What Can I Do With an Associates Degree in Nursing?

rnIf you are interested in earning an Associate’s degree in nursing or ADN, you may be wondering what jobs you could obtain with this entry-level degree. Most associate degree nursing programs prepare you to take the NCLEX-RN examination. If you pass this test, you will be a certified Registered Nurse.

While some employers will require their RNs to have a bachelor’s degree, there are still many employers that will accept nurses who completed a two-year associate’s program. According to data collected by the Institute of Medicine in 2011, approximately 36 percent of RNs working in 2008 had an ADN.

How Do I Get an Associate’s Degree in Nursing?

An Associate’s degree in nursing is usually offered by community and junior colleges. Some universities may also offer an associate’s nursing program. These programs usually take two years to finish, although some programs may take three years. During the program, students will be required to take courses in anatomy, chemistry, nursing, behavioral science and several other subjects. A hands-on clinical internship is usually required at the end of the program. Once you have completed the associate’s nursing degree program, you can take the NCLEX-RN to become a registered nurse.

Jobs for ADN Nurses

Many hospitals hire nurses with an associate’s degree for the same bedside positions as nurses who have a bachelor’s degree. Some hospitals may require that ADN nurses work towards obtaining a bachelor’s degree as a condition of their employment. RNs with an associate’s degree can work in any unit of a hospital, including specialty areas such as the neonatal ward, emergency room, intensive care and more. However, virtually all nurse manager positions are held by RNs who have at least a bachelor’s degree.

You can also find positions outside of hospitals if you are an RN with an associate’s degree. Nursing homes, schools, rehabilitation centers, hospices and home health providers all hire ADN nurses on their staff. In some cases, RNs who hold associate’s degrees can be hired as nurse supervisors or managers, but most employers reserve these jobs for BSN nurses. If you are interested in becoming a nurse practitioner or midwife, you must have a master’s degree. ADNs and BSN nurses are not allowed to be employed in these positions in any state.

How Can I Expand My Nursing Opportunities?

While the jobs that are available to ADNs are relatively plentiful, BSNs who have a bachelor’s degree will stand a better chance of getting high paying supervisory and management positions. BSNs who choose to advance further can obtain a master’s degree. This will enable them to become advanced practice registered nurses. These nurses are allowed to prescribe medications and may even serve as primary healthcare providers in some areas.

Advanced nursing degrees will also enable you to work in high-level administration positions or other business-related medical careers. Nurses with a master’s degree or higher may also become professors at universities or nursing schools.

Getting an associate’s degree in nursing is a fast way to enter into the nursing field. These programs also cost less than bachelor’s degree programs, so they are a great choice for those who want to become certified as an RN and start their career as soon as possible.

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