Applying for nursing programs at 30?


Hello, I'm 30 years old and I've never had any experience or education in nursing or related subjects. I received a bachelors degree in English literature years ago and I'm looking to changing career paths.

Whats the best path for me to take? I'm not sure I'm up for another four years of bachelor degree studies so I saw that maybe an ADN would work best? I'd also be applying as an international student, not sure if that makes a difference.


13 Posts

Maybe try becoming an LPN first? That way you save yourself the time in case you realize nursing isn't for you. It's great because you dive right into the career and get a LOT of clinical experience in the hospitals and SNFs.

A man probably also around 30 that I worked with also had a bachelors in English and that's the path he took. He just graduated from RN school. A lot of people tried to tell me that I should've gone to RN school first but I don't regret my decision at all. Most RN programs take 2 years (after completing about 3 semesters worth of pre-reqs). LPN programs take about a year and then an LPN to RN program also takes about a year after the pre-reqs... So it equals out. If I hadn't become an LPN first I would still be a cashier. Plus it is so much easier to get accepted into an RN program if you are an LPN. Check out your local community colleges and see if they have any LPN to RN programs.


8 Posts

Hi, thanks for your insight! I'll look into that as well!


224 Posts

A 4 year bachelor may not be what you want, but you still need to take into account all the prerequisites you need to take before you apply to a nursing program. These classes could range from 5-20 or even more if you plan on applying to more than 1 program. So this can easily take you 3-5 years to complete your nursing degree for ADN or BSN, similar to just going back for your bachelors in the long run.


8 Posts

I see, I read about some of the pre requisites so I was wondering myself. Does this also apply for a degree in LPN? Is that considered the most basic and fastest way to get into this line of work?


4,104 Posts

Specializes in NICU. Has 8 years experience.

Accelerated BSN (12-18 months after prerequisites are done)


44 Posts

I'm pursuing nursing for a career change now. It took me one year (summer, fall, spring) to complete pre-reqs and I'm enrolled in an accelerated 2nd degree BSN program.

Since you already have a degree, I'd look into an accelerated program, as Guy mentioned above.


8 Posts

What's the difference between starting with accelerated bsn and starting as LPN?


462 Posts

LPN and RNs have different scopes of practice. Just throwing my two cents in, but if you already have a bachelors degree it makes sense to get a second bachelors. Your liberal arts degree should cover most of the General pre-reqs, so you likely would just have to take a bunch of science and maybe Nutrition and Developmental Psych. Community collleges usually offer accelerated classes, I needed 5 pre-reqs and did it in about 7 months. The time frame for second degree bachelors ranges from 11-24 months, but these programs are more expensive.

LPN will def give you a good introduction to nursing, but in some parts of the country it is hard to find LPN jobs because there are so many RN graduates. Home health and nursing homes are most common Specialties that use LPNs. Maybe do a search on in your area and see what the job market looks like first?

verene, MSN

1,790 Posts

Specializes in mental health / psychiatic nursing.

There are a few different routes to take depending on time, finances, and personal inclination:

1) LPN.

2) ADN

3) BSN

4) Accelerated BSN

Each has pros and cons.

If you aren't sure if nursing is the path you want to take or not LPN could be a good choice. There are typically limited pre-reqs, and the LPN program itself is usually less than 12 months in length, and quite afforable (under 10K for pre-reqs + program). You will want to research the scope of the LPN as it is not the same as an RN - would you be okay working in the lesser scope of practice? Also look at local job market, jobs for LPNs may be very limited. Getting experience and income would be the primary benefits of going this route, and if there are no jobs this could just delay getting where you actually want to be.

ADN, like the LPN cert has the advantage of usually being affordable. Typically 2 years in ADN program and 1-3 years of pre-reqs depending on what transfers from prior degree and how many classes you take at once while completing them. Depending on job market this could be a very sensible way to get into the RN workforce, but do your research! Some (most major metropolitan) areas are "BSN preferred" particularly for hospital jobs and an ADN could limit your job market - depending on what you want to do with it this may or may not matter to you.

BSN - apply to a traditional BSN program as a post-bacc student. Once you complete pre-reqs the actual RN coursework will take about 2 years to complete. The challenges are likely to be getting accepted - many programs have very limited spots for post-bacc students and cost, as tuition is bachelor's level cost but you won't qualify for finacial aid most likely since you already have another degree. On the flip side going this route would give you a BSN if that is the prefered level of education in your area, and the pace is slower than an ABSN meaning you could likely still work part-time while completing the program.

Accelerated BSN - these programs exists for students who have a prior bachelors degree and want to dive into a high intensity nursing program. Once you complete pre-reqs and are admitted these programs run through the nursing curriculum in 12-16 months. These programs can be great for someone who is a self-motivated learner who wants to limit time away from the workforce (though be forewarned it is almost impossible to work while in one of these programs) while completing a BSN. The intensity can be tough on some students and these programs usually do not come cheap, frequently despite their shorter duration they are just as if not more expensive than a traditional BSN program.

Some things to be mindful of as an international student:

1) Check the regulations around completing a nursing program as a international student. My understandings is that U.S. nursing programs allow international students to enroll. However when I had looked at going abroad as a US citizen to study nursing there were a lot of requirements about being either a citizen or permanent resident of the country in order to apply and I ultimately decided it was substantially more expedeient and affordable to remain in the U.S. Double check that there are not residency or visa limitations around enrolling in nursing school as an international student coming to the U.S.

2) International students do not receive financial aid, and depending on visa status may not be eligible to work while completing studies - know if you can afford tuition and living expenses with out a source of income.

3) If you are planning to return to your home country to practice make sure that a nursing degree from the U.S. is accepted for liscensure and eligibility to work (and which specific degree, not all transfer to other countries well, typically traditional BSN is best bet). If you are planning to remain in the U.S. look into work visa requirements starting now - my understanding is that it can take a long time to find an employer willing to sponsor and there are long paperwork processing times involved. The more you know about the process and the time frame the better shape you'll be in.

4) If your prior degree is not from the U.S. completing pre-reqs and applying to BSN programs (either post-bacc or ABSN) may be more difficult depending on how your credits transfer.

EDIT: You may want to check out the international forums on this website for more information about being an international nursing student / worker in the U.S.


8 Posts

Hi verene, Thanks for your in depth analysis of each nursing course.

Other questions I have:

1. Say I begin with the LPN courses, is it also possible to complete this and then find another program for RN?

2. If I decide to apply for accelerated BSN, do I need to complete the prereqs BEFORE applying for accelerated BSN, or do these programs accept you first and then you can go complete the prereqs before school?

Because I know a lot of schools have slightly different prereqs, and it would be a shame to finish the prereqs required by a certain school and not get admitted or considered. How do most schools function?

3. During LPN courses, are the students put in hospitals/clinics to work immediately? What about accelerated BSN?