If you wish to help others as a nurse, consider an associate degree in nursing (ADN). This degree prepares you for entry-level nursing positions. You can work in hospitals, nursing homes, doctor's offices, outpatient clinics, and ambulatory care.
Earning an ADN is one of the quickest paths to becoming a registered nurse (RN). You can earn your degree in 1-2 years. Here, we walk you through everything you need to know about an ADN and highlight some of the best online ADN programs.
Why Enroll in an Online 2-Year Nursing Program?
- An associate degree in nursing can lead to various careers in healthcare, many of which are in high demand.
- You can help people and make a positive difference in patients' lives every day.
- Online ADN programs typically offer lots of flexibility for working students.
- An online ADN program can qualify you to become an RN.
- You can still complete clinical experiences on campus or at approved local sites.
- An accelerated ADN program means you can earn your degree — and start your career — in even less time.
- Online degree programs are often more affordable than on-campus programs.
Did You Know?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects there will be over 200,000 openings for registered nurses each year over the next decade. In 2021, there were more than 3 million registered nurses in the U.S., according to the BLS. 3 in 5 RNs work in hospitals. On average, nurses walk 4-5 miles in one shift! 80% of nurses would choose nursing as their profession again if starting over.
Explore Our Featured Healthcare Programs
Does Accreditation Matter for ADN Programs?
Accreditation is essential for nursing programs at any level.
Once you've finished your ADN program and passed all required exams, you're eligible to earn a nursing license. If your program is not accredited, however, you can't get a license.
When it comes to online ADN programs, accreditation helps ensure the quality of education you're receiving is the same as that offered in an on-campus program.
Here are some recognized accrediting bodies for nursing programs to look for as you research ADN programs:
Top Online ADN Programs for Aspiring Nurses
Read About Our Methodology Here
North Central Missouri College
|Accreditation|| Yes |
|Percent Online Enrollment|| 63% |
North Central Missouri College connects distance learners with flexible online study opportunities. From its main campus in Trenton, the school supports distance learners across 11 virtual programs.
Students seeking accommodating study in nursing should consider the school's associate degree in nursing. Learners benefit from a rigorous course curriculum, preparing them for the demands of the field. Enrollees can modify their studies by declaring minors and degree concentrations and choosing course electives.
Learners in the ADN program join a supportive virtual learning community upon enrolling. Throughout their studies, learners can pursue internships, research projects, and other learning opportunities. Depending on eligibility, students can benefit from scholarships, fellowships, and other financial aid awards. At present, 95% of all enrollees are awarded aid.
Interested applicants can learn more about funding opportunities and admission requirements by contacting the admissions office.
Arkansas State University
|Accreditation|| Yes |
|Percent Online Enrollment|| 59% |
Arkansas State University, a public institution, offers flexible online study for people from all walks of life. The school offers two fully online associate degree programs.
The college’s associate of applied science in nursing program is an attractive option for busy students and working professionals. Students complete nursing-specific coursework, gaining knowledge easily applied to a career in the field. Enrollees can modify their studies by declaring minors, choosing concentrations, and taking electives.
Distance learners connect with classmates and faculty through a virtual classroom environment. To learn beyond the classroom, students can pursue internships or work with faculty members on peer-reviewed research projects. Students may be eligible for internal and external funding opportunities. Students can discuss funding opportunities, such as scholarships and fellowships, with the Office of Financial Aid.
To learn more about the application process, schedule an appointment with the admissions office.
|Location||Albany, New York|
|Accreditation|| Yes |
Excelsior College is a private college offering flexible remote study options for distance learners worldwide. The college connects distance learners with 13 fully online associate degree programs.
The associate of applied science in nursing program allows for flexible study through full- and part-time enrollment options. Students complete industry-relevant coursework, preparing them for a future career in nursing. Enrollees can work with their academic advisor and customize their course schedule to suit their career goals.
While enrolled, students benefit from a supportive online learning community. Enrollees can broaden their learning by pursuing internships, research projects, and other learning opportunities. Eligible students can apply scholarships, fellowships, and other forms of financial aid toward educational expenses.
To find out more about enrollment requirements and the benefits of an online education, speak with the admissions office today.
What Will You Learn in an Online ADN Program?
Online ADN programs prepare you to pass the NCLEX-RN and get licensed as a registered nurse.
Core coursework typically covers nursing principles and fundamental subjects like pharmacology and microbiology. You'll also get to practice your nursing skills through hands-on clinical training.
In addition, you'll learn how to examine medical records, track symptoms, and administer medications.
Common Courses in ADN Programs
Aging and Chronic Illness Anatomy and Physiology Developmental Psychology Foundations of Nursing Maternal and Pediatric Nursing Care Mental Health Nursing Microbiology Nursing Management Pharmacology
How Much Does an Associate Degree in Nursing Cost?
ADN programs generally cost $8,000-$36,000. This is the total amount you can expect to pay in tuition and fees for a two-year program.
If you opt for an accelerated ADN program, you may be able to graduate in less than two years, saving you time and money.
How much you pay for your ADN will ultimately depend on your program, state of residence, and financial aid package.
As an online student, you may qualify for cheaper tuition and reduced fees. For instance, some public schools offer in-state tuition rates to all domestic online students, regardless of what state they're based in.
Don't forget to budget for common online learning expenses, like textbooks and a high-quality laptop.
Most online nursing programs require some in-person learning in the form of hands-on clinical training and practicums, so be sure to factor in travel costs as well.
Finally, ADN graduates must pay $200 to take the NCLEX-RN, in addition to state licensure application fees.
How Much Money Can You Make With an ADN?
According to the BLS, RNs earn a median annual salary of $77,600 as of May 2021.
You can earn more or less depending on the industry you work in. For example, RNs who work for the government and state, local, and private hospitals tend to rake in more money than RNs who work in education.
You can boost your earning potential by getting a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) or a graduate degree in nursing. Online RN-to-BSN programs allow you to earn your BSN in around two years.
With an ADN, you can specialize in many types of nursing and qualify for other healthcare jobs in areas like direct care and patient coordination.
|Job||Average Hourly Pay (Sept./Oct. 2022)|
|Emergency Room Nurse||$32.82|
|Long-Term Care Nurse||$30.05|
|Patient Care Coordinator||$17.48|
How to Become a Registered Nurse
The path to becoming an RN can be summed up in three steps:
- Earn an ADN or BSN.
- Pass the NCLEX-RN.
- Get a state nursing license.
There are several types of nursing credentials and programs that can prepare you for passing the NCLEX-RN and qualify you for state licensure. You can pursue an ADN, a BSN, or in some states a nursing diploma.
If there's a particular field you'd like to specialize in as an RN, you can complete certifications. These will provide you with more expertise and help you land an RN job in your preferred field.
Some common nursing certifications include:
- HIV/AIDS Certified Registered Nurse (ACRN)
- Certified Addictions Registered Nurse (CARN)
- Trauma Certified Registered Nurse (TCRN)
- Certified Gastroenterology Registered Nurse (CGRN)
- Certified Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse (CMSRN)
- Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse (CRRN)
Requirements for becoming a registered nurse depend on which state you live in. Check out the map below to see what your state requires to become an RN.
Q&A With Real Registered Nurses
Q: Why did you decide to pursue a career in nursing?
"I always had an affinity for science, but more specifically for anatomy and physiology. I also loved working with my hands and craved to be active while working, instead of being stagnant."
— Rachel Adams, Registered Nurse, University of Washington Medical Center
"I've always had a passion for helping others, but the older population are some of my favorite people to spend time with. … Few people realize that their bodies operate much differently as seniors — and I don't mean just on a physical level. Nursing allowed me to explore those intricacies and allowed me to feel like I was giving back to my community through elderly care."
— Nancy Mitchell, Registered Nurse and Contributing Writer at Assisted Living Center
Q: What is something that surprised you about the field of nursing?
"Most professionals don't mention how close nurses are with our patients. We spend the most time at their bedsides, nurturing a trusting rapport with those in need. Spending all this time with patients often makes nurses more empathetic to patient care than other healthcare professionals because it affords us deeper insight into the patient as a whole being."
— Nancy M.
"I was surprised by the emotional toll that my field took on my body. … You become fully engrossed in your patients' lives, both their trials and tribulations, while you are taking care of them. You feel internally rewarded with improvements and grief when your patient declines."
— Rachel A.
Q: What is your biggest piece of advice to students considering becoming RNs?
"Like all careers, some people are suited for [nursing] and others are not. That said, embrace the mental trials and emotional lessons that nursing forces you into, because I wholeheartedly believe that you are a more well-rounded person due to you taking care of someone in some of the worst days of their life."
— Rachel A.
"Be sure that you have a passion for nursing. … Back-to-back night shifts and difficult patient care in the early days can make it challenging to see the reward in your profession. As with any career, your journey will be more enjoyable if your heart is all in."
— Nancy M.
Frequently Asked Questions About ADN Programs
What's the difference between an ADN and an RN?
An associate degree in nursing, or ADN, is a college degree that prepares you to become a registered nurse (RN). An ADN is an educational credential, whereas RN is a license and job title.
Completing an ADN doesn't automatically make you an RN — you'll need to pass the NCLEX-RN exam and apply for state licensure to officially work as an RN in your state.
Is an ADN the same as an LPN?
Licensed practical nurses, or LPNs, typically complete a one-year program to earn an LPN certificate or diploma. This program prepares them to take the NCLEX-PN and apply for a state LPN license.
In contrast, the associate degree in nursing, or ADN, is a two-year college degree. The degree qualifies you to take the NCLEX-RN and become a registered nurse.
Is it better to earn your ADN online or on campus?
Both online and on-campus ADN programs are valued by employers. So long as the program is accredited, both program types will have the same basic curricula and educational quality.
An online program may be more affordable and can offer a more flexible schedule for working professionals. An on-campus program provides benefits like direct peer-to-peer interaction and hands-on learning.
Ultimately, you must decide whether an on-campus or online ADN program works better for your goals.
Are accelerated ADN programs worth it?
Accelerated online associate nursing programs can help you earn your ADN much faster. They can also be a bit more intense, as you'll be expected to master the same content in a shorter amount of time.
If your schedule allows it, an accelerated ADN program can get you into the nursing field faster. If you're a student who may not excel in a fast-paced learning environment, a traditional ADN program that lasts around two years may be a better fit.
How long is an ADN program?
An ADN program typically takes two years to complete for full-time students. If you choose an accelerated program, you can graduate in about a year.
You may also opt to attend school part time, which would extend your graduation timeline.
All rankings and school descriptions on this page were created and reviewed independently by the ASO Rankings Team.
With an acceptance rate of 95%, Arkansas Tech University offers one of the easiest ADN programs to get into. The program is open to Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurses who wish to pursue an Associate of Applied Science degree in Nursing (AAS-RN).Can I get a nursing degree online? ›
From January 2021, some universities are offering adult nursing courses where the theoretical content is mainly delivered online, making it easier to fit studies around home life.
Rasmussen University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org), an institutional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.How long is Lone Star ADN program? ›
All ADN requirements can be completed in approximately three years.What is the hardest semester of an ADN program? ›
Health Assessment: the hardest semester of nursing school
Health assessment will likely be one of the initial courses you'll take in nursing school, and it involves delving into the various body systems and learning how to assess patients from head to toe.
Despite the shorter education, ADN programs are still extremely challenging and have a competitive curriculum. Most ADN programs expect students to earn a minimum of a C grade or higher, although some ADN programs require higher grades (such as a B-, or above 80%, for example).Is Nursing School Hard online? ›
Proper time management is important in all areas of life but when it comes to online nursing school – especially online or hybrid nursing programs – poor time management (or lack thereof) can make nursing school a lot more difficult than it already is.How long does it take to study nursing online? ›
Online LPN programs take, on average, one year to complete. LPN to RN bridge and associate nursing degree programs take two years. For those who have a bachelor's degree, but their major was not in nursing, there are special programs that allow career changers to earn a RN degree online.Can you become a nurse through Open university? ›
Adult nursing is one of several specialist fields of practice available in our BSc (Honours) Nursing (R39). If you want to become a registered nurse within this field, and are already working in a healthcare role, this unique practice-based qualification is for you.Do hospitals hire Rasmussen graduates? ›
Do hospitals hire Rasmussen graduates? By the way....in my former career I worked in HR management and for the hospital I worked at, they too hired Rasmussen College graduates as well as graduates from other private schools.
An ADN program seems faster and easier, and a BSN prepares qualified professionals to provide complex patient care and earn a higher income.How much is the ADN program at Rasmussen? ›
However, the school's website does report total costs for the Nursing (ADN/RN) Program: $409 cost per credit x 102 total credits = $41,718 total tuition. Plus $6,845 total fees. = $48,563 estimated total program cost.How long is the shortest nursing program? ›
An LPN program prepares students to become practical nurses in as little as 54 weeks. After graduation and successful passing of the NCLEX-PN exam, students can enter the field and provide basic nursing care under the supervision of a registered nurse or doctor.Is Lone Star College credible? ›
Lone Star College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.How many ADN programs are there in Texas? ›
There are over 65 schools in Texas that offer ADN programs all throughout the state.Is an ADN degree worth it? ›
For those who want to become a registered nurse, an ADN degree can help them get into the field quickly. It can be a useful stepping-stone to receive a bachelor's degree in nursing or for other advanced medical degrees. Becoming a registered nurse can lead to a wide variety of opportunities and career paths.What is the hardest nursing certification? ›
Emergency nursing is considered one of the most difficult fields of nursing, and certification in this specialty is highly desirable.What is the toughest class in nursing school? ›
- Pathophysiology. In this course, students learn how different anatomical systems work and how diseases or injuries affect these systems. ...
- Pharmacology. ...
- Medical Surgical 1 (also known as Adult Health 1) ...
- Evidence-Based Practice.
Compared to ASN and AAS, an ADN degree is the best option for transiting to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program. Remember that every school is different regarding prerequisites and actual course material.Can you work while getting an ADN? ›
Many nursing students choose to work in healthcare facilities while going to nursing school. Although you will not practice in the capacity of a nurse, you can get to know employees and supervisors.
Do BSN and ADN students take a different NCLEX? Both BSN and ADN degrees prepare students to take the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) open_in_new to become registered nurses. The NCLEX exam does not differ for those on the BSN or ADN educational path. Last updated January 2022.Is online degree recognized? ›
Experts say employers are largely more interested in the person than the degree. They generally won't recognize immediately if that person's degree was obtained online or in person. Some schools are fully online while others offer online programs in addition to their traditional in-person options.Which is harder nursing school or being a nurse? ›
Being a Nurse is better than being in Nursing School
In nursing school, it's about 90% theory and lectures, and 10% skills and application. In the nursing profession, it's flipped: its 90% application and 10% theory and learning. In fact, you apply theory and think critically as you're working.
There's a rumor circulating on the internet that The Guinness Book of Work Records has declared a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing to be the toughest of all bachelor's degrees to obtain. There's no truth to this claim.How many hours a day should I study for nursing school? ›
How many hours a day should I study for nursing school? Everyone is different, but in general, it is recommended that nursing school students study anywhere from 2-4 hours a day. Committing class material to memory is essential to becoming a registered nurse, so the more time studying, the better!How can I study faster in nursing school? ›
Study every day, including practice questions
A good suggestion is to review information after each class. Also, practice questions from past exams or nursing study guides can be effective. Nurses can benefit from studying practice questions because they allow students to apply their lessons from class.
The short answer: yes, you can earn an associate, bachelor's, and even your master's degree in nursing online. The long answer: while you can earn your degree and complete your coursework online, you'll still have to complete in-person clinical hours at a physical location.Can I do a nursing degree without qualifications? ›
If you have GCSEs at grade C or above, you can take the Access to HE Diploma route, which will allow you to get into university without A Levels. The Access to HE Diploma (nursing) includes; Three modules on Study Skills. 16 modules on notions of biology, physiology, anatomy, social care and health.Is the Open University a Recognised degree? ›
Happily, many employers and organisations worldwide do employ Open University graduates and understand that an OU degree is equal in academic standard to a degree from any other British university.Can you study nursing part-time? ›
The answer is, YES. There are many institutions that offer nursing courses for part-time studies.
As you can see from the data above, Rasmussen College-Minnesota is exceptionally difficult to get into. Not only should you be aiming for a 3.15 but also SAT scores around -. Getting into Rasmussen College-Minnesota is no easy feat and you will need to set yourself apart with more than just numbers and data.Is Rasmussen hard to get into? ›
It is a small institution with an enrollment of 300 undergraduate students. The Rasmussen - Green Bay acceptance rate is 100%. Popular majors include Nursing, Business Support Services, and Early Childhood Education. Graduating 43% of students, Rasmussen - Green Bay alumni go on to earn a starting salary of $27,500.Is Rasmussen College accredited for nursing? ›
Rasmussen University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, an institutional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.Is a 2 year nursing degree worth it? ›
The Benefit of an Associate Degree in Nursing
Rather, you are setting yourself up for success in many ways – For one, an ADN will qualify you to take the licensing exam and start working in the field within two years' time, putting you a step ahead other aspiring nurses pursuing a four-year bachelor's degree.
Research study after research study has proven that the safest hospitals have more BSN educated registered nurses than Associate's or diploma educated nurses.Is adn the same as LPN? ›
For instance, a licensed practical nursing (LPN) certificate only requires about a year of study, while an associate degree in nursing (ADN) requires two years of study. However, while LPN programs prepare students to become a licensed practical nurse, ADN programs lead to becoming a registered nurse (RN).What GPA is required for Rasmussen? ›
|High school GPA (minimum)||2.0|
|High school GPA||Required for all students|
|High school transcript or GED certificate||Required for all students|
|Interview||Required for some students|
Registered nurses in the Rasmussen University RN to BSN program can earn a BSN in as few as 12 to 18 months. For those who aren't already nurses, the standard BSN program at Rasmussen University can be completed in as few as 33 months.What GPA do you need to get into Rasmussen College? ›
|Area||Required||Required for Some|
|Minimum High School GPA (On 4.0 Scale)||2.0|
|Transcript of High School Record||√|
An associate's degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN) are the two most common fast track options. With each of these ways to receive nursing instruction, they require passing the NCLEX licensure examination.
If you're itching to enter the field, the fastest way to become a nurse would be taking the Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) route. While you wouldn't actually be an RN, you could complete a Practical Nursing program and be well on your way to launching a nursing career in as few as 12 months.What is the easiest nursing school to get into? ›
- B.S. Nursing (RN to BSN) Western Governors University. ...
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing: RN-to-BSN Purdue University Global. ...
- BS - Nursing RN to BSN Online at Arizona State University. ...
- Online CCNE-Accredited RN-to-BSN University of Maryland Global Campus.
All ADN requirements can be completed in approximately three years. The BSN is a registered nursing program available at the four year universities. All requirements for the BSN will take 4 to 5 years.Does Lone Star College have ADN program? ›
The Lone Star College offers a multiple entry/exit program of study in Associate Degree Nursing. The ADN Basic Track and the LVN/LP to ADN Transition Track lead to an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Nursing and eligibility to take the RN State Licensure Examination.Can I get an associate's degree from Lone Star College? ›
Associate of Arts Degree (AA)
An Associate of Arts is an academic transfer degree designed for students who will ultimately be pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree at a four-year college/university. At LSC, the AA degree is a generalized degree that will not list a specific major but will be called Associate of Arts.
Registered nurses in Texas earn an average of $79,120 per year (or $38.04 per hour).How much does a ADN RN Make in Texas? ›
Texas BSN Degree Holders vs ADN Degree Holders – Who Earns More?
|ADN||BSN||How Much More Does an RN with BSN Earn|
- Clinic Nurse. ...
- Traveling Nurse. ...
- School Nurse. ...
- Summer Camp Nurse. Average Annual Salary: N/A. ...
- Nurse Administrator. Average Annual Salary: $68,000. ...
- Public Health Nurse. Average Annual Salary: $56,000. ...
- Researcher Nurse. Average Annual Salary: $62,000. ...
- Home Health Nurse. Average Annual Salary: $64,000.
Most programs require at least a 2.5 GPA or higher. Some set their limit at a 3.0 GPA. This is important to find out during the research phase of your accelerated nursing program search.What is the shortest nursing program? ›
Certified Nursing Assistant
A CNA program is a fast-paced program that only takes a couple of months to fully complete. After graduation, students can enter the field right away, assisting nurses with patient work in a wide variety of settings.
- School Nurse. ...
- Labor and Delivery Nurse. ...
- Case Management Nurse. ...
- Nurse Educator. ...
- Parish Nurse. ...
- Travel Nurse.
- Nurse Educators. ...
- Institutional Nurses. ...
- Research Nurses. ...
- Public Health Nurses. ...
- Occupational Health Nurses. ...
- Case Management Nurses. ...
- Home Health Nurses. ...
- Clinic Nurses.
The Easiest Classes in Nursing School
- Social Sciences (Intro Psychology, Sociology, etc.)
- Intro to Speech (or Communication)
- English Composition.
- Using Information Technology.
- Write Down Your “Why” for Nursing. ...
- Choose a Nursing School with Multiple Start Dates. ...
- Ensure You Meet Admissions Requirements. ...
- Create a Professional Resume. ...
- Connect with Your Admissions Counselor. ...
- Start Your Prerequisites Early. ...
- Spend Time with Patients.
The main reason many programs are not easy to get into is because they lack the capacity to teach the number of applicants they receive. There is a shortage of nurses with master's degrees or doctorates that are willing to teach. There is also a shortage of clinical sites and classroom space.Can I fast track nursing degree? ›
Accelerated or shortened courses are available in certain clinical professions such as nursing and the allied health professions. Typically, these courses allow graduates to undertake training in two years instead of three or four.What college has the easiest nursing program? ›
Based on admission criteria and statistics, the University of Kentucky is the easiest nursing school to get into. 4. What are the admission requirements for nursing school in the US? Just like medical school, the admission requirements for nursing school in the US are comprehensive.Is an ADN still good? ›
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, there is a national nursing shortage, and this means that Registered Nurses who have their ADN are in high demand.Is ADN to BSN online hard? ›
They are fast-paced and cover a great deal of information quickly. Because of this time restriction, some individuals find the RN to BSN program challenging. However, the courses and material within the program are in line with other nursing programs and will evoke similar difficulties as others.