My only concern w/nursing


Okay, I am huge science you can tell by my sn. I have said since I was 5 that I was going to be a teacher when I grew up. It wasn't until 8th grade that I became extremely serious and researched teaching until I couldn't research name it, I can tell ya about it. Retirement, insurance, salary, curriculum requirements, etc.

Now, in 10th grade I knew that I would absolutely love to teach high school Biology. And have all the plans for that laid out....but along the way I've always considered nursing my alternative career.

Here is my concern: In secondary education you must get your masters degree within 5 years of teaching. And with that (in my county) your pay increases $5,000 a year. Not too shabby, seeing as how you start off making roughly $29,000 a year. Teachers, at least here, have wonderful benefits and retirement.

If I do decide that I will go into nursing the only thing that I have concerns about is retirement. You dont make much more in nursing than you would teaching, and you dont have the retirement to feel good about.

Like, with teaching, your retirement, you take the 2 highest years of salary and divide them by 2. You get that salary (60% of it for 30 years) each month for the rest of your life. Thats a wonderful thing.

With nursing youd have to take a huge chunk and put it away each month to have even a decent retirement, wouldnt you?

And yet, another factor. And I'm only 18 now so maybe I'm thinking too far ahead, but I like to be prepared, lol. When/if I get married and have children I would like to stay at home with them until they enter school. With teaching, you can leave for 1 year and still have a job when you come back...but nothing beyond that.

So, I'm not sure what to do. I'd jump at nursing if the retirement was there....because I dont think I'd ever have trouble finding a job. And, while staying at home with my kids, I could still work at night on the weekends...

So, if someone could tell me how ya'll handle retirement....and, could you please tell me what benefits nurses get? And, if ya'll dont mind me asking how much would a single person pay a month for vision/dental/health insurance? What about when you have a family, what does the price jump up to?

Sorry for this long post....just wanting to get my ducks in a row. Thanks for putting up with me :lol2:


111 Posts

I want to raise my kids around my family in GA...

EmmaG, RN

2,999 Posts

Why couldn't you live in or near GA?


474 Posts

Specializes in ER, ICU, Education.

FYI there is an age limit for the Public Health Service - less then 44 yo.


111 Posts

That whole thing has me totally bumfuzzled. I havent found anything about where you live/ just looks like you go overseas from what I can tell...And it not something I'm interested in, at all.

I want to stay in my hometown.

EmmaG, RN

2,999 Posts

FYI there is an age limit for the Public Health Service - less then 44 yo.
After working with some of these nurses, I wish I'd gotten into PHS years it is, I'm a few years over the age limit now.


141 Posts

Some nurses have 401 k's Insurance is expensive at most facilities. The CDC employs plenty of PHS officers. The pay is not great but the benifits are same as all Goverment jobs. Why would anyone stay in Ga ?


111 Posts

I just said that my family is in Ga...hence, I'm staying here.

nyapa, RN

995 Posts

Specializes in Jack of all trades, and still learning.

That's the problem I guess. You seem caught in a quandary. You need to meet financial needs, and family needs. What you want seems to be out of your chosen district to live.

You need to look at what attracts you to nursing as opposed to teaching. Both are exacting careers with high legal responsibilities.

Whatever you choose, I wish you the best


allnurses Guide

llg, PhD, RN

13,469 Posts

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 46 years experience.

Your assessment of the basic financials issues are right on the money. I commend you for that. Most people don't look at the finances so thoruoghly. Most people see only that nurses get paid more cash than teachers and assume that we therefore "make more" in the long run. That's not always true.

My sister is 18 months older than I am. She was a public school teacher. I am a nurse. We both have graduate degrees. I paid for mine. The school district paid for hers.

I always earned more cash that she did -- but her benefits were always much better than mine -- especially the retirement benefit. She was able to semi-retire at the age of 52, with 60% of her salary guaranteed for the rest of her life, adjusted annually for inflation. That's a lot of money. She now works just part time, as a substitute teacher to augment her pension. Just today, she and her retired school administrator husband left for their annual 3-month "vacation" in Florida. If you play it right, public school teaching can provide you with a VERY comfortable lifestyle and long term financial security. (Note that she and her husband never had children -- and have lived on 2 incomes. I on the other hand, have never married and have had to live on my income alone.)

As a nurse, I have had to save diligently for my retirement -- but have been successful at doing so. In each job that I have had, money has been deducted from each paycheck and deposited into my retirement account. My employers have all contributed anywhere from 3% - 10% of my annual salary into those accounts as well. When I have left a job, I don't take money out of the retirement account, I roll it over into a "Rollover IRA" so that it stays invested in my retirement and grows tax deferred. I now have a little over $300,000 in that account. (I also have another account with some money in it that I inherited from my late parents.) When I retire in another 10 years at the age of 62, I expect to have over $500,000 in my retirement account -- and I will live off the interest from that account plus my Social Security income. With any luck, I will be able to ease into retirement by working part time for a couple of years (e.g. between 60 and 65 years old.) We'll see.

BTW: I also took 7 years out of my career to go to graduate school -- during which I earned very little money and did not contribute to my retirement fund.

So ... a reasonable retirement is possible with a nursing career. BUT, you have to plan for it from the beginning. Start saving young and save regularly. If you do, it builds up and you will be fine. If you spend all the money you earn instead of saving some of it, you will regret it later.

I hope that helps.

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