It is common knowledge that registered nurses have one of the most in-demand jobs in the U.S. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing maintains that the nation is in the middle of a nursing shortage expected to only get worse as baby boomers in the nursing profession retire and the need for health care grows. The nursing shortage is partially due to the fact that nursing colleges and universities across the country are having difficulty expanding enrollment levels to meet this rising demand, the AACN explains.
So just how good are your prospects? Job opportunities for RNs are projected to be excellent, growing much faster than average for all occupations through 2016, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many new jobs are expected, and nursing is already the largest health care occupation in the nation, with RNs holding about 2.5 million jobs in 2006, the Bureau maintains.
Why the job growth in nursing? The Bureau predicts hundreds of thousands of job openings will result from the need to fill vacancies left by veteran nurses leaving nursing for retirement or other opportunities. Growth will also be driven by “technological advances in patient care, which permit a greater number of health problems to be treated, and by an increasing emphasis on preventive care,” the Bureau predicts. Health problems tend to increase as patients age, and as the baby boomers approach retirement age, a greater demand will emerge for nurses.
So why do you need a BSN? A bachelor’s degree makes your job prospects even more favorable for higher-paying management jobs, the Bureau says.
$57,280 was the median annual earning of a registered nurse in May of 2006, the Bureau recorded. Broken down, that means the middle 50 percent of RNs earned between $47,700 and $69,850. Only the very lowest 10 percent earned less than $40,200. The highest pay was recorded among RNs working in employment services and general medical and surgical hospitals. States that were recorded as having the highest-paid nurses on average are: California, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Maryland and New York.
Another perk is that because of the nursing shortage, employers in many parts of the U.S. are actively recruiting nurses, attracting them with sign-up bonus and good benefits packages.