated to grow 45%, which is much faster than the average position.
  • As of 2019, there were more than 263,000 jobs for nurse practitioners.

Consider Earning a Master of Science in Nursing

While there are a variety of nursing degrees available, one of the absolute best is the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. That’s because a master’s degree in nursing is considered an entry-level degree for a wide number of nursing careers. In fact, the best MSN programs will allow you to specialize in such fields as:

Take a Look at Online Nursing Schools

An online university can make completing a nursing program—such as a master’s in nursing program—more possible than you ever thought. Instead of having to take time off from your current job to attend nursing school, you can complete the majority of your coursework from home and on a flexible schedule you can fit around all your other responsibilities.

Online learning has other advantages, too. For example, if you’re an RN, you can enroll in an RN to MSN program. Through an RN to MSN online program, you earn credits toward your MSN while earning your bachelor’s in nursing. This can help you earn your MSN degree faster

Finding the right online nursing school can help you earn the right nursing degree for the nursing career that best fits you.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering an online Master of Science in Nursing degree program. Walden is No. 1 in Master of Science in Nursing graduates in the U.S3., producing more MSN graduates than any other university.2 Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.

3Source: National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) IPEDS database. Based on the most recent year of completions survey data available, using CIP code family 51.38 “Registered Nursing, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research, and Clinical Nursing” for Master’s degrees (Award level 7). Available at (Retrieved February 2020; may consist of or include provisional release data.)