Top Alabama Nursing Schools, Colleges & Degree Programs
Like most states in the country, Alabama is currently experiencing an increase in the demand for nurses. This is due to several factors, one of them being the fact that the population of the state is aging, thereby having new healthcare needs. Additionally, the new Affordable Care Act has led to an increase in the demand for good quality health care as well. Because of the shortage of nurses, there is also a demand for new nurse educators, who can train the next generation of nurses.
The outlook for nurses in Alabama is very good and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that national demand will grow by 19% by 2022. In Alabama in particular, there are only about half as many nurses as there should be. It is expected that Alabama’s shortage of nurses will become even worse. Some of the best places to work as a nurse in the state are the Birmingham-Hoover area as well as Columbus and Montgomery.
As there is a significant shortage of nurses, many hospitals and care centers are pushing to have patients discharged as quickly as possible. This is also in response to the Affordable Care Act, which may have given everybody access to health care but, some fear, also means that the quality of health care will decline due to nurses having too heavy workloads.
Those nurses with the highest levels of education stand the best chance of finding high paid employment in the state. Although those with a bachelor’s degree are in high demand, many employers are seeking staff qualified at the master’s level. Indeed, various hospitals and clinics now run mentoring programs and other educational programs to encourage the current workforce to commit to their further education.
Various employment opportunities exist for nurses in Alabama. There is a particularly high demand for nurse educators, but also for adult/gerontology nurses and those who seek specializations that allow them to work in nursing homes. The highest earning nurses are the nurse anesthetists.
Currently, some 68,600 registered nurses work in Alabama. Six percent of these are Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN), which shows where the highest demand lies. The four main roles within the APRN spectrum are nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists and clinical nurse specialist.
Since the shortage of nurses in Alabama is so severe, it would be expected that the salary and compensation would be high. However, with a median annual salary of $54,120, they actually earn less than the national average. On the other hand, the comfort score is high, because the cost of living in Alabama is lower than average.