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Associate of Science (AS): Nursing Degree Overview

Learn about the prerequisites, courses and clinical experience for an Associate of Science (AS) degree program in nursing. Find out about employment outlook, salaries, licensing requirements and continuing education for nurses.

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Associate of Science in Nursing

Earning an AS in Nursing degree can lead to becoming a registered nurse (RN) or taking a related position within the nursing field. Programs typically last two years, including both classroom and clinical experiences. Students learn human anatomy and physiology, as well as how to perform patient assessments and basic healthcare duties. They also learn about providing emergency care and gain an understanding of the legal requirements for medical personnel. Graduates must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed as an RN.

Education Prerequisites

To enter a nursing program, students may need to have completed high school coursework in math, English, biology, chemistry and math. The school may set a minimum high school grade point average for students to meet. Applicants also undergo a background check, and some programs require them to submit proof of immunizations.

Course Topics

Courses in a nursing program can give students a basic understanding of patients' health needs and requirements. Classroom work is typically combined with clinical practice, which provides students with hands-on experience in using medical equipment and performing patient-care tasks. The main topics touched upon in a program include:

  • Microbiology
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Psychology introduction
  • Nursing pharmacology
  • Nursing fundamentals

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

After graduating from an associate's degree program in nursing, students can sit for the NCLEX-RN to become a registered nurse. All states require RNs to pass this exam, but some may have additional requirements. Through their work settings and experience, RNs can specialize in a number of areas, such as surgery, pediatrics and mental health. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that job opportunities for RNs were expected to increase by 26% between 2010 and 2020, and they earned an average salary of $67,930 in May 2012 (www.bls.gov).

Continuing Education

No matter what area of health care a graduate works in, a registered nurse must typically complete continuing education to maintain licensure and stay current in advancements within the field. Associate degree holders may transfer their credits into bachelor's degree programs in nursing to gain a wider knowledge of the field. Master's degree programs are also available and could help nurses advance into positions of administration or gain specialties in areas like family or adult practice.

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Popular Schools

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    • Eligibility and relevancy of sample programs below will vary by article and program
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Arizona (3 campuses)
    • California (16)
    • Colorado (3)
    • Florida (6)
    • Georgia (5)
    • Illinois (7)
    • Indiana (2)
    • Maryland (1)
    • Michigan (1)
    • Minnesota (1)
    • Missouri (2)
    • North Carolina (2)
    • New Jersey (3)
    • Nevada (1)
    • New York (2)
    • Ohio (4)
    • Oklahoma (1)
    • Oregon (1)
    • Pennsylvania (4)
    • Tennessee (2)
    • Texas (7)
    • Utah (1)
    • Virginia (3)
    • Washington (3)
    • Wisconsin (1)

    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

    What is your classroom preference?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    • Currently not accepting applications from Texas residents
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    • Associate
        • AS in Medical Assisting

    Which subject are you interested in?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must live within close proximity to school locations
    • Must be graduated from high school by 2011
    School locations:
    • Florida (2 campuses)
    • Texas (3 campuses)

    Classroom-Based Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    • Associate
        • Associate of Arts - Health Administration
        • AA in Health Care Administration - Electronic Health Records
        • AA in Health Care Administration - Health & Wellness Administration

    Do you prefer online or campus based learning?

Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Louisiana (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Louisiana Tech University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Clinical Laboratory Science Professions
      • Communication Disorders Sciences
      • Health and Fitness
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Nursing Professions
        • Registered Nurse
      • Nutrition Services
  • School locations:
    • Idaho (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Boise State University include:
      • Graduate: Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework, Diploma
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Dental
      • Health and Fitness
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical and Health Preparatory Sciences
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Mental Health Services
      • Nursing Professions
        • Licensed Vocational Nurse Training
        • Registered Nurse
      • Public Health and Safety
  • School locations:
    • Kentucky (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Northern Kentucky University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Health and Fitness
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Mental Health Services
      • Nursing Professions
        • Mental Health Nursing
        • Nurse Practitioner or Family Nurse Practitioner
        • Nursing for Adults and Seniors
        • Pediatric Nursing
        • Registered Nurse
  • School locations:
    • Kentucky (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Eastern Kentucky University include:
      • Graduate: Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Clinical Laboratory Science Professions
      • Communication Disorders Sciences
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Assisting
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Mental Health Services
      • Nursing Professions
        • Registered Nurse
      • Nutrition Services
      • Public Health and Safety
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
  • School locations:
    • Alabama (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Troy University include:
      • Graduate: Master
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Health and Fitness
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Nursing Professions
        • Registered Nurse
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions

Popular Schools

  • What is your classroom preference?

    • AS in Medical Assisting

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Which subject are you interested in?

  • What is your highest level of education?

    • Associate of Arts - Health Administration
    • AA in Health Care Administration - Electronic Health Records
    • AA in Health Care Administration - Health & Wellness Administration
    • AA in Health Care Administration
    • AA in Foundations in Health Care Administration

    Do you prefer online or campus based learning?

Avg. Wages For Related Jobs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics