I am not quite 50+ yet, but am 45 and thinking about a possible change of careers. I almost went into nursing right out of high school in the mid 80s, put in all honesty was too lazy at the time. Part of what prompted me thinking more about this right now is that my youngest daughter is going to be starting in our local Tech School RN program this fall right out of high-school. As I ahve helped her figure out what she needs to do, pre-req's etc.... and talked to a TON of health care workers, many of whom are nurses, it became very apparent to me that this long time back-burner ambition of mine was well with-in reach to me. One other interesting thing I have noticed among my customers where I am now is how many people are working 'part time' as they ease into retirement - like maybe a 25 hour week at 65 or so.
I am still at the point of exploring it, but VERY seriously. There are many 'what ifs' or 'but what about A,B, or C issues to figure out still.
1) I think I could be done by 50 (it is a 3 1/2 year program that they are working on shortening it to 3 years) but I would probably stretch it out just a bit for a lighter course load while still working 1/2 time +. MY job is very flexible, a small family design/build firm where others could pick up the slack of me not being there as much, and is literally 4 blocks away from the college. I was hoping to retire at 60, but with the last stock market drop that somewhat screwed up that idea
2)The logistics of working odd shifts would be new to me, but by the time I got that far, I hope the kids are on their own, and I actually like 'non typical' schedules. But it would still be new to me to this degree. Our area has LOTS of 12 hour * 3 day nursing jobs, which I think I would love too. I currently usually work 6 days per week, any where from 4 -12+ hours.
3) The academics - people are always telling me I am smart, but that is usually within my field of work or other interests that I am passionate about. This part scares me a bit, but we have a great college counselor here that is encouraging me to take their 'aptitude test' (COMPASS Test in out area) that is similar to the ACT for high schoolers, that would give a good feel for my abilities. She says she can almost always tell academically if a person can handle the material from these test results. Mine is going to by in August hopefully. I am pretty familiar with the amount of homework that will be required from my oldest daughter being a Junior at a very rigorous college (She is double majoring and a minor
, mine will look easy comparatively).
4) Working with mostly women is actually fairly appealing to me. I have ALWAYS got along on average better with females, from HS on up to today. My current job I deal with 75%+ women. On church or community committees, I gravitate to the ones with more women, If I am at a party, I will talk to the women as much or more than the men, etc...... The only people I dont get along with a men who are macho, domineering, chauvinist, etc, or women who try to manipulate others because they are hot looking, rich, etc.....
5) The finances is the biggest thing that I am trying to figure out right now. The courses here seem dirt cheap, about 15K - 18K depending on prerequisites needed. Having 2 kids in college at the same time makes it somewhat harder too though, although the Financial Aid would be better for all of us due to 3 in school at once, and what would be lower income for me due to not working as much. We could do a home equity loan, but I am hoping to figure it out by just doing the Stafords, some State Grants, Pell Grants, and income being earned along the way.
In out area, I would also be able to make about 2 times what I currently am making, which is also very appealing. Nursing is by far the best paying profession that is taught at our local CC, and I can't seem to envision it working going to the closest 4 year for a different degree, since that would be a 1 1/2 hour drive each way.
Are any of you worried about the physical requirements as we/you get older? I am in reasonably good shape, although I am working on loosing 25# or so. I bike over 1000 miles a year, do Tai Chi, etc.... You just never know what life might throw at you though.