Special Educator Seeking a Career Change

  1. Hi everyone! I apologize if this post is one that has been seen before, but I was hoping I could gain a little insight or feedback. I am looking to change careers from special education to nursing. I have been a special education teacher for 11 years. Initially, I wanted to become an Occupational Therapist a few years ago, so I began taking all of my prereqs, which seem to parallel nursing pre-reqs. I chose not to follow through with OT for the primary reason being that I could not afford to go to school full time and ultimately leave my job completely since I supported myself. Things have changed since then, and I have done a bit more research on going back to school and I do feel that nursing would be a better fit for me. I am actually very excited for this change, but I am just unsure which would be the best route for me. I already have my BS, so my question is:

    ----Which type of program would be better for me? I know some community colleges offer programs, or should I start with a BSN? Or an accelerated BSN? ----

    Are there any other former educators who went into nursing? I am nervous being in my mid-thirties and basically starting over, but I am ready for this shift in my career.

    Thank you for your time in reading this!

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    About Runner84

    Joined: Aug '15; Posts: 4; Likes: 2


  3. by   Nature_walker
    I am a former educator that left after 8 years and went to nursing school in my late 30's. I can't lie, it was the best thing I've ever done for myself. I went the ADN route, since I could not get any more financial aid. I was able to afford my classes and even got scholarships to help pay for several terms of school. I'm back in school now for my BSN, and work is paying for most of it with a tuition reimbursement program.

    I find that having a background has helped me in so many ways, and now I'm a preceptor for my unit's new nurses and capstone students. I love that I still get to teach, just in a different way from classroom teaching.

    It's a hard road, but it is so rewarding in the end! Good luck to you!
  4. by   llg
    As far as the type of program to attend ...

    Check out the job possibilities in YOUR community. It varies in different regions of the country. In some places, a new grad with an ADN degree is very limited in terms of their choice of jobs - with all the "popular jobs" going to the new BSN grads. If that is true in your community, it might pay to get your BSN as your entry degree. In other communities, new ADN grads can still find attractive jobs.

    So ... research that in YOUR community to help you decide what would best for you.
  5. by   Runner84
    Thank you so much for your response! I have been in special education for so long and have always wanted to get into healthcare. I have been fortunate in education, but I am ready for a change. I just have no idea where to begin. I am excited, but I know the road will come with challenges! I would love to somehow be able to work still, even if part time, and pay for classes without taking out any more loans. I have enough debt already lol.
  6. by   Runner84
    This makes sense! Thank you for that input! I appreciate it so much! I will certainly look into that more as well to help guide my next moves!

  7. by   FullGlass
    Individuals that already have a bachelor's in a non-nursing field can also apply for certain MSN programs that alllow graduates to sit for the NCLEX. These are called direct entry MSNs. This also means you can get graduate school financial aid.
  8. by   turtlesRcool
    I spent 13 years teaching high school before my career switch.

    I researched several options near me, both accelerated BSN and community college ADN. My state's community colleges have a well-respected program with articulation agreements with many 4-year universities to continue on to BSN. I took prerequisites at community colleges near me, and actually ended up taking more than I needed, as the different programs required slightly different classes. I applied to, and was accepted, at both the community college and a public university's ABSN.

    My plan was to do the CC and then finish up with a BSN later. However, I realized that I would have to take a bunch of "filler" courses because while the university would accept my previous courses to transfer, it wouldn't grant a degree without me taking a minimum number of courses there. The remaining nursing courses were fewer than the minimum number of credits, and I didn't like the idea of taking "something" just to get enough of that university's credits to get the BSN.

    My husband also pointed out that the CC was two years while the ABSN program was one (very intense) year. Although I'd be paying more for the ABSN, I'd also be able to start working sooner and be a more competitive candidate when job hunting. So basically, the ABSN was more money up front, but provided earlier pay back.

    There were several accelerated programs at private universities I didn't bother applying to because of expense. One program was over $50K! My public university ABSN was half that, and there was another public university with an even less expensive ABSN, but the commute there would have been exhausting. Overall, I'm happy with my choice to go the ABSN route, but know the CC is an excellent and very affordable program.

    I'm so glad I made the switch. It's so much less stressful because I'm not taking my work home with me. It stinks working weekends and holidays, but it means the time I'm with my family is time I can really be WITH my family. There are crazy days when I don't get time for lunch and barely have a free moment to pee, but then I give report to the next nurse, and that's it. No emails, no phone calls, no prepping, no grading - no stressing. At least until I clock back in for the next shift.
  9. by   Rn2b2020
    I am an educator, turning 40 this year, and taking my final semester of prerequisites for nursing school. I hope to attend the ADN program at my local community college.