AA Degree in Nursing

  1. Hey, I am a little confused with how the AA degree works. I am going to be attending Broward College South Campus this August. I plan to finish with my Nursing AA in 2 years.

    My question is... when I graduate BC am I eligible to work in a hospital already as a nurse? Will i be ready to take my board exam?

    I plan to transfer my credits to FIU so i would be doing a RN-BSN program correct?

    Im just confused about graduating in 2 years as an RN or in 4 years as an RN... any info would help!
  2. Visit ash<3 profile page

    About ash<3

    Joined: Jun '09; Posts: 4
    from US


  3. by   Daytonite
    in order to work as an rn in your state you will need to graduate from a board approved rn program (which i am sure is what broward [community] college south has), take the nclex exam and pass it to become licensed as an rn in florida. licensure as an rn is the legal authorization to work as an rn and can only be granted by the state you live in which is florida. it is not much different from getting a license to be permitted to drive a car except that nursing is much more complicated than driving a car and requires greater preparation so the state requires that you must attend specialized training. you are choosing a training program at broward [community] college south. however, many universities as well as some hospital based programs also offer rn training at the end of which their students are qualified to take the exam (nclex) to become licensed as rns.

    an aa degree is a rank given to a student by a college or university after completing a specified course of study at their institution. a university offers a bachelors degree when their course of study is completed. a hospital based training program will give a diploma to the students who complete its training program. a college, university or hospital training program, however, has no authority to grant any kind of nursing license. they merely train and prepare people so they can take the licensing test. it is possible to complete an aa, bsn or diploma in nursing, but fail the nclex exam and not be able to get a license just as it is possible for someone to complete a driver's education course but fail their driver's test with the state and not be able to get their permanent driver's license.

    when i graduate bc am i eligible to work in a hospital already as a nurse?
    you will only be eligible to work as an rn when you take the nclex and successfully pass it. only then will you receive your rn license. in some states (such as here in california) you can work as an interim permitee after you graduate from an rn program and you have registered to take the nclex. as an interim permitee you can work under the supervision of an rn doing rn work. (this is real similar to having a temporary driver's license and only being allowed to driver when you are with a licensed driver.) i do not know if florida allows this, otherwise, the answer is no, you cannot work as a nurse (rn) until you get your rn license.
    will i be ready to take my board exam?
    when you graduate from an aa degree rn program you will be ready to take the board exam (nclex).
    i plan to transfer my credits to fiu so i would be doing a rn-bsn program correct?
    yes. however, check with fiu to make sure all your credits are going to transfer. i got my aa in nursing from a community college in california and ended up attending a university in ohio for my bsn. the university in ohio would not take any of my lower division nursing credits in transfer. they had their own idea of how they were going to grant lower division nursing credit. i also had a whole bunch of lower division credits in arts and science classes in addition to the upper division nursing credits that were required by the university in ohio that i had to fulfill in order for them to grant me my bachelor's degree. get a copy of fius college catalog (it should be online) and see what their credit hour requirements are to get a bachelor's degree.
    im just confused about graduating in 2 years as an rn or in 4 years as an rn
    just realize that there is a distinction between the terms rn (which is a legal term) and aa degree and bachelor's degree which are ranks you earn from institutions of higher learning.
    welcome to the wonderful world of academia!
  4. by   cgalio01
    If and when you graduate with an AAS (Associate in Applied Science) Degree and pass the State Boards (NCLEX) you are licensed as as RN in your state. The same is true if you graduated from a Nursing School or a BS Degree Program. All the graduates (no matter what type of school) take the exact same NCLEX. There are not different NCLEX for different degrees. We are all RN's. Each state has it's own tests that are developed by the State Education Dept. It is not always necessary to take the tests again is you move from state to state. You may have to just pay a license fee. You have to check with each state (where you want to move) to see what the requirements are. The same is true if you wish to, after you graduate with an AAS degree, go to another college to continue your education (even if it is in the same state). You will have to submit your transcript to the college and then they will let you know how many of your credits will be accepted by them and what credits will not. Then they will set you up with their required courses to complete you BS degree. You do not need a BS degree to work as an RN ever. I have had an AAS degree for the past 38 years and have worked as a floor nurse, head nurse and supervisor with this degree. The last place I worked the Asst Director of Nursing had an AAS degree. Good luck in whatever you decide.
    RN for NY
  5. by   ash<3
    thank you guys so much! I know the difference in terms of course, but maybe i named it wrong. Theres a difference between an AA degree and an AS degree. I applied to BC for my AA degree working under a dual-enrollment program where i am under the eyes of FIU. meaning after i do my english, psy, phi, bio ect. classes (60 credits) i am able to transfer to FIU and pursue my bachelors.

    but i was reading that the only difference between an AS degree and BSN is that with a BSN you have the opportunity to work management. but the pay as an RN is the same whether you studied 2 yrs or 4.

    is this tru or not?

    if that was the case then i would rather just do an AS degree and get it over with in 2yrs than waiting 4+

    what do you guys recommend i do?
  6. by   Daytonite
    i have been an rn for 30 years and started as an adn and went back for my bsn 10 years after getting my adn. it makes no difference if you have a 2-year or 4-year degree when you are working as a staff nurse. jobs pay you according to what the pay scale is for the job. however, there are certain jobs that you are not likely to qualify for unless you have a 4-year (bsn) degree. those are usually management and supervision jobs. my bsn program very specifically focused on leadership and there was no question that we were being trained to be in management positions after graduation. there is no question that a 4-year degree is probably going to open up opportunities to work in management for you. pay, however, is something employers have control over. in some places that i worked administrative and management positions paid either equally or only slightly more than staff nursing positions. it depends on what the people who head up the facility have decided. a nurse manager pretty much is required to be a member of all kinds of facility committees and spends the day dealing with administrative stuff. it becomes very easy to become detached from the patients if you want it that way. many places still view the staff rn as a highly skilled and highly paid laborer compared to the unit manager who is a pencil pusher that sits around at meetings all day. in general, an experienced staff nurse who works extra shifts in a specialty area can make a lot more than a manager. managers are generally not able to make overtime. when i processed the time cards for my employees i was always astounded that there were some staff nurses who made way more money than we managers, but it was because they were willing to work a lot of overtime or worked in an area where they had to work on call in addition to their regular shifts such as the or. as a manager i was never able to get paid extra money (overtime) for working on staff to cover for staff shortages (and i had to do that a lot at one place that i worked as a manager). all we were allowed was compensatory time off which was a joke because they can never give it to you and it was a reason i quit one unit manager job. in general, i think you will find people who are disillusioned with nursing management. what happened to me wasn't unusual and as a result more and more non-nurses are being hired into unit management positions as nurses are smartening up and refusing to be taken advantage of in management positions in this way. i felt more taken advantage of as a manager than i ever was as a staff nurse.

    i got my bsn because i wanted the knowledge and the degree. that is something that can never be taken away from me. and there is no doubt that it improved the way i practiced my nursing. it also put me in line for leadership jobs. however, after my experiences in nursing management, it is my choice to stay at a staff nurse level. any knowledge you get will always be put to use. my advice is to always aim to be the best that you can be. do it for yourself first.
  7. by   cgalio01
    Just as the above writer says, the BSN is looked at as a managerial position and sometimes, not always required. Each facility awards a different amount of money for your degrees, so it depends. Your hourly salary is also decided by each place that you work. Some managerial positions are "salaried", which means that you get a certain salary for the year regardless of how many hours you work. Then there are "hourly" salaries, which means you are paid by the hour. Overtime is another story, each facility has it's own policy to deal with this. For example, one place I worked, I was a Unit Manager, I was paid $27.50/hr, overtime was paid at time and 1/2. At the next facility I worked I was paid $35.00/hr and overtime was again time and 1/2. The jobs were identical and only 7 minutes drive from each other. The benefits were also identical. So you need to look around and see what the rate of pay is at each of the facilities you are looking into. Oh by the way I have an Associates Degree with 38 years experience. So the base pay is one thing then they calculate in experience pay and both these facilities awarded $250.00/year for people with BS degrees (which is one of the reasons I did not go back to school 38 years ago, in my opinion it was not worth it financially) Some facilities cap the experience pay at a number of years, so you could have 10 years or 38 years and still have the same dollar amount of "experience pay", does not seem right for people who stay in a facility for their whole careers. Also pay attention to the benefit package and retirement package, compare those too. All these things are important as well as number of patients you are responsible for and staff/patient ratios. They may pay you a great hourly rate but refuse to pay overtime (they blame the fact that there is too much work or not enough staff on "your" poor time management, they never accept responsibility for over working you). I know this sounds all overwhelming but I wanted to give you as much info as possible. The only place that you will find that the benefits/etc do not change from place to place is if you work for the Veterans Administration. If I knew better way back then I would have signed up with them. There are alot of advantages in that system including retirement. Hope this helps.