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Associate of Science (AS): Nursing Degree Overview

Learn about the prerequisites, courses and clinical experience for an Associate of Science (AS) degree program in nursing. Find out about employment outlook, salaries, licensing requirements and continuing education for nurses.

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Associate of Science in Nursing

Earning an AS in Nursing degree can lead to becoming a registered nurse (RN) or taking a related position within the nursing field. Programs typically last two years, including both classroom and clinical experiences. Students learn human anatomy and physiology, as well as how to perform patient assessments and basic healthcare duties. They also learn about providing emergency care and gain an understanding of the legal requirements for medical personnel. Graduates must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed as an RN.

Education Prerequisites

To enter a nursing program, students may need to have completed high school coursework in math, English, biology, chemistry and math. The school may set a minimum high school grade point average for students to meet. Applicants also undergo a background check, and some programs require them to submit proof of immunizations.

Course Topics

Courses in a nursing program can give students a basic understanding of patients' health needs and requirements. Classroom work is typically combined with clinical practice, which provides students with hands-on experience in using medical equipment and performing patient-care tasks. The main topics touched upon in a program include:

  • Microbiology
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Psychology introduction
  • Nursing pharmacology
  • Nursing fundamentals

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

After graduating from an associate's degree program in nursing, students can sit for the NCLEX-RN to become a registered nurse. All states require RNs to pass this exam, but some may have additional requirements. Through their work settings and experience, RNs can specialize in a number of areas, such as surgery, pediatrics and mental health. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that job opportunities for RNs were expected to increase by 26% between 2010 and 2020, and they earned an average salary of $67,930 in May 2012 (www.bls.gov).

Continuing Education

No matter what area of health care a graduate works in, a registered nurse must typically complete continuing education to maintain licensure and stay current in advancements within the field. Associate degree holders may transfer their credits into bachelor's degree programs in nursing to gain a wider knowledge of the field. Master's degree programs are also available and could help nurses advance into positions of administration or gain specialties in areas like family or adult practice.

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Top School in San Diego for Nursing & Nursing Administration

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    • Associate
        • AS in Medical Assisting

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Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Louisiana (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Louisiana Tech University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Clinical Laboratory Science Professions
      • Communication Disorders Sciences
      • Health and Fitness
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Nursing Professions
        • Registered Nurse
      • Nutrition Services
  • School locations:
    • Kentucky (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Northern Kentucky University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Health and Fitness
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Mental Health Services
      • Nursing Professions
        • Mental Health Nursing
        • Nurse Practitioner or Family Nurse Practitioner
        • Nursing for Adults and Seniors
        • Pediatric Nursing
        • Registered Nurse
  • School locations:
    • Kentucky (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Eastern Kentucky University include:
      • Graduate: Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Clinical Laboratory Science Professions
      • Communication Disorders Sciences
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Assisting
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Mental Health Services
      • Nursing Professions
        • Registered Nurse
      • Nutrition Services
      • Public Health and Safety
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
  • School locations:
    • Alabama (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Troy University include:
      • Graduate: Master
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Health and Fitness
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Nursing Professions
        • Registered Nurse
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
  • School locations:
    • Montana (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at The University of Montana include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Clinical Laboratory Science Professions
      • Health and Fitness
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Assisting
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Nursing Professions
        • Licensed Vocational Nurse Training
        • Registered Nurse
      • Pharmaceutical Sciences and Administration
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
  • School locations:
    • Indiana (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Indianapolis include:
      • Graduate: Master
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Clinical Laboratory Science Professions
      • Medical Assisting
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Nursing Professions
        • Nurse Practitioner or Family Nurse Practitioner
        • Nursing Administration
        • Registered Nurse
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
  • School locations:
    • Michigan (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Ferris State University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Clinical Laboratory Science Professions
      • Dental
      • Health and Fitness
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical and Health Preparatory Sciences
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Nursing Professions
        • Nursing Administration
        • Registered Nurse
      • Optometric and Ophthalmic Services
      • Pharmaceutical Sciences and Administration
  • School locations:
    • Indiana (5 campuses)
    Areas of study you may find at Indiana University include:
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Clinical Laboratory Science Professions
      • Dental
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Nursing Professions
        • Registered Nurse
      • Public Health and Safety
  • School locations:
    • Mississippi (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Pearl River Community College include:
      • Non-Degree: Coursework, Diploma
      • Undergraduate: Associate
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Dental
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Assisting
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Nursing Professions
        • Licensed Vocational Nurse Training
        • Registered Nurse

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics