Nursing | How to get a Degree in Nursing

Are you looking for the fastest and easiest way to break into a lucrative medical career? Anyone, regardless of age, occupation or education level, can enter industry and become a licensed practical nurse. With enough time and dedication, this can evolve into a high-paying, emotionally rewarding career in the medical industry. There are endless paths your nursing career can take and a variety of specialties it can turn into if higher levels of education are pursued. Once the entry level certification of a licensed practical nurse has been completed and the exam passed, the most popular way to continue advancing a nursing career has proven to be acquiring an associates degree in nursing. This degree is the quickest and easiest way to subsequently increase your income in under two years.

An ADN does not make someone a registered nurse and it is not required to have an associates degree in nursing to take the examination, but over fifty percent of first time test takers have the degree under their belt. An ASN is the equivalent of an ADN and stands for associates degree of science in nursing.

The Benefits of an Associates Degree in Nursing

There are many benefits an associates degree in nursing.

  • On average, a nurse with a degree will make $15,000 more in a year than those without one. A starting ADN can earn up to $60,000 – $70,000 a year.
  • Having your ADN will also open up countless opportunities to expand, grow and specialize. You’ll now qualify for additional jobs in this medical field, which is expanding at an astonishing rate due to our aging population and increased rate of population growth.
  • With your new education, not only will the options of what you can do expand to encompass dozens of new employers, but also dozens of new states in which you will be able to find employment. A nurse’s Associates Degree is recognized in all fifty states and allows greater mobility.
  • Job stability is another major benefit of furthering your education in the nursing field. The field is already in high demand of more nurses and the education you have behind your experience will ensure that you work in your area of choice for as long as you wish to stay there.
  • You can get your degree paid off with federal financial aid, which is available at many of the schools that offer a ASN program. Use our quick School Finder on the right hand size to find schools that offer generous financial aid packages for aspiring ASN students.

Degree Requirements

The prerequisites to pursuing an associates degree in nursing are specific to each individual course. Some of the potential requirements may be as follows:cna-certification

First, you must apply to the school of their choice and get accepted. This undoubtedly will require a high school diploma or a GED. To get selected, each applicant must pass an interview. The reviewing committee will look for an exam score of 24 or more on the SLE exam and a score of 85 percent on the Reach Admission Assessment Examination, as well as the price of each exam. CPR training is required, as well as proof of immunizations and health insurance. It is very important that prospective students be able to pass a drug test and a criminal background check. The drug tests may be administered at random by school officials or placement sites. Communication is a necessity on the job and accordingly, the requirements will include tests of your essay writing abilities. Getting selected for entry into an ADN program also hinges on 36 credits of general education and foundation courses. Requirements may also include personal reference letters and signed forms from your personal health care provider. The cost of tuition is inescapable, but there are many ways to get free financial aid for your schooling. Upon completion of the program, the aspiring nurse must also pass a test.

The Options Available

Once you have received your associate’s degree, you have the opportunity to branch out into one of several specializations. Preoperative nurses work exclusively in operating rooms assisting surgeons. A diabetes management nurse is an example of an RN specializing in a particular health issue and would teach people to manage their own. It is also possible to specialize in specific organs or body systems, like a dermatology nurse. One way to focus is to specialize based on an entire demographic, such as children, as a Pediatric Nurse would do. Often times, these can be combined as needed on the job. This often becomes decided on the site of the job depending on what they need. A few general duties will include coming up with or amending an already existing care plan. This will be followed by teaching the patients how to manage their ailments properly and how to execute their care plan. It is the RN’s job to take record of the medical history, perform tests and interpret the results.

Earn More

Considering that the average program costs a little over a few thousand dollars at any community college, the salary of a nursing job with an Associates Degree is significantly higher than those of an LPN. RNs have been known to earn starting salaries of about $65,000 a year, which amounts to approximately $32 an hour. This, though it is standard enough in many places, does not apply to everywhere in the country. Depending highly on where you are and what hospital you work for, your pay may be lower. The idea, however, is that the salary will increase with experience and time working in the field. The averages in the state of New York tend to be higher than those in any other state in the country. After five or more years of experience, it may even be possible to be earning beyond $70,000 a year after having moved up the ranks.


Programs for an associates degree in nursing are generally offered by hospitals, technical schools, vocational nursing schools, junior colleges, community colleges, regular colleges and many universities. A simple search of the colleges in your area is a good way to begin looking for a place to get your degree. Ask around in your area and see what people have to say about the programs they chose. See why they chose them and what the highlights and negative points were. It is wise to choose a school nearest to you, but price must also be considered. The cheapest way to go is to simply apply at the local community college. It is also a good idea to visit each location and get a good feel for the environment and energy of the different options available to you.

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