General Requirements for Admission to an ADN Program
If you aspire to be a registered nurse, or RN, and want to kick-start your career as quickly as possible, earning your associate degree in nursing is a great option. While it takes around four years to earn a bachelor of science in nursing, or BSN, earning an ADN takes about half that time. The first step is to enroll in an accredited ADN program. Are you ready? Learn about the eight most important ADN program admission requirements below.
- Proof of Prior Education - ADN programs have minimum requirements regarding prior education. In most cases, you must show proof of having earned either a high school diploma or GED. Some programs make exceptions for students who are still enrolled in high school, so if you haven't graduated yet, but want to get your training going, be sure to consider this option.
- School Transcripts - Although admission requirements vary from one ADN program to the next, the majority of them require prospective students to provide official school transcripts. This is usually required so that the program can confirm that you maintained the minimum GPA required for admission. Minimum GPAs also vary by program, but many require that a student maintained a GPA of 2.0 or higher during high school. In most cases, you must have the transcripts sent directly from your high school to the program. Most will not allow you to provide them yourself.
- Prerequisite Classes - Oftentimes, to gain admission to an ADN program, you must demonstrate that you have completed certain prerequisite courses. Fortunately, most people already meet these requirements, as the types of classes required are typically mandatory in high school. Although the types of prerequisite classes vary, common ones include algebra, chemistry, physiology, microbiology, statistics, and nutrition.
- Pre-Entrance Exam - Even if you haven't completed one or more required courses prior to enrolling, you may be able to get around the issue by taking and passing a pre-entrance exam. Many ADN programs require all prospective students to take exams like the TEAS and the COMPASS. Standardized exams like these test students' knowledge of various subjects to ensure that they are ready to complete an ADN program. By passing such an exam, you can usually avoid having to take many prerequisite courses.
- Health Assessment - ADN programs include on-site clinical training. Because you will be working with actual patients, ADN programs must make sure that you are in good health prior to enrollment. Otherwise, you could inadvertently expose patients to various health issues. Most of the time, you can have your regular doctor complete a quick physical. From there, provide the ADN program with the completed paperwork from your doctor's office, and you will be good to go.
- CPR Certification - The vast majority of ADN programs require that incoming students possess some degree of CPR certification. There are four degrees of CPR certification: CPR-A, CPR-B, CPR-C, and CPR-HCP. Prior to applying to an ADN program, find out if CPR certification is required. If it is, find out which level is needed. If necessary, you can easily complete the necessary CPR certification course prior to beginning your ADN training. In some cases, ADN programs roll CPR certification into their curricula, so students can obtain their certifications while working toward their associate degrees in nursing.
- Criminal Background Check - To ensure that patients remain safe while working with ADN candidates, students who apply to ADN programs are typically required to undergo criminal background checks. More than likely, you will be asked to provide a fingerprint, which will then be used to run a background check on you. On most applications, prospective students are required to disclose if they have ever been convicted of any crimes. If you mark "no" on this section, but a background check reveals a prior conviction, you will most likely be denied entry into the program.
- Drug Screening - Finally, you will almost certainly be required to undergo drug screening before being admitted into any ADN program. Again, this is done for the safety of the patients who you will be working with during your clinical training. As long as you pass your drug screening, you should be admitted to the program of your choice without any issues.
As you can see, admission requirements for most ADN programs are fairly minimal. Check the requirements for the ADN program you are enrolling in to ensure that you are ready.