NURSING FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- What are the qualifications for the entry into the nursing program?
- What is a waiting list?
- How much time will I need for studying?
- Can I work while I'm in the nursing program?
- What is the average starting salary for this area?
- What career opportunities are available with an ADN?
- Do these courses transfer to a Bachelor's degree program?
- Where can I transfer?
- Do these courses transfer to a Bachelor's degree program?
- Which colleges offer a BSN in this area?
- What is the biggest difference in a 2 year RN and a 4 year RN degree?
- Can I specialize with this degree or do I need to upgrade to a BSN?
- How do I go from an Associate Degree straight into a Master's program?
- Who are the accrediting agencies and approval body?
- All candidates must be high school graduates or equivalent and meet the entrance requirements of the parent institution. The completion of a chemistry course (high school or college) with a "C" grade is required for all students for admission.
- In addition to the above, requirements also include the following methods of entry to the program:
- SAT scores: 480 Critical Reading and 540 Math or ACT scores 21 English and 23 Math. SAT/ACT scores must be no more than 5 years old at the time a student seeks admission to the ADN program. Score a “proficient” on the TEAS test. Score cannot be more than three years old.
- The completion of all approved non-nursing general education courses with a GPR of 2.50 or above.
Students may also be granted credit for selected nursing courses taken in another program.
A waiting list is developed each year to list the prospective candidates who have completed SAT testing or general courses and are ready for admission to the nursing program in the fall of each year. Students are placed on this list as they complete the requirement to qualify. Students may request from the admissions counselor their placement on the list.
In February of each year, letters of acceptance are mailed to the students who are on the list. If a student does not confirm via payment to hold a place in the class, letters of acceptance are sent to the next qualified student(s) on the list. Usually, 48 students are admitted from the York Technical College campus and 32 from the University of South Carolina Lancaster campus.
You should plan for a minimum of 10 to 12 plus hours a week for reading and another 6 to 8 hours weekly preparing for classes. When you are assigned to provide client care in the clinical area, you can expect another 5 to 8 hours of chart research and preparation time.
Nursing students say that nursing school is a full-time job. There are usually 2 mornings of classes (4 or 6 hours a week) and 2 days of clinical agency experience (12 hour clinical day or 4-12 hours each day). Time is also needed for travel between campuses and agencies.
You should expect to spend 20 to 30 hours per week studying to be successful in the program. Work and family responsibilities should be considered on the basis of the above discussion.
Most new Associate Degree graduates earn approximaately between $21 to $23 per hour as a starting salary.
There are many career opportunities for the ADN graduate. Some of our recent graduates are working in the hospital (some are on general medical-surgical units, some are in specialty areas such as Emergency Department, Progressive Care Unit, Mental Health, Pediatrics, etc.). Other graduates are working in nursing homes, schools, occupational health, home health, health departments, clinics, physicians' offices, etc. Thus, many career opportunities exist outside the hospital (given the changing health care delivery system), so about 20% - 30% of the graduates are working in these other settings.
In the South Carolina state system, most colleges will grant 60 credits if the RN has graduated from an NLN accredited program in the state. Many University of South Carolina campuses have Bachelor of Science completion programs. They should be contacted on an individual basis and many have web sites with this information.
Students in some programs may take some classes locally for transfer. These courses must be approved by the individual college or university.
Four year programs in the area are at Spartanburg, Clemson, Aiken, and Columbia. Each persons credentials are reviewed and credit is granted in accordance with the programs admission criteria.
The biggest difference between a 2-year and a 4-year degree is the opportunity for specialization and advancement. The nurse with the 4-year degree has a greater in-depth knowledge of nursing and would have student clinical experience in the home health nursing. The 4-year degree nurse is usually given more responsibility such as managing care for a team of health care givers. The 2-year associate degree nurse usually works under the direction of a 4-year degree nurse. Depending on the area of the country, the BS and/or nursing masters is required for management positions. For example, many home health agencies require a Bachelor of Science and experience for employment. Usually, graduates from either program start out at the same salary; if there is a differential it is usually minimal.
To specialize, a nurse would need to gain experience and more education (usually BSN or higher). Many agencies offer in-house continuing education or the graduate may seek further education at a local agency or college. For example, many specialties require Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and some new graduates seek this opportunity before they are hired to offer additional expertise to the employer.
Some colleges offer specific certificate programs (such as enterostomal therapist or diabetic educator) if the graduate has a BS degree.
There is a credentialing system within the nursing profession wherein a person with a masters degree and experience can take a national examination and earn a certificate that validates the nurse is a specialist (gerontology, mental health, cardiovascular, orthopedic, emergency, management, etc.).
The nurse who earns a masters degree in nursing can also teach in a nursing program (ADN or diploma) but usually needs a doctorate to teach nursing at a university.
Many masters in nursing programs also offer a nurse practitioner (NP) trackthe graduate of this program must pass an examination to earn the NP designation. The nurse practitioner (family nurse practitioner, pediatric nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, psychiatric nurse practitioner, etc.) functions at a high level of autonomy and gives more comprehensive care.
Many high level nursing management positions require at least a masters with a doctorate preferred in some areas of the country.
As an aside, a registered nurse can now earn a nurse practitioner and/or a masters degree in nursing via the internet (classes on the net, a mandatory summer session, and clinical experience with a preceptor in the local community).
There are some programs that offer an RN (from an ADN program) to MS completion (Pace University in New York is one). Most progress through the traditional route of earning a BS in Nursing first. The preferred degree is the BSN but the BS with a major in nursing is also acceptable.
There are also programs that are RN completion for persons who have earned a BS in another discipline (the sciences are best because these graduates usually have taken most of the required science courses): other graduates (finance, business, English, psychology) must still take all required science support courses.
For all advanced programs, graduation from an NLN accredited program is preferable.
Who is the accrediting agency and approval body?
The South Carolina Board of Nursing
Synergy Business Park
Kingstree Drive, Suite 202
Columbia, SC 29210
National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission
3343 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 850
Atlanta, GA 30326