Online Guide for Second-Career Nurses


With health care expenses mounting for our nation’s 78 million boomers, nursing is one field where hiring remains strong. Nurses with specialized training that requires a master’s degree typically earn more than $80,000 a year, and entry-level nurses often make $50,000 to $60,000 annually. Benefits are generous.

But finding a Registered Nurse (RN) training program designed for career switchers can be time-consuming. When Joe Deal of Cambridge, Mass., discovered that there wasn’t any comprehensive online directory of second-degree nursing programs in the U.S., he decided to create one.

The result is BecomeRN.com, an unbiased compendium of all 260 accredited programs in the U.S. that offer an accelerated bachelor’s of science degree in nursing (BSN) or a master’s of science in nursing (MSN). The site lets users search by state and type of degree.

It’s a helpful resource for individuals who have a bachelor’s degree in another subject and want to pick up a BSN in an accelerated program, as well as those who want direct entry to an MSN program, which can lead to work as a Nurse Practitioner, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, Nurse Midwife or other high-paying specialization.

Obtaining a BSN typically takes 15 months in a full-time on-campus program, whereas MSN programs usually require a couple of years of study.

Deal, 32, had no background in the health care field when he started creating BecomeRN.com with help from a graphic artist and a technical expert. His previous work experience was with investment and technology companies.

“It surprised me that nobody had put this kind of thing together,” he said.

It took a lot of effort to build the database. As he learned more about the field, he became intrigued by the new ways in which academic institutions are delivering nursing instruction to students. “There are more opportunities than ever for people who weren’t a good fit for the traditional, four-year, campus-based undergraduate model,” Deal noted.

Designing Web sites has become his main source of income. Two of his other sites, MedicalAssistantSchools.com and AssociateDegreeNursing.com, are aimed at individuals who don’t have a bachelor’s degree yet. Also, RNtoMSN.com and RNtoBSNdegree.com are designed for RNs seeking additional training.

Another option is NursingDegreeGuide.com, developed by Tamara B. Dolan, an RN with two decades of nursing experience.