What Can You Do with an Associate’s Degree in Nursing?

Nursing is a popular option for students looking to begin new careers. The job opportunities for registered nurses are expanding at an increased rate as more and more people have access to health care and the baby boomers reach retirement age. When you’re looking into becoming a nurse, you can choose a career that will educate you on becoming a licensed practical nurse (LPN), a nurse practitioner, or a registered nurse (RN). In addition to nursing paths, you will have to decide what level of education you want to receive: Associate’s, Bachelor’s, or Master’s. If you know you want to become a registered nurse, not a LPN, then you should find a school that offers an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program. You will learn similar concepts to those in a Bachelor’s program, and you will be able to take the NCLEX-RN exam to become a registered nurse. In addition, the ADN only takes about 2 years to complete, instead of the BSN’s 4 year program.

Associate’s Degree in Nursing Requirements

Before deciding on a program or school, it’s important for students to understand that some medical facilities require job candidates to have at least a BSN degree. If you want to work in a hospital right after college, you may want to invest in pursuing a Bachelor’s. However, there are still many employment opportunity for registered nurses possessing an Associate’s Degree, and you will be able to join the workforce sooner. In some cases, the normally 2 year program can be completed in only 18 months.

When you begin to examine different nursing programs, you should examine the program’s curriculum. Typical ADN programs will focus courses on critical nursing skills like patient care, confidence, and clinical decision making. Students who earn a ADN will need to demonstrate mastery of knowledge and a well-rounded perspective on nursing faster than those in a Bachelor’s program; it is important to make sure the program you select is equipped with the tools you’ll need to succeed.

After you finish your ADN degree, you will be required to take the NCLEX-RN exam to become a registered nurse. The NCLEX-RN exam has anywhere from 75 to 265 questions, covering categories like Safe and Effective Care Environment, Health Promotion and Maintenance, Psychosocial Integrity, and Physiological Integrity. Once you have successfully passed this test, you will be a registered nurse with an Associate’s Degree in Nursing. However, some states have additional requirements before granting licensure.

ADN Work Opportunities

Once you are a graduated, licensed registered nurse, you can begin your career in the nursing field. An Associate’s Degree in Nursing is often enough certification to allow you to work in hospitals, home healthcare services, insurance carriers, nursing care facilities, doctors’ offices, outpatient care centers, professional schools, health care practitioner offices, retirement communities, assisted living facilities, and specialty hospitals. Recently, larger hospitals have been searching for candidates with Bachelor’s degrees, but ADN nurses may still be able to find work in rural hospitals.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for registered nurses will grow by 15% by 2026. The predicted growth statistics applies for all nursing positions, but over 68% of the predicted available positions will be open to those with an Associate’s Degree of Nursing. Management and executive positions are generally open to only Bachelor’s level nurses or above, but RNs with an ADN can always return to school to further their education. Some employers even offer funding or reimbursement for employees who return to school to continue their education.

ADN Nurses and BSN Nurses

After seeing the opportunities nurses with a BSN have, you may be wondering why bother with an ADN at all. If you know that you want to have a long career in nursing, then a BSN may be the logical degree for you. However, many students are not entirely sure if nursing is what they want, or they are not sure what type of nurse they want to be. In these cases, an Associate’s Degree is the best program, as it provide a quicker way for students to try out a nursing job. If a student enjoys nursing and wants to continue their education, then there are many Bachelor’s transfer programs that they can complete to gain all of the benefits of a BSN degree.

As you begin your journey through nursing school, it’s important to keep your goals in mind. If you’re new to the field, an Associate’s Degree in Nursing may be the best option to understand the nursing profession and create a career path for your future.

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