Nurse working with a patient

Associate in Science in Nursing

Transfer up to
31 Credits
A median of 22 credits accepted
Potential to waive 3 credits of nursing component with completion of NCLEX-LPN within 5 years of enrollment

Expand Your Career Possibilities with an Associate Degree in Nursing

In this competency-based Associate in Science in Nursing program, you build your knowledge of nursing theory through educational experiences and demonstrate your RN-level competency in a clinical setting. You can progress at your own pace, choosing to take either 8-week fully online courses or to study independently and take proficiency exams. You’ll have access to learning resources, such as tutorials and webinars, throughout the program. You will also have support from nursing faculty and your academic advisor who are only a call or email away, as well as from your peers through discussion boards, email, and other outreach.

Excelsior College also offers an Associate in Applied Science in Nursing. The two degrees have identical nursing component requirements, but they differ slightly in their general education requirements. The associate degree programs provide an alternative educational approach to earning an associate degree in nursing. The nursing component is designed to ensure students possess competence in theory and performance in nursing comparable to that of graduates of campus-based associate degree programs. The programs require outstanding critical thinking skills and nursing judgment as well as commitment to academic rigor.

Excelsior provides associate degree graduates with free preparation for the NCLEX-RN.

Graduates of Excelsior’s associate degree in nursing programs easily transition to the BS in Nursing for Registered Nurses program and can apply credit they’ve already earned toward the bachelor’s degree.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION Regarding the Associate Degree in Nursing Programs
Review details about the associate degree in nursing programs.

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Fast Facts:

$2.4 million new health care jobs are expected to be added by 2026 (Source: BLS)


AS holders earn $132 more per week compared to those with no college degree (Source: BLS)


The average median RN salary is $68,450 (Source: BLS)


67

credit hours

Online AS in Nursing Program Details

You may have 3 credits of the Nursing component waived based on a valid license and passing of the NCLEX within five years of policy date.
  • Information Literacy: 1 credit
  • Written English Requirement: 3 credits
  • Humanities: 6 credits
  • Social Sciences/History: 6 credits
    • Lifespan developmental psychology
    • Sociology
    • Additional credit to reach a minimum of 6 credits
  • Natural Sciences/Math: 9 credits
    • Human anatomy and physiology (4 credits minimum)
    • Microbiology (3 credits minimum)
    • College-level mathematics
  • Arts and Sciences Electives: 6 credits

Phase I: Nursing Theory Series

Each requirement of the Nursing Theory Series is offered in three formats: online course, Nursing Theory Conference and examination, and examination only.

Transition to the Professional Nurse Role
The knowledge and problems related to discomfort, pain, and sensory impairment. Growth and development and its relationship to health, injury prevention, illness, and continuity of care in a variety of settings are discussed. Chronic illness, disability, and end-of-life needs are addressed. Pertinent ethical, legal, and regulatory requirements, along with the standards of professional nursing practice, are addressed. Principles, concepts, and theories from the natural and social sciences in relation to safe nursing care are applied to patients and families across the life span.

Essentials of Nursing Care: Health Safety
This content focuses on the use of nursing process to provide and manage patient-centered care for persons across the lifespan. Therapeutic communication, stress and adaptation, and patient-teaching are discussed. Documenting and reporting nursing care and the use of informatics in health care are presented. The concepts of health promotion, maintenance, obtaining a health history and the techniques of physical assessment are presented. Attention to safe and effective care with respect to environmental safety needs, emergency preparedness, use of restraints, infection control and the prevention of pressure ulcers is explored. Pharmacology, safe medication administration and related nursing care are also addressed.

Essentials of Nursing Care: Health Differences
Patient-centered care addressing the promotion of health and achievement of optimal outcomes for patients experiencing health problems related to nutrition, elimination, oxygenation, fluid and electrolyte balance, activity and sleep is presented in this requirement. Knowledge of anatomy and physiology and the nursing process is used to support nursing judgment. Ethical and legal implications along with evidence-based standards of nursing practice are presented in relation to safe, quality nursing care for patients and families across the life span.

Foundations in Nursing Practice
This requirement focuses on the application of the nursing process to support nursing judgment for the provision of evidence-based, patient-centered care. This requirement also includes the care of culturally diverse patients experiencing health problems related to discomfort, pain, and sensory impairment. Growth and development and its relationship to health, injury prevention, illness, and continuity of care in a variety of settings are discussed. Chronic illness, disability, and end-of-life needs are addressed. Pertinent ethical, legal, and regulatory requirements, along with the standards of professional nursing practice, are addressed. Principles, concepts, and theories from the natural and social sciences in relation to safe nursing care are applied to patients and families across the life span.

Phase II: Nursing Theory Requirements

Reproductive Health
The care of patients and families across the life span with needs related to human sexuality, childbearing, congenital anomalies, genetic disorders, and male/ female reproductive disorders is the focus of this requirement. Evidence-based, culturally sensitive nursing care, standards of professional nursing practice, as well as ethical, legal, and regulatory requirements are addressed. Principles, concepts, and theories from the natural and social sciences in relation to safe, quality nursing care are applied to patients and families across the life span.

Health Differences Across the Life Span 1
This requirement focuses on the application of the nursing process to support nursing judgment and the provision of patient-centered care for patients with acute and chronic cardiovascular and respiratory health problems, impaired blood cell formation, and abnormal cell growth. Evidence-based, culturally sensitive nursing care, standards of professional nursing practice, as well as ethical, legal, and regulatory requirements are addressed. The natural and social sciences are applied to the delivery of quality nursing care for patients and families across the life span.

Health Differences Across the Life Span 2
This requirement focuses on the application of the nursing process to support nursing judgment and the provision of patient-centered care. A wide variety of health problems are presented. These include mental health disorders, cognitive impairment, diabetes mellitus, and dysfunction of endocrine, hepatic, biliary, renal, and pancreatic systems. Evidence-based, culturally sensitive nursing care, standards of professional nursing practice, as well as ethical, legal, and regulatory requirements are addressed. The application of anatomy and physiology, microbiology, and social science concepts is essential for the provision of safe quality patient care.

Health Differences Across the Life Span 3
This requirement focuses on the application of the nursing process to support nursing judgment and
the provision of patient-centered care for persons with health problems related to infectious and communicable diseases, tissue trauma, neurological dysfunction, and musculoskeletal disorders. Content areas include immune function, chain of infection, perioperative nursing, and neuromuscular functional assessment. Health problems such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, hepatitis, degenerative diseases, stroke, and trauma are highlighted. Evidence-based, culturally sensitive nursing care, standards of professional nursing practice, as well as ethical, legal, and regulatory requirements are addressed. Principles, concepts, and theories from the natural and social sciences in relation to safe quality nursing care are applied to patients and families across the life span.

Phase III: Focused Clinical Competencies Assessment

The Focused Clinical Competencies Assessment requirement consists of two eight-week applied clinical assessments delivered via the Excelsior College learning management system, and following the College’s course term dates. This requirement must be completed through Excelsior College. The FCCA® Review Guide will be provided upon eligibility for this requirement. The FCCA® provides a means for students to demonstrate competencies related to the following two essential components of nursing practice:

FCCA Head-to-Toe Assessment and Nursing Process
The FCCA® Head-to-Toe Assessment and Nursing Process is an 8-week online assessment that measures knowledge, understanding, and applied skills required of the associate degree nurse to provide care to patients across the life span. This clinically focused assessment requires the student to possess technical vocabulary and assessment skills, and to have knowledge of anatomy and physiology, and the psychosocial and physical development that are expected of the associate degree nurse. During this clinically focused assessment, the student is expected to demonstrate the knowledge and skills required of a first day graduate nurse when completing a health history, conducting a head-to-toe physical assessment, and developing a plan of care.

FCCA Managing Multiple Patients/Working with Interdisciplinary Teams
The FCCA® Managing Multiple Patients and Working With Interdisciplinary Teams is an 8-week online assessment that measures knowledge, understanding, and applied skills required of the associate degree-prepared registered nurse to care for patients across the life span. During this clinically focused assessment, the student is expected to demonstrate the knowledge and skills required of a first-day graduate nurse for supervising a nursing team and collaborating with interprofessional (interdisciplinary) patient-centered teams. Throughout all aspects of the online assessment, the student is required to demonstrate the ability to apply the nursing process to a variety of patient care situations, use critical thinking skills and apply principles, concepts, and theories from the natural sciences, social sciences, and the humanities to make nursing judgments that result in safe, quality patient-centered care.

Phase IV: Clinical Performance in Nursing Examination (CPNE)

The CPNE®, the capstone requirement for the associate degree in nursing, is an 8- credit criterion-referenced performance examination administered over 2 ½ days in an acute care hospital. It is a test that validates students have demonstrated entry-level RN competencies, at 100% accuracy, while applying nursing knowledge, making patient-centered judgments, and performing psychomotor skills in simulated and authentic (direct) patient care settings. The exam is graded as pass (P) or fail (F).

During the CPNE®, simulated patient care is provided in the nursing simulation laboratory (nsl) and students use nursing judgment and perform skills associated with application of sterile technique and medication administration within a defined time frame. Students provide direct patient care during Patient Care Situations (PCSs) in a healthcare setting and demonstrate competencies by planning, implementing, evaluating, and documenting nursing care based on a patient assignment created by a Clinical Examiner, within a defined time frame.

  • Use a caring holistic approach to provide and advocate for safe quality care for patients and families in an environment that values the uniqueness, dignity, and diversity of patients.
  • Apply the nursing process to make nursing judgements, substantiated with evidence to provide safe, quality patient care across the life span.
  • Use principles of management and delegation to implement plans of care with members of the intraprofessional team to achieve safe, quality patient outcomes.
  • Demonstrate the standards of professional nursing practice and core values within an ethical and legal framework.
  • Apply principles of leadership and interprofessional collaboration to improve patient outcomes.
  • Use evidenced-based findings and information technology to improve the quality of care for patients.

Surveys are administered to our nursing program students upon graduation and at one year post-graduation. The survey results are available here.

View additional details about programs and courses:

Download the Nursing Catalog

Common Careers with an
Online AS in Nursing

Nurse entrepreneur

Patient care in high-activity units, such as intensive care units

Patient care in outpatient settings

Supervisory position in long term care

Travel nursing

Nothing is impossible for me to learn or accomplish—that’s how I feel now that I have this degree…I can do anything. The sky is the limit.
Rhonda Adams
Associate in Science in Nursing

Accreditations

Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing logo

ACEN Accreditation

The associate, bachelor's, and master's degree programs in nursing at Excelsior College are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). The ACEN is a specialized accrediting agency for nursing recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
3343 Peachtree Road, Suite 850, Atlanta, GA 30326
404-975-5000, www.acenursing.org

Center of Excellence in Nursing Education logo

Center of Excellence Recognition

The National League for Nursing (NLN) designated Excelsior College's School of Nursing a 2016-2021 Center of Excellence in Nursing Education, in recognition of the School's sustained achievements in creating environments that promote student learning and professional development. This is the fourth consecutive designation.

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Institutional Accreditation

Excelsior College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104. (267-284-5000).

All of Excelsior College's academic programs are registered (i.e., approved) by the New York State Education Department.

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