Nursing is the backbone of the healthcare system. Regardless of the type of nurse, doctors, clinics and hospitals could not run their business without them. If you are leaving the military, and are thinking about entering nursing as a post-military career, here is some information on the type of nurse, average annual wage, education required and a little bit about the type of work nurses do.
Nursing Assistant (CNA)
- Average Annual Wage: $33,250
- Education Required: CNA certification from a state nursing board approved course/passing a state exam
- Type of Work: Provide hands-on healthcare to patients usually working under the supervision of a RN or LPN.
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)/ Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN)
- Average Annual Wage: $48,070
- Education Required: Complete a state-approved education program and licensed.
- Type of Work: Typically an entry-level position to higher nursing positions. LPNs/LVNs manages basic patient care, such as checking blood pressure, recording vitals, etc. They usually work under the supervision of an RN or other medical professional. LPNs in Texas and California are called LVNs. Otherwise they are the same in every way except in name.
Registered Nurse (RN)
- Average Annual Wage: $77,600
- Education Required: RNs usually take one of three paths: Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (BSN), Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN), or a diploma program offered through hospitals or medical centers training programs. They must also be licensed in the state where employed by passing the National Council Licensure Examination Register Nurse (NCLEX).
- Type of Work: Assess patients, perform diagnostic tests and analyze results, teach patients how to manage illnesses or injuries and what to do as far as home aftercare treatment.
Nurse Midwife (CNM)
- Average Annual Wage: $123,780
- Education Required: CNMs must first be a RN. Then they must get a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree in one of the APRN roles, pass the national certification NCLEX-RN exam, and licensed in the state where they work.
- Type of Work: Specializes in women’s reproductive health and childbirth, including monitoring the health of the mother and fetus, perform physical exams of pregnant mothers and deliver babies.
Nurse Practitioner (NP)
- Average Annual Wage: $118,040
- Education Required: Must be an RN first. Then earn a Master of Science in Nursing degree in the APRN role, pass national certification exam, and licensed in the state they work.
- Type of Work: Serve as primary care provider including prescribing treatment, ordering tests, diagnosing patients, prescribing medication.
Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
- Average Annual Wage: $202,470
- Education Required: Must be an RN first. Then earn a Master of Science in Nursing in the APRN role, pass national certification exam, and licensed in the state they work.
- Type of Work: Works in an operating room. Administers anesthesia and monitors patients pre-, post- and while anesthetized.
- Average Annual Wage: $83,160
- Education Required: Nursing experience usually at the RN level plus a master’s degree, plus also holds one of three certifications: Certified Nurse Educator (CNE), RN-BC Nursing Professional Development Certification, Post-Master’s Nurse Education Certificate. Some universities require a nursing instructor to also hold a Doctor of Nursing Practice.
- Type of Work: Educates students about patient care appropriate to the type of nursing program they are in.
- Average Annual Wage: $98,031
- Education Required: Minimum requirement is an AND, however most travel nurses have at least a BSN and certified in Basic Life Support and licensed in the state where they work. Depending on the job, a travel nurse may also be required to have one of two other certifications: Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) or Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS). In addition, must travel nurses are required to have at least two years of relevant bedside experience.
- Type of Work: Travel nurses are usually employed by an independent nurse staffing agency and may travel just in the U.S. or internationally. Travel nurses do a variety of work depending on their previous education, training and experience.
NOTE: The abbreviation APRN stands for Advanced Practice Registered Nurse and usually refers to positions higher than Registered Nurse, such as Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Midwife and Nurse Anesthetist.
Veterans with military health care experience may qualify for the Credentialing Opportunities On-Line (COOL) to translate military healthcare training into civilian credentials to further increase employment opportunities in the civilian healthcare market and reduce education time. And you might be surprised to know that even the defense industry needs cleared nurses. You can keep your security clearance and pursue your healthcare career.