The Associate Degree in Nursing: A degree that pays

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Nursing is one of the most highly-respected, popular professions of them all – topping the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ list of high-demand occupations.

It’s a great time to be a nurse, and growth in the profession is expected to increase significantly. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected rate of growth for registered nursing jobs is 26 percent through 2020. This is faster than the average for all occupations.

Nursing jobs tend to pay well, also. Nursing remains among the higher paid professions in the nation.

Vacancies for registered nurses can be found in many regions of the country, with demand anticipated to continue rising in a variety of areas – at hospitals, physician’s offices, home health care organizations, nursing care facilities and in many others.

Nursing jobs tend to pay well, also. Nursing remains among the higher paid professions in the nation. The BLS’ 2012-13 Occupational Outlook Handbook listed the median national annual salary for registered nurses as $64,690. Nurses in the top ten percent, such as certified registered nurse anesthetists, can earn more than $95,000.

The RN position requires at least an associate’s degree in nursing from an accredited institution and passing of a state licensing examination. If you’re considering a career in nursing, this is a good time to expand your education level as high as possible. The more advanced you are, the more in demand you’ll be.

And you might want to consider Mott Community College. A leader in nursing education for over 50 years, MCC offers an excellent Associate Degree Nursing program. Often touted as a program that produces well‐prepared graduates, MCC’s nursing program enjoys a positive reputation in the community. Since 1958, more than 4,500 nurses have completed their basic nursing education at MCC. An estimated 85% of nurses practicing in surrounding areas (Genesee, Lapeer, and Shiawassee counties) are MCC nursing graduates.

Nursing can be a fulfilling profession, but it’s also challenging. The educational preparation is equally challenging.

The college recently implemented a new system to ensure the continued and future success of nursing students, including changes to eligibility requirements, the admission process and course requirements. Due to the popularity of nursing, MCC, like many nursing schools, has experienced a demand for degrees that’s higher than the number of spots available in the program, so candidates were placed on a wait list. MCC recognized a need to get students off the wait list sooner and into the workforce, and is proud to announce a new system and the gradual elimination of a lengthy wait list.

“We have a finite number of spots – 80 in the fall semester and 80 in the winter semester, that’s our capacity and we can’t get beyond that,” stated Steve Robinson, Interim Dean of MCC’s Health Sciences Division which oversees the nursing program. “But we are now offering new eligibility requirements, new curricula and a new admissions process. We’ve transitioned into a weighted academic eligibility/competitive admissions process.”

The new weighted system will consider a student’s GPA and specific courses taken that are predictive of success in the nursing program and the field.

“The advantage for a student now is that if they have better marks and if they are more prepared, they will get into the program faster,” Robinson said. “So, rather than having to take a number, then wait and be years away from getting that credential and working, we’re cutting that time down significantly for students who are prepared.”

Students already on the existing wait list will be “grandfathered” into the new system, and will be given an opportunity to vie for the new competitive slots in the program.

“All of these changes have been driven by our students’ success, and by our concern for getting students prepared to be successful in the program, to successfully pass their state boards and to become great nurses,” Robinson added.

Is nursing for you? Many people want to become nurses, but nursing is not for everyone. Nursing can be a fulfilling profession, but it’s also challenging. The educational preparation is equally challenging.

“It’s a rigorous, very demanding program,” said Janet Westhoff, Coordinator of MCC’s nursing program. “But once you finish, it can only enhance your marketability.”

Graduates of MCC’s nursing program have little difficulty finding jobs: they’re valued by employers from a vast array of health care services and can expect countless opportunities –    locally and outside the area.

“There’s a great deal of pride here because so many area hospitals employ nurses who are graduates of our nursing program,” noted Robinson. “The program started in the late 50s, before we became a community college and we’ve been one of the main sources of trained nurses in the community for a generation. It’s a real jewel of the college.”

MCC’s Associate Degree Nursing program is approved by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs/Board of Nursing and accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing..  For more information, call (810) 762-0317.

Sharon Campbell

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