Students enrolled in vocational nursing degree programs gain knowledge related to patient care, drug administration, pediatrics, obstetrics, nutrition, and first aid. An associate degree program in vocational nursing can last anywhere from 1-3 years.
While associate degrees are available in this field, certificates are much more prevalent and are offered by community colleges and vocational schools. Both certificate and associate degree programs provide the necessary training and clinical experience required for mandatory state licensure, and can prepare graduates for continued training to become registered nurses.
Associate's Degree in Vocational Nursing
Those interested in enrolling in vocational nursing programs must have high school diplomas or the equivalent. High school students should focus on health, science and mathematics courses.
The curriculum in a vocational nursing program includes biological, physical and behavioral science. Students receive hands-on training with patients in real clinical settings. The courses offered in a vocational nursing degree program include:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Fundamentals of nursing
- Medical and surgical nursing
- Maternal and child
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for licensed practical and vocational nurses will rise 16% from 2014-2024. The increase is related to growth in the elderly population, which spurs demand for more health care services. The BLS reported that these workers earned $43,170 as a median annual wage in 2015.
The Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians offers the NCLEX-VN/PN examination. All vocational nurses must pass this exam in order to become licensed. The exam covers four major categories: physiological integrity, safe and effective care environment, psychosocial integrity, and health promotion and maintenance.
Students who complete an associate or bachelor's degree in nursing can sit for the NCLEX-RN, which will qualify them to work as registered nurses. Registered nurses contribute to the care of patients, provide emotional support for family members and educate the public and patients on various medical conditions. They typically earn higher salaries than licensed vocational nurses.
Associate's degrees and nursing certificates are two of the most common options for vocational nursing education available. These programs cover the skills related to patient care and the human body. Graduates are prepared for entry-level nursing roles and continuing education opportunities.