Nursing has always been a promising profession, boasting one of the highest job outlooks among other occupations. Unfortunately, this has made the career such a competitive field, as evident with the number of students being denied to enter nursing schools. If you’re one of these students, you’re probably thinking you no longer have a chance at achieving your dream job.
What many students don’t know is there are many other bridging programs and alternative pathways that’d provide you entry to proper nursing education and relevant courses. Below are some examples of these alternative programs you can take to enter the medical field:
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1. Certified Nursing Assistant Programs
Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) programs are among the many pathways to the medical field that don’t require a college degree. However, you need a CNA certification, which you can get by applying for CNA programs and earning at least 80 hours of training. After that, you need to pass an exam; and once you do, you should be able to become a CNA.
Certified nursing assistants, often called patient care assistants, are individuals catering to the needs of other people. These may include bathing, grooming, and brushing, among others.
CNA programs are available in many schools. These include vocational schools and community colleges. Perhaps, the only problem you’ll be facing is the tuition fee, which is around USD$3,000. The good news is some nursing homes offer free nursing assistant programs, and once you complete their program, you’re offered a job at their organization immediately, so it’s certainly a win-win. If you intend to get into a Certified Nursing Assistant program, reading this nursing assistant guide for more details can help.
The best part about applying for CNA programs is it’d also open a pathway for you to become a Licensed Vocational Nurse or a Licensed Practical Nurse, both of which generally have better offerings than being a CNA. And that’s another program you might want to know about.
2. Licensed Practical Nurse Diploma Programs
Being a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) is one of the best choices among those who graduate from nursing schools, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t become an LPN without entering a competitive school. In fact, applying for LPN diploma programs is the fastest way you can become a Licensed Practical Nurse in many states.
The Licensed Practical Nurse job description is similar to Certified Nursing Assistant as they both care for people. Also, the Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) are two titles for the same job, which would also mean the qualifications are identical.
While you may hear some people talking about the difficulty of finding the best school to attend, LPN programs are available in many places. These include community colleges, technical schools, and even hospitals. Take note, however, that each LPN program may vary in terms of the exam passing rate and practical training. If you’ve decided on applying for an LPN diploma, it’s best to look for a program with a relatively high passing rate since they’re most likely the best programs out there.
Unfortunately, LPN programs are relatively more expensive than CNA programs, with an average tuition fee of around USD$10,000. Nevertheless, if you can manage to get into these programs, all that’s left is to finish your courses, which usually consist of the foundations of nursing, and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN).
3. Practical Nursing Programs
Normally, entering a nursing school and finishing their programs is the best way to become a Registered Nurse (RN) as the courses and practical training would provide you with the necessary skills to be competent in the workplace. However, it’s not the fastest method.
If you’re itching to become a Registered Nurse, the fastest way is to first apply in an LPN, LVN, or CN program. After completing one of these programs and passing the examination, you can move your way up to the RN career path by applying for a Practical Nursing program. This program usually lasts for 12 months, which means if you don’t count the time you’d spent in the LPN, LVN, or CN program, you can become a Registered Nurse within a year.
However, you’ll have to pay for the tuition fee of the Practical Nursing program, which should be around USD$15,000. So, although this is the fastest way to become a Registered Nurse, you’ll have to be willing to spend a considerable amount of money.
4. Associate’s Degree In Nursing Programs
If you’re not in a hurry to become a Registered Nurse, you can apply for an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) program where you’ll spend around two years with training and coursework. Once you finish the program, you need to pass the NCLEX-PN, which will turn you into a Registered Nurse. It’d take a bit longer than the previous option, but it’s still faster than most of your options. Plus, it’s cheaper than applying for a Practical Nursing program as it can cost as low as USD$5,000 for the ADN program.
5. Waitlist Programs
One of the main reasons students fail to get into the nursing school of their dreams is because their GPA is simply not high enough. If that’s your case, then the three programs mentioned above would be perfect for you, but that’s not to say you should give up getting into a nursing school. If you’re persistent with your dream, you can also apply to waitlist programs.
As the name suggests, a waitlist program enables entry to nursing schools on the basis that you wait for some time. How this works is they accept a specific number of students every year into the nursing school regardless of these students’ GPA. The basis is whoever applied for the program first. Naturally, you’d think waiting for several years might not be the best choice, but since you probably don’t have anything to lose by doing so, it’s still a viable option.
It’s also advisable to apply for multiple waitlist programs at once to increase your chances. Take note that some waitlist programs accept students multiple times a year, so it’s worth applying to these.
Reading a letter concerning your application for a nursing school is nerve-wracking. While it’s normal to hope for the best, it’s also essential to prepare yourself if the outcome is undesirable, which can happen to many students. At that moment, it may feel like you’re denied of your dream, but that’s not the case, as you’ve seen in this guide. What’s left for you to do now is to continue moving forward to your goal.