Is Working While in Nursing School Possible?

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Nurse listening to child patient's heartbeat

As you consider attending nursing school, you may be wondering if it’s feasible to hold a job as you pursue your nursing degree. While this may seem like a desirable way to cover the costs associated with nursing school tuition, the truth is that accelerated nursing school is a significant time commitment. For this reason, working while in nursing school is not ideal. In order to graduate within an accelerated timeframe, it will be best to focus on your studies and spend the majority of your time mastering the nursing school material.

When our Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) students at Felician University ask us this question, we recommend that they avoid working while in nursing school. Focusing on your studies will yield the best results and help prevent burnout.

Why isn’t working during nursing school recommended? We’ll explain the reasoning behind this advice and help you determine how to navigate paying your nursing school tuition without adding a job to your busy schedule.

Accelerated Nursing School is a Full-Time Job

We generally advise nursing students to expect to spend at least 40–¬60 hours each week on studying and other nursing school commitments. Balancing this intense, demanding schedule with an additional job can be a significant challenge for students.

nursing student sitting at desk studying

As an accelerated nursing student, you will be expected to spend several hours studying and learning your nursing coursework each day. You’ll also participate in experiential learning experiences multiple times each week, including nursing labs at the ABSN site, in addition to clinical rotations at local healthcare facilities.

The accelerated nursing program at Felician offers two enrollment options: the 16-month hybrid ABSN, which incorporates online classes into the curriculum, and the 18-month on-ground ABSN, which offers only in-person classes. The full-time ABSN curriculum for both the hybrid and on-ground programs contains the following components:

  • Nursing coursework: Learn the fundamentals of health and nursing through online or in-person courses. You’ll learn the core nursing concepts ranging from pharmacology to public health.
  • Skills and simulation labs: Practice hands-on nursing skills and protocols in a safe, collaborative lab environment under the guidance of knowledgeable instructors. Hybrid ABSN students complete labs at the learning site in Parsippany, NJ, while on-ground ABSN students complete labs on the main campus in Rutherford, NJ.
  • Clinical rotations: Clinical learning opportunities allow nursing students to practice their skills with real patients in the clinical environment. You’ll benefit from exposure to multiple clinical settings and specialties and care for a diverse range of patients. As you progress in your studies, you’ll gain more responsibility in caring for patients.

In addition to your scheduled academic commitments, ABSN students often take part in extracurricular activities; for example, taking time to meet with a study group regularly. By studying with a group, students can keep each other accountable. Having more minds at work when studying complicated topics is an added benefit to participating in this studying method. These important extracurricular opportunities add to the already demanding schedule for nursing students, making it even more difficult to hold an outside job.

How to Pay for Nursing School without Working

Everyone’s financial situation is unique. There are several strategies to help you pay nursing school tuition without packing your schedule even fuller with an additional job, so it’s important to choose the option that works best for you.

While we don’t recommend working during nursing school, some students are able to balance nursing school with working part-time. Though this option is not ideal, we understand that everyone’s situation is unique. If you do find that you need to take a part-time job, we advise choosing one that offers flexible hours. It’s also important to ensure that your work supervisor understands that nursing school must come first.

Before committing to working while in nursing school, talk with your admissions counselor for guidance on how to optimize other options for paying for nursing school.

Federal Loans

One of the first things to consider to help pay for nursing school is a federal student loan. To apply, fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This application will consider your income level and award loans based on your level of need. Loans of various types may be awarded, such as Direct Subsidized or Direct Unsubsidized loans.

Private Loans

Often, accelerated nursing program tuition is not fully covered by federal loans. In these cases, students can choose to take out a private loan from their bank or a verified lender to make up the difference in tuition. These loans may have a higher interest rate than federal loans, so it’s recommended to maximize your federal loans first and cover the remainder of tuition with a private loan if needed.

Third-Party Scholarships

The third way to potentially pay for nursing school without working is to apply for third-party scholarships. These scholarships can be awarded locally, regionally, or nationally. Focus on applying for scholarships within your community first, as you may have a greater chance of receiving one of these. For more guidance on where to find scholarship opportunities, consult your admissions counselor.

scholarship application on desk with a pen

Is Nursing School Worth It?

Having considered how much time you’ll need to commit to nursing school, we hope you will see that focusing on your studies, and not overcommitting by taking a job, will set you up for success in our ABSN program. Investing in nursing school is a significant decision, so it’s important to be sure that it feels worthwhile before taking out student loans. So, let’s discuss how to determine whether nursing school is worth it for you.

Nursing is a desirable career to enter, especially if you hold a BSN. That’s because nurses with a bachelor’s degree are in demand, providing excellent job security. Nurses also receive competitive salaries, averaging $77,600 in the U.S. according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2021 data. Nurses with a BSN are also eligible for significant career growth opportunities, such as taking on leadership roles or becoming nurse practitioners.

Depending on where you work, nursing can offer significant scheduling flexibility, which can be ideal for those with families or two-income households. You’ll also be able to choose between working full-time, part-time, or on an as-needed basis.

Nurses benefit intrinsically from their careers. For example, many find that a career in nursing is meaningful and offers the opportunity to make a tangible difference in people’s lives every day. Many nurses choose the field because they have a passion for helping people, and for them, the work of nursing and the impact they can have on patients makes the journey worth it.

As you’re considering whether nursing is worth it for you, examine every angle. Consider the following:

  • What type of work motivates you?
  • What are your long-term career goals?
  • What is your ideal work schedule?
  • How much time can you commit to nursing school?
  • How would you describe your ability to focus and handle challenging academics?
  • Does helping people motivate you?
  • What are your strengths, and do they align with those of a nurse?

Begin Your Future at Felician

As you can see, working while in nursing school isn’t ideal. However, it’s possible to pay for nursing school without working during a 16-month or 18-month ABSN program. The admissions counselors at Felician are committed to helping you find the best possible financial plan for your circumstances. They’ll be happy to sit down with you and talk through all your financial questions.

If you have at least 60 non-nursing college credits or a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, you may be eligible for our ABSN program in New Jersey.

ABSN student holding books by lockers

To learn more about the accelerated nursing program at Felician and how it can help you achieve your career goal of becoming a nurse, fill out our online form – and an admissions counselor will reach out to you.