Healthcare is a rapidly evolving field, and nursing professionals need to keep up. With national goals in place for strengthening the healthcare workforce, employers are striving for new and old employees to earn more specialized credentials and certifications. Due to this expectation, many employers are finding creative ways to encourage their employees to obtain higher level qualifications, such as undergraduate and/or graduate degrees.
In particular, hospitals, clinics and nursing facilities have started investing more in continuing education, including tuition assistance. These programs vary, but they are all designed to provide pathways for employees to build academic and professional credentials.
In some cases, employers provide education reimbursement for tuition and books. This can be negotiated a few different ways. Employers might:
- Expect employees to receive a specific set grade to earn reimbursement.
- Pay a specific percentage or set amount for tuition and other costs as long as the employee maintains an established minimum grade-point average.
- Pay the full cost of tuition, fees and books in return for the employee working a pre-established number of years for the employer after graduation.
Additionally, businesses often provide more flexible work schedules for employees they know are balancing work and school – recognizing the value of flexibility in the short term for a dedicated and engaged employee in the longer term.
If you’re interested in obtaining your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), it’s important to review your employer’s policies on training and development. If there is no policy or the policy appears to be limited, approach either your employer’s human resources manager or your direct supervisor to learn about potential options for the employer covering your education expenses. Keep in mind, it may require negotiations on your part.
Market demands are important to keep in mind when negotiating with your employer. The National Academy of Medicine recommends that 80 percent of the nursing workforce should have a BSN by 2020. If your organization hopes to reach such goals, recertifying nurses will be an integral part of the process.
Also, let your employer know how much you want to obtain your degree. When you make your case, emphasize how much your new skills can add to the workplace.
Smart employers realize when they help offset the financial costs of education, they can ensure their employees are bringing new skills to fill voids within the organization, while also building engagement and dedication within the workforce.
Interested in one of these nursing programs? Learn more here.
Jack McCallum has been with the online business department at Herzing University since 2011. When not teaching, she serves as the President/Principal Consultant for HR Balance LLC—a consulting company specializing in human resources management, organizational development, leadership coaching, and training/development. She started HR Balance LLC in 2003 after years of serving in a leadership capacity for a variety of for-profit and non-profit organizations. A keynote speaker and presenter, Jack has served as an industry expert for radio and print media.
* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2021. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.