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 Nursing Education and Practice 

Facts About Registered Nurses (RNs)

  • Associate degree programs educate approximately 60% of new RNs.
  • All RNs—whether they hold an associate or bachelor's degree or a diploma—pass the RN licensure exam at the same rate and are authorized to provide the same scope of practice.
  • Associate degree RNs are a good economic and social investment, particularly vital to rural settings, since they are more likely to live and work in the states where they earn degrees.
  • In 2004–2005, associate degree RN programs turned away 3.3 qualified applicants for each student turned away from bachelor's degree RN programs (110,576 compared with 33,279).
  • Associate degree RN programs educate more minority nurses than do bachelor's degree programs (in 2004, 12,907 compared with 9,377).
  • Nearly half (47%) of RNs caring for patients in long-term care settings practice with the associate degree.
  • Nearly 21% of associate degree RNs obtain a second undergraduate RN (bachelor's) degree.
  • Associate degree RNs are eligible to pursue graduate degrees via approximately 163 master's-level (RN to MSN) programs, qualifying them to teach as well as expand their scope of practice and earning capacity.
  • An average of 98% of associate degree RNs are employed within six months of graduation.
  • Associate degree or diploma RNs account for 42% of nurse clinicians, 29% of clinical nurse specialists, 47% of head nurses, and 62% of supervisors.

Facts About Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs)

  • Two-year colleges educate more than 60% of LPNs.
  • Many community college LPN programs encourage graduates to earn the associate degree in nursing by completing a second year of nursing study—referred to as 1+1 programs.
  • The U.S. Department of Labor projects LPN job growth between 2004 and 2014 to be 17.1%, increasing from 726,000 to 850,000.
  • Nursing homes alone report a 13.2% (25,100) LPN shortage.

Nursing Education Links

Nursing Education News

  • "Amid nursing shortage, state board's proposal is illogical" - Commentary piece by Dr. Antonio Perez, President of Borough of Manhattan Community College. From The Post Standard, January 28, 2004. Read the article.
  • Casper College Nursing Grads Receive High Scores In Accredited Program.  Casper College nursing graduates from the class of 2003 passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) with a 90.9 percent first-time pass rate. Read News Release
  • New York State Board for Nursing Adopts Proposal to Force Registered Nurses to Obtain Bachelor's Degrees. On December 7, 2003, the New York State Board for Nursing voted in favor of requiring future associate degree registered nurses practicing in New York to obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing within 10 years of entering practice. RNs who do not obtain bachelor's degrees would be demoted to serve as licensed practical nurses. See  AACC responses:
    1) Letter from AACC to NY State Board for Nursing
    2) AACC comments on Board's rationale for its proposal.
  • Statement from AACC Re: Deceptive Study Maligns Millions of American Nurses. This statement was issued by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) in response to a study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study, which was conducted by Linda Aiken at the University of Pennsylvania, erroneously links increased mortality among surgical patients in the state of Pennsylvania to the educational level of RNs. See Press Release and Media Action Kit.

Articulation Agreements

  • State of Maryland - Maryland higher education and nursing officials have agreed to allow graduates of two-year nursing programs to transfer more of their credits to university programs.
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