The messages I've found here have been a fantastic source of information, but I'm afraid I've actually overwhelmed myself and would like to clarify my options as I progress through my education toward an ASN or BSN.
A little background: I'm 49 years old, attending on-line GE classes through Coastline Community College. I had no college courses prior to enrolling at Coastline in Spring '10, so I knew it would be a couple of years before I could transfer to a local school (I'm in Sacramento, CA) for the ASN program. My ultimate goal has been to get the ASN, start working and continue on to the BSN, then possibly keep going for the MSN or even to become a Nurse Practitioner or Physician's Assistant. On paper, it worked out well - two years of GE, two years for the ASN, graduate and get to work somewhere around my 52nd birthday....do-able.
Now, I'm finding out how impacted the community college degree programs are, and just how long this process could actually take. Even with a good GPA (mine is 3.7) and several local cc's with ASN programs, it's a very real possibility that I won't even get into a program until 2013. Another year and a half...which puts me another two years out before I can even hope to start working.
So....here's where the decision-making comes in. A private LVN program? Patience and a lot of luck to get into a community college ASN program? Skip the ASN and go straight for the BSN, since I'm going to be in school forever, anyway?
I have an orientation at Carrington (Western Career College) scheduled for next week and I spoke to a counselor at Sac City College last week. She told me that I might be better off to try another medical program, like Radiology Tech, Pharmacy Tech, or Ultrasound Tech. Having a counselor directing me away from the program I really wanted is a big, red flag to me, so I'd really like to hear from people who have been in my position, understand my confusion and may have ideas I haven't thought of yet.
In short, HELP!
After reading some other messages on the boards here, I think I should also let everyone know that I'm not looking for the highest paying job as quickly as possible. If I thought I could survive on the salary of an MA, I'd be doing that, at least for starters. This isn't about the fact that nurses make good money, it's about wanting to start a career in a field that I feel passionate about.
Last edit by jcobc on Aug 28, '11
: Reason: Additional background information
Aug 28, '11
I wish I could offer some good advice. I'll give it a shot.
I guess it just depends on how quickly you want to get into nursing. If you're in no hurry, then wait for the community college to open up. If however you want to get to work as soon as possible, I would go private. The question then becomes, can you afford it (not necessary for you to answer if you don't want, just something to think about). If you can afford it then I say go for it.
Best of luck to you.
Aug 28, '11
Couple of points to touch here. I'm in Southern CA, which is just as impacted as you folks to the north. Yes, the nursing program is impacted with a long wait. You should know that radiology, ultra sound and pharmacy programs are no better. My original background is radiology which I just left last month. Trust me when I say the wait isn't any better. Unless you're willing to fork out the cash for accredited private colleges. Same thing with the nursing programs.
I tend to steer people away from becoming a LVN unless that's their final goal. As a LVN, you can bridge into advanced placement into many CC programs. Trouble is, most CC's reserve most of their open spots for continuing students advancing normally within the program. LVN bridge students trickle in as spots become available. LVN's at my school actually wait longer to get in versus a traditional student. Here's an example: I have two friends that are LVN's who applied to my program the same time as I did. One applied as a LVN transfer and the other kept her mouth shut. We waited two years to get in and now were in our third semester. The one who applied as a LVN still has another two years on the waiting list.
Another point: CA hospitals are advancing to Magnet Status. This is where 80% of their nursing staff must have a BSN. Getting a New Grad job in CA is tuff as nails as it is. You might want to consider your local Universities for their BSN nursing programs.