AA or AS? Help in deciding which

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    Hi all!! I'm currently in my first semester or nursing school and we have the option in getting either Associates of Arts or Associates of Science. I'm guessing toward going to AS because in my mind, I don't see nursing as an art, I see it more as a science. We've been told in class there's no difference in either when applying to jobs or further education like master's etc...what do you think? I already have 2 previous AS degrees and a Bachelor's degree in Kinesiology if that helps?
    Thanks!!
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    Sounds to me like you are actually in pre-nursing school.I'm guessing this is a private school? I don't know who said there is no difference but there is in AA and an AS in nursing but it's not the first time I'd heard an adviser give incorrect information. An Associate in Arts would be properly called pre-nursing degree. You CANNOT sit the NCLEX nor become a nurse by getting an AA degree. The primary function of an AA degree is to complete your prereqs and then transfer to university to get into the BSN program.
    An AS in nursing allows you to do the prereqs for Associate of Science in Nursing, commonly called ADN degree, which allows you to sit the nclex and become a RN. As you can see they are distinctly different degree. However, I'd say both of these options are not a suitable choice for you.
    Considering you already have an AS and a Bachelors degree in another field,many of your general education requirements would already be met. Your will be best to go the accelerated BSN route at a university. All you need to do is take the prereq nursing courses and apply to a university not a state college. It will save you lots of time and money in your particular case.
    Alternatively, you could also do the AA option since your general ed. stuff from your previous degree will transfer, then go for generic BSN where you will enter university nursing program as a junior. If you do the ADN (AS in nursing) now, eventually you will have to spend another year doing RN to BSN. Just get the BSN and be done with it in less than 2 years.
    Last edit by man-nurse2b on Aug 28, '13 : Reason: added info
    antania31 likes this.
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    No I am currently in nursing school. They have us the option to have an AA or AS in nursing. I went for AS. They said there is no diff, my instructors work as nurses in a hospital and they are the ones who said that. I didn't to an accelerated program because I didn't get into the one I applied and some other schools. I plan to just do RN-MSN.
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    The difference here, and I'm sure it is the same, is if you graduate with only an AA degree(pretty sure it is really an AAS or Associate of Applied Science) then you CANNOT transfer to a university as a Junior. There are certain classes that you need within the AS (pre baccalaureate) degree that make you eligible to start as a junior. Here in Oklahoma you would have to retake a bunch of stuff if you went to OU with a AAS which would be stupid since it would be a waste of time.
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    This is a very common question on allnurses.com. The AA degree transfers you to a university. The AS degree is to become licensed to get a job. I also had the option to go for AA or AS. I opted for the AA I know because I HAVE an AA (Associate in Arts ) degree. With an AA degree you can apply to both AS and BSN programs. There should really be no difference nationally.
    Anyways, An AA degree is fully accepted as entrance into University WITHOUT taking additional courses. By doing it this way I'm able to complete my BSN in only 18 months and save about 1.5 years. People who are saying there is no difference are simply misinformed.
    Anyways, to original poster,I suspect that the school AA option really means you will get 2 degrees an AA (Associate in Arts) and an AS in Nursing. Here's better advice, ignore what strangers are telling you online. Call up or visit the university where you plan to take the RN to MSN with the list of credit courses you have already taken and ask them which degree will transfer. Good planning could save you 1 or 2 years in reaching your goal. It's been discussed on allnurses.com many times the common routes to become an RN. The LPN route, AS (ADN) route and BSN route. Wish you luck.
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    Thank you!!
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    From my understanding, there could potentially be a problem if you do not have enough science classes in your pre-reqs
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    I should have mentioned the difference here between an AAS and AS is you need Statistics, 2 Humanities, Computer Concepts, College level Algebra(Instead of Concepts), Chemistry, Nutrition, and Anatomy and Physiology in two separate courses.
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    Quote from man-nurse2b
    An Associate in Arts would be properly called pre-nursing degree. You CANNOT sit the NCLEX nor become a nurse by getting an AA degree. The primary function of an AA degree is to complete your prereqs and then transfer to university to get into the BSN program.
    An AS in nursing allows you to do the prereqs for Associate of Science in Nursing, commonly called ADN degree, which allows you to sit the nclex and become a RN. As you can see they are distinctly different degree. However, I'd say both of these options are not a suitable choice for you.
    Not necessarily true; I doubt that there is much, if any, difference in either degree other than name. Further, it is likely that most states specify completion of an approved education program, rather than specifying a particular degree; I do know that this is what the NC Board of Nursing specifies on their website.

    A very quick Google search returned the following colleges that offer an AA degree allowing one to write the NCLEX after successful completion.




    @sbaker935, you should direct your specific questions to the school that you will be attending. I would suspect that the core courses would be the same for either degree. Further, if you complete the AA, it will likely have little impact if you opt to complete either a BSN or MSN, as most of these programs only require completion of either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, without specifying arts or sciences.

    Good luck in whichever program you choose!
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    Thank you everyone, I decided to go for AS and once I get my RN, ill aim for the RN-MSN plan.


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