The messages I've found here have been a fantastic source of information, but I'm afraid I've actually overwhelmed myself and would like to clarify my options as I progress through my education toward an ASN or BSN.
A little background: I'm 49 years old, attending on-line GE classes through Coastline Community College. I had no college courses prior to enrolling at Coastline in Spring '10, so I knew it would be a couple of years before I could transfer to a local school (I'm in Sacramento, CA) for the ASN program. My ultimate goal has been to get the ASN, start working and continue on to the BSN, then possibly keep going for the MSN or even to become a Nurse Practitioner or Physician's Assistant. On paper, it worked out well - two years of GE, two years for the ASN, graduate and get to work somewhere around my 52nd birthday....do-able.
Now, I'm finding out how impacted the community college degree programs are, and just how long this process could actually take. Even with a good GPA (mine is 3.7) and several local cc's with ASN programs, it's a very real possibility that I won't even get into a program until 2013. Another year and a half...which puts me another two years out before I can even hope to start working.
So....here's where the decision-making comes in. A private LVN program? Patience and a lot of luck to get into a community college ASN program? Skip the ASN and go straight for the BSN, since I'm going to be in school forever, anyway?
I have an orientation at Carrington (Western Career College) scheduled for next week and I spoke to a counselor at Sac City College last week. She told me that I might be better off to try another medical program, like Radiology Tech, Pharmacy Tech, or Ultrasound Tech. Having a counselor directing me away from the program I really wanted is a big, red flag to me, so I'd really like to hear from people who have been in my position, understand my confusion and may have ideas I haven't thought of yet.
In short, HELP!
After reading some other messages on the boards here, I think I should also let everyone know that I'm not looking for the highest paying job as quickly as possible. If I thought I could survive on the salary of an MA, I'd be doing that, at least for starters. This isn't about the fact that nurses make good money, it's about wanting to start a career in a field that I feel passionate about.