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.