Should You Go Back to School While Working as a Travel Nurse?

by Howard Gerber on July 3, 2013

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Once you start working as a healthcare traveler, you may think that means you have to put any plans for future schooling on hold. The good news is that there are plenty of options if you want to further your education on the road. With all the opportunities for online classes, it is possible to earn advanced degrees without stepping foot in a classroom.  Keep in mind, education not only takes a commitment, but it can be expensive. Before you decide if pursing additional education is right for you while you are on a travel assignment, there are several factors to consider.

Advantages

Further education is never a bad thing, but the timing may not always be right. There may be a few advantages to pursing your education while you are working as a nurse traveler, such as the possibility of more free time. For instance, you may have more free time since you don’t have the same social life as when you lived at home. If you have a little more free time than you had in the past, you may be able to fit in school work.

Advancing your education may also make you a more marketable candidate for future positions in your field. You may have more opportunities for both travel assignments and permanent positions.  In addition to more available positions in your field, further education may also increase your salary. Earning an advanced degree, such as a BSN in nursing or a master’s degree may increase your earning potential.

Considerations

While there are advantages to pursuing further education while working as a traveler, there are also other factors to consider. For example, decide how you will be paying for school. Do you plan on taking out loans or paying in advance? Although healthcare travelers can often get another assignment when one ends, you may have a week or more between jobs. Consider if this time without a salary will interfere with your ability to pay for classes.

It is also important to consider if you want to spend at least some of your non-working hours doing school work. If you are viewing your travel job as an adventure and plan to be out sightseeing and meeting new people all the time, school may not be a good fit just yet.

Tips

If you do decide to further your education, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of succeeding at both your travel job and your educational plans.

Don’t start school the same week you start your new job. Moving into a new place, starting a new job and trying to start school at all once can be overwhelming. If you will be doing an online program, give yourself a few weeks to get accustomed to your new job before starting school.

Find a quiet place to do your school work even if that means heading out to a local library. 

Consider only taking one or two classes at a time. It is better to start off with only a few classes, so you don’t get overwhelmed.

Have you considered going back to school to pursue a degree or another one? What was your experience like? Any advice for

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