Associate of Registered Nurse: Degree Overview

Oct 08, 2019

Associate of registered nurse degree programs prepare students to learn more about basic nursing skills. Students will acquire knowledge of the nursing field to help them become certified by program completion.

Essential Information

A nursing degree at the associate's level may be titled Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), Associate of Arts in Nursing or Associate of Applied Science in Nursing. The program can be completed in two years and trains students in basic nursing skills while preparing them for the National Council Licensing Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).

A high school diploma or GED is required for entry in this program and in some cases coursework in mathematics, humanities, and anatomy and physiology. Aside from general prerequisites, students enter these programs without prior nursing education or skills; however, some programs may allow licensed practical nurses (LPNs) to have advanced standing.

Associate's-level nursing programs are available at technical schools and community colleges. Clinical practice is an important part of nurse training programs at this level.

Associate of Registered Nurse Degree

Registered nurse programs at the associate's level include clinical experiences for students, in addition to traditional classroom education. Some general education classes like English composition are required. Common courses include:

  • Health assessment and promotion
  • Clinical nursing
  • Pharmacology for nurses
  • Nursing fundamentals
  • Acute, chronic and end of life care
  • Trends and issues in the nursing field

Career Outlook and Salary Information

The employment outlook is excellent for students considering careers in registered nursing, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). With an aging population, which is expected to require healthcare in increasing numbers, the job opportunities for RNs are expected to grow much faster than average. The BLS projected a 12% growth rate for RN employment from 2018-2028 ( Technological advances and an increase in home healthcare services are also expected to have roles in this growth.

The BLS also noted that registered nurses earned a mean annual salary of $75,510 as of May 2018. California employed more registered nurses than anywhere else and paid them the most as well; in 2018, RNs working in California earned a mean annual salary of $106,950.

Licensing and Continuing Education Requirements

In addition to attaining an associate degree in nursing, to become fully licensed as RNs graduates must pass the NCLEX-RN offered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing ( There may be other state-specific requirements such completing a certain number of continuing education giyrs every few years to maintain licensure. For example, California requires that RNs complete at least 30 hours of continuing education every two years.

An associate of registered nurse degree is one that will teach students basic nursing skills through a combination of classroom instruction and clinical experience. Students must earn their license upon graduation.

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