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Evelyn_475's avatar

What is the difference between getting an associates degree in nursing and going to a trade school for nursing?

Asked by Evelyn_475 (787 points ) February 3rd, 2011

My best friend has been going to a community college for years now and just got accepted/ started in the nursing program there. In two years she will have completed what it takes to have her associates in nursing. I see all of these ads for Career Care Institute and other “trade schools” for nursing. What is the difference? I know that both don’t compare to having your bachelors and it seems like community college takes so much more time. Anyone have any answers?

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6 Answers

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Typically trade schools offer courses for Licensed Practical Nursing. Registered Nurses require more schooling. Are you seeing ads for RN training at trade schools, or does it just say “nursing?”

YARNLADY's avatar

I doubt there is any difference, assuming the trade school is accredited.

funkdaddy's avatar

It sounds like your friend is getting an associates in nursing, so it’s a 2-year degree that lets her test to be an RN. There’s also a bachelors of nursing (typically 4 years) that is also an RN when it’s all said and done, but different jobs have different requirements so it’s slightly different in terms of what they generally end up doing. The bachelors will usually qualify you for any “nursing” job.

Here (in Texas) the other nursing option is called an LVN (Licensed Vocational Nurse, same as the LPN @ANef_is_Enuf listed) which is a whole different set of jobs typically. As I understand it, it tends to be more slated towards caring for people rather than treating people who are sick.

I believe the LVN is what you’d get at most trade schools, but they could tell you for sure with a quick phone call. Generally any RN position is going to require at least a 2 year degree from a university/college.

The one other option that I see some trade schools advertise is a medical tech. It’s usually a quicker program since a specific degree generally isn’t required for the positions. They technically have many of the same duties as a nurse but usually without the autonomy. I’ve known a couple of folks that started there to see if the medical profession was something they’d enjoy.

There are some great nurses here on Fluther, so hopefully they can give you more on the differences in jobs available for each, but those are the basics.

Evelyn_475's avatar

Yes, my friend is completing a 2 year program at a community college to be an RN. I know that she was mentioning that a lot of hospitals are now turning into “magnet” hospitals which means they will require all RN’s to have a bachelors in nursing.

That lead me to think of this question because I thought, “Well, then what’s the difference between what you are doing and all of these trade schools? Isn’t the playing field between you and the trade school being leveled then if ultimately those with bachelors are being preferred?” I really haven’t visited trade school websites or called because I do not want to do that much research on this topic, so I figured all you smart flutherians could let me know :) Thank you for all of your responses!!

shego's avatar

From my understanding, a trade school only certifiies you. In other words a cna (certified nursing assistant). The actual nursing program at a college gives you more areas of learning.
Even though it takes longer it’s better to take the nursing classes.

SavoirFaire's avatar

Community college takes more time because you get a general education, whereas trade schools tend to focus exclusively on the skills needed for certification. In short, you get less education relative to what you are paying, and your reward is typically a harder time finding a job and slower career progress once you do get one.

The exception to this “employment gap” is jobs where trade school training or its equivalent is the norm.

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