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Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)


What is an Associate Degree in Nursing?

Associate programs are a step between a high school diploma and bachelor’s degree. An associate degree in nursing refers to a number of different two year degrees:

  • Associate of Nursing (AN)
  • Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)
  • Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN)
  • Associate of Applied Science in Nursing (AASN)

The differences between these degrees is relatively minor and pertains to additional coursework you will take outside of core nursing courses. What’s most important is that all of these degrees provide a quick, inexpensive path to qualifying for the NCLEX-RN exam and entering the nursing workforce.

What Can I Do With an Associate Degree in Nursing?

Career Available with an ADN Career

  • Registered Nurse
  • Travel Nurse
  • School Nurse
  • Psychiatric Nurse
  • Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse

Unavailable with an ADN

  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse Anesthetist
  • Nurse Educator
  • Flight Nurse
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist

Should I Get an Associate Degree in Nursing?

Whether or not you should get an Associate Degree in Nursing depends entirely on your personal situation and preferences. There is no one size fits all degree! You need to take a look at your schedule, financial situation and educational background. However there are some overarching pros and cons to an associates degree in nursing, which we have laid out below.

Advantages to an Associates Degree in Nursing

  • Provides entry level requirement to become an RN
  • Allows you to try the field without committing to a 4 year program
  • Credits can transfer to another 4 year degree if you want to change paths

Disadvantages to an Associates Degree in Nursing

  • There are better options if you are sure you want to be a nurse
  • Less competitive compared to more educated candidates
  • Does not provide the necessary training to pursue a speciality

Need to Know: ADN vs BSN

When looking to start a nursing career, the first question most people grapple with concerns whether to get an ADN or a BSN. While the choice may seem confusing, it doesn’t have to be, the answer often comes down to a matter of personal preference.

Both degrees will prepare you to take the NCLEX-RN, allowing you to enter the workforce as soon as you pass the test. The decision usually hinges on how much time and money you are willing to invest in school. We have outlined some of the primary differences below:

Associate Degree in Nursing

  • Short length to completion
  • Enter workforce quickly
  • Start working while pursuing degree completion
  • More affordable

Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing

  • BSN educated nurses in higher demand
  • Lower initial pay
  • Less flexibility in working environment

If you do decide to pursue an ADN as your entry level degree, remember there are a number of RN to BSN bridge programs available that allow you to earn your BSN at a later date.

How Much Will I Make With an ADN?

Hourly: $33.77

Monthly: $5,403

Annually: $64,839

How Do I Get an ADN?

  1. Decide Type of ADN Program
  2. Find ADN Programs
  3. Apply to ADN Programs
  4. Secure Funding for ADN Programs
  5. Attend ADN Classes
  6. Graduate with an ADN

What Kind of Classes Will I Take?

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Nursing Leadership and Management
  • Expository Writing
  • Nursing Practice
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