Starting Your Career With An Associate's In Nursing
An associates in nursing or "ADN" degree can be earned in two years at most schools. It's the leading option for students who want become full fledged RN’s as quickly as possible. Although it doesn't provide the broad humanities background that a bachelor’s degree will, it offers a solid foundation in nursing and health care management – the kind of skills needed for employment in larger, high quality hospitals and other medical facilities. It also provides the foundation you need to have in pace if you want to move on later to a BSN degree.
Nursing is one of the top growth careers in the U.S. today. And the job pays well -- RNs have a median salary of about $64,000 per year in the U.S. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) Also, particularly in large hospitals, nursing jobs often provide excellent health insurance benefits as well. Salaries, however, run in a wide range depending on the medical facility and the RN's particular job title.
Considering it's benefits, the cost of an associates in nursing degree can be seen fairly reasonable. State schools and community colleges across the country offer nursing programs that can cost only a few thousand dollars in total. Because the American health care system keeps getting bigger and more complex, nursing graduates are in demand. And because of growing restrictions on how many foreign RNs can come into the U.S., nurses with American citizenship and a degree from a U.S. nursing school are now particularly employable.
The Exam To Become An RN
Graduates of associates in nursing programs need to pass a NCLEX exam (given by state nursing boards) to get the registered nurse (RN) license. This credential is an important factor for those who want to get an an entry level position and start earning a good living. Be aware, however, that in order to qualify for the NCLEX the the RN license, you must attend an accredited nursing school. School accreditation can be checked with your state nursing board. Generally speaking, associates degrees in nursing are taught in a classroom and not an online learning setting.
There are basic prerequisite courses in almost all two year nursing programs, including math, writing, social studies or other humanities subjects. But the bulk of the study will be in more "technical" nursing topics like anatomy, obstetrical nursing, family health, community health, geriatrics, pharmacology, psychology and the like. More here in the courses you'll take for an associate's in nursing.
Jobs For Associates In Nursing Graduates
The graduate of an associates in nursing program is generally qualified to be licensed either as an RN or LPN (licensed practical nurse). A few things make the RN license more attractive. First, hospitals are generally cutting down on the number of LPNs (sometimes called "vocational nurses") they employ, and hiring more RNs wherever possible. Most new LPN jobs are being created in nursing homes, which tend to pay less than hospitals. Second, and RN with an associates in nursing degree has more options to go into travel nursing, which can be a great way to see the world, or into specialized nursing areas that are more interesting and involve higher salaries. And finally, having an RN and ADN nursing degree puts the student in a better position to go back to school and pursue a bachelors nursing degree (sometimes called an rn to bsn "completion" degree) that can lead to management positions in nursing.
Top Online Programs In Nursing:
Indiana State University
ISU is the state university of Indiana, located in Terre Haute. It has received high ratings for many years from Princeton Review and other publications. Right now it's one of the most progressive state schools in terms of online learning, with a variety of degree progams. It's nursing program offers up to 10 hours of credit via a "professional portfolio evaluation," a mechanism through which experienced nurses can demonstrate their knowledge to receive credit in certain areas. Indiana State offers LPN to BSN and RN to BSN programs online.
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Kaplan is a large school specializing in online career training, owned by the Washington Post Company. It offers degrees in many different areas. For licensed nurses, if offers an RN to BS program, or an RN to MS "bridge" degree. Nursing master's degrees are also offered in:
- Family Nurse Practitioner
- MS Nurse Educator
- Nursing Administration
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Georgetown, located in Washington D.C., is one of the oldest and most famous private universities in the country. In the online world, it specializes in masters of science programs for nurses:
- MS Adult Gerontology
- MS Family Nurse Practitioner
- MS Nurse Educator
- MS Nurse Midwifery
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American Sentinel University
ASU is a popular choice among our readers, partly due to the great affordability of it's online RN to BSN program. RNs can enroll with no work experience, and may get credit transfer for any previous courses they have taken. American Sentinal's nursing programs have accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
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