When weighing your options for nursing schools
, consider what the first-time pass rates are for their grads upon taking the NCLEX, which is the nursing board exam. This statistic will give you good insight into how well the school prepared you for your licensure exam, the gatekeeper to the profession. I chose to go to community college and get my associates because it was close to home and relatively cheap, roughly $7k with books included. Also, I wanted to get to work as a nurse in the shortest amount of time possible; my schooling (after completing my per-reqs) only took me 4 semesters (Sept. 2015 thru May 2017). While there are accelerated BSN programs out there (11mos-18mos), those are much more expensive ($60-80k). I also needed to be able to work full-time (which was a real struggle in my paced paced program, but would have been impossible for me in an accelerated one). If you're living at home and don't need to work, you have a little more freedom and flexibility in your options. The program I was in was a strong one in that it had a higher first-time pass rate than the nationwide average for BSN programs. I was also fortunate in that my employer (medical office job) reimbursed me for my school expenses since it was related to the job; the only condition was that I would need to continue to work there for one year after they cut me the tuition reimbursement check or else I'd have to give it back. So upon graduation, I had zero debt!
Something that is not imperative but you might find beneficial: consider volunteering at your local fire and/or EMS department; with a relatively marginal commitment of just one night on-call per week, I was able to get an EMT and fire cert paid for which paved the way for me to get to where I am now. It fueled my suspicion that the medical feed was where I was meant to be and helped motivate me to invest in furthering my qualifications so I could do more for patients. It would be something great for you to think about because you're young, new to the working world and so it will help you network and meet others in the healthcare setting. You may one day find yourself sitting in front of one of these colleagues job interview
Another can of worms to think about is pursuing an associates vs bachelor's; both qualify you to take the NCLEX-RN but depending on your geographical location, the field you want to work in and institution policy, an associates just might not cut it for some employers. Hospitals in more populated areas are said to be seeking this accreditation called Magnet status which basically says that all of their nurses have BSNs or are at least working towards their BSNs; non-hospital jobs like nursing homes or hospitals in less populated areas are typically not as rigid and might accept you with just an associates.
For further info, regarding any profession, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
) is a great resource on projected pay outlook, qualifications, job prospects and much more; see here for what they have to say about the nursing profession:
Registered Nurses : Occupational Outlook Handbook: : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Also, consider asking your HS guidance counselor about any resources they can offer to help you in reaching your career goals.
Best of luck!