What Are the Core Courses of Registered Nurse Programs?

Registered nurses (RNs) treat patients in a variety of medical settings. Typically, students must take courses covering the theoretical concepts of nursing, in addition t specific courses that deal with the applied aspects of nursing practice. Find out about the core courses of registered nurse programs. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Registered Nurse Program Core Courses

An Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is the minimum education needed for employment, but many students obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree to qualify for advanced positions. In addition to basic math and science classes, registered nurse programs include courses covering nursing principles and healthcare techniques. Some core courses of registered nurse programs include the following:

  • Microbiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Family nursing

Important Facts About This Occupation

Median Salary (2104) $66,640
Entry-Level Education Associate's degree
On-the-job Training None
Job Outlook (2012-22) 19% (Much faster than average)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


Microbiology is a core course in most registered nurse programs. Most microbiology classes included in RN programs focus on the medical aspects of the field, such as viruses and other disease-causing organisms. Microbiology courses often include a laboratory component that allows students to apply what they learn in real-world situations.


Since RNs must have a firm grasp on medication administration, most registered nurse programs require students to study pharmacology. These courses often cover the different classifications of drugs, and students learn how drugs are distributed through the body and metabolized. Pharmacology courses also show students how to administer medications and how to make sure proper dosages are given. Most programs allow students to take pharmacology classes after they have completed their basic math and science courses.

Family Nursing

In this course, students learn about the theories and practices used in treating families. Family nursing classes teach students how to treat people of all ages and backgrounds and often emphasize general health and disease prevention. Since most RNs deal with a wide variety of patients, degree programs generally consider family nursing a core course.

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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