Associate’s Degree in Nursing

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LPNs earn your ADN or BSN degree online in up to 1/2 the time and cost of traditional programs. All applicants must be either an LPN or LVN to apply.

Are You an LPN/LVN?:

Your Guide to an Online Associate Degree in Nursing

closeup of nurse working on laptop computer
closeup of nurse working on laptop computer

An Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is a two-year program for entry-level registered nurses (RNs). Much, but not all, ADN coursework can be taken online. That’s because in-person, hands-on clinical training is a crucial part of nursing education.

Why Consider an Online ADN Program?

Online nursing programs have become more popular in recent years, and for good reason: Getting a nursing education online offers flexibility and often allows students to dictate their own schedules. Because of this, online learning can be an ideal choice for a variety of students.

  • Busy parents: Trying to coordinate on-campus class times with the busy life of a parent can be a challenge. Online courses, which can be completed while your child is at school or asleep for the night, offer a more flexible alternative.
  • Students in remote areas: If you live outside of a city or need to relocate frequently, finding a convenient on-campus program might not be possible. Online programs solve that problem.
  • Employed individuals looking for a new career: If you’re someone with a job who is interested in switching to a nursing career, an online ADN program will allow you to continue working to cover tuition costs while attending school in your free time.

Even if you don’t fit into one of these categories, online learning might still be a good choice. Having the flexibility of completing courses online means things like sick days, car troubles, or bad weather won’t necessarily keep you from attending class.

Online degrees are widely accepted by the medical industry, so you can expect to be on a level playing field with the competition—for positions and salary—when you hit the job market.

What Is an Online ADN Program?

Because nursing programs require hands-on learning in a clinical setting, an ADN online program is really a hybrid program.

This means that you can take your classroom coursework at your convenience. Depending on a program’s format this could be by watching taped lectures or studying notes and other materials prepared by your professors.

Because nursing programs require hands-on learning in a clinical setting, an ADN online program is really a hybrid program.

You’ll do your hands-on training in person. This generally includes simulation labs and clinical rotations in different healthcare settings at local medical facilities, such as a hospital or outpatient clinic. You might be able to do this work on a schedule of your choosing as well.

Other Learning Formats

Not all hybrid programs—also called blended programs—are the same. For instance, some require students to attend class discussions or video lectures at a specific time using virtual collaboration software such as Canvas. In these situations, you’ll log in and have real-time discussions with your classmates and professor.

You’ll have to plan your schedule accordingly, but this format still allows you to attend class from home, with the added benefit of being able to engage with fellow students and ask questions.

Online ADN Curriculum

Online ADN programs will require the same coursework and level of learning that would be expected in a campus program. Classes that you’ll log on for could include:

  • Nursing fundamentals
  • Human physiology
  • Pharmacology concepts
  • Mental health nursing
  • Sociology

Courses like human physiology, anatomy, and microbiology often have an online and on-campus component. You’ll complete certain coursework virtually but still be required to attend labs related to these areas of study.

How Do Online and Campus Programs Differ?

Aside from format, online and campus programs also differ in some other ways that are worth noting.

  • Time to completion: On average, an ADN can be completed in about two years. That’s generally true for both online and on-campus programs. But with some online programs, it’s possible to finish more quickly. Some online programs will allow you to move at your own speed, meaning that if you complete a course, you can start another one without waiting for the beginning of a new quarter or semester.
  • Peer and professional interactions: Hybrid nursing programs generally don’t allow for the same amount of peer interaction as you might find in an on-campus program since much of your studies are completed independently. This means your hands-on learning experience will be vital to connect with other students and potential mentors, who can enrich your education.

Even though you’ll be heading to campus for a portion of your studies, you should consider whether the online component is a good fit for your learning style.

Students who succeed online often are self-motivated and don’t have trouble staying on top of their work.

While the ability to access assignments from anywhere is enticing, online learning can create challenges for some students. Nursing students who succeed online often are self-motivated and don’t have trouble staying on top of their work. You’ll still have in-person interaction with classmates and professors during labs, but that time will be limited.

Many schools offer a self-assessment where you can determine if a hybrid program is right for you. It will measure your ability to work independently and the strength of your organizational skills, among other things.

Tips to Help You Succeed in an Online Program

  • Create a dedicated study area in your home with no distractions.
  • Stay in touch with your professors. Use office hours and don’t be shy about asking questions.
  • Stay organized by keeping a schedule of due dates and folders for each class.