Nursing 2 Year Programs
You have a couple of options when it comes to RN education, including a two-year or four-year degree. You may wonder what the main differences in the degree programs are and which degree would be the right fit for you. The first step in deciding what type of nursing degree to pursue is learning more about your choices.
Associate degree programs (ASN)
Associate degree programs in nursing generally take between 21 and 24 months to complete. Some schools may have prerequisites that need to be completed prior to admission into their nursing programs. Requirements will vary by school, but classes such as math, anatomy, nutrition and microbiology may sometimes be required before you start.
Two-year associate degree programs are offered at private vocational schools and community colleges. In addition to nursing classes, degree requirement classes, such as humanities, communication and social science classes, may need to be taken. Nursing classes and clinical rotations are also part of an associate degree program.
Nurses who earn their ASN and pass their licensing exam often work in many of the same settings as those with a four-year degree. Nurses with an associate degree work in varied types of nursing and departments including the intensive care unit, mental health, pediatrics and the emergency department.
There are some advantages to choosing this route to become a registered nurse. The most obvious advantage in a two-year RN program is that you will complete your education quicker than if you attended a bachelor’s degree program. Earning your RN license in two years gets you into the workforce faster and allows you to start earning money. Fewer years of schooling also equate to spending less on tuition, which may also be seen as an advantage.
The downside of getting an associate degree instead of a bachelor’s in nursing is it may limit you further down the line. After you gain experience in bedside patient care, you may eventually want to move in another direction in your nursing career. Some areas of nursing require a BSN degree, which means you may have to go back to school later in life. Going back to school later in your career may be challenging if you also have other responsibilities, such as children.
Also, if you put off going for your bachelor’s degree and go the shorter route, you may never go back to school. Life happens, and before you know it, you may be in different place in your life when juggling a job and school would not work.
Bachelor’s Degree Programs (BSN)
Most bachelor’s degree programs in nursing take four years to complete and are offered at colleges and universities. Four-year nursing programs also require clinical rotations and nursing classes, but they also incorporate a liberal arts education along with nursing education. In addition, theory-based courses in disease management, leadership and research may be included in the curriculum.