do my BSN out east, then work in Bay Area - unrealistic?

  1. (Cross-posted on the First Job board. Thanks for reading!)

    I'm in my late 30s, I have a B.S. in biology, and I'm looking at changing careers from science editing (among other things) to nursing. Currently a new CNA on a med/surg unit and living with family on the east coast. I want to be an RN and live in San Francisco.

    I'm considering staying out east to do an accelerated BSN cheaply, then move to the Bay Area. However, I'm concerned about my job prospects as a new grad without a local professional network in California.

    Am I right to worry about this? Would I be better off taking a longer, more expensive path - working as a CNA in the Bay Area, then putting myself through a nursing program over there?

    On a personal note, I've been a rolling stone for over a decade and I feel anxiety and urgency about figuring out my career as I round the corner into middle age...

    I'm an excellent student and I'm confident I'll do well in whatever nursing program, fwiw.

    Thanks so much for your advice and for this great community!
    Last edit by Priority53 on Jul 13, '17 : Reason: brevity
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    About Priority53, CNA

    Joined: Jul '17; Posts: 6

    11 Comments

  3. by   Ruby Vee
    There are pros and cons to both courses of action. Staying with your family while going through school seems more cost effective, but many contacts are made in school, especially in the final year. Many managers regard the senior practicum as one long job interview and are looking to hire students who do their practicum on the unit. If you choose to stay with your family while going through school, perhaps you could get your first job nearby and when you do move to San Francisco, you'd be an experienced nurse. Or bite the bullet and move now, knowing it's going to be more expensive for you but it's worth it to you.
  4. by   soapfloats
    How do you plan to pay for your degree in the Bay Area? CNAs don't make a living wage here without income from a spouse, family, etc.

    Advice from a stranger: I would stay put and finish school, get that required year of RN experience and THEN move to SF.
  5. by   caliotter3
    Quote from soapfloats
    How do you plan to pay for your degree in the Bay Area? CNAs don't make a living wage here without income from a spouse, family, etc.

    Advice from a stranger: I would stay put and finish school, get that required year of RN experience and THEN move to SF.
    ...after you've lined up a job and saved up living expenses.
  6. by   soapfloats
    Quote from caliotter3
    ...after you've lined up a job and saved up living expenses.
    Would love to see the budget that would allow that on a CNA's salary.
  7. by   shibaowner
    I am from California and went to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. About 50% of the students were from California! So get your degree where you live now and then look for a job in California. I had no trouble getting a job in California after graduating. The other option is to work in your local area for 1 to 2 years after graduation, then look for work in California - it is easier to get a job once you have experience. Also, with a year or two of experience, you can get a traveler job.
  8. by   araew2129
    Quote from soapfloats
    Would love to see the budget that would allow that on a CNA's salary.
    I believe callioterr3 meant saving up for the move during that first year of working as an RN while staying with family...

    That's what my advice would be anyway.
  9. by   MyAimIsTrue
    I agree with what others have advised: get your BSN where you are, get experience, then apply for jobs here. I am in the Bay Area, in nursing school, and even though the job market appears to be better than a few years ago, it is still very difficult to land that first job. I can't imagine trying to get a Bay Area nursing job without local contacts. If you want to live in SF, I suggest marrying someone rich. I lived there for a long time and loved it, but it is ridiculously expensive.
  10. by   caliotter3
    As of June 2017, average rent for a one bedroom apartment within 10 miles of San Francisco is $3803. That requires a lot of job, or as my mom used to say, being independently wealthy.
  11. by   direw0lf
    The facts:
    You're in your late 30's, maybe 40+ when you graduate?
    You have a BS in biology already and experience in the field
    You want to live in San fran.

    Ever think of going to PA school instead? I am 100% serious. They are in demand, you'd earn a higher starting salary, wouldn't be as likely to break your back, and I think maybe there would be less age discrimination when getting hired.

    If you want to stay with nursing, I think the odds are against you moving to SF however a few people do end up living their dreams.
  12. by   Priority53
    Thanks for all this input! I've lived in the Bay Area before and have done the math - I can (just barely) live there as a CNA but I can't save anything. To go to school in CA it would be loans, loans, loans and probably a live-in caregiving job while I'm doing it. I'm definitely leaning toward staying put. Appreciate the suggestion of PA school, it had crossed my mind but I haven't had a chance to look into it yet. Will do.
  13. by   IEDave
    One other thing to consider - getting nurse licensure by endorsement in California's likely to take several months. Can't speak for the BRN, but endorsing an LVN license (through BVNPT) will take anywhere from 3-6 months. Took me 5 months to get my LVN license, and I was schooled here!

    ----- Dave

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