Portland nursing jobs (Click here) are among the fastest-growing occupations throughout Oregon.
Healthcare, which is the fastest-growing occupational group in Oregon, is expected to grow by 28 percent between 2006 and 206, accounting for 31,340 new jobs. Many of the additional jobs created will be for nursing occupations.
The majority of jobs will go to registered nurses; licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses; and nursing aides, orderlies and attendants. These occupations together are expected to add 10,670 new employees by 2016, according to the Oregon Employment Department.
Many people choose to begin their nursing careers as CNAs, although this is not required, and then move on to become LPNs and then RNs. RNs are often responsible for supervising LPNs and CNAs, while LPNs may supervise nursing aides.
Although RNs, LPNs and CNAs work in a variety of industries, the health services industry is the primary employer for these employees. As of 2006, about four out of five RNs, LPNs and CNAs were employed in health services, followed by city and county government.
Aside from the duties you'll be expected to perform, the difference between these occupations is the level of education and training necessary. Entry-level nursing positions require completion of a formal program, demonstration of English competency and passage of appropriate licensing exams.
RNs, on the other hand, must have at least an associate degree, while many choose to obtain a bachelor of science in nursing degree. Some employers prefer applicants who have obtained a CNA license before applying.
Associate degree programs are typically administered through community colleges and can be completed in two years, but applicants must first complete about one year of prerequisite courses in such fields as natural sciences, social sciences and humanities.
Bachelor programs usually require about two years of similar prerequisite courses and can be completed in four years. LPN training programs are usually included in associate courses in nursing, and after one year of course work, students are eligible to take the LPN licensing exam.
CNAs must complete a nursing assistant program and obtain short-term, on-the-job training in order to gain the necessary skills for the occupation. Programs take anywhere from five weeks to six months to complete and are available at technical schools, community colleges and nursing care facilities.
Aside from LPNs and RNs, CNAs also can go on to become CMAs, which have had additional training and can administer non-injectable medication. CMA applicants must have a current CNA certificate in Oregon, complete a CMA training program, pass a CMA exam and meet practice requirements for renewal.
If you choose to undertake one of these career options, you will encounter plenty of employment opportunities. Between 2008 and 2018, RNs will grow by 25 percent, LPNs by 23 percent and CNAs by 24 percent.
As of 2007, RNs earned an average of $32 per hour or $54,682; LPNs earned an average of $20 per hour or $42,598 per year; and CNAs earned an average of $12 per hour or $24,798 per hour. Those wages don't include overtime or shift differentials, which could result in higher salaries.