What is the Job Outlook for the Nursing Profession?

registered nursing job outlook

If you are considering becoming a nurse, then it can be important to know the job outlook for the nursing profession.

A job outlook refers to information regarding a pattern of growth or decline in a given industry or profession. Various organizations related to a profession may keep job statistics, but one place you can always turn for reliable information is the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), maintained by the U.S. Department of Labor. Their statistics usually cover a ten year period and provide a quick glimpse of whether or not jobs in a certain profession are in a stage of growth and demand.

The good news is that the job outlook for nursing is very positive.

Overall Outlook for the Profession

The BLS predicts a higher than average growth rate for jobs in the nursing profession during 2012-2022. The growth rate across the board in different kinds of professions is about 11 percent, but nursing is growing at a 19 percent rate. In the ten year period, they predict that over a half a million new nursing jobs will be added. These stats refer to registered nurses (RNs) who hold at least an associate’s degree and have passed their national licensing exam to become RNs. The unemployment rate in nursing is also very low, just around two percent.

Some Nursing Specialties in Especially High Demand

The 19 percent growth rate is the average rate of growth across the nursing profession, but some nursing specialties are in higher demand than others. According to Nurse Journal, some of the highest growing nursing fields right now include the following jobs: nurse midwife, clinical nurse, nurse practitioner, and nurse anesthetist. One thing these jobs have in common is that they require an Master of Nursing (MSN) degree in addition to a bachelor’s degree. Having that extra education and clinical experience enables nurses in those roles to be Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs).

However, not all nursing fields in high demand require the extra schooling. Some other job areas in high demand include critical care nursing, dialysis nursing, nursing informatics, nursing education and research, psychiatric nursing, trauma nursing and travel nursing. Many of these jobs are predicted to reach at least the 19 percent growth rate if not more. Pediatric nursing, public health nursing and oncology nursing are also in high demand. And as you might expect, given the rapidly aging population in the U.S., geriatric nursing also has a strong job outlook.

The overall growth in the nursing profession seems to be driven, at least in part, by the current shortage of nurses. There is a strong and continued demand for quality health care in the United States, especially because of the aging population and also as more people gain insurance coverage and access to care. While there have always been good and rewarding reasons to go into nursing, today one of the advantages is definitely job opportunity and security. The need for quality nurses isn’t going away any time soon, and the job outlook for the nursing profession is likely to remain strong for many years to come.

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