I have a high school diploma and want to get an associates in nursing. How long will that take if I am a full time student at a local technical college?


Keith Carlson, Registered Nurse and Board Certified Nurse Coach

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Thanks for your question!

It's great that you already have your high school diploma, and it sounds like a community/technical college is in your future in terms of nursing education. Excellent choice! I also started my career with an Associate's Degree in Nursing (ADN) from a community college.

Most community college ADN programs are 2 years in length, but that generally doesn't include the prerequisites. You'll need to speak with an advisor at the school in order to ascertain exactly what the prereq's are, but there are often prereq's in English, math, anatomy and physiology, chemistry, psychology, human growth and development, and possibly sociology and a few electives. Based on your high school record, you may be able place out of some of those classes, but again, this is entirely up to the discretion of the nursing program.

I'd just like to make sure you know that there is a slow but steady movement towards requiring all nurses to have a Bachelor's Degree in Nursing, and some facilities are now only hiring nurses with a BSN. Still, many other facilities and institutions are very happy with ADN-prepared nurses. If your career will be a long one (and I hope it is!), I do recommend that you plan on doing a "RN to BSN bridge program" within a few years of completing your ADN and becoming a nurse. This will open many doors for you over the course of your career, but you'll be able to get a good start with the ADN first (although there are some position you will not be eligible to apply for).

All in all, you should be able to earn you'r ADN within three years.

Please let us know if you have any further questions, and good luck!

Babette Audant, Workforce administrator at community college

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Hello! at the community college where I teach, CUNY Kingsborough, the Nursing program is very competitive and demanding. Most students take three years to complete, and that is with a full time load. Afterwards, they must earn their BSN, which can take 18 to 24 months. Kingsborough has articulation agreements with several BSN programs, including an online program, that helps make the transition from community college to BSN seamless. Nursing continues to be a great career choice although the training requirements are climbing. In NYC, I have heard that more employers now expect work experience before hiring new RNs, which puts an additional burden on students to complete internships. In the NYC market, and likely many other labor markets across the US, if you are bilingual, you definitely have a competitive advantage! Best of luck.

Andrew Arroyo, Professor, Researcher, Father of four

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Hi! My wife went to a local private technical college for her associate's in nursing, passed her boards, and she is now a successful RN. She went through a full time accelerated program that took 15 months. However, as is noted in Keith Carlson's answer, the movement really is toward the BSN. My wife is now looking at programs where she can earn her BSN and then MSN to expand her opportunities, because being a floor nurse at a hospital is quite demanding on the body as nurses age. Don't get me wrong, she loves being a floor nurse, but she foresees challenges over the next 20 years just due to the pure physical stress. All in all, you are wise for going into nursing. Just remember to think long term -- not only about what will get you in the door immediately -- so that you can have a lasting, rewarding career helping people.

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