Working While in Nursing School: Can You Do It?

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Working while in nursing school is not recommended; however, it may be possible if you have a flexible part-time job. Look for other ways of paying for nursing school first, like scholarships, federal financial aid, savings and financial aid for military service members before a part-time job.

laptop and notebook

Once you decide to switch careers to nursing, it’s time to take a closer look at the logistics of earning your nursing degree, including the possibility of working while in nursing school and other ways to pay for your education.

Below, you’ll explore these topics at length and get the answers to questions like, “Should I work in nursing school?” and “What types of jobs will complement nursing school?” But first, it’s necessary to choose the right nursing program for your needs.

If you have non-nursing college education, you may be eligible to apply for the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program at Averett University. The ABSN program is designed to allow nursing students to graduate in as few as 16 months, which means you could begin your nursing career much sooner than if you enrolled in a four-year BSN program.

Averett nursing student practicing with a patient simulator during a skills lab

Are you unsure of which type of BSN program to enroll in? Compare a traditional BSN vs. an accelerated BSN here!

Working While in Nursing School: Is It Possible?

Attending nursing school, particularly in an accelerated nursing program, is a fast-paced experience. You can expect to log full-time hours and then some to keep up with a full schedule of classes, studying, NCLEX prep and experiential learning through labs and clinical rotations.

Learning how to become a nurse is unquestionably challenging. You’ll need to spend as much time as possible preparing for your future career. If you devote too much time to endeavors outside of nursing school, such as work, you may find yourself falling behind.

Working while in nursing school is not easy, and it’s not generally recommended. However, if you’re struggling to figure out how to pay for nursing school and you believe that you must work during this time, then it may be possible. If you do decide to work, be sure to put in only part-time or occasional hours, leaving as much time as possible to devote to your studies.

Positions to Consider Working While in Nursing School

If you decide to work while in nursing school, look for a job or side hustle that will complement your education, for example by offering a great deal of flexibility and a low level of commitment. You may wish to search for a part-time job in the healthcare industry.

Another option is to consider a side gig that offers plenty of downtime that you can use to study. For example, you could babysit in the evenings and study after putting the kids to bed.

If you want to gain healthcare experience while working, below are some part-time jobs that nursing students may want to consider.


Hospitals, doctor’s offices and medical labs employ phlebotomists to draw blood. It may be possible to work as a part-time phlebotomist while you earn your nursing degree. This would give you plenty of time to practice your skills with sharps.

The requirements to work as a phlebotomist can vary among states and employers. In some cases, you may need to earn a certification. In other cases, on-the-job training provided by your employer may be all that’s necessary.

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

CNAs provide basic nursing care and support services to patients. They take vital signs and help patients with the activities of daily living (ADLs).

The process for becoming a CNA is a bit more involved than the process for becoming a phlebotomist. You’ll need to complete a state-approved CNA training program (requirements vary by state), followed by in-person clinical training and a certification exam.

nurse helping elderly woman with shoes

However, this could be a good option for you if you aren’t 100% certain you want to become a nurse. You might decide to work as a CNA for a while before applying to nursing school to get a better sense of whether a career in healthcare is right for you.

Home Health Aide

Home health aides are like CNAs, but they work in patients’ homes. They assist with ADLs, such as bathing and grooming, and they may help patients who need assistance with mobility.

Home health aides also typically perform light housekeeping and provide general assistance for patients who have trouble with basic tasks. Requirements to become a home health aide vary, but you may need to complete a training program and a certification exam.

How to Pay for Nursing School

Although working while in nursing school on a limited basis might be possible, it shouldn’t be your first choice for paying for school. Instead, you should begin by exploring other options, such as personal savings, financial aid and scholarships.

Save Up for Nursing School

You may be able to tap into your savings to pay for some of your expenses while in school. Take a look at your current budget and identify ways of temporarily reducing your spending to increase your savings. While you might not necessarily be able to rely entirely on your savings to get you through 16 months of school, savings may help you with your living expenses during that time.

ABSN student sitting with professor

Tap into Financial Aid

Financial aid can put nursing school within reach for many aspiring nurses. Your first step should be to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You’ll need to complete this form every year that you are a student to access both federal and institutional financial aid. Your FAFSA will be used to determine your eligibility for various forms of aid, such as federal grants and loans.

Consider Financial Aid for Military Servicemembers

In addition to aid available through the FAFSA, you may have more financial aid options if you or a family member served in the military. You may qualify for educational benefits under the GI Bill. Additionally, some schools may offer financial assistance that is specific to military members or qualifying family members.

For example, at Averett, we’re proud to support the military community by offering a 25% discount on ABSN tuition for all members of the military (active or reserve), honorably discharged veterans, state National Guard employees and civilian employees of the Department of Defense (DOD).

Keep in mind that if you are using Tuition Assistance (TA), you might not qualify for Averett’s 25% discount. However, TA may cover up to 100% of costs. Contact your military educational officer for information regarding your specific situation.

Additionally, military members and their families may qualify for the Dan Daniel-Military Resale Invitational Endowed Scholarship. This scholarship is only available to nursing students attending Averett.

woman in camo uniform holding backpack

Nursing as a second career can be a rewarding option for veterans. Learn more about becoming a nurse after military service here.

Apply to Scholarships

Another way to pay for nursing school is with one or more scholarships. There are tons of scholarships out there, and there is a good chance that you could be eligible to apply for many of them. The more scholarships you apply to, the better your chances of landing one.

Some scholarships are intended specifically for nursing students, while others are for students in a broad range of fields who have financial need. There are also scholarships available for people of certain backgrounds or with particular talents or skills.

Scholarships range from small awards of hundreds of dollars to major awards of tens of thousands of dollars. Don’t overlook the smaller scholarships in favor of applying only to the larger ones, as there may be less competition for smaller scholarships.

Apply for Student Loans

The best-case scenario would be to pay for 100% of your tuition and other expenses with grants, scholarships and other “free” forms of financial aid. However, this may not always be possible.

Once you’ve determined the difference between your financial aid awards and the cost to attend nursing school, you can work on bridging that gap by applying for student loans. Look for student loans that offer the following:

  • Low, fixed interest rate
  • Minimal fees
  • Flexible repayment terms
  • Options for payment deferment or forbearance

Before applying for private student loans, request copies of your credit reports and look for errors. See if there are any relatively quick ways to improve your credit score so that you can qualify for a more favorable interest rate.

Is a Nursing Degree Worth It?

ABSN student using stethoscope

Now that you’ve taken a closer look at working while in nursing school and other ways to pay for your education, you may be wondering, “Is a nursing degree worth it?” Only you can answer that question, but consider this: becoming a nurse can allow you to save the lives of people in your community and support them in their recovery.

Nursing can be highly rewarding and meaningful, particularly if you are naturally compassionate and empathetic. If you believe that nursing is the right path for you, then it’s time to get to work.

Get on Track Toward Earning Your Nursing Degree Today!

The admissions advisors at Averett University School of Nursing are here to help you navigate the process of applying to our ABSN program.

When you contact us, you’ll be assigned a dedicated admissions advisor who will answer all your questions and provide you with guidance on improving your chances of a successful application. Get the ball rolling today and prepare for our 16-month ABSN program!