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Can I get an associate degree in nursing online?

    With online classes and degree programs becoming increasingly popular and providing more flexibility for students, the range of the types of degrees that are available online is expanding, too. You might not even realize the types of degrees that can be completed online or a hybrid of online and in-person — including associate degrees in nursing.

    If you’re interested in pursuing nursing and considering an associate degree in the field, there are options to complete your degree online. That being said, depending on your school, you may need to complete on-campus or in-person clinical requirements, so it’s essential to review your program’s specific requirements before enrolling to make sure it meets your needs.

    Continue reading to learn more about associate degrees in nursing and online programs for the degree.

    What’s an associate degree in nursing?

    An associate degree in nursing is an undergraduate two-year college degree that provides students with the core knowledge and clinical skills to work in nursing.

    Students who graduate with their associate degree in nursing may be eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam, which they’ll need to take to become a licensed Registered Nurse (RN).

    What are the benefits of completing an associate degree in nursing?

    An associate degree in nursing can provide you with the following benefits:

    • The necessary knowledge and the credentials to take the NCLEX-RN exam
    • It allows you to explore the nursing field without committing to a four-year program
    • You’ll potentially be able to transfer your credits from the program to a four-year degree upon completion
    • It can be a stepping stone to various careers in healthcare, many of which are in high demand, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

    Although an associate degree in nursing and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) both prepare graduates to take the NCLEX-RN exam, graduates with a BSN (a diploma from a four-year program) typically have more advanced responsibilities than RNs. They may also receive higher pay than students with an associate degree in nursing.

    That being said, graduates of an associate degree in nursing potentially have more flexibility — they can choose to enter the workforce faster or use the credits they've accumulated from their associate degree to enter a four-year program.

    Online associate degree in nursing programs

    When picking an associate degree in nursing program, it’s important to make sure the program is accredited. If you don’t attend an accredited program, you won’t be able to receive your RN license. You also won’t be able to receive federal financial aid.

    As you research programs, consider checking out the below recognized accredited bodies for more information:

    Below is a list of accredited online associate degree in nursing programs. This is by no means a comprehensive list but rather a sampling of some available options. It’s important to review each school’s admission requirements and curriculums to determine which program may be the best fit for you.

    Columbia College (Columbia, MO)

    The Associate of Science in Nursing degree at Columbia College provides students with simulation lab experiences and clinicals that prepare them to pass the NCLEX-RN exam. Students who have prior nursing experience in some capacity or are starting on this path for the first time can apply.

    University of Arkansas Community College (Batesville, AK)

    Qualified students can enroll for the associate nursing degree program and, upon graduation, will be eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam.

    Minnesota West Community and Technical College (Worthington, MN)

    The online associate degree at Minnesota West is designed for licensed practical nurses who want to obtain their Associate of Science Nursing degree. After completing this degree, students will be eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam.

    Excelsior University (Albany, NY)

    Excelsior University offers an Associate in Applied Science in Nursing and an Associate in Science in Nursing degree to licensed practical nurses, licensed vocational nurses, and certain military personnel. Students can progress at their own pace using online courses.

    Northwest Career College (Las Vegas, NV)

    Nursing assistants or students who’ve completed a nursing assistant course can apply for this two-year program. Upon completing the associate in nursing degree, graduates will be eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam.

    Hybrid programs

    These programs combine in-person learning with online courses. If you’re also looking to interact with your professors and other students but also like the flexibility of online courses, hybrid programs may be a good fit for you.

    John A. Logan College (Carterville, IL)

    Students who’ve completed a practical nursing program can apply for the Associate Degree Nursing program here.

    Nightingale College (Salt Lake City, UT)

    The associate degree in nursing program at Nightingale College allows students to complete lecture-style classes online and do experiential learning activities at the college’s healthcare partner facilities.

    Northwestern Michigan College (Traverse City, MI)

    At Northwestern Michigan College, students will receive both online and hands-on training to prepare them for a nursing career and make them eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam.

    Rasmussen College (Orlando, FL)

    Rasmussen College’s Associate Degree Nursing program provides students with interactive on-campus labs that simulate real-life experiences. Students can finish the program in 21 months and will be eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam upon graduation.

    Sampson Community College (Clinton, NC)

    At Sampson, the Associate Degree Nursing coursework includes classes on healthcare, nursing practice, and the holistic individual. In addition, students will be prepared to take the NCLEX-RN exam after completion.

    Western Iowa Tech (Sioux City, IA)

    To apply for the Associate Degree Nursing program at Western Iowa Tech, students must be licensed practical nurses or have completed the coursework to be licensed practical nurses. The program will prepare students to work in the nursing field and to take the RN licensing exam.

    Financial aid for online associate degree in nursing programs

    Students seeking an associate degree in nursing are eligible for federal financial aid as long as the program they’re attending is accredited, even if the program is online. It’s essential to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) to become eligible for federal financial aid.

    Depending on your financial need and other factors, you may be eligible for other types of financial aid beyond federal financial aid, including scholarships and grants. You may be eligible for scholarships specifically available to those studying to be nurses, for instance, so research what options are available. There’s no limit to the number of scholarships and grants you can apply for, so this can be a helpful way to help cover some of the costs.

    Nursing students may also be eligible for nursing tuition reimbursement from employers to help pay for nursing school.

    Final thoughts

    An associate degree in nursing can help you break into the healthcare industry. A nursing degree completed online (or a hybrid of online and in-person) can give you flexibility while you complete the degree. If you want to complete your associate degree in nursing online, thoroughly research the program and its requirements to ensure it’s the right fit for you.