The Associates Degree in Nursing, or the ADN, continues to be one of the most popular avenues to a solid career as a nurse. Community colleges across the country remain the stronghold for delivery of these programs. But besides the ADN degree track most community colleges also provide a practical nurse program. The push is on in the industry to get vocational nurses on the job and able to provide skillful patient support for instances in which the RN staff is already spread wafer-thin. Yes, you could have a fist-full of high-quality nursing degree programs right within your region, and well within reach.
The nursing Associates degree is skills-heavy, but built to put highly trained nurses into healthcare facilities ready to hit the ground running. You get consistent and latest instruction that prepares you to function according to the accepted standards of nursing. The second facet to this curriculum is its future ability to dovetail nicely with the final two years of a Bachelors degree. Many nurses spend a few years on the job after earning their ADN, only to return to school to finish their Bachelors in the very popular RN-to-BSN degrees.
Expect a community college nursing program to involve you for about 2 years. You can live close by and commute and have a flexible enough schedule to hold down a job. Community college was designed to service the community and provide career-centric training to those unable to attend a four-year or beyond traditional campus.
The degree capstone is the National Council Licensing Exam, or the NCLEX.
Faculty, at the community college level, are usually culled from the region and most divide time between teaching and working as professionals within their chosen field—in this case, nursing. This is one of the biggest advantages to a CC program—access to cutting edge industry know-how via faculty pros.
What you might also get more of at the community college nursing school is assistance with job placement, resume or CV assistance, and career direction and advice. Should you need remedial work with any tough skills or lessons this is the place to get the help you require without being rushed.
Again, because the nation’s community college system was designed as a career- or vocation-centric academic environment, most programs feature flexible course offerings. You will likely have the option to choose among courses offered during the day, evenings, and even weekends.
If you consider a community college nursing program take the time to talk to admissions personnel about possible financial aid options. Generally you can expect to qualify for some federal student loans, but you might also have opportunities to apply for local scholarships and grants, meet eligibility for state-based nursing student loans or reimbursement programs, or access other funding avenues you may not otherwise be privy to.
If there’s any disadvantage to attending a community college for a nursing degree it could be this:
The nursing industry is wide open to people from every walk of life. You have few prerequisites to this course of study. At the same time you’ll discover your classmates may comprise a diverse cross-section: college-age students, career-changers, older students—all of whom study on different levels. If you’re sharp as a whip you might be frustrated with the pace of some courses. At the same time, it could be you struggling with the coursework.
Consider checking out your regional community colleges for the available nursing programs.