Home >> California >> Arcadia >> Associate Degrees In Nursing


Nursing School Degree Programs Arcadia California

How to Pick the Right RN Training Program near Arcadia CA

Arcadia CA Registered Nurse with Doctor and PatientFinding the right nursing program near Arcadia CA may seem like a challenging project, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least expensive school or the one that is local to your home is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are several important additional considerations to investigate before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree alternatives that are offered as well as what the functions of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Arcadia CA RN taking blood pressure of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, including Arcadia CA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Observing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Taking care of health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degree Options

Arcadia California RN assisting surgeon

There is more than one degree option available to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Arcadia California area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program made available by California community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at California colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
  • Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is commonly a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

Once a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to contact the California board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Degrees

Arcadia California student attending nursing classes onlineAttending nursing programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend classes for some Arcadia CA students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and family commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Arcadia CA or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other schools.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping confirm that you get a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in California for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the California school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Arcadia CA healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN colleges you are looking at what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Arcadia CA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Arcadia CA area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Enroll in the Best Arcadia CA Nursing School

Selecting the right nursing program is arguably the most important step to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous aspects that you should think about when selecting a nursing program. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this content, it is essential that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community.  By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Arcadia CA.