Building a career is a slow and incredibly expensive endeavor in this decade. Most college students walk out of college under crushing loads of debt and meager job prospects. Surprisingly, the problem isn’t just that the economy isn’t booming, it’s because students aren’t being brought into employable fields, and that education barriers of entry to those fields are artificially high.

Students are forced to go to school for years before they even begin learning skills that are directly applicable to their chosen fields. One of the few industries that is not only growing but working to make their field accessible is the healthcare field of nursing. So Why you should be a nurse?

1. The Pay is Excellent

It only takes one year to become a licensed practical nurse, and the pay is, on average, over 20 dollars an hour. Another 1-3 years in addition can qualify you to become a registered nurse, which comes with a considerable pay bump, varying on how much education you received to get licensed. By comparison, the average person getting a job with their 4 year degree is only just comparable to a nurse with 1 year of higher education. The great pay is due partly to the long working hours that nurses have to deal with, and the high demand for nurses, which drives wages upward naturally.

2. The Benefit of Quick Entry

Since a lot of nursing work is basically manual labor, getting started as a nurse doesn’t require a 2 or 4 year college degree. People who are changing careers, or just starting out as high school grads, can get to work without having to spend the resources that we’ve come to expect as the normal cost of creating economic opportunities for ourselves. Because of this, young people aren’t forced to take out huge college loans, and older workers aren’t forced to drain their savings for years before they can get into their new field.

3. A Job Is Already Waiting

The Unites states needs a lot more nurses. This is partly because the country’s health has improved so much over the last 100 years, so that people are increasingly living long enough to suffer from chronic illnesses that require some form of long-term care. That, of course translates directly to a rising demand for nurses and caregivers. However, so far, the number of new nurses entering the field haven’t kept up with the demand.

The nursing population is aging, meaning that the difference in demand is being filled by nurses who are working longer and retiring at an older age. This means that as those people do retire, and as demand continues to grow because of the aging baby boomer generation, more and more positions will open for new nurses in the coming years.