Thinking About Nursing as a Second Career? Ask These 6 Questions First

Each blog post is dated and contains accurate information as of that date. Certain information may have changed since the blog post publication date. If you would like to confirm the current accuracy of blog information, please visit our ABSN overview page or contact admissions at 866-892-1562.

We’ll cover six key questions you should consider as you make the transition from your prior career to a new career in nursing. When choosing nursing as a second career, it’s important to answer a few questions before you begin. These include: why should you become a nurse, how can you get started, how can you succeed amid challenges, is it too late to make the change, do you have what it takes and what can you do with your degree?

Nurse standing holding clipboard

If you’ve ever considered making a career change to nursing, now is the time to get started. Nurses are in high demand all over the country, and we can put you on an accelerated path to the profession. As you plan your transition to nursing as a second career, you may have many questions about the process. We’re here to help you resolve those questions and feel confident in your decision to pursue nursing.

The Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) at Concordia University, St. Paul makes it possible for qualified students to graduate from nursing school in 16 months. To be eligible for the ABSN, you must have a minimum of 54 non-nursing college credits or a prior non-nursing associate or bachelor’s degree. We build on your previous education, meaning you can start your new career as a nurse sooner.

We’ll cover six key questions you should consider as you make the transition from your prior career to a new career in nursing.

1. Why Should I Make the Career Change to Nursing?

You’ll find several benefits that come with being a registered nurse, especially for those with a BSN degree or higher.

  1. Rewarding profession: Nurses are in the business of improving and saving lives. Not only do they advocate for their patients at the bedside, but they also help shape the health and wellness of the individuals, families, communities, and populations they serve.
  2. Diverse career paths: Nurses have the luxury of working in all different types of settings, from military bases to cruise ships to school systems ― pretty much wherever there’s a need for patient care. There are also a wide variety of nursing specialties including flight nurse, travel nurse, dermatology nurse or forensic nurse.
  3. High job security: Nurses are and will continue to be in high demand for years to come. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), registered nurse employment will see a 9% growth between 2020 and 2030, which means nurses will see even more job openings in the coming years.
  4. Solid earning potential: Nurses in the United States earn a median annual salary of $77,600, as of May 2021 BLS data.

2. How Do I Get Started with Switching to Nursing?

If you decide to pursue a career switch to nursing via our ABSN, the first step in the process is to contact one of our admissions counselors to verify your eligibility. They will review your academic history and let you know if your college credits and GPA meet our admissions requirements. They’ll also review other admissions criteria, including:

  • General education courses
  • Prerequisite courses
  • ATI Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) exam: score of at least 65% within a year prior to your application
two nursing students sitting and looking at a laptop

Once your admissions counselor confirms your eligibility and determines you’re a good fit for the ABSN, they will provide you with highly personalized support throughout the admissions process. You can expect your admissions counselor to help you develop an academic plan that works toward an ABSN start date in January, May or September.

After the initial interview, the admissions process consists of:

  • Planning a start date
  • Completing any prerequisites and the TEAS exam
  • Submitting your application for the ABSN program
  • Completing a criminal background check and other admissions paperwork

Kevin, a CSP ABSN graduate, said his admissions counselor was helpful and eager to speak with him, which is something he didn’t experience with the other schools he contacted.

The admissions staff here make you feel really prepared. They let you know what classes you may be missing before you can apply… They were very communicative and made it very easy for me to stay on track so I could get my application in by the time that I wanted to submit it.

Kevin, CSP ABSN graduate

3. How Do I Succeed in a Challenging ABSN Program?

Once accepted into our accredited ABSN, you’ll complete a rigorous, fast-paced blend of online and experiential learning. Nursing school is challenging, especially in an accelerated 16-month curriculum, consisting of:

  • Online coursework teaches you the fundamentals and theories of the profession, and you can study at the time and place that works for you.
  • Nursing skills labs at our ABSN sites in St. Paul or Portland provide a realistic, safe environment for developing your clinical skills.
  • Clinical learning experiences, which typically include simulation, help you develop nursing skills within the clinical context.
Launch your career with an Accelerated Nursing program - two nurses working together

What is the ABSN program at CSP like? Learn what to expect in the accelerated nursing program.

When working through the rigorous nature of the ABSN program, you can use strategies to help you succeed. With perseverance and hard work, it’s possible to develop an effective study strategy. Here are a few tips to help you succeed in an ABSN curriculum:

  • Tailor your study strategy to what works for your learning style. Focus on active study techniques that allow you to engage with the content.
  • Find a study group with your peers. You can study together, ask each other questions and keep each other accountable.
  • Connect with your instructors and seek help when you need it. Asking questions early will help you stay ahead.
  • Create a study schedule that you can use consistently. This will help you stay organized and focused as you learn the content.

How does online learning work in nursing school? Discover the benefits of online classes.

Online Learning: an integral part of the education landscape.

4. Is It Too Late to Switch to Nursing?

If you’re in your 30s, 40s or later, you may wonder if it’s too late for you to go back to school and make a career change. With an accelerated nursing program, however, it’s possible to make the career change faster than you may have thought. With Concordia’s ABSN program, students can graduate with a BSN in as few as 16 months.

Because of the speed of the program, this allows you to maximize your time and start your new career sooner. Therefore, no matter what stage of life you’re in, it’s not too late to begin your career change to nursing.

5. Do I Have What it Takes to Become a Second-Career Nurse?

Choosing nursing as a second career means you get to carry all your life experiences into this new career. Though you didn’t begin your professional life as a nurse, you have likely developed several skills that will set you up to succeed in nursing.

For example, if you are a parent, you are likely well-versed in caring for and comforting others. This will serve you well as you care for patients. Furthermore, in your prior career, you likely developed skills in communication, responsibility and accountability, all of which will transfer over to nursing.

In many ways, your prior life and work experiences make you even more prepared for the soft skills of nursing than a new college graduate. Therefore, have confidence in your abilities. You’ll bring value to the nursing profession, and your future patients will be glad you made the career switch to nursing.

three CSP nursing students standing in lab

6. How Can I Use My Nursing Degree?

Once you finish earning your nursing degree, you’ll be able to apply it to myriad specialties and areas of practice. As a second-career nurse with a BSN, you’ll be able to pursue a nursing career in the hospital, clinic or community.

Nurses with a BSN use their degree to work in diverse clinical and non-clinical roles, including:

  • Medical/Surgical Nurse
  • Emergency Nurse
  • Pediatric Nurse
  • Dialysis Nurse
  • Public Health Nurse
  • School Nurse

Furthermore, once you have some experience in your nursing career, you’ll be eligible for growth opportunities such as management roles or more specialized areas of nursing. With your prior career experience, you likely have wisdom and leadership skills that will put you in a position for career advancement in the future.

Aim High. - Nurse taking patient's blood pressure

Do you aspire to become a nurse practitioner? Learn how to become a nurse practitioner without a nursing degree.

Make the Career Switch to Nursing, Starting Today

Nursing is a field where you’ll be able to make a difference in people’s lives daily. No matter where you are in your career path, it’s not too late to make the transition to nursing as a second career.

At Concordia St. Paul, we can help you achieve your goal of becoming a nurse in as few as 16 months. Through a combination of online classes and clinical learning experiences, you’ll gain the skills and knowledge you need to sit for the NCLEX and become a professional nurse.

If you think you have what it takes to accelerate into nursing via Concordia’s 16-month ABSN, then take the next step by contacting our admissions team today!