I think I could use some suggestions.
Here are my considerations:
-I don't have a ton of cash saved. My cash savings won't even cover an entire year of college.
-My personal strengths:
I'm pretty sure I don't want to do hospital work. I might be interested in clinical work, or continuing my education to be a nurse practitioner after finishing a BSN. I really am more interested in the less dirty work (yes, I know, I'm sure everybody else is too). I originally thought I was cut out for hospital work, but after taking the bus with the mentally ill and homeless for the past year (where I'm from we have many, and many are not clean and harmless...and I'm afraid many might be those who end up in ER often), I'm realizing this might just not be for me. The hands-off side of things is probably part of why pharmacy interests me, too. I do want to help people with advice and medical knowledge, but I don't want to be cleaning bedpans. I like the fact that nurses make a direct difference in the quality of care patients receive -- that care can be the most defining factor of a stay at the hospital. I'm sort of torn about nursing this way - I want to make a difference but I don't know what I can personally handle.
I will be out-of-state for UMN's BSN program -- three years for a BSN would amount to about $45k in tuition, which would be a lot of loans in comparison with the pay for a BSN right out of school. I could potentially go for 1 year then take a year off to get residency. If I took a year off to get residency, my costs could be more like $35k for nursing school tuition.
I'm afraid I might just want to jump back in the fire and finish a nurse practitioner program right after a BSN...a very expensive proposition, which still wouldn't put me on par with salary for a pharmacist.
As far as pharmacy, I do have really good grades and could finish the calculus requirements within 2 classes. Unfortunately, all the other prerequisites (like o-chem) would take me an additional 2 years at community college (in-state tuition is the same as out-of-state for community college...about $5.5k per year).
Community college tuition would come to about $11k. After that, I would need to take 1 year off for application and making sure I was in-state. After that 1 year, if I get in, it would be an additional 3 years plus 1 year of residency. Pharmacy school tuition would cost about $78k for in-state tuition. All told, I could be a pharmacist in about 7 years whereas I could be a nurse in 3 years. Pharmacy school plus my prerequisites will set me back about $89k for tuition alone whereas nursing would be about $45k. Still, with pharmacy, I would make much more overall for the rest of my life.
-Nursing salaries vs. pharmacist salaries are vastly different:
-I'm not getting any younger! I don't want them now, but I'm thinking if I wanted to start a family, my biological potential to do so (without fertility drugs...which I don't want to deal with) will be pretty much nil in about 9 years. I'd ideally like to have finished school by then and paid off all debts before having any babies.
-My boyfriend will probably not be the bread-winner based on his profession -- he's smart, fun, very helpful around the house and would make a great stay-at-home dad, but we'll probably be relying on my salary quite a bit.
-I'd love to be able to work part-time for a few years while the children are young, if I have them.
I'm possibly over-thinking all of this, but I really don't want to make a decision I'm unhappy with that is too expensive to pay off....