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Common Questions About the NCLEX-RN® Exam

Interested in becoming a nurse? You’re definitely not alone this year: according to a recent article in U.S. News and World Report, some nursing schools ...

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Why Earn an Associate Degree in Nursing?

Posted Monday, Nov 29, 2021 by Altierus

Interested in becoming a nurse? Whether you’ve always dreamed of being a nurse or have recently been inspired to join the profession, you may be wondering which training pathway is right for you. In this article, presented by Altierus Career College, we look at why you might want to earn an associate degree in nursing.

What Is an Associate Degree?

An associate degree is a college degree program that covers general education plus entry-level training in a particular field of study—in this case, nursing. Associate degree programs are equivalent to the first two years of a four-year bachelor’s degree program.

The classes you take when you earn an associate degree in nursing can equip you to pass the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX) and practice as an entry-level registered nurse (RN).

Are There Benefits to Earning an Associate Degree in Nursing?

The main benefit of an associate degree is that it could save you time and money. An associate degree takes about two years to complete (as compared to a four-year bachelor’s degree) so you’d be ready to enter the workforce in half the time. You’d also pay less tuition, because you wouldn’t in school for four years—instead, you could be earning a salary as a nurse.

Plus, earning an associate degree can set you up to transfer to a bachelor’s degree program in nursing later, once you have gained more experience and explored potential career paths within the nursing profession.

What Can I Learn in a Nursing Associate Degree Program?

The Altierus Career College Associate of Science in Nursing program teaches students science concepts, nursing practice concepts and skills, and general education.

Science courses focus on the health science knowledge nurses need to understand in order to do their work, such as anatomy and physiology, microbiology, and psychology. Nursing core courses include hands-on clinical skills, such as evaluating or treating patients, and professional competencies, such as understanding nursing management principles and how nurses function as part of health care teams.

General education courses provide the basic foundation for nursing core courses and also develop the professional competencies needed to become a successful healthcare team member.

Our student nurses take most of their general education and science courses online, and come to campus for hands-on labs where they can practice care skills on patient simulators. In the second year of their program, they complete clinical rotations in active healthcare settings, supervised by an RN on site.

What Salary Can I Earn with an Associate Degree in Nursing?

Salaries vary by employer and location. However, nationwide data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) can give you a ballpark idea of what nurses earn. As of May 2020, the BLS reported that the median annual salary for RNs was $75,330. The lowest 10 percent of earners made less than $53,410, while the highest 10 percent earned more than $116,230. At every level, RN salaries were higher than the national median salary for all occupations, which was $41,950 in 2020.[1]

Is the Job Outlook Strong for Nurses?

Yes. As the baby boom generation continues to reach retirement age, demand for healthcare is likely to continue to grow. RNs are essential to patient care, so job growth looks healthy for the near future. (Plus, many of those retiring baby boomers will be leaving nursing jobs!) The BLS projects 9% growth for RN jobs from 2020-2030, with 194,500 new nurses needed each year on average.[2] By earning your associate degree in nursing, you can prepare yourself to meet this demand in just two years of study.

Explore Our Nursing Program in Tampa

Ready to learn more about the Associate of Science in Nursing Degree at Altierus in Tampa? Visit our site today to explore what this program can offer you!

[1] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm#tab-5

[2] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm#tab-6

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