What Can I Do with an Online Associate Degree in Nursing?

With an associate's degree in nursing from an approved online program, you can sit for the NCLEX-RN exam and become a registered nurse (RN) or work toward earning a bachelor's degree. Read on to learn more about your options with this degree. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of Online Associate's Degrees in Nursing

An associate's degree in nursing can qualify you to become a registered nurse (RN). An associate's degree also allows you to continue your education in a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program. Online degree programs are a flexible option that let you take your classes from home. Most online programs will offer the option of completing clinical work in a hospital, clinic or other medical facility instead of having to travel to the college, so be sure to check out the clinical requirements to ensure there is a participating facility close to you. In addition, you need to look at the program format. Some colleges offer only a few courses online with the remainder to be completed on campus.

Important Facts About Registered Nurses

On-the-Job Training Not formally provided, but proficiency is acquired through classroom and work experience
Key Skills Critical thinking, organization, physical stamina, clear communication, empathy, attention to detail
Work Environment Predominately full-time with shifts covering all 24 hours, including nights, weekends, and holidays
Similar Occupations Nurse midwives, nurse practitioners, physicians assistants, social workers, EMTs and paramedics, licensed practical nurses, licensed vocational nurses

Earn Licensure To Become a Registered Nurse

You are qualified to become an RN with an associate's degree in the field, though you must also earn a nursing license before beginning work. Typically, students take the licensing exam shortly after finishing educational requirements. To earn your nursing license, you'll take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). The test is administered in a computer lab on a year-round basis. You answer up to 265 questions over a maximum of five hours. Written by nursing faculty and specialists, the questions cover:

  • Human growth and development
  • Basic nursing principles
  • Safety, risk reduction
  • Preventing and detecting disease
  • Pharmacology
  • Injections and IV treatments
  • Physiological and psychosocial adaptations

Career Information for Registered Nurses

The U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected a 15% growth in employment for RNs from 2016-2026. In May 2019, RNs earned an average yearly salary of $71,730, though the highest paid RNs worked for pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing, earning an average of $95,400. Most RNs work in hospitals, physicians' offices and home health care services (www.bls.gov).

Continue Your Education Online

After earning your associate's degree in nursing, you have the option to pursue a bachelor's degree in nursing online. BSN degree programs improve your theoretical and clinical knowledge, as well as your opportunities for employment and advancement. They are usually designed for the working nurse and are offered on a full-time or part-time basis. Many schools offer online RN-to-BSN degree programs that allow all the coursework, except clinical work, to be done online. Some of the topics covered in a bachelor's degree program may include leadership and management principles in the health care industry, pathiophysiology, research methods in the health care industry and the current state of the nursing industry.

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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