In spite of the unemployment rate nearing an all-time high, one area that is still booming is the medical field.

Health care currently employs 11.3 million people. Twelve of the top 30 occupations projected to grow fastest during the next decade are in health care, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Dental assistants, surgical technicians, dental hygienists, and nurses are just a few of the careers associated with allied health and nursing.

In fact, a lot of students who go into the Career Services office with no idea of what major to choose often select nursing.

“The nursing program is probably the one with the highest interest,” said Kim Harden, Career Services staff aide.

Salaries can range from $19,000 to over $60,000 per year, and most positions have room for advancement.

Job stability is another deciding factor for some, and Texas has a nurse and nursing faculty shortage.

According to Rebecca Seeton, RN department chair at Tyler Junior College, all nursing programs are asked to produce more graduates.

Nurses typically have long careers and also have several job options with their nursing degree. Seeton became an RN in 1980 and began teaching nursing classes in 1999.

“Nursing grows by leaps and bounds all the time,” she said.

Nursing has proved to be very secure for Seeton.

“People are cutting back, not using credit cards or big screens, however, they don’t get to choose when they’re going to be sick,” Seeton said.

Nursing has rewards beyond just salary and job stability. Nurses have the opportunity to be a help to someone else.

For some students this plays an important factor when deciding to become a nurse.

“I want to help people and make a difference,” said Bianca Williams, TJC nursing student. She said the salary is an added bonus to a career she feels so passionately about.

“I wanted a career that would pay me well, was dependable, and also give me self satisfaction,” Williams said.

TJC offers two tracks to becoming a nurse. After meeting the testing and other requirements students can begin taking classes to become a LVN, and after completion transition to RN program if desired. Students can also enroll directly into the RN program; both tracks offer an associate’s degree in nursing.

All allied health and nursing programs at TJC offer an associate’s degree or a certificate of proficiency. Each program has different requirements for enrolling and handbooks are available with information about testing requirements, pre-requisites and other helpful information.

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