Many nursing candidates opt for a two-year Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) when they first begin their nursing journeys. ADNs are the quickest way to get started in the nursing field if you are eager to strap on a stethoscope and get to work. They are the minimum degree required to work as a nurse. ADNs require two years of training from an accredited nursing school. Nurses who earn their ADN must then sit for the NCLEX exam to earn their license to practice. They can choose from the basic NCLEX-PN test or the NCLEX-RN.
In this article, we will explore:
- What will you learn in an ADN program?
- What are the popular certifications for nurses with ADNs?
- How much does an ADN cost?
- Are nursing school waitlists common?
- What are the job and salary outlooks for those with ADNs?
What will you learn in an ADN program?
Associate Degree in Nursing programs include prerequisites, nursing-specific courses, and clinicals. Nursing students can expect to cover the following in prerequisites and nursing coursework:
- Adult nursing care
- Anatomy and physiology
- Basic pharmacology
- Behavioral health
- Foundations in Nursing
- Maternal and child nursing care
Nursing clinicals are a key component of any ADN program. They give nursing students an inside look at what it will be like to work with patients. First, you will study nursing skills in a controlled lab environment, where your instructor will ensure you meet nursing standards of care. Then, you will get to put your skills into action with real patients. Most nursing schools partner with healthcare providers for clinical opportunities. Nursing students work under the supervision of their instructor and a nurse during clinicals.
Expert advice from nurses like you
What are the popular certifications for nurses with ADNs?
Certifications are not required for nurses with an associate degree, but they add value to your resume. Nurses who earned their RN licensure may want to consider earning an additional certification. Some of the most popular options include:
- Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) prepares RNs to teach other nurses in a nursing school or as an in-house educator at a healthcare facility.
- Critical Care Registered Nurse Certification (CCRN) is ideal for RNs who plan to work in emergency care settings like a hospital emergency room or a trauma care center.
- Progressive Care Nursing Certification (PCCN) qualifies nurses to deliver direct care to acutely ill patients.
How much does an ADN cost?
Tuition for an Associate Degree in Nursing varies considerably among nursing programs. You can expect to pay between $6,000 and $20,000, depending on whether you attend a public or private school. Private nursing schools can cost even more, with tuition averages between $30,000 and $100,000. Community colleges are a popular choice for many people working toward their ADN due to their affordability and flexibility.
Some nursing schools have waiting lists due to high demand. Schools with shorter wait times for new students may cost more. Other costs can include uniforms, supplies, and textbooks. Nursing students can expect to pay anywhere from $60 to $300 for a stethoscope (depending on quality) and roughly $50 to $100 for one set of scrubs. Textbooks and other required educational materials can cost up to $1,000 per semester.
Are nursing school waitlists common?
Unfortunately, yes. With nursing in high demand, many people are answering the call to become nurses. Normally that would be a plus. However, some nursing schools cannot meet the growing surge of nursing applicants, causing backups in their admissions departments. It is important to note that being waitlisted is not the same as being rejected for admission. If you are notified of waitlist status, do not get discouraged. It simply means you meet all criteria for admission but must wait until there is an opening. Do ask the school about their waitlisting policies so you know what to expect. Other questions to ask if you are waitlisted:
- Where do I rank on the waitlist?
- What is the average wait time?
- Can I take prerequisite courses now?
If you prefer not to wait, you can always apply to some other nursing programs. You may get admitted sooner.
What are the job and salary outlooks for those with ADNs?
Nurses with ADNs can work in a variety of settings, including doctor’s offices, hospitals, home health agencies, and outpatient care centers. Nurses who take the NCLEX-RN have more opportunities and are given more responsibility. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), demand is expected to grow by 9% between 2020 and 2030 for nurses at this experience and education level. The average salary for Licensed Practical Nurses with an ADN is $51,850. Nurses who pass the NCLEX-RN can earn higher annual salaries of $82,750. Request a free nursing salary estimate by creating a free account with Incredible Health. Find out quickly what other nurses with your education and experience earn.