Cape Fear Community College plays role in one of the fastest growing job markets

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WILMINGTON – Employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 16 percent through 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That’s encouraging news for students in Cape Fear Community College’s (CFCC) Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program. Students at CFCC recently received a 100 percent passage rate on the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX- RN), making the college’s ADN program the only nursing program in the state to receive a perfect passage rate three years in a row.

“A high NCLEX-RN pass rate speaks to the excellence of our program and faculty, and the dedication of our students to complete such a rigorous program,” Program Director Brenda Holland said. “We are extremely proud of the professionalism our graduates exhibit, as well as the outstanding abilities they demonstrate within the profession.”

The exam is required of all nursing students before they can begin working as a registered nurse. The exam is administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

Since the program’s inception at the local community college, graduates have been quick to find employment in hospitals, long-term care facilities, clinics, physicians’ offices, and community health agencies, according to Holland.

“We had 58 test from our last graduating class and 130 over the past three years,” Holland said. “Over 1,100 students have went on to be registered nurses through our program at Cape Fear Community College since the program started in 1989.”

Why is there a call for more nursing jobs?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics sites several reasons for massive growth within the nursing field, including an increased emphasis on preventative care; growing rates of chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity; and demand for healthcare services from baby-boomer as they live longer and more active lives.

“Many go into nursing because they want to make an impact on the lives of others,” Holland added. “Others chose nursing for the employment opportunities and job stability. They immediately find work upon graduation.

Cape Fear Community College Associate Degree Nursing Program
The CFCC Associate Degree Nursing Program has had a perfect passage rate over last three years. (Photo courtesy of Cape Fear Community College)

“There is a tremendous need for nurses locally, statewide and nationwide. This need is expected to grow even further in the coming years with the increasing number of elderly in the population,” she said.

How much money do registered nurses make?

With over 2.7 million registered nurses nationwide, the median annual wage for registered nurses was $67,490 in May 2015. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $46,360, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $101,630.

In May 2015, the median annual wages for registered nurses in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Government $72,100
Hospitals; state, local, and private $69,510
Home healthcare services $63,840
Offices of physicians $60,820
Nursing and residential care facilities $60,370

During the same time period, the median annual wage for all workers was $36,200.

“Whether our graduates seek employment in this area, other areas of the state or in other states, they typically already have a job offer by the time they graduate,” Holland added.