What can I do with an Associate degree if my career goal is to become a Registered Nurse (RN)?

It appears most nursing students have an ultimate goal of becoming a Registered Nurse (RN), but perhaps you have wondered if you can become a RN with an associate degree. The answer is yes, however, depending on what sort of role you would like to be in as a Registered Nurse, it may dictate what sort of degree you need.

A Registered Nurse can work in any number of settings, such as, hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes or home healthcare agencies. They work with all ages of patients ranging from neonatal to geriatric, in addition to, all conditions, from preventative care to the critically ill. Registered Nurses monitor the patient’s vital signs, administers medications and sees to their patient’s recovery and prognosis.

Although you may be allowed to take and pass the NCLEX-RN with a Nursing Diploma or Certificate, if you think you will want to advance in your career, then, an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is probably the best option for you. You may also want to research the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Nursing degree and the Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) degree, as well, to see which suits your needs the best. An associate degree nursing program focuses primarily on the technical skill development of nursing. If you need to enter the workforce quickly, the ADN degree is sufficient, however, it does take approximately two years to complete.

Before entering a nursing program, please verify that your school or program of choice is an accredited school. Please be aware that you may not be allowed to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam if you have not obtained your degree from an accredited nursing program. Most programs require that you have a high school diploma or GED with coursework in math, English, chemistry and biology. Applicants may also be asked to pass a background check, take an aptitude test and submit proof of immunization before entrance into a nursing program.

Classes within an ADN program include microbiology, anatomy, pediatrics, gerontology nursing, as well as, psychiatric and community health nursing, pharmacology, physiology and nursing fundamentals. This coursework is intended to provide students the technical skills to understand the patient’s needs and healthcare requirements, therefore, qualifying you for entry-level nursing positions.

Clinical practice, in addition to your classroom work, is required. Your hands-on experience will help you to learn about patient care and how to use medical equipment. You will gain invaluable experience while you enjoy your on-the-job training. The more clinical work your ADN program requires, the better off you will be. Your experience will be impressive on your resume.

Upon completion of an associate degree, you may then sit for the NCLEX-RN exam and apply for licensure as a Registered Nurse.

So, where do you go from here? Nursing students who have already earned an associate degree may choose to pursue their online Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN). This degree will afford you better future employment possibilities and the chance to progress to earning an online master’s or doctorate degree in nursing, if desired.

To conclude, whichever program that you decide is best for you, it will get you to your main goal of a Registered Nurse. Of course, the more advanced degree you choose, the more opportunities for advancement you will have. To learn more, check out our Top Online Nursing Degree Programs to help you in your endeavors.