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Associates in Nursing: Degree Program Overviews

Learn about the prerequisites and curriculum for an associate's degree program in nursing. Find out about employment statistics, salary info, licensing requirements and continuing nurse education at the bachelor's and graduate levels.

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Essential Information

Students who are interested in becoming a licensed registered nurse (RN) can begin their studies with an associate's degree program in nursing. These 2-year programs contain lecture courses, laboratory work and clinical experiences, and are readily available through community colleges, nursing schools and technical schools. Degree options include an Associate of Science in Nursing, Associate of Applied Science in Nursing or Associate Degree in Nursing. Graduates with any of these nursing degrees will be qualified to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for registered nurses (NCLEX-RN).

Educational Prerequisites

Admission to an associate's degree program in nursing might have numerous stipulations due to a limited number of openings. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED and commonly must meet a minimum grade point average. Some programs require students to be active Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) with several months of experience. Students also might be required to be certified in CPR, provide proof of specific immunizations, have a negative drug screen and pass a criminal background check.

Course Topics

Coursework in a nursing associate's degree program might contain general education requirements in addition to nursing courses. Students also might partake in nursing seminars and a practicum. Examples of courses include:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Nursing basics
  • Nutrition
  • Pharmacology
  • Pediatric nursing
  • Clinical nursing
  • Psychology
  • Patient management

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of RNs was expected to increase 22% from 2008-2018 (www.bls.gov). This anticipated increase was due to technological improvements in patient care, which could allow for more treatment options, as well as a rise in the number of elderly people in need of nursing care. As of May 2010, the annual median salary for RNs was $64,690.

Licensure and Continuing Education Information

According to the BLS, those who wish to work as registered nurses in doctor's offices, hospitals or healthcare clinics must graduate from an accredited nursing program and pass the NCLEX-RN to obtain a license. Each state determines continuing education requirements for license maintenance.

Bachelor of Science programs in nursing can prepare students for supervisory roles in healthcare facilities. Master of Science programs typically offer areas of concentration, including nurse practitioner, certified registered nurse anesthetist, clinical nurse specialist or certified nurse midwife. Those who want to specialize in research and clinical functions may opt for a Doctor of Nursing Science program. Doctor of Nursing Practice programs can prepare nurses for leadership roles in clinical care and patient outcomes, research and system management.

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  • 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?

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
  • School locations:
    • California (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Southwestern College include:
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Dental
      • Health and Fitness
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical and Health Preparatory Sciences
      • Medical Assisting
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Nursing Professions
        • Licensed Vocational Nurse Training
        • Nurse Assistant or Patient Care Assistant
        • Registered Nurse
  • School locations:
    • Montana (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at The University of Montana include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Clinical Laboratory Science Professions
      • Health and Fitness
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Assisting
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Nursing Professions
        • Licensed Vocational Nurse Training
        • Registered Nurse
      • Pharmaceutical Sciences and Administration
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
  • School locations:
    • Indiana (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Indianapolis include:
      • Graduate: Master
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Clinical Laboratory Science Professions
      • Medical Assisting
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Nursing Professions
        • Nurse Practitioner or Family Nurse Practitioner
        • Nursing Administration
        • Registered Nurse
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions

Popular Schools

Avg. Wages For Related Jobs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics