job interview with resume

It seems that the GPA score is doomed to follow you wherever you go for the rest of your life!

O.K., it's not as bad as it sounds, but GPA scores are important, especially when applying for that first job after nursing school.

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Do Nursing Jobs Ask For Your GPA?

Many nursing jobs will ask for your GPA when you're a new nurse filling an entry-level position. Because you don't have much experience to list yet, the GPA score may be the only criterion differentiating candidates. Short answer, yes, GPA scores are a factor when applying for nursing jobs.

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Why Do Managers Look at the GPA?

When you're applying for your first job straight out of nursing school, you don't have much working experience.

By looking at working experience, managers can, to some degree, accurately predict what type of worker you will be, should they employ you.

If you don't have that yet (you're just starting your career), there is nothing to speak for you to convince the employer that they should give you a chance to prove your skills.

Since nursing requires a thorough knowledge of medical information, diligence, and good communication skills, looking at the GPA is the next best thing for employers to predict how good you will be in the workplace.

Your GPA score is assumed to represent your ability to understand, assimilate, and apply theoretical knowledge of the nursing courses you took. It is also difficult to get a high GPA score. Not everyone can do that.

You need to be a disciplined, hard-working student to obtain such a score. Therefore, the GPA score is extrapolated further, and it's assumed that since you were a good student, you would be a good worker.

What GPA is Considered Good?

balance scale 3.0 and 2.5 gpa

GPA score is not an accurate predictor of whether a candidate will be a good or average nurse. It only indicates the candidate's academic ability, yet there is so much more to nursing.

Looking only at the academic part can often result in students quitting or getting fired because they cannot cope with the practical and emotional part of the job. 

Also, the way GPA is measured leaves much to be desired. Answering only one test on a single day does not accurately picture how well or poorly you know your work.

There are millions of reasons why you do poorly on a test even though you know the material. Perhaps, you were ill on the day.

Or perhaps you got some upsetting news minutes before you were supposed to take the exam.

With that said, don't be discouraged if your GPA is less than stellar. You can still get your dream nursing job.

Your GPA score is considered good if you achieve a 3.0. But, anything from 2.5 is considered acceptable for getting hired as a registered nurse. 

What to Do When your GPA is Too Low?

Not everybody can get a 4.0 average on their GPA score, so how do you present your lackluster GPA score to the hiring nursing manager?

If you don't have a stellar GPA to report, you may omit it from putting it on your resume. Instead, focus on the other relevant achievements that can make the hiring manager notice you in the pile of resumes and offer you an interview.

Of course, if you're directly asked to provide your GPA score, you need to do it and be honest. These are easy to check, and getting caught in a lie is without a doubt a bad move for your young career.

When applying for nursing positions, one thing to remember is that nurses do not only work in hospitals.

Other nursing positions in the community are just as rewarding and perhaps easier to manage than working at the hospital.

Places like hospice or nursing homes often take nurses with lower GPA scores, so perhaps you could fit in there. 

If your dream job is in the hospital setting, but you find that your GPA is too low to be accepted outright, remember many paths are available to reach your goal. Perhaps work in a hospice or a clinic for a year or so to get experience and let other nurses know you.

Once you have a decent workplace reputation apply again for a hospital position, you will have a much better chance of being accepted.

Related: Tips For Getting Your First Nursing Job

Key Takeaways

At the end of the day, your GPA is important when applying for a job. Many employers use it as a criterion to distinguish between the candidates they want to hire.

However, most managers know that a high GPA score is not the only predictor of how well a nurse will fit into the unit and look at the candidate's other qualities like personality and work ethic.

Find Your Next Nursing Job

Use our nursing job board to start looking for and applying to great nursing jobs near you.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The minimum GPA usually required for new nurses when applying to nursing jobs is a 2.5 GPA or higher.

Yes, you can get a nursing job with a low GPA. For competitive positions, a higher GPA could make things easier.

Some hospitals do consider GPAs when they're hiring their nursing staff.