Associates Degree in Nursing

What’s an Associate’s Degree in Nursing?

An Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is a two-year program for individuals who wish to enter the healthcare field. It is typically the first degree received by nurses, if they do not go directly for a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.

What are the steps to get an associate degree in nursing?

If you are aiming to get an associate degree in nursing, you can take the following steps to make your ADN education more rewarding.

  1. Start Early

Your preparation for a nursing school begins in high school. ADN applicants need to have a high school diploma or GED to get admission to the program. To begin a nursing degree, you will need to prepare beforehand and study subjects like chemistry, computer science, and biology. It is also a good idea to intern at your nearby hospital and get to know the duties performed by a nurse. A strong educational background and practical knowledge can give you a head start in your nursing degree.

  1. Know the Prerequisites

A number of ADN programs ask you to complete some prerequisites. In some cases, the high school courses like chemistry or physics may be sufficient, but other programs may require you to take the college level courses.

3.  Check Transferring Units

If you plan on getting an advanced degree later on, you would need to make sure that your associate degree courses can be transferred. Besides, if you took some courses for ADN but got late in your admission, you may have to check whether your courses are still acceptable.

4. Testing and Financial Aid

Other than completing the coursework, you will need to pass the college placement or entry test before your admission. Academic institutions may differ in their requirements of tests. However, the tests generally include SAT, ACT, or COMPASS. If you require financial aid, you would need to discuss this possibility well before you start your education in a nursing school. It is good to send applications to more than one nursing schools, as they have limited number of positions.

What will I learn in an Associate Degree in Nursing?

An ADN program at any accredited institution will be a mix of hands-on training and class work. You will typically be expected to complete the following courses.

  • Biology
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Nutrition

You will spend sufficient time in labs and have clinical practices. All these practice sessions will give you hands-on training, which will be extremely helpful in your job.

What kind of skills do I need to be a nurse?

Nurses need some extraordinary skills and willpower to excel in their field.  Following are some of the major skills that can help nurses achieve a rewarding career.

People centered 

A nurse needs to make people feel at ease. You will come across people who are distressed, anxious, or afraid about their own health or the health of a loved one. So, you will need to show respect, sensitivity, and empathy in such situations.


It is essential for a nurse to be a good communicator. You will need to listen attentively; answer questions adequately, discuss options, and give appropriate advice to patients for a healthier living. Clear communication would also be helpful in interacting with people in your team and working efficiently.

Problem solver

As a problem solver, you will have to collect a lot of information from patients and make sense of it. Small signs can tell you a lot about patient’s health and these early warnings can make a lot of difference. So, you will need to identify and solve problems before they get too difficult to handle.


As a nurse, you will need to work in a very organized manner. You will have to set your priorities and work on important tasks first. Nurses cannot have the luxury to work in a haphazard way and must follow a neatly planned schedule.

How can I benefit from online associate nursing programs?

An online degree will provide you with a number of benefits that cannot be normally availed in campus- based nursing education. However, you will need to complete the clinical portion of your degree at an arranged medical facility near your home. Some major attractions of an online degree are as follows.

  • Convenience and flexibility
  • Time and cost efficiency
  • Suitable for working professionals
  • 24/7 availability of lectures

What will be my career outlook with an ADN degree?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of registered nurses is likely to grow at 19 percent from 2012 to 2022, which is faster than the average of all occupations. Overall, there is a positive job outlook for nurses. Registered nurses having at least a bachelor’s degree will have better job prospects than those without one. BLS states that the median annual wage for nurses was $65,470 in May 2012. The top five industries where nurses worked in May 2012 were as follows:

  • Government
  • Hospitals; state, local, and private
  • Home healthcare services
  • Nursing and residential care facilities
  • Offices of physicians


A majority of nurses begin their nursing education with an associate degree in nursing. Although, ADN is a quick and affordable path to your nursing career, it is not always enough. So, you may have to go for advanced degrees in nursing, to utilize your potential and acquire the monetary benefits offered by this rapidly growing career. As a working professional, it may not be easy for you to get further education, without giving up your job. However, online degree programs from accredited institutions can help you work around your busy schedule and get education that you need to excel in your nursing career.

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