Careers with a Nursing Degree

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Nursing degree programs are meant to prepare you for professional practice in nursing.

 

Through a combination of hands-on learning and in-depth coursework, an education in this field enables you to gain skills and competencies that employers in the healthcare sector are almost always in need of.

 

If you exemplify the professional characteristics of a nursing professional, the sky is the limit for your career; you will be free to choose a career path based on your interests and ambitions.

 

If you'd like to know more about where this degree can take you, read on below. This careers guide contains detailed occupational information on career paths relevant to this degree.

 

We’ve also thrown in a list of Canadian and American nursing scholarships that can help you pay for school!

 

 

 

 

Careers Relevant to This Degree

A degree in nursing serves as an excellent foundation for any of the following careers (not an inclusive list):

 

Blogger

Child Life Specialist

Clinical Research Coordinator

Community Care Coordinator

Consumer Advocate

Developmental Care Worker

Elder Care Worker

Emergency Room Nurse

Genetic Counselor

Geriatric Care Manager

Gerontologist

Health Care Administrator

Health Care Aide

Health Educator

• Health Services Manager

Hospice Coordinator

International Aid Worker

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

Long Term Care Nurse

Managed Care Nurse

Medical Writer

• Military Officer

Operating Room Nurse

Orthopaedic Technician

NGO Area Coordinator

Pediatric Nurse

Psychiatric Nurse

• Public Health Director

Public Health Planner

Recreation Therapist

Registered Nurse

School Nurse

University Professor

Wellness Coordinator

 

Please Note: Some of the above listed careers require additional education, training and/or experience. Click on careers that are of interest to you to find out more about the qualifications you’ll need.

 


 

What Nursing Programs Teach

Nursing programs in Canada and the United States use a combination of intensive classroom instruction, nursing laboratory work, and in-field work placements in order to train students to become knowledgeable, competent, compassionate, and ethical nursing professionals.


 

To develop graduates that are knowledgeable and effective in future nursing careers, most nursing degree programs make the utmost effort to instill values of critical inquiry, reflective practice and life-long learning in their students.


 

Nursing programs also require students to complete in-field work placement programs as part of their education. These work placement programs are usually between 1,000 and 2,000 hours in duration, depending on the school. These in-field work placements typically don’t take place at the same hospital for all of the required hours. This helps expose students to a wide variety of real-world situations and effectively prepare them for nursing careers.


 

Classroom coursework typically provide students with a solid academic foundation in the areas of Nursing Theory, Nursing Practice, Human Anatomy and Physiology. Complimentary coursework may include lessons in Chronic Health Challenges, Pathophysiology, Psychology, Biology and others.


 

Typical core concepts of nursing degree programs:


 

• Care and Health for All

• Collaboration

• Critical Inquiry

• Nursing Knowledge

• Professionalism

• Social Justice and Equity


 

 

What Kinds of Employers Hires Graduates?

Below are some examples of public and private employers with whom you may find work as a nursing graduate (not an inclusive list). Some of these employers may hire you right after you’ve earned your diploma or degree, while others may have additional education and experience requirements:

 

• Community/Public Health Agencies

• Health Clinics

• Hospitals

• Long-Term Care Facilities

• Private Health Practice

• Psychiatric Offices

• Rehabilitation Services

• Schools (all levels)

• Seniors’ Homes and Facilities

 

 

 

Nursing Jobs!

Whether you're a nursing student looking for a job to help you pay for school, or a graduate looking for an entry or mid-level job, our job board has opportunities directly and indirectly related to your degree.

 

Find Nursing Job Opportunities

 

 

 

Areas of Specialty Within This Field

Nursing has many areas in which you can specialize, depending on your ambitions and interests. In order to specialize in one of these areas, you will likely need additional education and training.

 

 

Cardiac Nursing: Caring for individuals with heart conditions and/or cardiac disease

 

Clinical Nursing: Working in clinics or doctors offices. Can also work in specialized clinics such as pediatric clinics

 

Community Health Nursing: Working as a nurse in the community as home health nurse, or providing health related information to the community

 

Dialysis Nursing: Caring for individuals requiring dialysis

 

Emergency Room Nursing: Caring for individuals entering the emergency room with trauma or illness

 

General Nursing: Caring for routine hospital patients

 

Geriatric Nursing: Nursing related to caring for the elderly

 

Oncology Nursing: Caring for individuals diagnosed and receiving treatment for cancer

 

Operating Room Nursing: Assisting and caring for patients undergoing surgery while in the operating room

 

Pediatric Nursing: Involves caring for infants and children

 

Recovery Room Nurses: Caring for patients in during the period immediately following surgery

 

School Nursing: Caring for school children with illness or injury during the school day

 

 

 

 

 

Average Salary Level of Graduates

The average salary you could earn with a nursing degree varies based on a wide variety of factors, such as:

 

• The size, budget and type of your employer

• The discretion of your employer

• The level of education you’ve achieved and any additional training or experience • Your level of certification (if applicable)

• The region in which you work • How much overtime you are able to work

• The amount of responsibility inherent in your position

• Your level of experience (people with several years worth of experience can often earn substantially in their profession more than what’s listed below)

 
Most importantly, however, the salary you could earn with this degree varies based on the career field you choose to pursue. Below is an overview of the average earnings of people in career fields that are relevant to a degree in nursing. 
 
Please Note: The salary information listed below is meant only to serve as a guideline. In many cases, workers in these fields can earn much more, or less less, than the figures stated. 
 
Blogger
Alberta: N/A
Canada: N/A
United States: $36,580 (indeed)


Child Life Specialist
Alberta: $63,922
Canada: N/A
United States: $42,184 (Glassdoor)


Clinical Research Coordinator
Alberta: N/A
Canada: $49,163 (PayScale)
United States: $49,094 (indeed)


Community Care Coordinator
Alberta: $67,175 (ALIS)
Canada: $57,940 (PayScale)
United States: $59,970 (BLS)


Elder Care Worker
Alberta: $34,460 (ALIS)
Canada: $23,707 (PayScale)
United States: $23,130 (BLS)


Emergency Room Nurse 
Alberta: $80,129 (ALIS)
Canada: $70,440 (PayScale)
United States: $70,000 (BLS)


Genetic Counselor
Alberta: N/A
Canada: N/A
United States: $55,820 (BLS)


Gerontologist
Alberta: $87,546 (ALIS)
Canada: N/A
United States: $39,819 - $123,053 - depending on specialty (indeed)


Health Care Administrator
Alberta: $101,051 (ALIS)
Canada: $84,265 (indeed)
United States: $88,580 (BLS)


Health Care Aide
Alberta: $34,460 (ALIS)
Canada: $36,667 (PayScale)
United Sates: $23,210 (BLS)


Health Educator
Alberta: N/A
Canada: N/A
United Sates: $45,360 (BLS)


LPN 
Alberta: $53,371 (ALIS)
Canada: $53,820 (Glassdoor)
United States: $45,714 (BLS - mean wage)


Medical Writer
Alberta: N/A
Canada: N/A
United States: $91,342 (indeed)


Operating Room Nurse
(See “Registered Nurse”)


Orthopaedic Technician
Alberta: N/A
Canada: N/A
United States: $66,240 (BLS)


Pediatric Nurse
(see “Registered Nurse”)


Psychiatric Nurse
Alberta: $80,129 (ALIS)
Canada: $82,660 (Glassdoor)
United States: $110,930 (BLS)


Recreation Therapist
Alberta: $71,060 (indeed)
Canada: $60,400 (indeed)
United States: $49,670 (BLS - mean salary)


Registered Nurse
Alberta: $80,129 (ALIS)
Canada: $73,980 (indeed)
United Sates: $70,000 (BLS)


School Nurse
(See “Registered Nurse”)

 

University Professor

Alberta: $74,877 (ALIS)

Canada: $157,610 (indeed)

United Sates: $76,000 (BLS)

 

 

The name in brackets next to the salary data for each region is the sources from which the data was obtained. Please note, the salary data that is sourced from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov) represents median salary figures, rather than average salary figures.

 

Degree Data References

ALIS: Alberta Learning and Information Service (alis.alberta.ca), sponsored by the Government of Alberta. For an overview of their salary survey methodology, please visit here.

PayScale: Private organization owned by PayScale Incorporated (payscale.com). For an overview of their salary survey methodology, please visit here.

BLS: United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov), sponsored by the federal government of the United States of America. For details regarding their salary survey methodology, please visit here.

Glassdoor: indeed is a private organization owned by Glassdoor incorporated (glassdoor.com). For an overview of their salary survey methodology, please visit here.

 

 

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Relevant Scholarships

If you’re looking for help in paying for school, then you’re in luck! Our scholarships database has scholarships that are specific to nursing, as well as scholarships that are open to any major.

 

 

Gaining Career Experience Before You Graduate

Nursing programs in Canada and the United States have practical education requirements that students must meet in order to graduate. This typically involves working as a nurse in a clinical setting under the direct supervision of a Registered Nurse (RN) or other nursing professionals.

 

Typically, you will be required to complete at least 1,000 hours of clinical experience. Some of these programs may even require you to complete these hours within multiple clinical settings. For example, it is not uncommon for nursing students to gain experience with several different hospitals and clinics throughout the duration of their work experience program.

 

Other than fulfilling mandatory curriculum requirements, there are many benefits to participating in clinical nursing experience as a student, such as:

 

1. Making your own conclusions about a career in your field

Have you heard that nursing is emotionally draining? Have you been warned not to pursue a career in nursing because it’s hard to find work? Gaining experience in the field before you graduate can help you either prove or disprove such rumors, and even if they’re proven you may have such a passion for what you’re doing that you may decide that’s where you want to be anyway.

 

2. Strengthening your resolve to pursue a career in nursing

Once you’ve gotten a sample of what working in nursing is like, you may find yourself even hungrier and more determined to succeed than you were before. You may discover that you are on the brink of working in a challenging and highly rewarding career. If your will to succeed is increased interested in your coursework, which can only mean good things.

 

3. Getting your foot in the door with an organization

A great way to facilitate your transition from student to nurse, is to be offered a position with the same hospital, clinic, school, health care facility or community organization you worked for as a student! If you’ve done quality work and made a good impression, chances are that organization will want to retain you on a full-time basis once you’ve graduated.

 

 

How to find a clinical experience opportunity

Since in-field experience is typically an academic requirement, your college or university will likely arrange the opportunity for you, or present you with a list of suitable options to choose from. 

 


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