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Pre-Nursing Degree Program Options

Pre-nursing degree programs do not prepare graduates to become nurses, but instead prepare them to transfer into nursing school. The Associate in Pre-Nursing (APN) degree is typically offered by community colleges.

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Essential Information

The two-year pre-nursing degree program provides students with the educational foundation to transfer into a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at the junior level. Coursework requirements for the first two years at nursing schools may vary, so pre-nursing degree programs are typically designed to meet the requirements for targeted nursing schools, usually within the same region as the college offering the associate degree.

Pre-nursing programs require incoming students to have a high school degree or GED. High school chemistry, biology and math courses may also be required for enrollment. Depending on the school, admission requirements may also include a standardized college admissions test, such as ACT, or stipulate minimum high school grades


Pre-Nursing Degree Program

Pre-nursing degree programs include general education courses required for a bachelor's degree at a nursing school and science courses necessary to prepare students for the BSN. Because nurses come into contact with diverse populations, often in stressful circumstances, the pre-nursing curriculum includes psychology and humanities courses intended to cultivate strong interpersonal and communication skills. The curriculum typically includes coursework in:

  • English composition
  • Communication
  • Sociology
  • Statistics
  • Biology
  • Anatomy

Employment Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that registered nurse positions are expected to increase by 16% from 2014 through 2024 (www.bls.gov); an aging population, advances in medical treatments and an emphasis on preventative care will all contribute to this faster-than-average job growth. The median annual wage for registered nurses was $67,490 as of May 2015, according to the BLS.

Continuing Education

Students earning an associate's degree in pre-nursing typically continue their education by earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. After completing a BSN program, students must complete the state licensure exam for registered nurses before beginning work as a registered nurse. Registered nurses who wish to advance their career may go back to school to earn a master's degree for nurse practitioners or healthcare administration.

Students wanting to purse a career as a registered nurse have the option to enroll in a pre-nursing degree program and complete the first two years of their training at a community college. Often times, graduates of these programs transfer into a partnered BSN program at a four-year university.

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