I am not sure why you would be unable to get financial aid for an Associates when you are making a career change. I am in a similar situation - changing careers when I already have a bachelor's in another field. My plan also is to get an Associates degree because it will be quicker and cheaper, and then later when I am making more money I will complete a Bachelors in nursing. I guess I am planning on taking out some student loans, but that is also financial aid. You may not get get grants/scholarships
, but I'll bet you can get some student loans.
There are two other nursing schools in my area where I could get a Bachelor's, but their tuition is about $22,000 a year, and I will get my entire Associates degree for the same price at my local community college. Also, the community college has a higher percentage of nursing graduates who pass the test for RN licensure.
Once you get the associates degree and are hired as an RN, your hospital/employer may reimburse tuition for you to get the bachelors degree.
I am still researching all of this, but these are the things that I have been told! You should message me and we can chat more about this.