What are some practical, post-degree programs to consider?
January 1, 2017 5:09 PM   Subscribe

The accelerated programs to receive a BSN appeal to me. Are there any other skill-based programs that are similar for other careers?

I'm considering a career change. It's not really a career change, I guess, since I'm a PhD student (archaeology) right now - but I am considering leaving. Like many others, I am incredibly disillusioned with academia and I can't really see myself continuing to do research or teaching at small regional colleges for the rest of my life. So, I'm looking into some other careers to see whether this is a good move!

I was thinking about going into nursing for a number of reasons. I know that it's an incredibly physically and emotionally demanding job, and can get pretty gross, but I think that I do have the right personality for it and am not particularly squeamish. I also used to work a job in a warehouse where I had to stand and lift things for 7.5 hours a day - I know that nursing shifts are 12 hours but I am confident I could handle that based on past experience! Also, working in my current field + the horribleness of last year + personal events have made me realize that I really do want to do things that help people on a tangible level.

Another major reason nursing appeals to me is the accelerated BSN programs. Clearly I've been in school for a long time and I don't *really* want to get another 4-year bachelor's or what have you, so the quickness of the program plus the practicality of the work is appealing. That being said, I know that the accelerated BSN programs are difficult to get into. I've had excellent grades throughout my schooling, and figure that my background in anthropology, learning and working with others (and working in teams in archaeological excavations), could help me? Is there anything else I need to consider before applying to those programs? (I do know that there are a handful of pre-req courses that I need to take specific to each university).

Are there any other 2.5 years-programs-or-less to consider before just putting all of my eggs into the nursing basket? I'd consider teaching but the market for teachers is absolutely awful where I live. I'm open to any suggestions, even things that aren't directly related to health care. Those of you who have transitioned into being a nurse - do you regret it at all? What are some things that I should consider before leaving academia to become a nurse?

Currently living in Vancouver, Canada.
posted by thebots to Education (8 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know what the situation is in Canada but here in the U.S., graduate teaching degrees are generally pretty quick. My husband did an accelerated one-year program that was...intense. I did a two-year part-time program that was way more chill. We both earned Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degrees. My undergrad background was anthropology and I got certified to teach middle and high school social studies.
posted by soren_lorensen at 5:55 PM on January 1, 2017

Are you considering professional degrees in general? A social work degree could have a reasonable return on investment, although not massive. Speech Language Pathology or PA school seem to have better ROIs. MBA, MLS, JD -- not so much.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 5:57 PM on January 1, 2017

This is my standard piece of advice, but it doesn't make it any less useful. Do not, I repeat, do NOT borrow money to go to a private nursing school, even if it is well-regarded! Go to your best local public option!
posted by 8603 at 6:00 PM on January 1, 2017

ouch, that's a hard one thebots; I stuck out a PhD (after a MSc!) in the biosciences, but am now not even in research nor what one would traditionally even call biotech.

You mention nursing but the emotional investment being too much; have you considered Diagnostic Medical Sonography?

A friend/former-coworker is in the final stages (finishing 2nd practicum) of the 2-year course at BCIT and she says that it has been a great experience. Has high hopes of getting a decent job anywhere in the country (her bf is finishing a MSc in Ontario and has an impending two body problem).

BCIT also offers a lot of other Allied Health Services programs.

I generally agree with not borrowing money, but if you can mooch off someone for a couple of years... but being in a PhD program, you know how to get by.

All the best!
posted by porpoise at 6:39 PM on January 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

I just finished a 2 year RN program. I have a previous 1 year LPN degree and a previous bachelors degree.

Those accelerated programs are expensive. My RN degree cost me less than $4000. I considered the accelerated degree option as well but couldn't justify spending over 10x the cost for the same degree. Because I (and you!) have previous bachelors degrees the hospital I accepted a job at will pay for me to get my BSN, which is a peice of cake compared to RN school.

You will need prereqs no matter which nursing path you follow. Across the board all RN programs (even associates) will require a&p 1 and 2, general chem and microbiology if you haven't already taken them.

I know it seems like a step down to get an associates degree but I urge you to look into those programs if you are serious about nursing. My program was incredibly competitive because of the price and our clinical experience was unmatched by any BSN program around. Additionally I will say that I HEAR the accelerated programs don't have the best reputation for producing competent nurses due to the rushed pace and light clinical load. This surely varies from program to program but it's a major reason why I chose a solid ADN program.
posted by pintapicasso at 9:14 PM on January 1, 2017 [3 favorites]

How are your quantitative/technology skills? If you've got them, I'd try to leverage those and go into an industry where you can use them. I know several archaeologists who have transitioned into IT work, and another who has gone into higher ed administration/institutional research.
posted by mogget at 10:05 PM on January 1, 2017

Canada's equivalent of an associate's degree in nursing doesn't lead to an RN - people who graduate from those programs are licensed practical nurses. Unlike in the US, it's no longer possible in most parts of Canada to become an RN without a BScN. As well, particularly in the part of Canada where the OP is, the cost differential between traditional and accelerated BScN programs is minimal, in large part because these programs are only offered by public universities and colleges - tuition ranges from about $6500-$9000/year.
posted by blerghamot at 6:26 AM on January 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

I highly recommend working as an aide or tech for at least a few months to see if nursing is right for you.
posted by brevator at 7:41 PM on January 2, 2017

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