Leave Teaching for NUrsing?



First time poster here. I currently have a job teaching at the high school level. I find my job to be unsatisfying at times. I have a few friends entering an accelerated 2nd degree degree program. I find myself interested in the nursnig field, but unsure about making a big leap. I'd primarily be leaving teaching for nursing in hopes of finding more job satisfaction, better salary, and more opportunities for advancement. I'd like to pursue managment or possibly become a crna one day in the future. I feel there is not really room for advancement in education. It seems as if every other teacher has an admin degree and there are not too many openings, not to mention the pay raise is not worth that much more responsibility. Any adivce for me as far as comparing the teaching field to nursing and making a carrer change? Be kind now.


1 Article; 1,350 Posts

Hi. I was a high school teacher for 12 years and became a nurse about 1 1/2 years ago. So far it is far and away more rewarding than teaching ever was. There is a lot more opportunity in nursing to advance or try different specialties. The salary is a lot better, but keep in mind that you have to work a lot more during a year. I'm still not totally used to less vacation time, and I do miss that at times. Nursing has a lot issues similar to teaching ie: always fighting for respect, unrealistic expectations from patients and their families. It is hard to make a change, but I wouldn't go back to teaching for anything. Nursing is hard work. But I enjoy it.


432 Posts

Specializes in Behavioral Health, Show Biz.

To gain the BEST of both worlds (teaching and nursing), consider teaching nursing in college or the hospital (i.e., staff development).

I speak from my personal experience---I am in heaven!:balloons:

Of course, we teach our patients and families everyday!;)



allnurses Guide

llg, PhD, RN

13,469 Posts

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 46 years experience.

If you really want to be a nurse ... then be a nurse. But be sure to consider the financial aspect carefully. My sister is just 18 months older than I am. She was a 2nd grade teacher and I am a nurse. We are now both in our early 50's.

I have always made more cash salary than my sister. However, all of her graduate education was paid for by the taxpayers while I had to pay for a significant portion of mine myself. She has always gotten better deals on health insurance, etc. with lower copays, etc. than I have gotten. Finally, she was able to retire after 30 years (at age 52) with a state pension that will pay her 60% of her salary for the rest of her life guaranteed, with annual adjustments for the cost of living. Essentially, she will be paid for 2 years for every year that she worked. At age 54, she now works just part time as a substitute and teaching a course at a local college and earns about 90% of her full time teaching salary. She has to pay her own health insurance premium, but gets the group rate as a retiree of the school system. She and her retired school administrator husband rent a house in Floriday during the winter and play golf at the county club a couple of times per week. She drives a BMW.

As a nurse, I have gotten more cash in my paycheck -- but no pension plan. So, 20% of my salary has to go into my 403B if I want to retire comfortably when I am in my 60's. So, who really had the better financial deal?

And of course ... she always got the summers off while I worked all summer ... and Christmas ... and weekends ... and night shifts ... etc.

Specializes in Trauma/Burn ICU, Neuro ICU.


i have been teaching science at a high school for 24 years. i too am going into nursing. i worked at a big hospital earlier in my life for 5 years, and loved it. i agree with everything you wrote. i'm not foolish enough to think that nursing is a panacea, and it's clear from reading the posts on this site that some nurses have a lot of problems working well with others, but i like the work, i like patients, i like the high level of responsibility, and i love the science. so i'm switching to another field in science - nursing - where i can be of better use, and have more satisfaction. so, i'll do this for maybe ten years, then retire.

so, what do you teach? it was beneficial for me to have been teaching chemistry, biology and anatomy.

if the thought of doing this appeals to you, then make that leap! start the pre-reqs, and get ready to apply for the programs near you. i think that never before in history has there been such an opportunity to take on new work and new adventures.

best wishes to you. regards, susan k


33 Posts

I am in a similar situation. I graduated 2 years ago with my Bachelor's in Elementary Ed, subbed for 2 years (hated it), and wasn't able to find a steady position, so I decided to make a career change.

There are a lot of things to consider when switching from teaching to nursing...how important is time off to you (summers, holidays, etc)?, what kind of schedule suits you best (9-5 or three 12 hour shifts and four days off)? I think most teachers-turned-nurses would be able to handle the stress of the job, because we both know teaching is no picnic either.

As I was reading one of the posts above, I realized I hadn't really thought about retirement. Teachers definitely have a better retirement plan, however their salary is much lower than a nurse's pay; for example, I live in an area where we have excellent schools and teachers supposedly have great pay...a teacher who has 10 years experience and holds a master's degree will be making about $65,000/year. I am assuming that the above poster's sister's husband (the administrator) probably makes well over $100,000 and that is why they can afford extra vacations and luxury cars. It is also extremely difficult to achieve administration position in teaching; whereas in nursing there are plenty of opportunities to grow, climb the ladder, and explore different areas.

Try shadowing some nurses (as I recently did) before you make the commitment of leaving your career and going back to school. In most cases, a hospital based diploma program will pay for your schooling if you agree to work there for a year or two. I am looking into this, rather than going for a second bachelor's degree. Good luck with your decision. I hope I didn't confuse you even more!! :)


2 Posts

Thanks for all the the responses so far. I am trying to contact a few hospitals to shadow. I teach social studies, so I only have like 1 of 10 pre-reqs done. The retirement issue is a biggie for me. My ultimate goal for becoming a nurse is to advance. As far as time off, I actually get bored in the summer. Also, working 5 days in a row can be tiring. By the time Thursday and Friday rolls around, I am beat. I like being in charge, having responsibilities, and making more money.I know alot of people are knocked on here for bringing up the salary issue, but I want more money period. Like I mentioned above some sort of management position or education position as suggested, or possibly a crna woould be my ultimate goals. How difficult is it to find a job? I live in MI. I read theres a shortage and then I read about nurses not being able to find work. I want to work in a crital care unit to apply for crna programs. How difficult would it be to find a job in say SICU, MICU, CCU? Also, would I have any advantages over other candidates being a male with a BA, MA, and BSN?

codi1226, what state are you in? The teaching market is MI is terrible. Most of my friends from college now live down south, MD,FL.

Thanks again

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