An associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) is an entry-level degree designed to provide basic nurse training relatively quickly and affordably.
For those interested in becoming a Registered Nurse (RN), an ADN (sometimes called an associate of science in nursing, or ASN) is a faster, more affordable option than the standard BSN degree. ADN / ASN programs usually last around two years and are offered at junior colleges and career schools. However, an ADN degree is not right for everyone. It pays to do your research on ADN degree programs before enrolling.
ADN Degree Coursework
An associate’s degree in nursing involves a mix of lecture-based coursework and hands-on clinical training. Classes vary from one program to the next, however most programs include courses in areas like:
- Nursing Practices
- Pediatric Nursing
- Mental Health
- Reproductive Health
For example, the ASN program at the University of Arkansas consists of core classes in general health, nursing practices, mental health nursing and obstetrics. These core courses follow general education courses in English, math, anatomy and physiology, psychology, chemistry and biology.
Many ADN programs include courses designed to teach students basic patient care and medical office practices. For example, students may learn basic bedside manner, or learn the differences between hospitals and physician’s offices.
Some ADN or ASN programs may include an externship, where students work as nurses in clinical settings under the supervision of a physician or RN.
After Earning an ADN / ASN Degree
After graduating with an associate’s degree in nursing from an accredited nursing program, nurses have a few options:
Go for BSN. A very common option for nurses is to work in an entry-level nursing position while applying their ADN or ASN credit toward a BSN. This allows the ability to move further up in the nursing field, for nurses with plans for management.
Become an RN. Another option is to continue on the path toward becoming a registered nurse with an ADN degree. This is slightly less common, but is a great option for nurses who prefer to build a career in direct patient care.
In either scenario, additional steps include becoming licensed, and pursuing voluntary nursing certifications in order to improve your employability.
Nursing Associate’s Degree Programs Enrolling Now