Registered Nurse Associate Degree

Whether you're a licensed nurse or just starting your career, you can earn an associate's degree to become a registered nurse. Classes prepare you to care for patients and work with doctors and you can learn how to respond to emergencies. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Registered Nurse Associate's Degree Programs Are There?

You can find registered nurse associate's degree programs at community colleges around the U.S. Some programs are designed for students who've already begun their career as a licensed practical nurse, but there are programs for those who are new to the field. Also, if you're a licensed practical nurse, there are rare opportunities to earn the registered nurse associate's degree online. This allows you to continue working while studying, but you may need to participate in on-campus sessions. Associate's degree programs for registered nurses typically take 2-3 years to complete. In some cases, you can begin work as a nursing assistant once you've completed basic nursing courses.

Degree Overview Online degree options available, community colleges offer degree programs, 2-3 years completion time
Common Courses Microbiology, human anatomy, nutrition, pharmacology, psychology
Licensing Requirement National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN)
Career Options Hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, other healthcare facilities
Job Outlook 16% increase between 2014-2024 (for registered nurses)*

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Courses Like?

Courses in a registered nurse associate's degree program teach you how to assist, maintain and restore a patient's optimum state of health. You learn how to work in a medical environment and respond to emergencies. These programs often strive to train independent nurses who can provide meticulous, compassionate care and work with both patients and doctors.

Typical courses include microbiology, human anatomy, nutrition, pharmacology and psychology. You also spend a lot of time gaining clinical skills through practice and observation. Courses in communication and human development are also commonly offered.

How Do I Start My Career?

Once you've graduated from an approved registered nurse associate's degree program, you're eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Every state requires you to pass the NCLEX-RN in order to practice. Registered nurses work at hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities. Some also work in home health, public health and occupational health.

What is the Job Outlook?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of May 2014, registered nurses make a median wage of $66,640. The number of registered nurses is expected to rise 16% from 2014-2024. The BLS also says earning a bachelor's degree in nursing can help your advancement opportunities by opening up positions in research, administration, consulting or teaching. Typically, you start as a staff nurse and work your way up through experience and education, per the BLS.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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