Best Online Nursing Associate Degree Programs 2021

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Online Nursing Associate Degree

Nursing degrees give learners the skills and experience they need for a career as a registered nurse (RN), licensed practical nurse (LPN), or licensed vocational nurse (LVN). Nursing programs confer associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. Most states require RNs to complete an accredited associate or bachelor’s degree to apply for a license.

Associate degree programs may require a current LPN license for admission. Applicants also take entrance exams and submit previous transcripts. Some programs expect students to possess work experience in nursing or a related healthcare occupation.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 7% growth rate in nursing jobs between 2019-2029. Registered nurses earn a median annual salary of around $73,000, depending on location and sector. For instance, nurses who work in hospitals generally earn more than school

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FAQ


  • How many years does it take to get a nursing degree?

    Nursing programs typically take 2-4 years to complete, depending on the degree level.


  • Can you be a RN with an associate's degree?

    An associate degree in nursing fulfills the educational requirement for licensure in many states.


  • Are nursing majors in demand?

    Jobs in nursing continue to grow faster than average according to the BLS.


  • What is the difference between RN and ADN?

    The RN diploma prepares students for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). An ADN program prepares enrollees for the exam and confers an associate degree in nursing.


What Are the Goals of a Nursing Degree?

Many schools offer online nursing degrees at the associate, bachelor’s, and master’s level. An associate degree in nursing prepares students to work as RNs. Bachelor’s and master’s degrees train learners to serve in more advanced roles. Nursing programs feature specializations, such as palliative care, gerontology, and pediatric care.

An associate degree in nursing covers topics including human anatomy and physiology, microbiology, and nutrition. Students administer care to patients in hospitals and clinics, conduct routine laboratory tasks, and monitor vitals. Most programs require a set number of clinical hours completed under licensed medical provider supervision.

Why Get a Nursing Degree?

Nurses provide essential services to people in a variety of circumstances. As a result, the field offers many professional and personal benefits.

Increased Earning Potential
Graduates with a degree in nursing typically earn more than those who work in the field without a degree.
Career Advancement
A nursing degree enables professionals to apply for more senior roles.
Advance Healthcare
Nurses participate directly in efforts to improve healthcare and advance the medical profession.
Community Support
RNs, LPNs, and other nursing professionals provide valuable services to their local and regional communities.
Personal Growth
A career in nursing offers many opportunities for personal growth through caring for others.

What Are the Requirements for a Nursing Degree?

Nursing program admission requirements vary by institution. Most associate degree programs request high school or college transcripts and relevant test scores. Nursing programs may ask applicants to take the Health Education Systems Inc. Admission Assessment exam. 

Some programs require a minimum GPA and previous work experience in a health-related field. Nursing degrees generally request that applicants undergo a background check and drug test. Additional admission requirements include recommendation letters, a personal statement, and a current resume. 

Once enrolled, online nursing degree students complete coursework in subjects such as biochemistry and nursing theory. Learners participate in hands-on clinical experiences. Courses combine theoretical study and laboratory work. Nursing programs prepare learners to take the NCLEX-RN, the exam that qualifies nurses for state licensure. The associate degree in nursing generally takes two years to compete.

What is Accreditation and Why Does it Matter?

Professional Organizations for Nursing Students

Professional organizations provide nurses and nursing students with opportunities to network, gain credentials, and stay current in the field. Membership in organizations like the ones below offer career mentoring and professional development opportunities, both of which help nursing students transition to full-time jobs as nurses.

National Student Nurses' Association


Open to nursing students from around the U.S., NSNA provides learners with career planning, scholarships, and leadership development opportunities. Members receive discounts on memberships to other major organizations and on preparation materials for the NCLEX-RN. The organization hosts an annual conference.

 

American Nurses Association


ANA serves as the premier professional organization for nurses in the U.S. Its four million RN members work in a variety of specialties. Membership includes professional development opportunities, discounts on continuing education, and networking support. Nursing students can join the organization as subscribers and transition to full members after receiving their licenses.

Scholarships for Nursing Students


Nursing students qualify for many scholarships. These opportunities offset nursing degree costs. For some scholarships, applicants must work in specializations like emergency services or pediatric care. The scholarships below represent a small sample of the opportunities available for nursing students.


  • The Foundation of the National Student Nurses' Association Undergraduate Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: The FNSNA sponsors two scholarship programs for students enrolled in an accredited nursing program at the associate, bachelor's, or master's level. The general scholarship supports students intending to pursue careers in specializations such as oncology. Only applicants in certain states qualify for The Promise of Nursing scholarship.

    Amount: Up to $7,500



  • Heart of Healthcare Nursing Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: Currently enrolled nursing students at accredited institutions may apply for the scholarship. Applicants must maintain a minimum 3.5 GPA. Additional requirements include an entry form with short answer questions.

    Amount: $1,000



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