Nursing Associate's Degree

Nursing Associate’s Degree

An associate’s degree program in nursing can give you the skills necessary to become a registered nurse (RN). Learn more about nursing associate’s degree programs, RN job duties, degree program prerequisites and possible coursework.

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What Can I Expect from an Associate’s Degree in Nursing Program?

An associate’s degree program in nursing (ADN) can be completed online or on a university campus. It takes 1-2 years to finish and combines general education training with medical and administrative training. This program can prepare you to sit for the national nursing exam, which qualifies you to work as a registered nurse (RN). In order to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for registered nurses (NCLEX-RN), you must graduate from an accredited ADN program.

Online Availability Nearly all online programs require some hands-on clinical training or assessments
Nursing Responsibilities Design care programs, maintain patient records, perform blood transfusions, assist physicians, gathering specimens
Minimum Requirements High school diploma or equivalent, related coursework
Common Courses Pathophysiology, anatomy and physiology, nutrition, microbiology, nursing processes
Median Salary (2018) $71,730 (for all registered nurses)*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 15% growth (for all registered nurses)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Would My Job Duties Be?

As a nurse, you help treat patients, design nursing care programs and maintain patient records. You might also specialize in a particular area of medicine, such as gerontology, dermatology, ambulatory care, orthopedics or cardiac medicine. You could also specialize by population, treating newborns, children, adults or the elderly. Additionally, you could perform basic medical procedures, such as sutures, endoscopies, physical exams or eye flushing. Your daily job duties could include the following:

  • Performing blood transfusions
  • Operating medical equipment
  • Assisting physicians
  • Discussing medical diagnoses
  • Gathering specimens for testing
  • Analyzing diagnostic tests
  • Fielding administrative tasks
  • Recommending consultations with specialists

Are There Prerequisites for this Program?

Most programs require you to have at least a high school diploma or its equivalent to be considered for admission. You may also have to complete relevant classes before applying; for example, you may need to have studied chemistry and physiology. Likewise, you make be asked to submit standardized test scores and high school transcripts.

What Classes Might I Take?

Coursework in ADN programs trains you in basic medical theory, medical techniques and medical office operations. Although many of the classes are didactic in nature, you often spend time in a lab and complete hands-on clinical training. You might complete classes in:

  • Pathophysiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Nutrition
  • Pediatric nursing
  • Microbiology
  • Mental health nursing
  • Nursing processes


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