The life expectancy of a majority of Americans has increased substantially not only because of changing lifestyles but also because of vastly improved health care systems. But even then more health care professionals like physicians, surgeons and nurses are still in great demand, especially that of nurses. The health care industry: it has now become an “industry” is advancing by offering career choices by way of more opportunities for nursing education and other options.
One of the recently options available in the health care educational system is the Associate’s Degree in Nursing. Though in its nascent stage it is fast gaining approval in the industry. While there exist some differences in the training of an Associate and a Bachelor, many health care institutions such as hospitals, nursing homes and physician’s clinics are wakening up to the fact that there is no substantial difference in the duties that can be performed by an Associate and a Bachelor in nursing. But are they the same?
Obviously there has to be. The main difference is the time frame in which you obtain an Associate degree compared to that of a Bachelor’s degree. You can get an Associate’s in a period of two years. This is also called a “fast track” education and there are many such Associate degree plans available. Most of them are available through technical training institutions or community colleges. Now, even some universities are offering fast track degrees as a part of their curriculum.
Compared to an Associate program, a Bachelor’s takes four years to complete. Some individuals who already have a few hours of college training on their hands may be able to complete it a little earlier, especially if complimented by some form of summer schooling. But without exception getting a Bachelor’s degree in any discipline, including nursing, will take a full four years.
Well, if you can get an Associate’s in two years, why go in for a four year Bachelor’s degree? Though most health care institutions are willing to accept either of the two, there is a difference in their respective pay packets, with the holders of Bachelor’s expecting to be paid more. One of the plus points about getting an Associate degree s that you can start earning and work your way to a Bachelor’s at the same time. Study while you earn.
So what is the actual difference? An important point pointed out by the advocates of the Associate degree is that the Bachelor’s requires the study of subjects not relevant to the practice of nursing; like a completion of the requirements of physical education, history and communication among others. Some of them include mathematics and science courses that are above the requirements of an two-year Associate degree.
By comparison, a “Block” format is used in an Associate’s program, where, instead of taking separate classes for algebra and chemistry, the student may take an afternoon class combining the two with more emphasis on the relevance of the subject to their chosen field.
There are some who insist that a nurse should undergo a full four year term of study and that there is no substitute for a Bachelor’s degree. But whatever be the pros and cons of an Associate degree, as long as there is a demand for nurses and others in the industry, the pace of the training is immaterial as long as it is adequate.