How to Earn an ADN Certificate or Diploma?

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Mari Estefani Carvajal

Content Writer At Gradehacker

Where can you study to earn an ADN certification?

If you are thinking about becoming a registered nurse, already have a CNA or LPN certification, and want to continue growing into your career path, the next step is to earn an Associate Degree in Nursing.

You can become one by studying in:

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If you are thinking about becoming a registered nurse but don’t have too much time to enroll in a four-year college degree, then the ADN certification is the answer you seek.

An associate degree in nursing (ADN) is the fastest way for you to become a registered nurse since the degree only lasts 2 years, and community colleges and technical colleges usually give the programs.

Here at Gradehacker, the number one must-trusted resource for non-traditional students, we have years of experience helping nursing students and know what’s best for them. That’s why we will give you all the information you need about the ADN and how to earn it.

What are The ADN Certification Requirements?

The ADN certification requirements can vary depending on the school you are taking the program, but you have to know that the admission process to a career in nursing school is really competitive. 

The ADN program admission requirements are:

But what is the application process after you have all the educational requirements?:

1. Pass the HESI A2 exam:

Once you have your diploma, a good high school GPA, your SAT score, and all the admissions requirements, you must take the HESI A2 entrance exam and be approved with a minimum score.

The Health Education Systems Incorporated (HESI) is an entrance examen that is required for many nursing programs and is part of the the admission criteria for the ADN acceptance, but sometimes it depends on the college you are taking the program.

According to, the HESI consists of a 4-hour exam to determine if the applicant qualifies for acceptance into the ADN nursing program. Also, schools determine which is the minimum passing score, so you have to be sure which are the requirements in your college.

There are 326 questions, and includes nine sections on the following subjects:

It’s important to highlight that schools can change the test and exclude some information, and the point of it is to discover your learning style.

2. Apply to an Accredited ADN Program:

Once you approve this exam, you are finished with the application process and ready to apply for an ADN nursing program.

You always have to be sure that you are attending an accredited nursing school by the board of nursing of your state,  The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

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Where Can I Study to Become an ADN?

Choosing an ADN certification program is a really important decision, so that’s why we are going to give you some of the best colleges where you can prepare:

The Seminole State ADN nursing program has one of the best NCLEX-RN licensure pass rates, and students find jobs really fast after graduating. 

This school has two types of ADN programs: full-time and part-time. The tuition cost is $3,131, and it lasts two years. Also, it’s accredited by the ACEN.

If you want to know more information, you can send them an email through this address: or go to their website.

Howard College’s ADN certification takes two years to complete. The tuition costs $2,460 if you are In-State and $5,470 if you are out-of-state.

The ACEN accredits it, and if you want to know more information about their academic program, you can contact them through this email: or go to their website.

The Big Bend ADN nursing program accepts applicants in the spring and starts in the fall. Consists of about 24-28 students per course, depending on the clinical spaces. To enter this college, you must have some experience in patient care.

The tuition cost is $58.94 per credit if you are a resident and $59.79 per credit if you aren’t a resident. The ACEN accredits it, and if you would like to have more information, you can access their website or contact them through this email:

The Asheville ADN nursing program is a high-quality ADN educational program that offers two start dates yearly: spring and fall. They don’t have an online program.

It lasts two years, and the tuition cost for NC residents is $1,216 per year, and for non-NC residents, it is $4,288 per year. You need to know that this is a full-time tuition.

If you are interested, you can get more information through their website or send an email to this address:

The Southeastern 2-year degree is another great option. The tuition cost varies depending on your location:

The ACNE accredits it, and the classes usually start in March. Go to their website or send an email here to get more information:

Financial Plan

When considering enrolling in ADN tuition, it is important to take into account the financial help. Take the time to assess your financial needs and explore the various payment options available to determine how you will pay for your nursing education:

What Are You Going To Learn?

The ADN certification will give you the essential knowledge and skills needed to become a registered nurse. All programs will be comprised of two major components: classwork and clinical experience.

During your clinical experience, you can apply what you have learned in the classroom to real-life patient care situations. You will work alongside experienced nurses, healthcare teams, and professionals in many healthcare institutions like hospitals, clinics, and long-term care facilities.

And regarding the classroom classes include:

You’ll also have to complete clinical rotations to gain hands-on experience and put into practice your nursing skills. After you complete the classwork and clinical hours, you will be prepared to graduate and get you.

But also, you have to know that once you graduate, that doesn’t mean that you can start working immediately; you will have to pass the  NCLEX-RN exam to get the nursing license, and then you will be ready to go to the job field.

What Are The ADN Responsabilities?

You will become a registered nurse after you graduate and pass the NCLEX-RN exam.

According to the  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the registered nurse responsibilities are:

The responsibilities of a registered nurse can significantly vary depending on the organization’s structure and work environment.

ADN Jobs

Registered nurses can work in various workplace settings, including physician’s offices, outpatient clinics, healthcare facilities, and patients’ homes.

The BLS  indicates that the annual salary of a registered nurse is $81.200 and $39 per hour. The job outlook for this career is 6% faster than the average. Also, the payment may vary according to the institution you are working:

You’ll be eligible to apply for any entry-level RN position. And while you gain more experience, you will have more opportunities. Here are just a few more of the amazing career opportunities you can get with an ADN degree:

1. Hospital Nurses

A hospital nurse is an RN who works in a hospital. They interact directly with patients in bedside positions. Hospital nursing can involve specializing in a specific department. Examples of these specializations include, but are not limited to:

The nursing field can be demanding as it involves handling multiple patients daily and potentially being on call.

2. Travel Nurses

Travel nurses collaborate with recruiters 1and agencies to fill temporary positions at hospitals around the globe.

Travel nursing provides a great opportunity for registered nurses with an ADN who desire a flexible career that involves constant mobility. Generally, a minimum of two years of nursing experience and an active RN license are required to have a career as a travel practical nurse.

Due to the high demand and strict requirements, travel nurses receive higher salaries than other registered nurse jobs.

However, it is important to note that having an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) may limit your options as a travel nurse, as Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) trained RNs have more opportunities.

3. Home Nurses

Home health nursing is a flexible job opportunity that can be pursued with an ADN degree, providing regular changes in scenery and significant independence.

Home health nurses are employed by agencies or organizations that send nursing care to patients’ homes. These nurses offer a variety of services based on individual patient needs.

Academic Outlook

The ADN certification is a great career with many advancement opportunities. However, some registered nurse positions will require that you have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing to be accepted, and that can limit you. 

Gaining experience as an RN can potentially open up opportunities for more senior positions, but the promotion criteria can vary depending on the employer, with some placing more emphasis on merit rather than educational qualifications.

But if you don’t want to leave your future in doubt, we highly recommend pursuing a BSN as a professional goal and have no limits as a registered nurse. 

Obtaining additional education can provide a clearer direction for career growth, and the good thing is that with your ADN, you have a potential educational path.

Many RN to BSN programs for ADN are available in colleges and universities. This step will give you a better income, more job opportunities, and unlimited nursing career paths.

Five Advantages of the ADN Diploma

While BSN-prepared nurses may have more opportunities for career advancement, obtaining an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) also offers several advantages. Here are five benefits of earning an ADN diploma:

1. Shorter Program Duration:

One of the main advantages of choosing the ADN route is the program duration. It typically takes around 2 years to complete but if you decide to make it in 3 is also possible.

This is a great advantage because becoming a registered nurse with a degree will take four years.

2. Less expensive:

ADN degrees are typically shorter and less expensive than BSN degrees.

This can be a major advantage for students looking to get into the workforce quickly or on a budget or for non-traditional students who don’t have too much time available and many responsibilities.

3. Entry-Level Position:

Graduates with an ADN are eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam, which allows them to become licensed registered nurses and provides access to entry-level nursing positions.

4. Career Mobility:

Many healthcare organizations offer tuition reimbursement programs or support for ADN nurses to obtain a BSN or higher degree, providing opportunities for career advancement and higher earning potential.

5. Diverse Employment Opportunities:

ADN-prepared nurses can pursue a wide range of employment opportunities in hospitals, long-term care facilities, community health organizations, and various other healthcare settings.

Earning an ADN offers a faster and more cost-effective path to becoming a registered nurse, making it an attractive option for many aspiring nursing professionals.

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ADN: The Fastest Way to Become a Registered Nurse

Obtaining an ADN certification is a great starting point for becoming a registered nurse.

You will have the necessary skills and knowledge to enter healthcare and pursue various career opportunities and advancement in only two years. You can apply for entry-level RN positions in hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities and pursue more career goals like a BSN.

If you decide to choose this nursing profession and need help with college, you can count on us to help you learn how to be more efficient and make academic life less stressful.

We hope this article helps you, and we will be happy to help you any time you need! 

If you want to be up to date on the nursing field, here are some blogs for you to see:

Picture of Mari Estefani Carvajal

Mari Estefani Carvajal

Mari Estefani Carvajal is a journalist passionate about writing, cinema, podcast, and multimedia production. She is a Content Writer at Gradehacker and helps non-traditional students life’s by creating creative content. You can find her on LinkedIn.