Nurses are integral to the healthcare sector. Many don’t realize that nursing is one of the fastest growing professions in the country. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts 1.1 million job opportunities for nurses opening up by 2022.
Houston, Texas, in particular, is among the top five biggest employing cities for nurses. The average income for nurses in this city is higher than the national average income, for both licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and registered nurses (RNs). There are also many nursing schools in the city. For many, Houston is the top destination for a nursing education.
Types of nurses
Depending on the level of education, a nurse will fall under one of the three categories:
By Population – Examples include pediatric, public health, and occupational health nurses, etc.
By Medical Specialty – Examples include mental health and critical care nurses, etc.
By Location – Examples include clinical (hospital-based), school, hospice, and ER (emergency room) nurses, etc.
How to become a nurse?
Nursing students in Houston may enroll in an LPN program or RN program.
If you want to become an LPN, you will have to complete a state-approved program (one year of coursework), and also pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). But if you want to become a registered nurse, you will have to complete either a diploma, an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing, as well as pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).
Every degree, however, has different requirements and curriculums.
Diploma or certificate in nursing – Usually lasting around a year, such programs compliment your degree instead of fully replacing it.
Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) – Usually lasting 2 years, this degree is acquired at community colleges and vocational schools, and is considered the minimum requirement for becoming a registered nurse, along with a diploma in nursing.
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) – Usually lasting 4 years, this degree is acquired at a university or college and is required for most nursing careers. Programs for this degree offer a combination of theoretical and practical learning, with a focus on biology and social sciences. Core courses may include structure and functions of the human body, assessment of health and illness, and pharmacology, etc.
Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) – Usually lasting 1-2 years, this degree is acquired at a university and is a requirement for becoming an advanced practical nurse (APN/APRN). These nurses usually have more responsibility and knowledge than registered nurses and therefore may earn more as well. However, you need a bachelor’s degree in order to apply for this program. You may also become a mid-level provider, such as an NP (nurse practitioner) or CRNA (certified registered nurse anesthetist), with a specialized master’s degree.
Nursing schools in Houston generally offer all these degrees and more. Therefore, students may find this city an ideal place from where to start their career in nursing and healthcare.