Whether you are just considering nursing as a career path or deciding if you should advance past your LVN and become a registered nurse (RN), you may be wondering about the actual benefits to becoming an RN. There are many reasons to take the extra time to go through education and training in order to become an RN, ranging from more options in the jobs you take, to being able to get higher pay and more unique benefits. No matter what you choose, being an RN allows you to help others, which is likely the reason you got into nursing in the first place.
More Job Availability
One of the most significant reasons to train to be an RN is the job availability. In a struggling economy, it always help to find a career path that lets you choose from a variety of locations, jobs and specialties. Nursing is one of the best careers to get in the U.S., with more than 100,000 openings just for registered nurses. The RN field specifically is expected to grow by another 22 percent by 2018, giving you even more opportunities for jobs. Another thing to think about is that no matter where you live or move to, you will always be able to find an RN job.
As a registered nurse, you are opening yourself up to a higher salary, as opposed to an LPN or LVN. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), reported that in 2010, LPNs earned an average of $40,000 a year while RNs earned over $64,000 on average that year. If you choose to train as an RN in a specialty, such as in surgery or labor and delivery, you can earn even more. In some specialties, RNs earn $80,000 or more a year.
Flexibility of Job Options
Similar to more jobs being available, you also have more flexibility in the type of job options open to you. This means you can choose to work in a variety of different types of healthcare centers or medical centers, such as nursing homes, public health, hospitals, private clinics or medical offices, occupational health, in various industries, or even become a teacher at a local college, university or hospital.
More Flexible Schedules
If you’re looking for a flexible schedule, you are more likely to get it after training to become a registered nurse. RNs are often able to choose what type of work schedule they want, such as mornings, traditional daytime hours or graveyard shifts. You can also choose between different part time or full time shifts, like 8, 10 or 12-hour working shifts. You may also get the opportunity to choose only weekdays, weekends or nights, depending on your other responsibilities. This flexible scheduling lets you choose based on your family life, having small children in the house, or wanting weekends to dedicate to other leisure activities.
More Career Growth Opportunities
By training to become an RN, you are also getting excellent education and growing your career. Your nursing skills are expanded upon and you can choose from different career paths. Not just in schooling and training but while on the job, you get the chance to learn a lot when you choose to become an registered nurse. Over time, you may discover certain specialties that interest you and where you can help your patients the most, which can lead you in the direction of training for that RN specialty. There are also higher levels of education available to you after you become an RN, such as getting a Maser’s Degree in nursing and becoming a nurse practitioner or a nursing instructor.
While all nurses get some type of benefits, depending on where they choose to work, registered nurses tend to have better benefits. This is because you are being compensated for the extra time and work you have put into the additional education and training. As an RN, expect to have excellent healthcare benefits, as well as sick leave, paid holidays, retirement benefits and generally better healthcare, dental and vision benefits than if you were an LVN or LPN. If you currently work as a nurse and are thinking about joining a local RN program, contact the hospital or medical center you work for. They may offer education compensation benefits if you agree to go through with the entire RN program. This is common as RNs are so high in demand and hospitals are often looking for more nurses to add to their staff.
If you are still weighing your options, these different benefits can help guide you in the right direction. Becoming an RN gives you more opportunities and allows you to help more people, as well as furthering your nursing career and taking it into a whole new direction.