If you’re pursuing a career as a nurse, choosing the right nursing school is the most important decision you’ll make. If you don’t choose a school that meets your needs, you’ll have difficulty getting the training you need to achieve the career goals and lifestyle you desire.
The good news is that choosing the best nursing school doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Sure, there are hundreds, even thousands, of options for you to choose from. But if you follow these simple tips, you’ll be able to quickly narrow your search so you can find an ideal nursing school you can thrive in.
Where is the school located? — You need to choose a school that’s located conveniently to your home. This doesn’t mean it needs to be right next door to you or that you should automatically choose the closest nursing school, but there is something to be said for the added value of convenience. For example, if you end up choosing a nursing school that’s located an hour away, you’ll have a difficult time staying motivated enough to attend class each day. Plus, you’ll spend more money on commuting costs. Location is definitely very important.
Experience counts — You want to make sure you choose a fully-accredited nursing school that’s been around for a good amount of time. Stability shows that the school is trustworthy and that they continue to provide quality training every year. Also, nursing schools that have been around for a while tend to have more resources and better connections for hands-on experience and career placement assistance.
Class schedules need to meet your demands — If you’re like most nursing school students, you’re very busy. You may already be working a job while you go to school, and you could even have family obligations. That’s why it’s important to choose a nursing school that offers flexible class schedules so you can choose class times that best meet your needs. This lets you get the training you need to succeed without disrupting your already busy lifestyle. Most schools have course schedules readily available for you to review.
Don’t overlook the importance of class size — Training to become a nurse can be challenging. There are many tough concepts you have to master, and it’s important that you get ample attention from your instructor to ensure you’re learning everything correctly. Before enrolling, ask each nursing school what their average class size is. Look for programs that offer moderate class sizes to ensure you get plenty of attention from your instructors.
How much does it cost? — Price certainly shouldn’t be the main factor you consider when choosing a nursing school. However, everyone has a budget to consider, so you have to be realistic. Nursing school tuition ranges widely depending on the school you choose. Make sure you pick a school you can afford to attend. Some schools offer financial assistance to qualifying students, so make sure you look into all of your options before you choose a nursing school.
Passing rate for students — The nursing school should be able to provide you with statistics showing how many of their students pass each year. Obviously, no school is going to have a 100% passing rate (if they do, something sketchy is going on), but you do want to make sure a good number of students are passing their exam as it’s an indicator the school is training students properly.
Visit a few schools — Never instantly choose the first school you come across. The internet and brochures are good ways to research schools, but they don’t give you the full picture. You need to set aside time to go visit a few nursing schools in your area so you can get a feel for each of them. Schedule appointments to speak with guidance counselors so you can better determine which nursing schools fit your needs.
The key point to take away from this is to not rush into choosing your nursing school. You need to put in the time to do your research and to get a feel for the nursing schools in your area. This will allow you to make an informed decision so you can achieve your career goals.
What other tips would you add for choosing a nursing school? Leave a comment with your best advice!