How Do Nursing Schools Prepare You for the Job Market?
This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Giebien Na in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream for more info.
In this post, we explore how nursing schools prepare students for the job market. Once you’ve decided to pursue a nursing degree, how will your program prepare you for meeting the requirements of your future career?
NCLEX Pass Rates
Nursing schools ready students for the job market by preparing them to pass nursing examinations. The institutional prestige of the college or university that you attend matters less in the field of nursing than it might in other areas of study. What matters more is the quality of the education that you’ll receive, including the courses offered and the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) pass rates at each individual institution.
For example, if 95% of graduates pass the NCLEX at School A vs. School B, where only 30% pass, that is something to consider when choosing a program. This doesn’t necessarily mean that School A is better at preparing its students for the job market. It could simply be that the school has a self-selecting student body that cares more about passing. But an extreme difference in pass rates could indicate an extreme difference in how well you’ll be prepared for the NCLEX and by extension, a career in nursing.
Nursing schools also prepare students for the job market in specific ways for specific degrees. Although an associate degree is sufficient to become a nurse, bachelor’s degree programs are more valuable when you get into the nursing workforce. Although your GPA won’t matter as much in a nursing program as it would in other fields, that does not mean classes are going to be easier or that you should stop caring about grades.
Registered nurse (RN) programs will be tailored to help students prepare for the NCLEX-RN exam. After passing the exam, you’ll obtain a license in the location where you want to work. The requirements for licensure vary from state to state.
If you want to advance beyond the RN level, you can pursue an advanced degree to become a nurse practitioner. Some nurse practitioner hopefuls go straight from undergraduate to graduate study, while others prefer to gain more clinical experience before pursuing a master’s program. Some graduate programs do enable students to gain RN experience while pursuing their advanced degrees.
Fieldwork is another important way that nursing schools prepare students for the job market, as they will learn the skills necessary to take care of future patients. In other areas of study, the material that you learn in college won’t always prepare you for the job that you end up doing. The nursing major is different. What you learn in your classes is incredibly important and relevant to the job that you’ll be performing. To this end, most nursing programs have embedded fieldwork and opportunities for a hands-on experience that will be incredibly valuable in preparing you for your future job.