Associate's Degree in Nursing (ADN): Salary & Requirements

Aug 15, 2019

An associate's degree in nursing can prepare students for a career as a registered nurse. Read on to know more about the salary, admission requirements and career options.

Overview of Associate's Degree in Nursing

A number of schools offer an associate's degree in nursing (ADN). The program is aimed at teaching students about various topics, but areas like pharmacology, mental health, geriatrics, obstetrics, pediatrics, and leadership are often included. Notably, a student can pursue other programs, like bachelor of science degree in nursing (BSN) or a diploma from an approved program to become a registered nurse. Typically, the length of an associate's degree in nursing program is 2 years. Course information, career options and requirements for this program are discussed below.

Admission Requirements for an Associate's Degree in Nursing

If a student seeks to enroll in an associate's degree in nursing, he/she may have a keen desire to help patients and people, in general. Different schools might have different admission requirements, but many of them ask for a high school diploma or equivalent with a GPA of at least 2.5. Some colleges also conduct entrance evaluation exams to admit students into the associate's degree of nursing, and an interview may be required, as well. A student should also have had subjects like biology and chemistry in high school, and certain prerequisite college courses may be required before continuation in the ADN program.

Associate's Degree in Nursing Coursework

Subjects might differ across colleges and universities, however, the following courses are found to be common in most of the schools.

Human Anatomy

Human anatomy may be among the most important courses in the program, and it teaches students about the physiology of the body. A student enrolled in the program could develop an understanding of various mechanisms and functions which facilitate a human body. Cell functions, physiology, and organization of body and tissues are other topics which the students could learn about in this program.

General Microbiology

As a part of this course, aspiring nurses might explore different bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites which affect the human body and its health. The various diseases and the processes that occur as a result of these organisms in the body are often the centers of this course. Disease transmission and immunology may be among other topics covered in the course.


In this course, students are introduced to the important, basic concepts of psychology, including the history and various areas of this discipline. They can expect to study human behavior, human interaction, cognition, psychotherapy, and other related areas. These topics can help aspiring nurses understand the mental situation of their patients.

Surgical Nursing

This course aims to educate students about the core principles and practices of nursing. In this training, aspiring nurses could learn about Orem's Theory of Self-Care and practice strategies for problem solving and decision making. Clinical and simulation experiences might be required in this type of course.


Sociology concepts like social organizations, culture and socialization, human bonds and conflicts may be included in this kind of course. Gender roles, social classes, castes, and other sociological issues might also be discussed. The course could prepare students for healthy interactions with patients from all walks of life.

How to choose an Associate's Degree in Nursing Program

Before choosing an associate's degree in nursing program, a student might observe a number of areas. One of the major factors could be the quality of nursing training imparted at schools, and you may want to check the NCLEX licensing exam pass rates. Similarly, the experience and expertise of the teaching faculty could also be considered by a student. Furthermore, if the school has a good record of job placements in the field, you might want to give it priority. Rankings for nursing programs may be found through various outlets.


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) suggests that registered nursing jobs will rise by 15% between 2016 and 2026. The same source indicates that the median salary for registered nurses was $71,730 per year in May 2018. During that same year, nurses working in government positions earned $78,390, median, those in ambulatory healthcare made $68,320, and nurses employed in educational services earned $61,850. Overall, the bottom 10% made $50,800 and below, while the top 10% earned $106,530 and above, said the BLS in 2018.

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