Associate Degree in Nursing: What are the differences between ADN, ASN, and AAS Nursing degrees?


Nursing careers can be achieved at almost any level, depending on your education. The variety of degrees can get confusing, so perhaps you are wondering about an Associate degree in Nursing and what are the differences between ADN, ASN, and AAS Nursing degrees?

Let’s briefly check out the Associate Degree in Nursing options!

The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program is a good starting point for someone who eventually aspires to be a Registered Nurse and would like to earn a BSN degree as well. Generally, you can easily enroll in an ADN program at your local community college or vocational school, and it will take two to three years to complete. You can then receive your nursing degree credentials issued at the associate level. 

Through an ADN program, you can expect to learn essential skills needed to take care of the basic needs of your patients. You will also be qualified to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to become a Registered Nurse (RN).

The Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) degree program is quite similar to the ADN program; however, it will focus more on clinical skills rather than academics. You will be required to receive hands-on training. 

In addition, your ASN degree program may focus more on science-related coursework. The ASN program will take two years to complete and will prepare you to take the NCLEX exam.

The Associate of Applied Science in Nursing (AAS) is not much different from the ASN degree program. In this application, your AAS degree may be considered a terminal degree; however, if you want to pursue a BSN program, additional coursework may be required first.

The AAS degree programs may also allow you to choose a specialization, like pharmacology, for example. 

To summarize, if you intend to earn your BSN degree… earning an ADN degree may be your best bet! And most importantly, remember this: Verify before signing up for an associate degree program in nursing that it is appropriately accredited to ensure your credits can be transferred if desired. 

No time to earn a degree? Check this out: The Top 10 Short-Term Healthcare Training Certification Programs

Malcolm Peralty
Chief Editor