Associate's Degrees

If restricted by time, money, or grade point average, one can obtain an associate's degree and still go on to have a fulfilling medical field career. Nursing, ultrasonography, medical assisting, and laboratory technician are just a few areas one can pursue if interested in a medical field career. Obtaining an associate's degree is a credible means for anyone interested in nursing to get his or her foot in the door. Associate's programs last two years and provide nurses with the minimum degree required for practice. All registered nurses, regardless of degree acquired, sit for the same national board exam, the NCLEX-RN. You can be a registered nurse with both an associate's and bachelor's degree. Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) differ from RNs. LPNs can obtain an associate's degree, but they don't sit for the NCLEX-RN (their exam is the NCLEX-PN) and their scope of practice differs greatly from their RN counterparts.

Associate's degrees are also offered for medical assisting and ultrasound technicians. All people working toward their associate's degrees will take a number of science courses like biology, human anatomy, psychology, and medical terminology. Associate's degrees are a viable option for those who may not have done well enough in high school to go directly into a four-year program but long to work in the medical realm.

Many students aren't sure what they want to do right after high school, and going to a community college for a couple of years is a plausible way to work toward a degree while deciding which medical specialty is the best fit. In addition to the careers noted above, other associate's degrees for the medical field include: X-ray technician, dental assistant/hygienist, audiologist, surgical technician, laboratory assistant, fitness manager, and a number of choices related to medical office administration, which is good for those who want the excitement of working in medicine without any actual hands-on patient care. The only prerequisite needed for entrance into an associate's program is a high school diploma or equivalency certificate.

Last Updated: 05/21/2014

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