Associate Degree in Nursing
Offered through community and technical colleges, an ADN (Associate Degree in Nursing) can be completed in as little as two years if you took all the science prerequisites (typically microbiology, chemistry, anatomy, physiology, algebra and psychology) in high school. It will take you three or even three-and-a-half years if you need the science prerequisites, which are part of every nursing program, to complete your ADN. Once you’ve finished your ADN, you’ll be eligible to become an RN upon completing the NCLEX.
In all States, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories, students must graduate from an approved nursing program and pass a national licensing examination, known as the NCLEX-RN, in order to obtain a nursing license. Nurses may be licensed in more than one State, either by examination or by the endorsement of a license issued by another State. The Nurse Licensure Compact Agreement allows a nurse who is licensed and permanently resides in one of the member States to practice in the other member States without obtaining additional licensure. In 2006, 20 states were members of the Compact, while 2 more were pending membership. All States require periodic renewal of licenses, which may require continuing education.
Many RNs with an ADN or diploma later enter bachelor’s programs to prepare for a broader scope of nursing practice. Often, they can find an entry-level position and then take advantage of tuition reimbursement benefits to work toward a BSN by completing an ADN-to-BSN program.
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