Career InfoNet published a list of occupations with a typical entry-level education of an associate’s degree that are projected to have the largest number of job openings during the 2012-2022 time period. Within the top 10, there are five that are within the field of health care.

(Photo Courtesy of Theresa Minniear)

(Photo Courtesy of Theresa Minniear)

Theresa Minniear is a clinical research nurse for Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) at Midwestern Regional Medical Center and can offer some advice for those looking to go into nursing. Starting with an associate’s degree in Nursing and culminating at achieving the Master of Science in Nursing, Theresa shows how taking the necessary educational steps has helped to achieve success in nursing.

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How does your education play a role in your current position at CTCA?

“I have an Associate Degree in Nursing, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Science in Nursing and a bachelor’s degree with a double major of Spanish and biology. After completing my undergrad, I went through a trial period before ultimately deciding on being a nurse. Being a nurse would allow me to do everything I loved: work in a science setting, teach and use my Spanish. I joined Cancer Treatment Centers of America right after graduating from nursing school. I have worked in inpatient nursing, radiation oncology and as a charge nurse in the Infusion Center.”

How did you continue your education while working in the field?

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“Once enrolled in nursing school, I continued to work at a pharmaceutical company during the day while I attended nursing school at night. What makes nursing unique is that it’s a field you can enter quickly, even in the absence of a four-year degree. One can be a Certified Nursing Assistant first, and pick up skills and exposure while continuing school. You can sit for the boards and start working, after just obtaining an associate’s degree.”

What advice can you give others going into nursing?

“It’s imperative to obtain a bachelor’s degree, as hospitals and patients want nurses who are educated and well-skilled. There are many programs that make it easy and convenient to get that B.S.N.—online, at night, etc.”

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Sara Lugardo is a professional writer out of Chicago, Illinois. She has a bachelor’s in communication and is currently working on her master’s. Her work can be found on