Law school or nursing?

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blair22
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Law school or nursing?

Postby blair22 » Thu Jul 14, 2011 10:33 am

Here's the deal: I am a newly graduated early twenty-something female trying to decide what to do with my life career-wise. I had always planned on going to law school and have begun studying for the LSAT in preparation for the October exam. HOWEVER - all of this anti-law school sentiment going around has really been getting to me.

New York City is where I am going to be, regardless of what I do. I do not currently live there, but with many, many visits to Manhattan under my belt, I am confident that NYC is the place for me. GPA is at 3.46, so unless I completely ace the LSAT, I'm looking at either Cardozo or possibly Fordham. I don't necessarily want BigLaw; rather, I always saw myself doing family law (not sure how to score a position as a divorce attorney right out of school--is this even possible?) and do not wish to work the 80 hour slave week.

Now, with all the articles coming out from the ABA, NYT, etc. about the dreary prospects of law school grads, the oversaturation of the market, and the general "T14 or nothing" attitude on TLS, I am feeling pretty discouraged. Nursing is another career interest of mine, and both NYU and Hunter have accelerated nursing degree programs for those who already have BAs in other areas. Sure, I would be taking out loans for that as well, but with nursing there is pretty solid job security and a shortage of nurses. A nurse's salary is actually pretty decent.

Of course, there is the prestige that comes with being an attorney, but is it really that bleak out there? Is 200K for a degree from Cardozo or Fordham worth it, or is nursing a more secure investment?

Sorry for rambling here - any thoughts on this matter would be greatly appreciated!

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El_Gallo
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Re: Law school or nursing?

Postby El_Gallo » Thu Jul 14, 2011 10:41 am

Sounds like you have a pretty firm understanding of the situation.
blair22 wrote:Is 200K for a degree from Cardozo or Fordham worth it, or is nursing a more secure investment?


200k is a ridiculous amount of money. In almost no circumstance is Cardozo or Fordham worth sticker and since you don't want biglaw, that seals the deal.

I can't comment on the value of a nursing degree, but I can almost guarantee you that would be a better choice than attending either of these schools at sticker.

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Emma.
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Re: Law school or nursing?

Postby Emma. » Thu Jul 14, 2011 10:53 am

blair22 wrote:...but with nursing there is pretty solid job security and a shortage of nurses. A nurse's salary is actually pretty decent.



Do you know any current nurses? I don't know about the situation in New York, but it in many parts of the country it is extremely hard to find a good nursing job as a new graduate nurse, despite the perceived nursing shortage. Also, from what I have heard, nursing in NYC is really rough. Hospitals are overcrowded and under staffed.

Nurses do great work and I'm not trying to discourage you from nursing school if that is what you really want, but make sure you have a good picture about the realities of nursing before you commit to school. It is a hard hard job that involves long hours on your feet. You often get treated like shit by patients and their families, by doctors, and also potentially by your colleagues and the support staff. Even if you do get a hospital job right out of school you will likely spend at least a year working night shift, which is really hard on your body (and your relationships).

All that being said, nursing can be a really rewarding job. I just highly recommend you talk to some nurses (and hopefully NYC nurses) before you make up your mind.

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Stringer Bell
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Re: Law school or nursing?

Postby Stringer Bell » Thu Jul 14, 2011 10:56 am

Nursing is going to have a substantially better expected return than either of those two options. There are some new nursing grads that are having a hard time finding a job in certain cities, but the numbers aren't huge and I think they could still find a job if they were willing to move somewhere else that had a big nursing shortage. Once you get some work experience you pretty much have a guaranteed job for life unless you royally mess something up and get reported to the Board of Nursing. I'm also assuming that these programs award you a BSN in which case you could work for a couple of years, then go back to school to become a nurse practitioner. These folks make six figures.

notanumber
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Re: Law school or nursing?

Postby notanumber » Thu Jul 14, 2011 10:58 am

You're probably going to get a litany of people here who try to convince you to become a nurse, so I'll not jump on that bandwagon. Instead, I'll just suggest that you sit and think hard about where you see yourself in 5, 10, and 20 years and which career path would better take you there. It might be helpful to chat with lawyers who practice in the areas you find interesting, perhaps even work in a law office for a year or two and save up some money.

Spending 200K at Cardozo or Fordham is usually a poor investment. But if you nail the LSAT you can get money from them and make it a much more reasonable investment.

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Stringer Bell
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Re: Law school or nursing?

Postby Stringer Bell » Thu Jul 14, 2011 11:02 am

Emma. wrote:Do you know any current nurses? I don't know about the situation in New York, but it in many parts of the country it is extremely hard to find a good nursing job as a new graduate nurse, despite the perceived nursing shortage. Also, from what I have heard, nursing in NYC is really rough. Hospitals are overcrowded and under staffed.


This is credited, but if you are willing to move somewhere like San Antonio or something you can generally find some way to get your foot in the door. Your comment about it being a difficult job is spot on. Level 1 trauma centers in major cities are difficult. It's basically the nursing version of being a big law associate. For a lot of nurses, after they have done it for a few years they take a job out at a hospital in the suburbs which is a much easier gig.

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Samara
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Re: Law school or nursing?

Postby Samara » Thu Jul 14, 2011 11:54 am

Emma. wrote:
blair22 wrote:...but with nursing there is pretty solid job security and a shortage of nurses. A nurse's salary is actually pretty decent.



Do you know any current nurses? I don't know about the situation in New York, but it in many parts of the country it is extremely hard to find a good nursing job as a new graduate nurse, despite the perceived nursing shortage. Also, from what I have heard, nursing in NYC is really rough. Hospitals are overcrowded and under staffed.

Nurses do great work and I'm not trying to discourage you from nursing school if that is what you really want, but make sure you have a good picture about the realities of nursing before you commit to school. It is a hard hard job that involves long hours on your feet. You often get treated like shit by patients and their families, by doctors, and also potentially by your colleagues and the support staff. Even if you do get a hospital job right out of school you will likely spend at least a year working night shift, which is really hard on your body (and your relationships).

All that being said, nursing can be a really rewarding job. I just highly recommend you talk to some nurses (and hopefully NYC nurses) before you make up your mind.

+1
The "nursing shortage," such as it exists, is very much misrepresented by the media. Many positions formerly held by RNs are commonly filled by lesser-skilled workers. Additionally, the "nursing shortage" is more about the projected shortage for the aged baby boomer generation than the current situation and who knows what healthcare will look like in 10-20 years. Some of the research indicates that wages for RNs has actually flattened and employment has declined, despite increases in "nursing" positions. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nursing_shortage)

I don't know what the NYC market is like, (NY is not included in states facing a severe shortage) but it's likely no walk in the park. Basically, law school = big risk, big earning potential, nursing = moderate risk, moderate earning potential, so a lot of it is going to be whichever you enjoy more. I think it's worth taking the LSAT though and see what you get. You never know, with some solid prep, you just might ace the LSAT. Scoring 167+ should get you into BC, possibly even BU and getting into the 170s gets you a shot at the T14, so good prospects are certainly not out of the question.

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AreJay711
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Re: Law school or nursing?

Postby AreJay711 » Thu Jul 14, 2011 11:57 am

I think there is a big difference between being a lawyer and being a nurse. If you think you would like being a lawyer but want the job market for new grads to get better why don't you do something that is somewhat comparable? What is your degree in? What other interests do you have?

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cinephile
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Re: Law school or nursing?

Postby cinephile » Thu Jul 14, 2011 12:12 pm

If you're interested in nursing, maybe you should also consider occupational therapy or becoming a physician assistant. Depending on your undergrad courses, you may be prepared to begin these programs, and if not, you can always pick up the pre-reqs at a community college.

23402385985
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Re: Law school or nursing?

Postby 23402385985 » Thu Jul 14, 2011 12:17 pm

Why JUST nursing or law?

Why don't you consider PA school? PA school is definitely above nursing in the health care totem pole and pays really well. Your GPA should get you in as long as you do OK on the GRE. Don't know if you have the pre-req's for it, though.

flexityflex86
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Re: Law school or nursing?

Postby flexityflex86 » Thu Jul 14, 2011 12:17 pm

OP: This question all comes down to the rank of the law school.

Nursing is somewhat more stable, and if you can't find a job in NYC, you can go to NJ, etc.

Law is not always the same, and your salary in nursing will be higher right out of nursing school than it would likely be out of about 66% of law schools in this country.

However, if you can get into one of the best law schools, your salary in law will be much higher.

About the 200k in debt - isn't nursing school similar?

Also, I have no tangible evidence of this, but I feel as though nurse's salaries will become a bit more stagnant over the next decade much like law as right now they're making over half of what doctors make, and that just does not make sense economically.

23402385985
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Re: Law school or nursing?

Postby 23402385985 » Thu Jul 14, 2011 12:17 pm

cinephile wrote:If you're interested in nursing, maybe you should also consider occupational therapy or becoming a physician assistant. Depending on your undergrad courses, you may be prepared to begin these programs, and if not, you can always pick up the pre-reqs at a community college.


You beat me on the PA recommendation! :)

blair22
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Re: Law school or nursing?

Postby blair22 » Thu Jul 14, 2011 12:28 pm

flexityflex86 wrote:OP: This question all comes down to the rank of the law school.

Nursing is somewhat more stable, and if you can't find a job in NYC, you can go to NJ, etc.

Law is not always the same, and your salary in nursing will be higher right out of nursing school than it would likely be out of about 66% of law schools in this country.

However, if you can get into one of the best law schools, your salary in law will be much higher.

About the 200k in debt - isn't nursing school similar?

Also, I have no tangible evidence of this, but I feel as though nurse's salaries will become a bit more stagnant over the next decade much like law as right now they're making over half of what doctors make, and that just does not make sense economically.



Nursing school debt would be somewhat similar, but I figure it would be easier to pay off than law school, especially since I am not really interested in BigLaw.

blair22
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Re: Law school or nursing?

Postby blair22 » Thu Jul 14, 2011 12:28 pm

AreJay711 wrote:I think there is a big difference between being a lawyer and being a nurse. If you think you would like being a lawyer but want the job market for new grads to get better why don't you do something that is somewhat comparable? What is your degree in? What other interests do you have?


My degree is in English.

clkcrna
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Re: Law school or nursing?

Postby clkcrna » Thu Jul 14, 2011 12:32 pm

Go look at CRNA salaries.

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glitched
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Re: Law school or nursing?

Postby glitched » Thu Jul 14, 2011 12:37 pm

every young female college grad i know right now seems to want to do nursing... and i don't really know why. it's not a good lifestyle in any way - you have pretty shitty hours (not number, but time of day), doctors at work give you shit, and patients give you shit (sometimes literally). yes, the starting pay is high, but what people don't realize is that it plateaus pretty quickly. i suppose it can be rewarding to help people, but you can get that from other professions that work normal hours (see above).

haha with that being said... if you've seen and know what nurses do and can see yourself in that position, then go for it! sorry if i was being overly negative up there, but i wanted to try and give the worst perspective of the profession bc that's probably what you've been given about law. seriously the right career choice is so deeply personal and it depends entirely on who you are. and at this age in our life, the only hope we can have is that we know ourselves enough to be making the right choice. but even if we don't, meh plenty of people change careers later in their lives.

good luck. :)

071816
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Re: Law school or nursing?

Postby 071816 » Thu Jul 14, 2011 12:40 pm

If you have to ask, then I would probably just go with nursing. No point in going to law school unless you are truly set on becoming an attorney.

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Stringer Bell
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Re: Law school or nursing?

Postby Stringer Bell » Thu Jul 14, 2011 12:42 pm

glitched wrote:every young female college grad i know right now seems to want to do nursing... and i don't really know why.


Because the placement is much better than most other realistic options.

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sunynp
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Re: Law school or nursing?

Postby sunynp » Thu Jul 14, 2011 12:43 pm

I have never been a nurse so I can't give first-hand advice. But I know a couple of people who are travel nurses and bid on jobs around the country. The work isn't great, but they go and live near ski areas because they snowboard, etc. I think that would be fun for a while. Another friend of mine works in a nurse anesthesia program - where nurses with RNs (?) get trained to do anesthesiology jobs at hospital. The program is tough but you can do very well for yourself if you get through it.

Also nursing seems to be a portable degree, at least more than law is.

I think you need to explore a lot more in the medical field. There are many different job possibilities as others have mentioned. Maybe you should get a job at a hospital for a year or so while you figure it out?

There has to be a way to get a nursing degree without spending $200,000. You must be able to get in-state tuition somewhere and live at home if you have to.

blair22
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Re: Law school or nursing?

Postby blair22 » Thu Jul 14, 2011 12:49 pm

glitched wrote:every young female college grad i know right now seems to want to do nursing... and i don't really know why. it's not a good lifestyle in any way - you have pretty shitty hours (not number, but time of day), doctors at work give you shit, and patients give you shit (sometimes literally). yes, the starting pay is high, but what people don't realize is that it plateaus pretty quickly. i suppose it can be rewarding to help people, but you can get that from other professions that work normal hours (see above).

haha with that being said... if you've seen and know what nurses do and can see yourself in that position, then go for it! sorry if i was being overly negative up there, but i wanted to try and give the worst perspective of the profession bc that's probably what you've been given about law. seriously the right career choice is so deeply personal and it depends entirely on who you are. and at this age in our life, the only hope we can have is that we know ourselves enough to be making the right choice. but even if we don't, meh plenty of people change careers later in their lives.

good luck. :)


Well the graveyard shift wouldn't really bother me (my father has been an RN for almost 30 years and has worked the overnight shift the entire time, so I've been able to see what it is like through his perspective), and with that, you really only have to work 3-4 days/nights a week.

I really appreciate everyone's input. I know it seems like sort of a strange choice between law or nursing. Like I said before, I am set on NY but not on BigLaw, and with all this negativity about the prospects for law grads, I am just more confused than ever on what to do. When it comes to law, I have always wanted to be involved in family law, divorce in particular. Does anyone know or have experience with how to get involved in this type of law right out of law school?




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