Am I Too Old For Nursing School?

What age should you start nursing school? Luckily, it’s never too late to start! Find out why it’s worth going to nursing school after 30 and beyond.

April 2023

What age should you go to nursing school? The average age of a new nurse ranges widely, meaning nursing is a profession where it’s never too late to start! You’re not too old for nursing school; learn how to be successful at any age with Achieve.

What age do most people start nursing school?

College isn’t just for those fresh out of high school. While it's easy to associate higher learning with students in their late teens/early twenties, the reality is that college isn’t limited to those in early adulthood.

Many adults go back to school later in life to:

  • Take their career to the next level
  • Make a career change
  • Finish school after previously dropping out

This is equally true for nursing school. It is not uncommon to see students from a wide range of ages and backgrounds pursuing a nursing degree; in fact, depending on which degree path you choose, it’s likely your classmates will include someone with a similar background. 

According to the most recent study from the National League of Nurses, here is the age breakdown for when most people start nursing school.

These numbers give a good idea of average nursing student ages, but shouldn’t betaken as the definitive breakdown. Age stats can vary depending on each nursing school's location and population, with some nursing programs reporting an average student age of 39, while others report having many students over age50.  

In short, there isn’t one specific age when people start nursing school. Education is available to anyone ready and willing to expand their horizons and take on new challenges.

 What is the average age of a new nurse?

How old are nurses when they start? The average age of a new nurse ranges from mid twenties to late thirties and forties, depending on when the student started school. 

The youngest age someone could achieve RN status is 20,assuming the student graduated high school at 18 and immediately entered a2-year ADN program. Students who pursue BSN programs right after high school will graduate in their early twenties if enrolled full time. 

But as seen in the data above, nursing programs regularly accept students in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and beyond, meaning that new nurses are entering the field at a wide range of ages. Working adults are more likely to pursue part-time nursing programs to help balance school and work, prolonging their graduation. 

Seeing younger nurses in the field shouldn’t be a deterrent to older students ready to take the next step. Especially for established CNAs and LPNs, having healthcare experience is a significant advantage when entering a nursing program because you’ll already be familiar with some of the terminology, expectations, and more. Unlike younger RNs who will enter the field with only clinical experience, you’ll have years of patient care under your belt, deepening your understanding of new material.

Is it worth going to nursing school after 30?

If you’re ready to level up your career it is definitely worth going to nursing school after 30 and beyond. Investing in your education is the best way to create new opportunities and ongoing job satisfaction. 

Becoming an RN is a smart career move for current CNAs and LPNs. Not only do RNs earn up to 50% more on an hourly basis, they’re also eligible for more advancement opportunities such as management, teaching, and more. 

According to 2023 earning stats:

  • CNAs: $19-28/hour 
  • LPNs: $33-46/hour 
  • RNs: $43-66/hour 

There really isn’t a best age for nursing school; what matters is what age makes most sense for you. In fact, going back to school as an adult offers many advantages over starting higher education straight out of high school.

Benefits of starting nursing school after age 30+: 

You’re more mature: Being out in the real world puts life into a perspective younger students have yet to grasp. You have time and wisdom on your side, giving you the grit and determination to pursue your goals with clarity. 

You’re career focused: Achieving 10+ years of work experience solidifies career goals in a way those fresh out of high school cannot understand. You’ve seen and experienced the ins and outs of your field, helping you determine exactly what you want from your next step.

You’ve overcome challenges: At this point in life, you’ve been through some twists and turns, empowering you to face hard things head on. Becoming an RN is not easy, but adulthood has put you in a strong position to succeed.

What age do most nurses retire?

Reports show that most nurses retire around age 62. This is in line with the US national average, which ranges from 62-66. 

Reasons that affect nursing retirement age:

  • Financially ready to leave the workforce 
  • Physical limitations affecting job abilities 
  • Readiness to spend more time with family, traveling, or pursuing other interests

Even nurses who start school around age 50 could still have a full decade or more in a rewarding new career. It’s never too late to pursue your dreams!

Achieve can help you at any age with nursing school

You’re not too old for nursing school, especially when you take advantage of the time-saving benefits of Achieve Test Prep’s RN Bridge Program. We are not a school but we help working adults get through nursing school thanks to much-needed supports and resources that make higher education more manageable. If you’re looking to save time while pursuing your nursing degree, we can help. Connect with our Advisor team to learn more.

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Find out how to use innovative learning solutions to finish your degree requirements faster. Why not take the next step and see if you’re a good candidate for our credit by exam program.

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