4 answers

Should I become a nurse or teacher?

Updated Houston, Texas

I'm torn between the two professions and would really appreciate some guidance!
#nursing #teaching #education #educator #registered-nurses #registered-nursing #registerednurse #teacher #teachers #nurse

4 answers

Victoria’s Answer

Updated Dallas, Texas
Hi Mireia, this is such a great question! I can tell from your question that you are really thinking hard about your future and we could really use your talent and passion for both teaching and nursing right now. The good news about your question and you can have a career in both fields at the same time! I used to work for one of the University of Texas Medical Schools in Continuing Medical Education and have a sister and dad who are healthcare professionals. It sounds like you might really enjoy both careers and health careers offer so many opportunities to teach and to practice medicine. The wonderful thing about health careers is that there are so many opportunities and settings where you can be a teacher and a nurse at the same time. You might work in a hospital, doctor's office, a university, at a school, at a company, in the military, or travel to locations around the country or the world. You might work with children, families, veterans, or older patients. Nurses are teachers because they take care of patients who need to learn how to recovery from surgery, improve their lifestyle, learn to cook healthy meals, learn to walk, learn to take medicine, and many more things. Nurses change lives and share their experiences every day with their patients. Nurses are also life-learners because medicine continues to change and improve. You could even teach other nurses by becoming a professor or mentor at a nursing college or nursing school. One thing that might really help you is to volunteer at a hospital or non-profit. Texas has some fabulous health care opportunities across the state but especially in Houston. Volunteering will help you meet mentors and give you real world experience even before you start studying. You can see what you like and don't like and meet people working in a field already. If you decide you love it, great. And if it isn't a good fit figure out why and try something new. If you love teaching, there are also opportunities for teachers to help sick children in hospitals keep up with their school work. These are called ChildLife Specialists. These specialists run playrooms and mobile libraries and toys for kids in the hospital. You might really like volunteering at a ChildLife center at a hospital in Houston. There are also teachers that help children continue to study while they are treated short-term and long-term. You might even like other STEM careers like teaching Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math. Many healthcare and STEM professionals have 5 - 6 or more jobs over the course of their careers. You might start out as a nurse, then teach other nurses on your shifts, run a unit as a nurse manager, maybe become a nurse practitioner, maybe teach at a university or a college. There are so many different jobs and careers in this area and so much demand that if you study hard this STEM career can really take you places: #stem You are going to be great at whatever you decide to do :)
Updated
Thank you so much! You're advice has provided much needed insight and guidance!!

Rachel’s Answer

Updated

<span style="background-color: transparent;"> I am an English teacher, we work with other teachers of all different subjects. We have 5 teaching blocks or periods per day, 1 prep period, and 1 lunch period. Depending on the grade level the work environment shifts. But generally we are teaching different cohorts of students each period of the day, typically teaching the same lessons depending on grade and level, and or prepping and grading work. I love working as a teacher. </span>

It's helpful to take higher-level classes in Sociology, Psychology, and Human Development. Definitely take at least two or more 2000+ level courses in these subjects. You will learn about society and how it functions in a way that may be harmful to our student and how to combat social constructions and become more aware of them. This will make you a better teacher in the long run and having and understanding of sociology as a whole will make you a better person, help you understand your students and connect with them. Studying psychology and human development will help you learn about the way people learn (and therefore you will learn how to best teach your students). Depending on the phase of life adolescents and children are in, they learn differently, and their brain works differently as well. It is essential to have an understanding of this prior to becoming an educator. It will also help you to connect with students, parents, and families. Human Development and Family Studies will also allow you to become more culturally aware of students and families that come from different backgrounds; this will allow you to unlearn implicit biases and recognize them in yourself and others (and therefore, grow from them). Overall, these three fields of study are absolutely essential when pursuing teaching. Taking the time to take 2 or more classes in each of these subjects will help you become the best teacher you can possibly be. Other than these, the more obvious answer is take as many classes as possible in the subject-area you want to teach AND take education courses.

To be a good teacher, essentially, treat them like human beings. Your students are people too and communicating effectively with them, essentially means communicating with them. Be genuine, compassionate, caring, and show them you care about them as a person and beyond the classroom. Your students need to know that you have a genuine compassion for their feelings and that you care about what they have to say. This starts with building relationships with your students, allowing them to get to know you, and showing a genuine interest in getting to know them.


Karen’s Answer

Updated

They are both excellent professions where you will be helping others.  The decision is a personal one depending on what you think you would enjoy more -- assisting those who are ill or guiding students. Go with your gut but also try to talk to at least a couple of people who are teachers and some who are nurses to learn more about what their days are like.  All the best to you!

Rachel’s Answer

Updated

It really depends what type of teacher you would like to be. However the main pathways are generally the same and the options vary but go along the same lines.


  1. You need to graduate high school.
  2. You need to attend a college/university and earn a four- year B.A. degree. You will want to get a bachelors degree in the subject-matter that you want to teach, this makes certification in your state and subject-area feasible. You may opt to minor or double-major in education. You do not need to have a bachelors in education to be a teacher. I would suggest getting a bachelors degree in the subject you would like to teach. (for example: I am an English teacher, I majored in English literature and now have a bachelors in English).
  3. Once you graduate college with your bachelors degree you have a few options:

A. Go directly to Graduate school and obtain your masters in the area of teaching/education you want to teach (ie. Masters of Education, Masters of Teaching, Masters of Secondary English, Masters of Teaching in Secondary English, Masters of Teaching in Elementary, Masters of Special Education etc.). You may also opt to get a masters degree in the subject-are you wish to teach. However, while in graduate school you must obtain a masters degree in some variation of teaching/education. So you will have either a MAT (Masters of Teaching) or MED (Masters of Education). Most graduate schools have one of the two programs and offer a variation depending on the subject (ie. Masters of Teaching in Secondary English or Masters of Education in Secondary English). This option is ussually a fifth year pathway that allows you to student teach at a school while earning your masters degree.

B. You can apply to an Alternative Route to Certification (if you state has options/offers this). This would look like a program like TeachForAmerica, AmeriCorps TutorCorps, or other Teacher Residency Programs (ie. KIPP Teaching Fellows, MATCH Schools, or charter schools that offer Teacher Resident positions. Look up the options in your state or the options available if state is not a boundary for you. During the year or two-year commitment of these programs you would typically also have classes or being earning a masters degree. This option is for teachers who want to start working directly after they graduate college. Some programs lead to Certification in your state and others lead to BOTH Certification and a Masters Degree. The ARC programs lead to 90 day certifications, which then lead to Initial Educator Certification OR Resident Teacher Certification (ALL are pathways to FULL certification in your state).


  1. Regardless of which route you take you will need to take the certification exams in your state. MOST states, including CT (which is the information I know because it is my state) require the PRAXIS exams. You will need to research certification requirements within your own state for more information. However, while you are earning your masters (or after you have earned your bachelors) you will want to also prepare for and take the PRAXIS Core (which can be waived if your SAT/ACT scores are high enough) and the PRAXIS II which cannot be waived and MUST be passed for certification.
  2. Once you have obtained your Bachelors degree AND Masters degree AND Passed your state certification exams AND done some form of students teaching (whether that is during college or in a residency program) you can then:
  3. Go to your state board of education website and complete your certification information.
  4. Then, you can APPLY as a LEAD teacher in the area you are certified.

MOST pathways take 4-6 years. You will be able to start your first year of teaching as a lead teacher generally in year 5 or 6.

This professional recommends the following next steps:

  • Earn a bachelors degree in the subject area you would like to teach in AND or a bachelors in Education.
  • Decide if you want to do a teaching Residency program like Teach For America or if you would like to go straight to graduate school to earn your masters degree.
  • Apply to Graduate schools and Teaching Residency programs. During your senior year of college.
  • Begin your first year of grad school or teaching residency.
  • Earn your Masters degree in Education or Teaching, in the area you would like to teach in.