AAS/ADN/ASN programs are tertiary education nursing programs which equip nursing students with the education and training that they need to provide general patient care and perform certain nursing duties and responsibilities in a variety of settings and work environments. These programs are usually offered by community colleges or by similar nursing schools, although there are some traditional four-year colleges and universities which also offer them. They typically take two or three years to complete.

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AAS stands for Associate of Applied Science, ADN for Associate Degree Nursing and ASN for Associate of Science in Nursing. Although these nursing programs are named differently, depending on the nursing school that is offering them, they generally use the same curriculum and offer most of the courses that are also offered in a BSN or a Bachelor of Science Nursing program, particularly those which teach the nursing practice core competencies.

AAS/ADN/ASN programs are recommended for individuals who are looking to get into nursing field but have limited financial resources (since tuition is much cheaper compared to four-year nursing programs) and those who would like to complete the first part of their education in a shorter period of time so that they can practice right away while still having the option of getting a higher-level nursing degree later on.