After a long process (in my head) I've decided to pursue nursing. I got accepted to nursing school twice, and had to turn it down twice because I couldn't afford to quit work. Now I can't afford NOT to do it.
As the population ages, nurses are going to be in bigger demand. In fact, I don't think the demand for nurses is ever going to go away.
I'm taking my RN/BSN academic pre-reqs online from the local community college and getting them out of the way so I can go straight into nursing classes and clinicals and not have those extra classes taking up my time.
I honestly believe ANY healthcare field is the best thing for any single mother to get into. For a relatively short training period, the pay is very rewarding.
For LPN programs you can generally go 1 year, and they aren't as demanding as RN programs right off the bat. I personally wouldn't be a CNA, because they get all the shit work (literally!). If you are an LPN, you can fast track to RN while working and getting some experience under your belt.
Everyone I know in healthcare recommends a private practice or a nursing home for jobs. The pay and hours seem to be better, and there isn't as much BS to put up with.
My plan is to do RN, work and get some experience, preferably in maternal/infant nursing and then get my BSN a little at a time. The ultimate goal is to become a CNM or FNP.
I'm too old and have too much on my plate to go to Medical School and this is something I can do a piece at a time and still serve the community as a health practitioner while I'm fulfilling my educational goals. I also have an HR background to build on, but I don't know if that will benefit me in the long run or not. For now it just pays the bills (barely).
Jobs that are always in demand in this area seem to be:
-Nurses, especially RN's