The best associate degrees in nursing

HomeNursingThe best associate degrees in nursing

Why pursue this degree?

If you want to become a registered nurse (RN),  earning an associate degree in nursing (ADN) is the quickest, easiest and most affordable way forward. These programs teach you about applying medical science to nursing practice while building your knowledge and skillset so that you can work confidently and competently in healthcare settings. With an ADN, you can start to make a tangible difference to the lives of those around you – easing the suffering of patients and improving their overall wellbeing.

Will this program provide me with the skills needed to do the job?

Everything from microbiology and nutrition to pediatric care and pharmacology is studied in this degree. With this basic knowledge of the medical field, you can then become a registered nurse. This means you will be qualified enough to deliver care to patients, supervise junior nurses and assist physicians. Some of the most common activities of RNs with associate degrees include dressing wounds, running diagnostic tests, reviewing patient treatment plans, educating patients on self-care and helping physicians during medical procedures.

What jobs or career options are available when choosing this program?

An associate degree in nursing is designed to equip you with the skills and knowledge required to become a registered nurse. RNs can work in a variety of healthcare settings, such as hospitals, outpatient care centers, assisted living facilities and nursing homes. After gathering several years’ experience in the field, RNs with an associate degree can then move into more senior or specialized positions. For instance, some graduates have become nurse case managers or nursing directors.

The best associate degree in nursing programs

Hundreds of colleges and universities in the U.S. offer programs for associate degrees in nursing. The majority are offline, but some are online and hybrid courses as well. We chose these programs because of their student’s post-graduation earnings, higher than average graduation rates and investment level in students.

  • Belanger School of Nursing

    Belanger School of Nursing Schenectady, New York
    Belanger School of Nursing

    The Belanger School of Nursing is located in Schenectady, New York. It has been accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). This offline program helps students to become licensed registered nurses. It is a hospital-based school and awards an associate science degree in nursing which  is registered with the New York State Education Department. The Belanger School of Nursing’s 64-credit curriculum takes students roughly 3 years to complete and 90% of its students achieve employment 12 months after graduating. There is an application fee of $70 and submissions are due in January for the fall semester. You must have studied courses in biological science prior to joining the program.

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  • Citizens School of Nursing

    Citizens School of Nursing Pittsburgh Mills, Pennsylvannia
    Citizens School of Nursing

    The Citizens School of Nursing is situated in Pittsburgh Mills, Pennsylvania. It is accredited by the ACEN and approved by the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing. The school offers its students a hospital-based hybrid program which prepares them for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). It takes most people about 2 years to complete. To earn your ADN, you must complete 1380 hours of nursing practice and theory. Additionally, you need to amass 24 college credits from Penn State University and Westmoreland County Community College. To apply, submit transcripts to the school’s admissions office. You also must have graduated from an accredited high school with 16 Carnegie units in English, math, science, social science, and electives and all prospective students must pass the Test of Essential Academic Skills.

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  • Covenant School of Nursing and Allied Health

    Covenant School of Nursing and Allied Health Lubbock, Texas
    Covenant School of Nursing and Allied Health

    The Covenant School of Nursing and Allied Health is located in Lubbock, Texas. This institution has received certification from the ACEN. The program is taught offline, combining classroom learning with practical experience in labs and healthcare facilities. It is only offered on a full-time basis and usually takes 64 weeks to finish. To graduate from this school’s ADN program, you need to attend and complete all classroom, laboratory and clinical components of the course. Afterwards, students must sit the NCLEX-RN exam to obtain their license. Applicants must have completed 8 prerequisite courses in English, human growth and development, nutrition, chemistry, microbiology, and human anatomy and physiology at an accredited college with a minimum GPA of 2.5 before they can successfully enroll.

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  • Graham Hospital School of Nursing

    Graham Hospital School of Nursing Canton, Illinois
    Graham Hospital School of Nursing

    The Graham Hospital School of Nursing is based in Canton, Illinois. It has been approved by the Illinois State Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and is accredited by the ACEN. Their ADN program is 3 years long, with each academic year beginning in the fall and ending in the spring. Their classes are taught offline and you can take the program either full- or part-time. To graduate, students need to successfully complete 50 hours of nursing courses. The curriculum includes units like nursing care of clients with psychosocial problems, and nursing care of the adult client in illness. If you want to apply for their program, then you need to submit transcripts, 3 letters of recommendation and have a GPA of 2.75. You should have completed courses in English, algebra, geometry, biology, social sciences and chemistry.

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  • Lawrence Memorial Hospital School of Nursing

    Lawrence Memorial Hospital School of Nursing Medford, Massachussets
    Lawrence Memorial Hospital School of Nursing

    The Lawrence Memorial Hospital School of Nursing is in Medford, Massachusetts. The school offers an associate of science with a major in nursing program, which is accredited by the ACEN. Students can either enroll in the day division curriculum or the evening/weekend curriculum and the program takes most students 2 to 3 years to complete. Alongside learning nursing theory, you gain clinical experience in healthcare settings, like mental health hospitals and community nursing homes. Some of the units include pharmacology, drug therapy, nutrition and pathophysiology. To apply you need to submit 3 references, a personal essay and transcripts with a GPA of 2.75 or higher. Candidates must have completed courses in algebra, biology, and chemistry at a high school or college level. They can also qualify if they have a General Equivalency Diploma (GED).

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  • Montefiore School of Nursing

    Montefiore School of Nursing Mount Vernon, New York
    Montefiore School of Nursing

    The Montefiore School of Nursing is situated in Mount Vernon, New York, and offers an offline associate of science degree in nursing. It has received its accreditation from the ACEN. Their program takes 2 years on average and can be completed during the daytime or in the evenings and on the weekend. Like most other ADN programs, the Montefiore School of Nursing combines academic knowledge with hands-on-learning. To successfully enroll, you need to achieve satisfactory test scores on the Kaplan Admission Test and demonstrate “an ability to meet the cognitive and physical program demands.” High school transcripts and post-secondary transcripts must be submitted and candidates need to achieve higher than a c-grade in Chemistry with Lab.

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  • Northwestern Michigan College

    Northwestern Michigan College Traverse City, Michigan
    Northwestern Michigan College

    Northwestern Michigan College is a community college in Traverse City, Michigan. This school offers a wide variety of programs and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). It has an associate degree in nursing program which can be completed online. This program is approved by ACEN and the Michigan Board of Nursing. To graduate from Northwestern Michigan College with an ADN, you need to acquire a minimum of 64-70 credits with a GPA of 2.0. The course takes 2 years and covers subjects like mental health nursing and pharmacology. Some of the prerequisites include having a GPA of 2.5 or higher and completing courses in English, psychology, human anatomy and physiology, and math.

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  • Pomeroy College of Nursing at Crouse Hospital

    Pomeroy College of Nursing at Crouse Hospital Syracuse, New York
    Pomeroy College of Nursing at Crouse Hospital

    The Pomeroy College of Nursing at Crouse Hospital is situated in Syracuse, New York. The school is certified by the ACEN and delivers an associate degree in applied science with a major in nursing. The program is 2 years long and features classroom, clinical, laboratory and computer-assisted study. Students can choose to enroll full-time or complete weekend and evening courses. If you are thinking about applying there are some requirements you must satisfy. First, you need a high school diploma or GED having completed courses in algebra, biology, chemistry and English. You also have to submit an admission essay and references. The average GPA of those admitted to this college is 3.0.

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  • St. Peter’s Hospital College of Nursing

    St. Peter’s Hospital College of Nursing Albany, New York
    St. Peter's Hospital College of Nursing

    The St. Peter’s Hospital College of Nursing is based in Albany, New York. This school is accredited by the ACEN and the New York State Education Department Office of the Professions. This college offers an associate of science in nursing program, which can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis. Most students earn their ADN within 2 years and there are a total of 69 credits on the program. The ADN covers everything from general psychology to women and children’s health.. Peter’s Hospital College requires you to submit transcripts from your high school and any post-secondary schools having passed high school or college-level algebra, biology with lab and chemistry with lab with a minimum GPA of 2.0.

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  • Western Pennsylvania Hospital School of Nursing

    Western Pennsylvania Hospital School of Nursing Pittsburgh, Pennsylvannia
    Western Pennsylvania Hospital School of Nursing

    The Western Pennsylvania Hospital School ofNursing is in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is accredited by the ACEN. Their registered nurse program is 22 months long and lessons are taught on campus at the Clarion University of Pennsylvania. Their associate degree in nursing blends practical experience and medical knowledge. This school also offers courses for RN to BSN transitions. Candidates are required to have a GPA of 2.5 and have completed high school level English, biology, chemistry, social studies, and algebra with a minimum c-grade average. Prospective students must pass the Test of Essential Academic Skills and submit references before they can enroll.

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Career outlook

Associate degrees in nursing are specifically designed to allow people to work as registered nurses. The program material concentrates on building your practical skills and medical knowledge to work in healthcare settings. However, everything you learn is a more generalized overview of nursing. You do not specialize in anything.

Salary prospects are good, with the average RN with an ADN earning $66,000 per annum. Your salary should grow as you gain more experience. Opportunities to work in senior or specialized positions can also arise, especially if you undergo further training. For example, there are qualifications that allow RNs with an ADN to become certified family nurse practitioners.

The overall career outlook for registered nurses is promising. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for RNs will grow 7% by 2029 and there are roughly 175,000 job openings for registered nurses every year. The demand has increased because of things like the coronavirus pandemic and current nurses retiring. The job market for RNs is still competitive and people with an ADN can struggle to secure work more than those with a bachelor of science in nursing.

Salary growth and career path projection

In the U.S., registered nurses can earn anywhere between $58,000 and $103,000 and wages vary state to state. California and Oregon, for instance, have many job openings and better salaries for registered nurses. Meanwhile, Mississippi has very low demand and below-average wages.

Registered nurses with an associate degree in nursing can expect to see their wages increase as they gain more experience. To access the higher-earning and specialized jobs, they will need to undergo additional training. This could involve enrolling in an RN to BSN program or earning a nursing certificate. In doing so, registered nurses with an ADN could significantly advance their career.

Financial aid

An associate degree in nursing is an appealing option for people who want to become a registered nurse but cannot afford the steep tuition fees that accompany a bachelor’s degree. Even then, ADNs can be quite expensive. The average program can cost anywhere between $6000 and $20,000 to complete. What’s more, if you are enrolled with a private university, then you could be charged as much as $40,000.

There are financial aid options available to students including from nursing organizations and education associations who may offer scholarships, for example, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.  Most students looking for financial aid first apply for federal student funding. You can apply for free by completing the FAFSA form.