MOBILE, Ala., Jun. 22, 2021 – As the first high school graduate in his household, LaDarrius Marshall didn’t know what to expect from college, but he was committed to one goal: Pursue a degree that could be utilized to start a career. After three years at a local university, he met with an on-campus advisor to discuss potential career options in his major and was displeased with the list of choices. He withdrew from the university, enrolled in Bishop State’s nursing program, and tripled his income during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a 2019 report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, men make up only 12 percent of Registered Nurses in America. In this regard, Bishop State Alum LaDarrius Marshall is proud to be a statistic. As the first high school and college graduate in his household, he’s accustomed to doing things that are different from the norm.

Marshall has always had an interest in helping people, so he majored in health science at a local four-year university with ambitions of attending pharmacy school. It wasn’t until a meeting with his on-campus advisor that he realized the career options for students in his major were not of interest to him. “They didn’t give me a good rundown of what I could do with that degree [at the university], so I looked at other options–as far as healthcare degrees–because I still wanted to work in healthcare, I still wanted to work with people,” he said.

He decided to become a nurse and was impressed with the stellar reputation and affordability of the nursing program at Bishop State.
Marshall's decision to transfer was met with a brief moment of self-doubt. “Initially I felt like I was downplaying myself because I was going from a university to an Associate’s degree,” Marshall said. “Everybody was asking ‘When are you going to be done with school?’” Nevertheless, he remained optimistic. “I knew it was going to ultimately pay off in the end because it was affordable,” he said.

It did pay off, and he was able to utilize his nursing degree from Bishop State to pursue a career path that tripled his income. “When I got my RN, things changed. I got a pay increase; I was able to move out [and] help out my family,” Marshall said. In 2020 when COVID-19 ravaged the U.S., he became a travel nurse and tripled his income within three months. “...That changed my life incredibly,” he said.

Marshall attributes Bishop State’s Nursing Program for providing the foundation he needed to successfully pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX)–a nationwide examination for the licensing of nurses in the United States, Canada, and Australia. “If you can get through nursing school, you can pass that exam because [Bishop State’s Nursing Program instructors] literally give you the foundation and the education you need to pass that exam and to be competent in your work to take care of people,” he said.

Although he’s able to bask in his success today, Marshall’s journey to this point in his life didn’t come without challenges. He failed during his second semester in the nursing program and had to start over. “It was hard. I had to study a lot. I made a lot of sacrifices,” he admitted. “If you don’t cry at least one time in Nursing School, you’re not doing it right.” His advice to anyone pursuing a nursing degree at Bishop State is to seek support. “A support system is the biggest key to getting through the program,” he said.

As a nursing student at Bishop State, Marshall was able to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and a Registered Nurse (RN). Upon graduating from Bishop State, he successfully completed his Bachelor's degree at a local university, and at the time of writing, he’s pursuing his Master’s degree. Despite his continued success, he has one regret: “I wish I would have started with an Associate’s Degree first and then [pursued] my Bachelor’s,” he said. “I was able to get financial aid with my Associate’s and pay for everything.”

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in healthcare, click here to explore the affordable and competitive programs of study at Bishop State.

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