Changing careers at 31

Students General Students

Published wife and I are both looking into nursing as a career. My wife has one year of school behind her already, but I have no college. Ive been doing construction work for the past ten years as a carpenter and electrician, but Im over it.....the people you have to put up with isnt worth the measily money you make to try and support a family. I know this is going to be hard for the both of us going to school full time and working also to pay bills....on top of that we have a 14 month old son. I dont know what Im really wanting to know here....I suppose I would like some feedback from someone with late career change experience. Construction and nursing are two completely different worlds. I guess Im scared of the whole college and work change, but I know this is what my family needs....not completing this is not an option. I would just like some input on this subject.....thanks alot.


89 Posts

Have you thought about becoming a Health Care Assistant at a local hospital first? That would help you gain some experience and help you to see how your role helps the qualified nurses. Whilst doing that, your wife could apply to nursing school through the BSN route. That is the quickest way.


510 Posts

Specializes in LTC, MDS Cordnator, Mental Health.

my suggestion is to get your wife through the program, you get a job at a nursing home as a CNA, and try take the pre- reqs on line, you could work nights and watch the little one while your wife goes to class.

So I could get through with school and still make a living (they offered me Heath insurance). I worked Nights and went to school during the day. My husband worked full time days, and Picked up every Odd job he could. It took 3 years, When I became an LPN I worked Days and Nights, we never took a vacation I used my PTO for school so I could maintain the income.

most of the time it was one day at a time... student loans helped.

Today I am making close to $60,000 a year as an RN. my husband went back to school when I was done and now he is a manager at a Groc. store, and also has a Catering business, and has a Lawn and Landscape business. he is making as much as I do.

Education will set you free. Best of luck!!!


84 Posts

if you both decide to go to school at the same time most community colleges offer a lot of classes at night; one can go to class in the day and one in the night so you wouldn't have to pay child care

I think if you can work it to both go to school, and still work out the details for working and family, that you will have a huge advantage!! You will have each other for studying, and working together on your degree...and I think that is awesome.

I am pretty much on my own (don't get me husband is absolutely WONDERFUL and ver SUPPORTIVE...but knows nothing about can only help me study so much). In my class...there are some VERY young and VERY competetive people...and they ARE NOT interested in studying or working together. I'm almost done...on a 10-week break...then 9 more moths until graduation!

Anyway, if you can afford to take the program together...go for it! I don't think you will regret it!!!


116 Posts

Specializes in med-surg, dialysis.

Would you consider one of you starting first while the other works, and then starting nursing school when the first one finishes? If you can afford it financially for both to go at the same time, that would be great for both of you. Nursing school is like a full-time job by itself with all the reading & studying required. And you would need some help with taking care of your little one while you both are in school, but it would be great to get it done now while your child is little rather than when he/or she has started school. There are alot of online programs now, so you might want to look into that. You won't be the only ones who start nursing later in life, and your life experience will help give you some perspective that the younger students won't have.


299 Posts

Specializes in Pediatrics/Adult Float Pool.

just to give you some encouragement, i finally decided that i had wasted enough time and applied for nursing school at the "ripe" age of 34. i was a single mom with an 11 and 1 year old...moved back home to my parents, went to school 4 days a week, worked 2-3 days a week. i spent 42 weeks going from 4:30 in the morning till between 11 and 12 every night 4-6 days at a time. i somehow (thank god for my parents!!!) made it through school with 2 b's, everything else were a's. yep. it was probably the hardest thing we've ever done...and i say "we" because my pn degree was made possible because i had a very supportive family who helped me every step of the way. some days they helped with my classes, some days they were my "patients", but every day they were my cheerleaders, and i can honestly say that after spending much of the last 16 years in restaurant management, i am finally truly happy with my job. i don't make as much money as i did before, yet, but i get to be at home with my girls, which is worth more than any paycheck that i have ever brought home. and, in another year, when i finish my rn, they paycheck will start to catch up!

so, i say all of that to give you, it won't be easy, but if you are willing to work hard, when you look at it, nursing school does not take that long, and your child is young, so although you will remember all that you misssed, he will be a happy camper growing up, knowing that mommy and daddy are both working in careers that allow them to be home and do something that they love. make a comittment to each other and stick to can do whatever you set your minds to! good luck!!!

Specializes in Pediatrics.

It's never too late to start a new career if you're motivated and you and your wife sound truly motivated. I got my PN degree at 24 and with many false starts and incomplete finishes I am finally back to school full time going ADN-Masters without stopping. I'm 27, and I have four children under 7. Perhaps since your wife has a year of schooling behind her she could re-enroll at her previous college and do the pre reqs online since she has a foundation in higher ed, meanwhile you can go on campus since this is relatively new to you. Then you both can apply to nursing school. She'll be a year ahead of you which means that she can likely get a job as a nurse extern while you're finishing your pre reqs or first year of nursing school. Staggering your educational milestones (who will be where when) may make it easier to balance home, work, and school. Also, don't be afraid to take loans if you have to. Student loans debt is good debt and can make all the difference between making it financially and finishing school or struggling to the point of wanting to quit due to frustration or need. Good luck.


38 Posts

I am 45 and applying for nursing school this year - it is never too late! I have been a computer programmer for 20+ years and decided to make the switch. Good luck!


13 Posts

Thanks for all of your replies.

allnurses Guide

ghillbert, MSN, NP

3,796 Posts

Specializes in CTICU.

You guys are so brave. I can't imagine changing careers totally (I'm 34). Then again, you're going to get older anyway - may as well do it working in a job you like. Good luck.


18 Posts

Specializes in Pediatrics.

I am 42 and just finished my first year of a 2 year program. I was in commercial banking prior to this so it is quite a career change. Trust me, you are NOT too old, the oldest person in our class is over 50 and she is fantastic. There is no age limit when it comes to changing careers as long as your heart is in it. Good luck!

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