While bachelor’s degree programs in nursing are increasingly prevalent, it’s absolutely possible to become a registered nurse with an associate’s degree. With a median annual salary of more than $65,000 per year according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nursing is one of the most lucrative jobs you can attain with a master’s degree. In addition, with a 19 percent projected growth rate over the next ten years, it’s also one of the most stable career fields you can enter. Read on to learn more about associate’s degree programs in nursing.
Associate’s Degree Program Curriculum
In most cases, associate’s degree programs to become a registered nurse take two to three years to complete. They include courses in anatomy, physiology, microbiology, chemistry, nutrition, psychology and other sciences, as well as an extensive clinical component during which you’ll rotate through a variety of hospital and patient care settings. In most cases, completion of the associate’s degree program will qualify you for entry level nursing positions in many settings, although certain employers may require that you earn a bachelor’s degree. Seek a program that’s accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.
Registered Nurse Licensure
To practice as a registered nurse in your state, you’ll first need to apply for eligibility from your state’s board of nursing. Requirements vary by state, but typically include graduation from an accredited nursing education program. After being deemed eligible, you’ll receive a authorization to test email from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, which allows you to take the National Council Licensure Examination within 90 days. This computerized test examines your proficiency in the following content areas: Safe and Effective Care Environment Management of Care; Safety and Infection Control; Health Promotion and Maintenance; Psychosocial Integrity; Physiological Integrity; Basic Care and Comfort; Pharmacological and Parenteral Therapies; Reduction of Risk Potential; and Physiological Adaptation. Your results will be mailed to you within six weeks after the exam by the board of nursing in your state. If you pass, you are able to get a license to practice as a registered nurse. Candidates who do not pass may take the test again after 45 to 90 days.
Job Outlook for Registered Nurses
Because of the aging population and the increased need for health care services, there are expected to be more than 526,000 new jobs for registered nurses by 2022. When you gain experience, you may consider furthering your career by pursuing a bachelor’s or master’s degree in nursing, which will qualify you for managerial and other positions. The highest paid nursing positions are found in the government, followed by state and private hospitals, home health care services, residential care facilities, and doctor’s offices.
Related Resource: Accelerated Nursing Degree
Excelling in science and math classes during high school is an excellent first step toward becoming a registered nurse. To learn more about how to become a registered nurse with an associate’s degree, contact your local state board of nursing to get started.