Chances are, if you are reading this post you have thought about furthering your education. This is great news and you should be excited about making this investment for your future! Graduate degrees in nursing can prepare you for many different opportunities: degrees that lead to advanced practice certification, promote leadership development, help you become a world-renowned researcher, an educator, or some combination of the above. So, how do you decide if you are ready to pursue graduate education? How do you decide when the time is right? Here are some things to consider:
What is your ultimate goal?
It may seem counter-intuitive at first, but sometimes you have to start at the end and work backwards to figure out your path. Once you know where you are going, you will better be able to plan. Think about goals you have for your career at 5, 10, even 20 years down the road. Consider your strengths and the kind of work you most enjoy. Network and informationally interview people who are in roles that interest you. The more you learn, the more specific you can be and better communicate the type of program you are looking for. This information will also help you plan for any work experience required for your chosen path.
What other commitments do you currently have?
Graduate School is an investment, one that will require a significant amount of time and resources from yourself and from those who support you. If you have family responsibilities or a job that requires a high level of attention, you will want to keep that in mind when considering programs.
What is the return on your investment?
You have likely heard that education pays, and in the nursing profession, it generally does. With additional education and experience, some salary ranges can be double what you earn now. Explore salaries of positions you aspire to be in one day and learn the approximate cost of your education. This will help you determine if your investment will be worthwhile in the end.
As a prospective student this is one of the most important steps, but should occur once you are able to articulate what you are looking for in a program. You could be considering a few different paths, and that is fine! Researching opportunities can help you refine your goals and learn more about what is available. It is extremely important to learn about specific program deadlines for admission and what items will be needed to apply. Some programs require applications to be submitted up to a year in advance and you will want to be prepared to meet the deadlines. Finally, keeping a list of questions you would like answered by each program will help you stay organized and compare programs to fit your goals.
The decision to continue your education in graduate school should be one that is right for you. You will be doing the work, after all! When you are ready to discuss options available at the College of Nursing, visit our website, send us an email (email@example.com), or give us a call (614.292.4041). We would be happy to help you and share what we have to offer.