7 Questions to Ask Yourself When Considering Nursing as a Second Career

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If you are considering nursing as a second career and you are looking for a career in high demand, you value variety, or you need a flexible schedule, you’ve made the right choice. We provide steps to start your career change to nursing through Xavier’s ABSN program.

nurses standing in a hospital

A meaningful profession. Job growth. Diverse employment. High earning potential. These are just some of the reasons why many Americans are choosing nursing as a second career. Especially in a health-care environment in which nurses are increasingly specialized and often help coordinate patient care, the outlook for nurses is positive. However, the nursing field is not the perfect career path for everyone. If you’re thinking of making a career change to nursing, Xavier University’s second degree Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program could provide the path that you’ve been looking for. Before you jump into a nursing education and career, though, here are a few questions that you should ask yourself first.

1. Are you looking for job growth?

Nursing is one of the fastest-growing occupations in the United States, and Ohio is no exception. The state of Ohio projects a nursing growth rate of 8.39% by 2026, which is even higher than the national projection of 6% growth by 2031. After graduating from one of our ABSN program locations in Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland, you will likely have ample job opportunities to explore.

2. Do you value having a range of employment options?

When you have a BSN degree, the sky’s the limit. While hospitals are the largest employers of registered nurses, there are plenty of other work settings to consider, such as:

  • Corporate clinics
  • Outpatient centers
  • Military bases
  • Nursing homes
  • Private practices
  • School systems

Career mobility within the nursing profession is also amazing, with more than 90 specialty areas of practice. Plus, registered nurses with a BSN degree can go on to earn an MSN degree or other certificates that would allow them to work at the advanced practice level.

3. Is high earning potential important to you?

When it comes to your earning potential as a registered nurse, a lot depends on your employer and the state you practice in. But across the board, there’s good money in nursing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the national median salary for RNs is $77,600. Ohio’s median salary is just slightly lower at $74,080, according to CareerOneStop. However, when taking into account that the cost of living in Ohio is 9% lower than the national average, proportionally the median nursing salary in Ohio is quite high.

xavier absn student listening in stethoscope

Of course, obtaining your BSN also opens opportunities to increase your salary. For example, earning your BSN can allow you to pursue a Master of Science in Nursing and become a nurse practitioner. Not only will this allow you to focus on an area of interest, but following this path will also lead to a large increase in salary, as nurse practitioners enjoy a median salary of $111,680.

4. Do you desire to be in a deeply respected role?

Going to work every day is certainly easier when you’re getting fulfillment from your career. Nursing is a field that empowers you to help people and even change their lives. As a nurse with a BSN, you’ll give people the care, support, and guidance they need. That’s why nursing has been consistently voted the most trusted occupation for the past 20 years in a row, according to Gallup’s annual poll. Nursing is challenging, but it is a respected and trusted profession that will no doubt leave you feeling successful.

5. Are you interested in ongoing opportunities?

If you’re interested in a job that sets you up for opportunities for advancement down the line, a BSN might be perfect for you. As a registered nurse, you’ll be eligible for a wide assortment of alternative nursing roles where you can hone your interests and specialization.

As mentioned earlier, once you are an RN, you can go on to pursue a Master of Science in Nursing and work up to becoming a nurse practitioner or other advanced practice nurse. However, if this is not a path you are interested in, having a BSN may still help you to advance in your career. Because of your education, you may be qualified for management roles as you progress in your career. A BSN is an investment in your future and paves the way for you to grow and flourish as you help change lives.

6. Do you require a career with a high level of flexibility?

If you have children or you just desire a flexible schedule, a career change to nursing may be a good choice. Nursing gives you the option to align your work schedule with your children’s school schedules. Or if you prefer, you could work 12-hour shifts three days a week and have the remaining four days of the week to yourself. While your schedule and level of flexibility will depend on your specific workplace and role, it is possible for you to choose a position that best fits your desired lifestyle.

7. Is it important for you to find purpose in your career?

xavier absn student looking down

Nursing is more than just a job; it is a calling. If you feel drawn toward a nursing career because of your desire to make a profound impact on the lives of others, you will find the decision to pursue nursing as a second career one of the best you’ll ever make. As a nurse, you will have the opportunity to connect with your patients in some of their most trying times. Channeling your passion for helping others into an exciting career in health-care will provide you with that deep sense of purpose that you may be missing in your current career.

Why One Xavier ABSN Graduate Chose Nursing as a Second Career

Now that you’ve considered the questions above, let’s take a look at one student’s experience changing careers to nursing. Diane was on the fence about switching to nursing at first, but she took a leap of faith and decided to enter a profession where she makes a difference every day.

Before nursing school, Diane was a realtor living in Raleigh, North Carolina. It was her volunteer experience helping victims of domestic violence and sexual assault that got her interested in the nursing profession.

I worked in an emergency department and was impressed by the work the forensic examiners did and the care they provided to individuals who were living through one of their worst days.


And, while Diane’s path to nursing started more than 10 years ago, life — like it does for so many of us — kept getting in the way. After losing her mother to cancer, Diane decided it was time for her to get back on track, so she applied to Xavier University’s ABSN program in Cincinnati.

She needed a program that was concise and would allow her to get started as soon as possible.

I already had a bachelor’s degree in another field of study. I didn’t want to spend another four years on a second bachelor’s degree in nursing.


Our 16-month ABSN program, which was designed with career changers in mind, had just what she was looking for. She liked that we only had four ABSN prerequisite course requirements and valued our holistic approach to patient care.

After graduating from our ABSN program, Diane says she may want to specialize in emergency medicine and trauma. She is glad that she chose to pursue a BSN, as she is considering going back to school one day to pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.

How to Get Started

If you answered yes to the above questions and are inspired by Diane’s story, you should seriously consider nursing as a second career. We understand that pursuing nursing later in life can be intimidating, so we’ll explain the exact steps you need to follow to get started on this journey.

1. Meet All Eligibility Requirements

Before you can consider attending a program, you must make sure that you meet all the eligibility requirements for your desired program. For example, we require that our applicants:

  • Hold a non-nursing bachelor’s degree
  • Have a cumulative GPA of 2.7
  • Earn a minimum grade of B in their science prerequisites courses and a C in their statistic prerequisite courses
two people shaking hands

If you are concerned about your chances of being accepted, see our tips to help increase your chances of getting into nursing school.

2. Complete Outstanding Prerequisites

As mentioned, you will be required to take some prerequisite courses before admission into the program. While taking these courses may feel like an obstacle, they will help to ensure that you are well-prepared to handle the program’s advanced nursing coursework.

Not to mention we give students the option to take all of these courses online through Xavier. Not only is this convenient, but going this route will also allow you to get used to our online learning management system that you will use for your online nursing coursework.

3. Ensure Your Finances are in Order

While nursing school is well worth it in the long run, be aware of the initial investment you will be dedicating to your education. Familiarize yourself with our tuition and fees and consider how you are planning to pay for nursing school.

Additionally, be aware that you will likely not be working while in nursing school. Determine how you will be covering your living expenses while you focus your time and energy on your studies.

4. Create an Academic Plan with Your Admission Counselor

Once you are ready to begin your journey to becoming a nurse, work with your admission counselor. They can help you to create an academic plan and determine when you will be able to start. Luckily, with start dates in January, May, and August, you are never far from a start date regardless of the time of year.

xavier absn student smiling with hands crossed

Thinking About Pursuing Nursing as a Second Career?

If you have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree and want to pursue nursing as a second career, contact our admission team and inquire about our 16-month ABSN program. An admission counselor will answer any questions you may have about the program and can help you get started on your application.

Xavier ABSN simulation lab

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