Nursing school can be daunting, especially if you’re older and considering going back to school after many years away from studying. You might ask yourself: “Am I too old to attend nursing school?”
The answer is an emphatic no! Whether you’re a young adult looking for a second career or an older person deciding on a change of direction in life, nothing stops you from becoming part of this vital profession.
Some distinct advantages come with age and experience when entering nursing school – read on to find out why age is nothing but an edge when pursuing your nursing career dreams.
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Is it too Late to Become a Nurse at 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60
Are you considering a career transition to nursing but wondering if you’re too old to pursue it? Let us immediately clear up this misconception: age is not a barrier to entry into nursing school.
Whether you’re fresh out of high school, 12, or have decades of work experience, nursing schools welcome students of all ages and backgrounds.
We’ve seen students ranging from 18 to 55 years old in our NCLEX Exam Prep Course, and each one has become a skilled and compassionate nurse.
There is no matter whether you’re in your 30s, 40s, or even 55 years old, you can still become a nurse – and the advantages will be many!
The most important thing is to have the commitment, passion, and dedication to learn—research nursing schools in your area or online to find the best fit for you.
So if you have a passion for healthcare and a willingness to work hard, don’t let your age hold you back from pursuing your dreams. You’re always young enough to start a career in nursing. (Read more: (How to Become a Nurse in the United States?)
As an older adult, will the nursing school be difficult for me?
As an older adult, going back to school can be intimidating, and there is no doubt that nursing school will come with a certain amount of challenge. But having years of life experience and a career before school gives you an advantage over younger students. You have likely developed strong study habits, time management skills, and problem-solving abilities—all invaluable assets when taking such a demanding course.
You also bring a valuable perspective to the classroom. Utilize your accumulated wisdom and knowledge to share with other students and express yourself uniquely.
Finally, if you need additional assistance, many resources are available for adult learners, such as tutoring, online courses, community college classes, or even accredited programs specifically designed for returning students.
6 Reasons Why Going to Nursing School at Older Age is Easier:
Below are some benefits of being an older nursing student.
1 You Know What You Want
This is one of the most significant advantages of an older nursing student over a young student. As an adult, you understand what you want (at least you’re more likely to). The clarity in goals is the opposite for students in their late and early 20s.
2. You Have Life Experience
Life experience is valuable when it comes to pursuing a career in nursing. After all, the profession requires excellent communication and problem-solving skills, which you have likely developed over years of work experience.
3. You Have A Support System To Lean On
As an older student, you are more likely to have a supportive network of family and friends who can help you through the program. This is especially true if you have children or grandchildren in college who can share their experiences with you.
4. You Have Established Good Habits
If you’ve worked for years, you already have good habits that will serve you well in nursing school, such as time management and study skills. And don’t underestimate the power of saving money—it can make tuition payments less of a burden!
5. You Know Your Priorities
Older students typically come into nursing school with an understanding of what they want from their education—whether it be upskilling, career advancement, or a career change. Knowing your priorities makes it easier to focus on your studies and stay motivated.
6. You Have A Unique Perspective To Share
Your age also brings a unique perspective that can benefit you and the other students in the classroom. As an older student, you likely have perspectives different than younger students, which can broaden everyone’s understanding of class material and discussions.
Becoming a nurse at 35, 45, or more is possible and has advantages. With decades of life experience, plenty of resources are available to guide you through this journey, so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!
Why It’s Hard Being an Older Nursing Student
The transition to nursing school can be difficult, but the reality is that there are a few drawbacks to being an older student.
1. You Have More Responsibilities
Taking on a full course load at old age means you will likely still have other responsibilities such as work, family commitments, and financial obligations, making it hard to balance everything.
2. You Might Feel Overwhelmed
Being out of school for so long might mean feeling overwhelmed when trying to learn new material and keep up with classmates far younger than you. It’s important to remember that everyone has their struggles, and if you need assistance or extra guidance, feel free to ask your teacher or seek a tutor.
3. You Might Feel Out of Place
Going back to school as an adult can be intimidating, especially when surrounded by students much younger than you. But don’t let this feeling stop you from achieving your goals—everyone has something unique to contribute and your experience is invaluable in the classroom!
Why Nursing is a Great Option for Older Students?
If you’re considering a career in nursing, there are plenty of reasons why it pays to pursue your degree at an older age.
1. You Have A Higher Chance Of Getting Into Nursing School
Older students have better test scores and grades and more life experience, giving them a higher chance for admission than younger applicants.
2. You Are More Likely To Finish Your Program
Research shows that adults over 40 who return to school are more likely to complete their program than their younger counterparts. This can be attributed to having established good habits, a clear idea of what they want from their education, and a support system that encourages them throughout the process.
3. You Can Be A Role Model To Younger Students
Your age and experience can positively influence younger students, helping them understand the value of education and giving them a glimpse into their future.
4. You Will Likely Earn More Money As A Nurse
Nursing is one of the most in-demand jobs worldwide, and older nurses tend to have higher salaries than new graduates due to their life experience and additional certifications.
5. You Will Have Job Security
Healthcare is an evergreen industry which means that regardless of the economic climate, there will always be high demand for experienced nurses willing to work hard, stay up-to-date with technological advancements, and provide quality care to patients.
The bottom line is that becoming a nurse at 45 is possible and can be highly rewarding in the long run. With the right attitude and dedication, you can make it happen! If you’re considering nursing school, remember to use resources like student support groups, career counselors, and mentors who can help guide you.
What Age Group are Nursing Students?
Worried about being “you are too old” to become a nurse? Don’t be! – You will ignore any doubts about being “too old or adult” to go to school when we tell you that nursing students tend to be older than regular college students:
- The average age of ADN nursing students at community colleges is 26-40.
- BSN programs have a mean age of early-mid 20s.
- Students in RN-to-BSN programs are generally in their late 30s.
The National League of Nurses surveys nursing schools every two years. The survey details the number of students enrolled in different types of programs, categorized by age group. Rest assured that you will have classmates regardless of your age.
Here are some interesting findings from the 2018 survey :
- ADN (2-year Associate Degree) Programs: 62.1% are over 25!
- Ages: 26-30: 26.4% 31-40: 24.6% 41-50: 9% Over 50: 2.1%
- Diploma (2-3 year RN) Programs: 52.7% are over 25!
- Ages: 26-30: 27.8% 31-40: 17.2% 41-50: 6.6% Over 50: 1.1%
- LPN/LVN (1-year PN/VN) Programs: 62.5% are over 25!
- Ages: 26-30: 27.9% 31-40: 22.7% 41-50: 9.1% Over 50: 2.8%
- BSN (4-year Bachelor’s Degree) Programs: 22.9% are over 25!
- Ages: 26-30: 12.6 % 31-40: 7.4% 41-50: 2.5% Over 50: 0.4%
Older nursing students choose schools with shorter time commitments, probably due to other life obligations and financial constraints.
10 Best Jobs for Older Nurses
Older Nurses also have great opportunities. You can see below the list of jobs for older nurses.
1. Hospice Nurse
2. Home Health Nurse
3. Long-term Care Nurse
4. Geriatric Care Manager
5. Clinical Research Coordinator
6. Medical Sales Representative
7. Nursing Informatics Specialist
8. Nursing Educator/Instructor
9. Public Health Nurse
10. Correctional Facility Nurse
So, if you are 45 or older and considering becoming a nurse, know that plenty of opportunities are available and that your age could be an asset instead of a liability. With the right attitude and dedication, you can make it happen.
Frequently Asked Question
How to start nursing school at 50?
Starting nursing school at 50 is possible and can be highly rewarding. While you may face some challenges, there are several things you can do to make the process easier.
First, identify what type of nursing program you would like to pursue. The most popular types of programs include associate degree (ADN), bachelor’s degree (BSN), and diploma (RN) programs. Research the requirements for each program, such as prerequisites, admission tests, and other qualifications.
How to become a nurse while working full-time?
Becoming a nurse while working full-time can be challenging, but it is certainly possible. The first step is to identify the type of nursing program you want to pursue and the best way to complete it, given your current situation. Consider part-time or accelerated programs to fit your studies into your schedule.
What Minor Should You Choose for Nursing School?
Minors for nursing school vary from program to program. Some schools may require specific minors, while others list recommended minor options. Common minor choices for nursing students include human physiology or health promotion. Other minors may include public health, psychology, sociology, nutrition, and anatomy.
Is 50 too old to become an RN?
Becoming an RN at 50 is possible with the right attitude and dedication. Consider a program that offers more flexible learning options, such as part-time or online classes. Research the requirements for RN programs, such as prerequisites, admission tests, and other qualifications.
Becoming a nurse after old age is possible, and it can be both rewarding and challenging. You can make it happen with the right resources, support system, and dedication. Many opportunities are available for older nurses, from Hospice to Public Health Nursing, so take your time to get your dream of becoming a nurse.
Mrs. Marie Brown has been a registered nurse for over 25 years. She began her nursing career at a Level I Trauma Center in downtown Chicago, Illinois. There she worked in the Emergency Department and on the Surgical Intensive Care Unit. After several years, she moved to the Midwest and continued her nursing career in a critical care setting. For the last 10 years of her nursing career, Mrs. Brown worked as a flight nurse with an air ambulance service. During this time, she cared for patients throughout the United States.