Individuals who complete higher education can help end the national nursing shortage

The growing senior citizen population will be one reason for an increased need for nurses.
The growing senior citizen population will be one reason for an increased need for nurses.

According to a report by the Texas Center for Nursing Workforce Studies, in 2009 the state was lacking about 20,000 nursing professionals. By 2020, the center estimates that about 71,000 nurses will be needed to end the state nursing shortage.

An increasing demand for registered nurses (RNs) is a growing issue on a national level as well. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for these professionals is expected to rise by about 22 percent through 2018.

The growth of the nursing industry will be driven largely by new technology, which allows healthcare professions to treat and prevent a growing number of problems. Additionally, as the baby boom generation gets older, the larger senior citizen population will require care by nurses, the BLS reports.

Individuals who want to become a registered nurse can do so by either earning diplomas from a registered nursing program or earning associate's or bachelor's degrees in the field. Typically, bachelor's degree programs take about four years to complete, while associate's programs last for two years. A diploma course of study can take about three years to finish, according to the BLS.

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