There is no denying that there is a growing demand for nursing and healthcare professionals, but you must meet educational requirements to compete for these positions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of nursing is expected to grow by 26 percent by 2020 for Registered Nurses. While this is a promising statistic that sheds light on just how high in demand nursing will be as the population ages, you must hold the appropriate degree to compete in an already competitive field. If you are considering enrolling in an Associate’s Nursing Degree program, it is important to understand what the demand is like and what opportunities the completion of this program will open up for you.
A Quicker Route to Becoming a Licensed Nurse
In the past, individuals interested in becoming registered nursing professionals would enroll in a Bachelor’s degree program to satisfy licensing requirements. A Bachelor’s degree program, which typically takes 4 years to complete, will teach both theory and practical skills that are needed to pass an RN licensing exam. Now, with the growing demand for registered nurses in virtually all healthcare settings, the shorter Associate’s degree program is becoming increasingly popular. Based on the fact that an ADN program is 2 years and a BDN program is 4 years, students who want to jump start their careers can enter the field and earn their license much faster by going the Associate’s degree route.
What Are Some of the Differences for Applicants Who Only Possess an ADN?
You must consider how the educational path you take will affect your career path options before you select any type of nursing degree program. While an Associate’s Degree Nursing program will teach you the core curriculum you need to know to pass your state licensing exam, you will be taking a limited amount of courses to earn your degree and this limitation may restrict your career options. Upon earning your license, you will earn less as an entry-level Associate’s Degree Nurse than you would as a Bachelor’s Degree Nurse. While salary differences are not dramatic, the average ADN earned about $71,000 in 2006 and the average BDN with the same level of experience earned about $75,000. As entry-level candidates earn experience, the gap does shrink.
When is the Fast Track the Right Option?
If you have always dreamed of working as a nurse, taking the fast track into the field may be the right option. Once you earn your Associate’s degree and you possess a license, you can start working your way up the ladder as a nursing professional. Being an Associate’s Degree nurse is a great choice for individuals who would like to advance their career and earn their Bachelor’s degree while they are working in the profession. You may also be able to find an employer who will pay for continuing education.
More and more healthcare facilities are looking for ADN professionals who are motivated and ready to work their way up. If you fall into this category, start reviewing degree, licensing and employment requirements, and enter the rewarding field of nursing to make a living and a difference.