What is an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)?
An ADN degree, or Associate of Science in Nursing, is an associate degree program that provides you with the nursing education and curriculum you need to learn so you can apply for licensure to become a registered nurse (RN), as long as you can also successfully take the NCLEX-RN exam and pass. There are options for online ADN degrees, though not every component of the degree can be completed in an online format.
Graduates, when they walk into their first job, will have the skills required as a registered nurse (and some will even work as licensed practical nurses) to give safe, effective care to each one of their patients. You may have opportunities to care for patients of all ages or you may choose to specialize in one particular age group once you gain a little more experience and education.
Choosing an accredited program, preferably by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), then you will be able to request federal financial aid and your salary offers will also be higher. Also, if you decide to return to school for classes in advanced nursing, such as a BSN degree or other high-level nursing programs, your entrance application will be more seriously considered. As you work on entry into an ADN program, make sure you stay informed about academic requirements for nursing students, prerequisites, and credits, experience, and degree requirements from your state board of nursing.
Difference of an Associate Degree (ADN) vs. Certification (LPN) vs. Bachelor’s Degree (BSN) Programs
In BSN programs, you learn similar material to an ADN associate degree in nursing in terms of general education, but it goes into more depth and you'll receive added leadership training, which can help you beyond you becoming a registered nurse. You also get additional training in management and information technology management than you would receive in an ADN program. An LPN takes the same classes that an ADN graduate takes, but they choose to earn a certificate rather than a BSN degree or an ADN degree in nursing. There are bachelor's degrees in nursing available 100% online, with only the clinical practice requiring that you participate in hands-on learning in order to gain experience. These online options provide a great deal of flexibility, whether you are just getting into nursing or looking to improve your education.
Your career goals will have a strong influence on the degree/nursing program you select. With a BSN, your nursing education may qualify you for a larger range of registered nurses positions such as nurse practitioner, case manager, or health educator - and you may therefore have an easier time gaining experience.
The time it takes to complete a BSN is longer than the time frame for an ADN program, though some online programs are accelerated. You will have to commit four years of study rather than two years and may spend more time in clinical rotations or earn more clinical hours as a student. This means your tuition costs will be higher if you choose to complete a BSN degree nursing program rather than an ADN program.
Employer preferences may also have an impact on your choice. Increasingly, employers are looking for BSN degree holders as candidates and those with higher degrees as well (MSN and doctoral degrees in nursing).
As for an LPN, they will also provide direct nursing care to patients but will do so under the supervision of a registered nurse or physician. These nurses cannot work independently, whereas registered nurses who complete ADN programs or BSN's can do so. Your eventual salary will also be different. An RN may earn an annual salary of $70,000. An LPN may earn a little more than $45,000, this is because this professional earned a certificate rather than a diploma. Your pay reflects your level of training
Nursing Degrees & Career Paths