Author Topic: Go back to school or not?  (Read 3766 times)

Vwjedi76

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Go back to school or not?
« on: May 23, 2015, 08:57:29 AM »
I am currently an LPN-C (IV certified LPN) in small town, Nebraska making about $19/hr. My job is easy, relatively low stress, make my own schedule and I have no student loans from my training.  The downside is that the LPN is "low" on the totem pole. Some folks don't even consider us "real" nurses.  I do enjoy my job. Many LPNs in this area are going back to school for their associates degree in nursing (RN) (approx. 13K in student loans to do this), however all the hospitals in a 400 mile radius will not hire an RN without a bachelors degree (so approx. 35K in student loans).  The starting wage of a bachelors-educated RN is $20/hr in my area with a top salary of $25/hr. This role change would require mandatory 12-hr shifts, more responsibility and only $1/hr pay increase initially. Am I crazy to keep my "lowly" title, or should I be chasing the money?

justajane

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Re: Go back to school or not?
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2015, 09:02:19 AM »
In my opinion, the ROI doesn't work for you, if you stay in your current location. I think you would need to move somewhere else and make $30+ an hour to make it worth your while. Are you willing to do that?

I know it's probably hard to feel low on the totem pole of the hospital, though.

texaslady22

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Re: Go back to school or not?
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2015, 09:08:35 AM »
Have you looked into WGU? http://www.wgu.edu/online_health_professions_degrees/online_healthcare_degree
 We have a nursing program that is considerably less than that.

I think you should go ahead and get the degree, especially if you plan to work more than 10 years. I think LPNs are going away and you'll have to have an RN if you want to work in the medical field (and not a nursing home or something).

OneCoolCat

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Re: Go back to school or not?
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2015, 09:19:17 AM »
Would you lose work hours if you went back to school (would you go from 40 hour weeks down to 20 if you went back to school)?  Would your employer be willing to pay a portion of your tuition?  why is it so expensive to get a bachelors in your area?  If you have a state college nearby it shouldn't cost that much.  Would being an RN allow you to get more overtime hours?

I was against it, but if you got a job paying $6 more a year, you would be making an extra 12.5k a year.  It wouldn't take that long to pay back the tuition.  I still think i'm against but it wouldn't be the worst idea, especially if you are in your twenties or thirties.

Vwjedi76

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Re: Go back to school or not?
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2015, 09:24:50 AM »
I'm 34, with two small kids at home so I only work part time. I would probably only work part-time until kids are out of the house due to work/life balance issues. My husband has a good job but it requires a lot of travel so I need to keep the home fires burning, so to speak. Relocation is not an option due to our extreme happiness with our area. Great schools, low cost of living. Just not sure I wanted to spend $13K plus for what might not be any more than an ego boost.
 

OneCoolCat

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Re: Go back to school or not?
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2015, 09:31:01 AM »
I'm 34, with two small kids at home so I only work part time. I would probably only work part-time until kids are out of the house due to work/life balance issues. My husband has a good job but it requires a lot of travel so I need to keep the home fires burning, so to speak. Relocation is not an option due to our extreme happiness with our area. Great schools, low cost of living. Just not sure I wanted to spend $13K plus for what might not be any more than an ego boost.

I wouldn't recommend you go back to school now that you stated you just work PT.  It would take you even longer for your education to pay for the tuition and it sounds like you got your hands full being a homemaker.  What does your husband think?

justajane

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Re: Go back to school or not?
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2015, 09:38:23 AM »
I'm 34, with two small kids at home so I only work part time. I would probably only work part-time until kids are out of the house due to work/life balance issues. My husband has a good job but it requires a lot of travel so I need to keep the home fires burning, so to speak. Relocation is not an option due to our extreme happiness with our area. Great schools, low cost of living. Just not sure I wanted to spend $13K plus for what might not be any more than an ego boost.

I did a similar calculation a few years back. I decided that it would take too much time and money to become an RN, especially because I was already in my thirties and was only going to work part-time moving forward. I calculated that it would take me at least a year or more to pay off the loans. Plus nursing is a pretty physical job, and I was worried that long term it wouldn't be the best fit for me or something that I would want to continue doing in my 50s and beyond.

As far as the ego boost, remind yourself when people are not treating you as well because of your lower degree, that you were clever enough to run the numbers and realize it was better financially to make less.

forummm

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Re: Go back to school or not?
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2015, 10:00:50 AM »
If you decide you want a degree, you might see if there's a cheaper way to do it. Do community college for 2 years, and maybe getting aid from your state university for 2 more years. Pell grants may even pay for everything. If you continue working there's a tax credit for your tuition. And there are student loan forgiveness programs if you work for a government or nonprofit after graduating.

But going to school while working is certainly harder. And if you quit working while going to school, that's a lot of income you're giving up. The math on college works well if you do it early in life and work for a long time afterwards. It gets less beneficial with a shorter career afterwards.

merci001

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Re: Go back to school or not?
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2015, 01:12:44 PM »
I have to say I do think there would be significant financial gain from going from a LPN to a RN. True, not much difference between pay of 2 yr RN to 4 yr RN, but definitely a signficant difference between LPN to RN (regardless of 2 yr vs 4 yr status, especially in the long run.)  There are often fast track programs where you can do a LNP to BSN. Have you looked into see see if there are any of these in your area, or on-line? A lot of health care places (hosp and LTC facilities) in my area offer partial tuition reimbursement to further your education. Is this someting your current employer offers?

I started out as a 2 yr RN, took a few yrs before going back for my BSN and eventually my MSN to become a NP.  Essentially, worked full time all the way through with No student loans until my last 3 semesters of NP program.  By then  I was doing clinicals half-time and working half time, and I was also a single mom and sole provider with two kids, hence, the loans. It was hard. One thing that got me through was knowing so many of my cohorts were in similar situation of being adults with other responsibilites-relationships, kids, mortgages, jobs. 




 

Snow White

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Re: Go back to school or not?
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2015, 01:54:51 PM »
I have to agree with Merci that I think it is worth your time and money to complete the study for RN licensure.  Some hospitals do offer tuition reimbursement for their LVNs so investigate that.  Someone mentioned that nursing is physically demanding and it definitely is. But...there are many, many jobs for RNs that don't require you ever see a patient.  I am an RN and I've worked in a medical school and a hospital as a research nurse; I've worked as a hospital and as an insurance case manager and most recently worked in state government auditing health care agencies.  None of these had any patient care and they all paid much, much better than the numbers you cite.  A friend of mine recently took a position for a large insurance company and she works from home reaching out to members of the health plan to offer coaching and case management.  She works from her home in her PJs and makes VERY good money.  Another RN friend does insurance claims reviews for an insurance company, also from home and is highly paid.

I think there are a ton of opportunities out there for you once you have your RN license that you don't even know about and that can provide you with a great income for as long as you want or need to work.  Good luck!