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Forensic nursing jobs have high salaries & are rewarding. Learn how to begin a forensic nursing career & get the education needed to become a forensic nurse
If you are looking to shift the course of your career, take note: forensic nursing jobs are on the rise.
This is a relatively new profession that works to bridge the gap between the criminal justice and health care systems, offering care and expertise where they are needed in both.
This is also a fairly new addition to the job market. So, as organizations, both public and private, are realizing the potential and need for such professionals, the number of jobs is steadily on the rise.
If this sounds like a career that may interest you, spend some time perusing the ins and outs of the job, including duties, education and training requirements, salary, and future potential.
Being a forensic nurse is not an easy job. It requires a vast amount of education, fortitude, perseverance, and an unwavering desire to help people.
Like other registered nurses, the forensic nurse also has the ability to focus in on different specialties. These include:
Especially suited to those with a firm background in health care, forensic nursing is an exciting way to expand your professional expertise and discover a whole new field of work.
Becoming a forensic nurse isn't as easy as 1-2-3, unfortunately. There's a great deal of education and training required before you can join the ever-growing ranks.
At the very least, you will need to become a registered nurse to begin with and then you must earn a certificate in forensic nursing. This will get you in on the ground floor. But how do you go about getting this training?
You have many options. One of the easiest and most affordable is through Internet-based institutions.
Most online colleges and universities offer forensic nursing programs. By taking your classes over the web, you'll be able to save money, save time, and save your day job while you learn.
The bare minimum training requirement to become a forensic nurse (beyond working as a registered nurse) is to get your hands on a certificate.
You can get your certificate in a number of ways, but perhaps the best is by attending online classes.
A forensic nursing certificate can be earn in as little as six months.
And because the forensic nursing jobs market is growing, with new positions opening up all the time, you can gain experience until you decide whether or not you'd like to further your education with a college degree.
If you want to find yourself in the upper tier pay scale, you'll eventually need to equip yourself with more than just a certificate. But every successful journey begins with a single step, and this particular journey's beginning lies in your earning a forensic nursing certificate.
Because the forensic nurse has a hand in two different worlds--the medical and criminal justice systems--he or she needs to be specially trained and educated. This means that you'll have to go back to school.
While attending classes online or on campus, you will learn the basics of various sub-fields, and perhaps even focus in on one specialty for your future career.
Some specialties of Forensic Nursing jobs include:
In the beginning you'll need only a certificate to become a forensic nurse, but if you want to earn a higher salary, you may want to think about expanding your education and training.
There are degree programs for forensic nursing that can earn you a bachelor's, master's, or doctorate in the field. With these higher education credentials, you'll be able to edge out the competition for the higher paying and higher responsibility jobs.
Like most other positions in the criminal justice system--and the health care world--the forensic nursing salary covers a vast range of pay grades.
As of right now, you can earn anywhere from $25 to over $100 an hour as a forensic nurse. This translates to roughly $50,000 to $200,000 per year or more.
Although these facts and figures are provided by various sources, including the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, it's almost impossible to say what your average salary will be if you choose this profession.
This is because of a number of factors that can affect the numbers, including:
Other factors that affect the pay check of the forensic nurse are: the region in which you are hired, the organization that employs you, and the specialty field in which you work.
This is certainly a valid question. After all, forensic nursing is a fairly new profession and not too many people know all that it entails.
There are many times that the boundaries between the criminal justice departments and the health care systems fade and the two need to work hand in hand. For this reason, there must be people who are qualified to work in both areas simultaneously.
Enter the forensic nurse.
As someone who is trained to deal with both medical and legal issues, the forensic nurse is called upon to locate, collect, and analyze evidence involving a criminal case.
He or she will examine both victims of crime and apprehended perpetrators to this end and will work together with hospitals, mental health facilities, homes for the elderly, and correctional institutions to examine the physical evidence of a crime.
Types of crime that fall under the watch of the forensic nursing jobs include:
Obviously, this isn't a job for just anyone. The forensic nurse has to be someone who is dedicated to the job, has a great eye for detail, can deal well with many personality types, and has a devotion to law and order.
It certainly helps if you already have a background in health care--most forensic nursing programs only train those who are registered nurses--but that doesn't mean you can't start from scratch.
If you think this job will be a good fit for you, your personality, and your work ethic, then there's no reason you can't make the effort, put in the time, and get one of the many forensic nursing jobs available today.
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