Choosing a career path can be daunting when faced with an 8.9 percent unemployment rate in Illinois and ongoing layoffs. But there are options that not only lead to gainful employment but self-fulfillment. One profession that hasn't slowed in the recession, however, is nursing. If you've ever considered a career in nursing, now is a perfect time to pursue this occupation. In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor has identified registered nursing as one of the top professions in terms of job growth through the year 2018. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nurses are needed now more than ever as the country addresses an estimated shortage of more than 1 million nurses by 2020. With the aging Baby Boomer population the need for well-trained nurses will continue to grow, assuring employability and career success.

Most people picture a hospital emergency room when they think of nurses. While working in a hospital can be exciting and rewarding, there are a number of other options available to nurses based on one's interests and aptitudes beyond typical health care environments. For example, insurance agencies utilize nursing professionals to assess potential clients. As an employee of the government, a nurse might help develop and implement guidelines for nursing standards of practice, while a forensic nurse often assists in criminal prosecution cases. Nurses have a choice of environments, locales and work situations.

With a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, more career doors may open. By earning a BSN, you may be considered for higher paying jobs with more responsibility.

For students who want to launch a nursing career, Chamberlain College of Nursing's Addison and Chicago campuses offer a BSN degree program, which includes a broad educational foundation and extensive, diverse clinical practice that can be completed in as few as three years. This degree program allows students to begin putting their skills to use in the nursing specialty or career path that's right for them sooner than their peers in traditional four-year degree programs.

In today's tough job market, finding a career with so much opportunity for success is rare. With the ability to complete a bachelor's degree in nursing in as few as three years and the strong growth projected for the industry during the next decade, the time to consider a career in nursing is now. In addition to a great career, the nursing profession also delivers job satisfaction as a true career that makes a difference in people's lives.

Building on more than 120 years of excellence in nursing education, Chamberlain College of Nursing offers progressive academic nursing programs with a student-focused learning environment online and on-site with three enrollment periods per year -- fall, spring and summer. Campuses are currently located in Phoenix, Jacksonville and Miramar, Fla.; Addison and Chicago; St. Louis; Columbus, Ohio; Houston; and Arlington, Va.

For aspiring nurses with a bachelor's degree in fields outside of nursing, Chamberlain offers the Second Degree BSN option. Students may apply credits from an existing bachelor's degree and earn a BSN degree in as few as 13 months.

For registered nurses looking to advance their education, Chamberlain College of Nursing conveniently offers the following online programs: RN to BSN degree completion option, a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree program and a RN-BSN to MSN online option.

Program availability varies by location. For comprehensive student consumer information, visit www.chamberlain.edu/studentconsumerinfo.

For more information and to view all of the Chamberlain College of Nursing degree programs and course offerings, visit www.chamberlain.edu or call 888-556-8CCN (8226).