Online Associate Nursing (ADN) Programs 2021

Registered nurses care for patients in hospitals and doctor’s offices. An associate degree in nursing (ADN) meets the requirement for an RN license.

October 19, 2021

reviewed by ACO Rankings Team
Online Associate Nursing (ADN) Programs 2021

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Online associate nursing programs enable LPNs and LVNs to take the next step toward becoming an RN. Registered nurses care for patients in hospitals and doctor’s offices. An associate degree in nursing (ADN) meets the requirement for an RN license in every state.

During an associate in nursing program, students strengthen their patient care and nursing skills. After earning an ADN, graduates benefit from above average salaries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nurses earn a median annual salary of over $73,000. 

Our list ranks the most affordable online associate in nursing programs to help prospective nurses find the best fit for their budget and career goals.

Frequently Asked Questions People Ask About Nursing

true Q. What is the difference between ADN and RN?

An ADN trains students for the NCLEX-RN exam and nursing careers. An RN, or registered nurse, holds a state license to practice nursing.

true Q. How long does it take to get a degree in nursing?

Earning an associate in nursing typically takes two years for full-time students.

true Q. What can I do with an associate in nursing?

An ADN meets the requirements for entry-level roles including pediatric nurse, acute care nurse, and emergency nurse. It also qualifies graduates for RN licensure.

true Q. Is it hard to get a nursing job with an associate degree?

Many hospitals and healthcare organizations hire RNs with an associate degree. Nurses with an RN can also enroll in an RN-to-BSN program to complete a bachelor's degree.

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Why Get a Degree in Nursing?

An online degree in nursing offers several professional and personal benefits, including career advancement, increased earning potential, and schedule flexibility.

A nursing associate degree meets the requirement for an RN license. After earning their degree, graduates take the NCLEX-RN exam and apply for a state RN license. Registered nurses earn a median annual salary of over $73,000. Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and other health professionals can increase their earning potential by getting a nursing associate degree. Online associate in nursing programs prioritize flexibility. Most use an asynchronous format, allowing healthcare professionals to arrange coursework around their irregular schedules. Current LPNs, medical assistants, and other healthcare professionals can advance into RN jobs with an ADN. An associate in nursing degree may also prepare graduates for an RN-to-BSN program. A distance learning format makes ADN programs more accessible. Prospective applicants can research the most affordable program rather than restricting their search to local nursing schools.

Courses in Nursing

A nursing associate degree prepares graduates for the NCLEX-RN exam and an RN license. ADN courses develop knowledge and skills required for entry-level nursing careers. Nursing students learn about human anatomy, medical terminology, pharmacology, and nursing practice.

The curriculum includes specialized courses in maternal nursing, pediatric nursing, and emergency nursing for enrollees pursuing specialized careers after graduation. During an ADN program, degree-seekers complete practicum hours and hands-on training through labs and simulations.

This section introduces common nursing courses. While each nursing program sets its own curriculum, many feature the following options.

Scholarships for Nursing Students

Nursing students qualify for many scholarships, including ones for learners pursuing their RN license in an online program. Professional associations, private foundations, and corporations all support nurses through scholarships. In addition to the opportunities listed below, aspiring nurses should research scholarships based on their state, school, or nursing specialty.

Scholarships for Nursing Students
Scholarship Amount Who Can Apply

A Nurse I Am Scholarship

$2,500 Nursing students pursuing an RN license, including those in online associate in nursing programs, qualify for the scholarship. Applicants can enroll either full time or part time, but must have begun their coursework by Jan. 31, 2021.

Barbara Rhomberg Excellence in Nursing Scholarship

$1,000 The scholarship supports nontraditional students pursuing a nursing degree. Applicants must enroll full time in an undergraduate nursing program with at least a three-year gap between high school and their college enrollment.

Most Affordable Online Associate in Nursing Programs 2021

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