Nursing careers in high demand
While many industries are struggling to fill jobs, nursing is one profession that's seeing an overflow of interested candidates.
Travis Christman, Registered Nurse at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire says nursing is in high demand because there's no replacement for a human caring for another human. Registered nurses are ranked number three on the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development's list of "Hot Jobs".
The department classifies a “hot job” as a position with good pay, opportunities for growth, and job availability. "As people start to age, the workforce of nursing is aging. A lot of the baby boomers are starting to retire and many of them were nurses, so we're now seeing them not only retire from the nursing workforce but they need the care on top of it," said Christman.
DWD projections show median wages for registered nurses are about $66,000 and growth is expected to continue into 2026, making this career path appealing to those entering the workforce. "The nursing schools can't keep up with how many nurses are needed in the hospitals,” says Christman.
Becoming a nurse starts with deciding on an education plan. "Eau Claire is fortunate enough to have two nursing schools. One is an Associate Degree program, one is a Bachelors’ Degree program. Both of them have certain criteria that you have to meet prior to getting into the core program," said Christman.
After gaining the basic RN degree, job opportunity offers a variety of options from long term care faciltiies, to hospital settings with critical care or even in-school nursing.
Christman says many institutions in Wisconsin have active waiting lists for nursing programs and many must pass certain requirements before being put on a waiting list. He says the nursing program at Chippewa Valley Technical College often has a wait list and at UW-Eau Claire, there is a strict GPA requirement to get in.
He says while some nursing programs offer a two year Associate’s Degree, he recommends aspiring nurses find a four year Bachelor’s program because with the high interest in nursing jobs, employers are now looking at candidates with the most certification.