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Best-Paying Nursing Jobs With an Associate Degree in Nursing

Alexa Davidson, MSN, RN
Updated May 31, 2023
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    Associate degrees in nursing qualify recipients for several roles within the healthcare industry. With salaries varying between positions, we've compiled the best-paying jobs an ADN can secure.
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    Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

    A young mixed race nurse is standing in a hospital hallway. He is wearing light blue scrubs and is looking at the camera and smiling.Credit: FS Productions / Getty Images

    One of the fastest ways to become a registered nurse (RN) is by pursuing an associate degree in nursing (ADN). This two year degree can prepare nurses for a variety of entry-level jobs, from emergency room care to pediatrics. This guide features five high paying jobs that require an ADN in a variety of patient care settings.

    What Can I Expect From an ADN Program?

    An associate degree in nursing prepares students for employment within the healthcare industry. Many become registered nurses (RNs), although this is only one pathway that ADN graduates can take. An associate degree can open up several entry-level opportunities for students.

    ADN programs typically last two years for full-time students.

    These degrees focus on nursing care, including patient assessment and pharmacology. Students engage in lab courses and clinical rotations, which help aspiring nurses practice their skills in clinical settings. When students graduate, they qualify for the NCLEX-RN exam and, if they pass, RN licensure. Although graduates begin with entry-level salaries, their earning potential grows with experience. ADN salaries can also increase if nurses pursue certification.

    Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and PayScale, we’ve identified some of the highest-paying jobs for nurses with associate degrees. Find this list of ADN nursing jobs below.

    Popular Online RN-to-BSN Programs

    Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

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    What Jobs Can You Get With a Nursing Associate Degree?

    Registered Nurse

    Registered nurses provide general patient care, including taking patients’ vital signs, giving medication, and assessing and recording any illnesses or injuries. They work at hospitals, clinics, community health centers, and other healthcare facilities. An RN can receive licensure with an ADN and can increase their earning potential by pursuing a certificate or higher education.

    Median Salary

    Oncology Nurse

    Oncology nurses work with cancer patients. They take on high-pressure jobs, often working with terminally ill patients. Their duties include administering chemotherapy and IVs with the oversight of a physician. They also communicate with patients’ families, which requires patience and compassion. These nurses need RN licensure and the oncology certified nurse credential.

    Median Salary

    Emergency Room Nurse

    Working as an emergency room nurse offers an intense but highly rewarding job. Patients come to the ER with trauma, major injuries, and other acute problems. ER nurses need to understand the concept of triage — prioritizing patients who need care immediately — to take physical assessments when patients arrive in the ER. They assist physicians, working independently and on teams.

    Median Salary

    Home Care Nurse

    Home care nurses work in the homes of chronically ill patients who may need complex medical help. They make house calls or work in shifts, and they typically work independently. Home care nurses may give patients medication or treatment, help with mobility, provide basic care, or monitor patients’ health and vital signs.

    Median Salary

    Pediatric Nurse

    Pediatric nurses care for children across the age span into adolescence. They take on many of the same responsibilities as general RNs, assessing patients’ health and symptoms to provide basic care, but also take on duties specific to child patient care. This may include offering nutrition guidance or identifying signs of abuse. Pediatric nurses can apply for the certified pediatric nurse credential.

    Median Salary

    Find Out More About ADN Programs

    Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

    Whether you’re looking to get your pre-licensure degree or taking the next step in your career, the education you need could be more affordable than you think. Find the right nursing program for you.