Nursing school graduates are continuing to earn a higher average income than their peers across Canada, as the number of students enrolled in private or non-institutional schools has risen to record levels.
The average income of a student enrolled in a private nursing school was $73,600 last year, up 5 per cent from 2015, according to Statistics Canada data released Friday.
The average income for a student at non-private nursing schools was $75,000, a rise of 12 per cent.
The number of people graduating from the public school ranks in the top 20 provinces and territories, up 6 per cent to 13,700 last year.
The top 20 private nursing schools are also growing, but in a slower pace.
The Statistics Canada report showed the average income in the public and non-public nursing schools rose by 12.9 per cent and 7.9 percent respectively last year to $74,700 and $77,200.
The growth in public nursing schools has been driven by a shift away from the traditional model, where students learn from nursing professionals in traditional settings, such as nursing homes, to more flexible models, such like community and assisted living facilities, which are becoming increasingly popular.
Nursing is becoming increasingly attractive to graduates, as graduates are more likely to pursue a career in health care.
This means that students are entering nursing in higher numbers, but they are also leaving nursing in lower numbers, the report said.
“The rise in enrolment has been attributed to a higher number of graduates entering nursing compared to those leaving,” said Laura Haggerty, the executive director of the Ontario Nurses Association.
“It’s a sign that nursing graduates are going into this industry in higher proportions than their counterparts in other professions.”
The increase in graduates has also been fuelled by changes in the cost of attendance at private nursing programs, which have been rising steadily since 2010.
“In 2019, public programs spent more than double what private programs did, and in 2020, private programs spent three times more than public programs,” Haggerity said.
The increase also has a positive impact on students, who are now earning more money than their colleagues in other occupations.
“We are seeing more students graduate from public nursing programs and continue to earn higher incomes than their peer peers,” said the report’s executive director, Christine Bouchard.
“Students are entering the nursing industry in greater numbers and earning higher incomes, with the majority graduating with a bachelor’s degree or higher.”
The report also shows that the number and percentage of people completing their first year in a nursing program is rising.
In 2018, there were 3,400 students enrolled at a total of 8,200 nursing programs across Canada.
In 2019, that number had grown to 8,400, with a higher percentage of students completing their year at a nursing school.