If you aspire to be a registered nurse (RN), earning an associate degree in nursing, or ADN, is the fastest way to kick-start your career. Considering that your training will prepare you not only for your career, but also for passing the NCLEX-RN exam, it is crucial to choose the right program. Read on to pick up some useful tips for choosing the right ADN program.
- Consider Your Long-Term Career Goals - Like most aspiring nurses, you probably have specific goals related to your career. Perhaps you would like to remain a staff nurse throughout it because you prefer working closely with patients. Then again, maybe you would like to eventually be head nurse or even a nurse educator. While selecting an ADN program, consider how it will help you achieve your long-term goals. If you want to move into more advanced positions, for example, you might choose an ADN program from a school that also offers an ADN-to-BSN bridge program.
- Choose A Convenient Location - Unless you enroll in an ADN program that is primarily conducted online, you will have to attend classes on a regular basis. With that in mind, select a program that is within close proximity of your home and job. The last thing that you need is to face a long commute just to get to and from school. By choosing a nearby program, you will have a much easier time getting to class on time, and it will be easier in general to complete your training.
- Explore Online Options - If you need to hold down a full-time job and handle other responsibilities while working toward your ADN, you are in good company. In fact, so many people do this that many ADN programs are largely conducted online for convenience. The best ones are asynchronous programs, which means that students are given assignments and then allowed to complete them on their own schedules. Keep in mind, however, that in-person clinical training still needs to be completed at local facilities.
- Make Sure That The Program Has The Right Credentials - Nothing would be more crushing than to complete your ADN program only to learn that it's not accredited and that you are therefore not eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN. Avoid this issue by confirming that any program that you consider has the right credentials. The right ADN program will be accredited by either the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, or CCNE, the National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission, or NLNAC, or both.
- Investigate Tuition And Financial Aid - There is no point in enrolling in an ADN program if you can't afford it. Luckily, prices for such programs vary widely, so it is usually possible to find a program to suit just about any budget. While you are at it, look to see if you are eligible for any type of financial aid. Even if you only qualify for a small amount, it will make it easier for you to afford the ADN program of your choice.
- Ask About Clinical Training - As a part of your ADN training, you will have to complete in-person clinical training. This portion of your training will most likely be conducted at a local hospital, clinic, nursing home, or other facility. Before enrolling in an ADN program, find out how they handle their clinical training requirement. Will it be conducted at the type of facility where you'd like to work someday? If at all possible, stick with programs that carry out clinical training at the kinds of facilities where you'd like to work. That way, you can see for yourself whether that type of environment is right for you.
- Check Pass Rates For The NCLEX-RN - The primary goal of any ADN training program is to prepare students to take and pass the NCLEX-RN, which they must do in order to receive their RN licenses. You can get a strong idea about how well any given program prepares students for this crucial exam by asking what percentage of its students pass the NCLEX-RN. Needless to say, you should avoid programs that have subpar NCLEX-RN pass rates, as this strongly suggests that the training isn't adequate enough. Stick with programs that have pass rates of 90 percent or higher.
In just a few short years, you can complete an ADN program, earn your associate degree in nursing, and be eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN. After passing the exam, you will be licensed as RN and start looking for jobs. Give yourself the best odds of a smooth, easy time by choosing the right ADN program.