If you know you want to work in the health care industry, you are already on the right track. You have narrowed down your options quite a bit, but there are many more specialized choices within this industry. Spending your life working in health care is a well-respected job not only because it centers around helping others, but because it can be so difficult. Fortunately there are great education programs out there to help you reach this end goal stress free.

Before jumping to an education program however, the first step is choosing the kind of career you want to pursue. There are hundreds of careers in the health care field so this is often the hardest part. The Vocational Information Center is a great place to see many of these potential careers listed side by side with links sending you to more specifics on any career that may peak your interest. This can often be overwhelming, so a good thing to do is break up the different careers into categories such as dental, occupational, pharmacy, etc.

Keep in mind that once you know more about the specific field you are interested in following, you can decide more specifically once you begin taking courses. In many health care education programs, classes are very similar up until the last semester or year of studies. This way, you can really learn about the different professions from professionals in your program before making your final decision. Many clinical experiences will teach a hopeful student how to use medical billing software, how to treat patients, and how to communicate with doctors.

Examining the Myths of Nursing Education

Once you decide what career you are interested in pursuing comes time to choose an education. You can obtain most health care career degrees online or through a formal University or College. Nursing is one of the most popular health care careers, and in many situations is a stepping stone into other potential careers in the health care profession. Due to the popularity of nursing, many questions arise about nursing education, and this is something to consider when deciding which nursing program works for you. With that said, what makes a nursing program a good one? Below lists a few common myths about nursing education:

1. A traditional education is better than an online one.

Nursing is very hands-on, so many think that an online education would never work successfully. However, according to MyCollegesAndCareers.com, the number two career with an online degree is a registered nurse, making $93,700 per year. In other words, getting a degree online can get you where you want to go just as easily as traditional schooling. Online education is more flexible, and employers understand this importance.

2. An accredited nursing school is the only way you will get a job.

First, it is important to know what an accredited education program even means. There is The National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). These organizations are non-governmental and they accredit certain schools as above average based on private, agency-selected criteria.
Often times some scholarships are only available to students who attend accredited nursing programs, and to be honest, it will help when getting a job. However, this is not necessary when it comes to finding a job. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), “opportunities for Registered Nurses (RNs) are expected to grow by 22% between 2008 and 2018—a much faster than average employment growth.” With so many jobs available, hospitals will be turning to nurses who went through a non-accredited program.

3. A two-year program is not as accepted as a four-year program.

Every graduate, no matter if you have an associate’s degree in nursing or a bachelor’s degree in nursing, has to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) in order to be able to work as a nurse. If you can pass this exam, it holds more weight than whether or not you went through a two-year or four-year program.

Quick Tips and Prices for Health Care Education Programs

• Keep in mind that there are many different directions someone in a nursing program can go after graduation. For example, if you were interested in becoming a certified nursing assistant, you would need to take the Certified Nurse’s Assistants (CAN) exam. Once you go through a few of your courses and become more familiar with the different fields within nursing, you will have a better idea of which exam you exactly have to take to become certified.

• As stated earlier, there are hundreds of jobs in the health care field; all of which have their own education systems and requirements. However, many of the details stated above, such as the attitudes about online courses and two-year programs, do transfer over into other fields of the profession.

• Price weighs greatly on the school that you choose to attend, whether it is an online program or a traditional approach. A public college or University degree averages $20,000-$27,200 for a four-year program for an in-state resident, and starts at about $36,000 for someone from out of state. Two-year programs usually cost about $4,600.

Some Additional Costs That Can Cut Into Your Budget

• The NCLEX Examination costs $200 and is taken when formal training is completed.

• Nursing textbooks are among the most expensive costing about $1,000-$3,000 per year depending on your school and the quality of the textbook (new vs. used).

• Hospitalization insurance is a must for every nursing student. This costs an average of $1,600 depending on the school.

Are you a former nursing or healthcare student? What was your biggest struggle when setting out to get your education? Let us know in the comments!

Author's Bio: 

Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer on topics ranging from social media to business plans. She writes for an online resource that gives advice to small businesses and entrepreneurs for the leading business directory, Business.com.