Make a Career Change to Nursing in 5 Steps

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Making a career change to nursing can be easier than you’d think, even without any healthcare experience. If you have a completed non-nursing bachelor’s degree or a minimum number of college credits, you may qualify to apply to an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program.

nurse with mask on fixing IV

Are you thinking of making a career change to nursing but not quite sure if it’s feasible? Nursing can be a great career choice and more accessible than you might think. Some nursing school programs are designed to facilitate career transitions for those with non-nursing backgrounds.

The Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program at Averett University in Norfolk, Virginia, could be the opportunity you’ve been looking for to pursue your calling as a nurse. Moreover, you may not have to start from scratch to pursue nursing as a second career. Our ABSN program makes the path to nursing accessible for those with prior college education and can be completed in as few as 16 months.

We know you don’t want to take more time than necessary to make this professional pivot, which is why students with non-nursing bachelor’s degrees or at least 60 non-nursing college credits can leverage their previous experience to pursue a rewarding nursing career.

The Averett Accelerated BSN program offers a comprehensive, fast-tracked curriculum that makes it possible to become a nurse. If you’ve been out of school for a while, don’t worry; you will be supported through every step, from enrollment to graduation and passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN®).

As a student enrolled in the Averett ABSN program, you can expect:

  • An accelerated timeline with three starts per year
  • A hybrid (online and onsite) curriculum
  • A personalized, supportive learning environment
  • Hands-on learning experiences
  • Dedicated instructors who are experts in the nursing curriculum
Averett nursing student using stethoscope

Making a career change to nursing may seem overwhelming, but it’s manageable. We’ve broken the process of transitioning into nursing into five steps so you know what to expect as you start on your path toward an exciting career as a nurse.

Why Choose Nursing as a Second Career?

Nursing as a second career is a great choice because nursing is a flexible job that offers a comfortable salary where no two days are the same. Maybe the best part of all is that as a nurse, you can help people every day.

There are many great reasons to consider making the career change to nursing. Every nurse has their own reasons, of course, but a few of the common ones are as follows:

nurse with patient

Is nursing worth it for you? Get some food for thought in this blog.

A Well-Respected and Trusted Profession

In Gallup’s annual Honesty and Ethics poll for 2023, nearly all measured professions have declined in ratings for perceived honesty and ethics. Yet, the nursing profession is still at the top, with 78% of U.S. adults indicating they believe nurses have “high honesty and ethical standards.”

Indeed, nurses have long been held in high esteem, with good reason. They make it their life’s work to serve and support people in need and make positive and important contributions to their community.

Diverse Range of Nursing Specialties and Work Settings

Beyond being a well-respected and trusted profession, nursing is a great choice simply because of its diverse specialties. You can choose from dozens of nursing specialties, so you’re sure to find an area you’re passionate about. These include:

  • Pediatrics
  • Geriatrics
  • Oncology
  • Pain management
  • Rehabilitation
  • Psychiatric care
  • Hospice
  • Labor and delivery
  • Dialysis and more
Averett nursing student

Plus, nurses can also work across a diverse range of workplace settings. Many work in hospitals and doctor’s offices, of course, but other options include:

  • K-12 schools
  • Higher education institutions
  • Insurance companies
  • Camps
  • Cruise ships
  • Medical evacuation flights
  • Patients’ homes
  • Legal consulting firms
  • Private corporations
  • Government agencies

Excellent Salary Potential and Job Growth Rate

Another compelling reason to make a career change to nursing is the excellent earning potential and plentiful job availability. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nurses made a median annual wage of $86,070 as of May 2023.

Furthermore, the BLS estimates that job growth for registered nurses will be 6% from 2022 through 2032, which is faster than the average for all professions. At this rate of job growth, healthcare employers expect to hire about 177,400 new RNs during this period.

Opportunities for Career Advancement

Many people start to think about making a career transition when they feel stuck in their current career trajectory. If you’re dissatisfied with the lack of advancement opportunities in your current career path, you’ll love the possibilities in nursing.

As an RN with a BSN, you can enroll in graduate school to earn either a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. Equipped with graduate-level nursing education, you could pursue a nurse manager or administrator position.

nursing student working with sim manikin

Or, if you’d like to continue caring for patients directly, you could pursue board certification as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), such as a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), certified nurse midwife (CNM) or nurse practitioner (NP).

Ready to find out how you can pursue nursing as a second career in just five steps?

Many nurses choose to enroll in a BSN program. Read more to learn why a BSN is important.

stethoscope on stack of books

1. Speak with an Admissions Counselor

If you apply to Averett’s ABSN program to make the career change to nursing, you’ll have support each step of the way, starting with the application process. The first step in the application process is filling out the form so that one of our admissions counselors can contact you.

This first chat will be to discuss your goals and background. Our ABSN students come from all walks of life and occupations, so our admissions counselors can help you identify which skills translate to nursing. They’ll also review your experience to determine your eligibility for our program and serve as the main point of contact whom you can count on throughout the process.

Don’t think of this call as a nursing school interview — this talk isn’t to grant or deny acceptance into our program. Rather, it’s a chance for your admissions counselor to learn more about you and your interest in the program, ensuring our program is the right fit for you. They’ll also answer your questions and let you know what to expect from nursing school.

2. Submit Your Unofficial Undergraduate Transcripts

After this discussion, your admissions counselor will request copies of your unofficial undergraduate transcripts.

Your admissions counselor will create a personalized academic plan based on your unofficial transcripts, targeting an enrollment start date in January, May or August.

Averett ABSN student studying at desk

While no prior healthcare experience is needed to apply to our ABSN program, you must meet admission requirements, including prerequisites, before qualifying for enrollment. We want our students to be able to put their best foot forward when they begin their rigorous ABSN coursework, so we need to be sure you have a solid foundation to work from.

3. Complete Nursing School Prerequisites

As mentioned above, to qualify for the Averett ABSN program, you must first meet several prerequisite course requirements. Your previous education may fulfill some or all of these prerequisites.

For example, if you have a biology degree, you may not need to take the science-based prerequisites like microbiology or anatomy. However, if you are transferring an English degree, you’ll likely need to take those courses.

Either way, your admissions counselor will help identify the courses (if any) you need to complete and help you enroll for those courses. They’ll even check in to ensure you stay on track and complete them on a timeline that allows you to enroll for your target start date.

It’s worth noting that most prerequisite courses are available online through Averett University on the same e-learning system you’ll use to complete your nursing theory courses in the ABSN program. Taking courses through Averett lets you get a jumpstart on familiarizing yourself with our online coursework format.

Once those requirements are squared away, your counselor will advise you on any outstanding program requirements you may need to fulfill and help you meet other important deadlines.

4. Enroll in the Averett Accelerated Nursing Program

smiling nursing student

After completing the prerequisites, you can apply to our program and start your journey toward becoming a nurse. Your admissions counselor can help ensure your application package is complete and competitive before you submit it.

Because you’ve already had a career and may have had some school experience, you’re in a great position to bring a fresh perspective to nursing. Whatever your prior experience was, we are excited to see what skills you bring to the table. In some ways, you may even be better positioned to understand patients and relate to them than a first-degree student.

5. Pass the NCLEX Exam

Once you graduate from our accelerated BSN program, the last step in becoming a nurse is passing the NCLEX. This is the exam that all nursing students must take to receive licensure to practice the profession. While this test is challenging, you can rest assured the Averett ABSN program will thoroughly prepare you to take the test confidently following graduation.

nursing student on tablet

Wondering how to pay for nursing school? Explore your options here.

Begin Your Career Change to Nursing Today

The Averett ABSN program allows you to start again without starting over. If you feel the call to become a nurse, you owe it to yourself to pursue this opportunity.

If you’d like to know more about how to make a career change to nursing, please contact us. Once we hear from you, a dedicated admissions counselor will contact you to discuss your options. We can’t wait to see where your nursing career takes you.