Nursing - Learn More


Associate of Applied Science

Credits Required for Graduation: 70.00

Learn More About This Program

Nursing-Associate Degree

The Nursing-Associate Degree program prepares students to become part of a team dedicated to managing and providing health care. Students are taught how to communicate effectively, collaborate with others to manage and coordinate health care, and mobilize resources to promote, maintain and restore health.


The NCLEX-RN exam tests the entry-level nursing competencies of candidates for licensure as registered nurses. See the Overview tab for current NCLEX pass rates.

How Can I Get More Information?

Contact Counselors, Enrollment Services Advisors:
Counselors can be reached at:
La Crosse Campus 608.785.9553
Black River Falls Campus 715.284.2253
Independence Campus 715.985.3392
Mauston Campus 608.847.7364
Tomah Campus 608.374.7700
Viroqua Campus 608.637.2612

Enrollment Services Advisors:

Professional Organizations

Student Nurses Association

Instructor Websites

Frequently Asked Questions

What Does An Associate Degree Nurse Do?

The Associate Degree Nurse is a Registered Nurse (RN) who practices within the guidelines of the Nurse Practice Act. The practice of nursing includes: adherence to established standards of the profession; recognizing the impact of economic, political, social, and demographic forces on health care; use of effective communication skills; use of information technology; use of the nursing process as the framework for evidence based practice; consistently demonstrating caring, respect, and cultural sensitivity in interactions with others; health teaching; collaboration; management of resources; and assisting clients and their support network to cope with aging and/or adapt to chronic health alterations. RNs provide direction and supervision for licensed and unlicensed assistive staff who carry out basic nursing care.

What Does It Take To Become An Associate Degree Nurse?

It takes discipline and hard work. Nursing is an applied science requiring a strong background in science and math. Nurses are expected to work in a stressful, multidisciplinary environment in which they assume a major decision-making role. They need to be mature, independent thinkers who are assertive and able to advocate for the health care needs of individuals and families. They must be able to care for clients in all phases of the health-illness continuum and throughout the lifespan.

How Long Is The Program At Western?

The Nursing-Associate Degree program at Western is two academic years. “Year Round” sequences may be available to students. Many students complete General Education and science courses prior to formal entry into the Nursing program. This is a great help in reducing the workload of the program and may be essential if the student must work and manage family responsibilities while enrolled in the program. General Anatomy & Physiology is required prior to entry into the Nursing Program. The Year Round program requires all General Education and science courses to be completed before starting the program.

What Are The Special Program Characteristics?

The Nursing-Associate Degree program is designed for the adult learner. It features a learning environment that fosters independence, problem solving, organization, goal attainment and communication through faculty-guided learning and performance- based evaluation. Only students accepted in the nursing program are allowed to register for nursing courses. Courses provide learning tasks based on course competencies and facilitate mastery of theoretical and clinical performance standards. Classes, the skills and simulation labs, and clinical settings provide opportunities to share knowledge, ask questions, and practice newly mastered skills.

The Nursing-Associate Degree program is also offered at our Regional Learning Centers located in Mauston, Black River Falls and Viroqua. Many nursing theory courses are offered in blended or online format in addition to the traditional face-to-face.

The Nursing-Associate Degree program at Western is part of the seamless state-wide curriculum developed by the Wisconsin Technical College System. The Nursing-Associate Degree program will offer the option to students to be able to take the national licensing test for Licensed Practical Nurses after completion of the first year. Students will be eligible to take the licensing exam for RN after completion of all 70 credits in the Nursing-Associate Degree Program.

Do I Need A Computer With Internet Access?

Because nursing faculty use Internet-supported teaching strategies, nursing students need access to a computer that has internet access and email capabilities. We highly recommend that you have computer access with internet in your home as Blackboard and internet are the main communication methods in the Nursing program. Internet-supported learning strategies include use of a Web Board (Blackboard) for questions/answers/ discussions; email and learning plans with hot links to related web sites. Information about computer needs is available on our system requirements page. DSL or cable is recommended as dial-up access is slow.

Is The Program Accredited?

Yes, the program is approved by the State of Wisconsin Board of Nursing and accredited by ACEN (Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, 3343 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 850, Atlanta, Georgia 30326 (Phone: 404-975-5000, Fax: 404-975-5020).

Will I Be Required To Travel?

The Nursing-Associate Degree program utilizes clinical sites in the La Crosse, Mauston, Viroqua, Black River Falls and Tomah areas during the majority of the program. Additional clinical sites may be utilized. Students are responsible for their own transportation to all clinical sites. Overnight travel is not required.

Are There Health Risks?

Students in nursing programs are exposed to selected health risks related to the environment of their learning experiences. Clinical labs are held in medical centers, clinics, and in various clinical locations. Entering the nursing program is a choice and students need to be aware of possible health risks in practice settings. The nature of nursing in an acute care center is that there may be unintended exposure to health risks. Students enrolled in nursing have potential for exposure to communicable diseases or may sustain injuries in the clinical setting.

How Much Time Will I Spend in the Client Care Setting?

Clinical experience will begin in the first semester. Clinical schedules vary from course to course and may include six to sixteen hours of clinical practice each week some of which may take place in the campus or simulation lab. All students are required to participate in orientation to the clinical agency. The nursing program reserves the right to reassign students for such reasons as balancing the number of students in each section and other considerations. During the final weeks of the program, the student will have a “transition” experience in a hospital or long-term care agency. Clinical hours during this course may vary each week depending on their assigned preceptor’s schedule.

What Happens After I Graduate?

The Nursing program offers a special recognition ceremony for graduates of the program at the main campus. Graduates apply to take the National Council Licensure Exam for RNs (NCLEX-RN) as licensure is required to practice. Admission to this exam may be delayed/denied if the applicant has been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony or has a finding of abuse or misappropriation against them by a certifying body. While waiting for results of the NCLEX-RN exam, the graduate is eligible for a temporary permit to practice as a graduate nurse.

What if I Have Special Needs?

Essential functions have been identified for each program. These essential functions specify the physical, environmental, and cognitive/mental requirements that students may be expected to perform to complete the program. To obtain a detailed list of these functions or inquire about accommodations for a documented disability, please contact Kristina Stellpflug, Instructional Support Services at 608.785.9875, or

What if I am Unsuccessful in a Nursing Course?

Anyone receiving less than a C in a nursing course will be allowed to repeat the course on a space available basis only, pending the initiation of a success plan and completing the re-entry process. All required courses within the curriculum plan for a given semester must be completed before progressing forward. Students who enroll in a course without satisfactory completion of prerequisites will be dropped.

May I Take a Theory Course Online Elsewhere?

Students who take theory courses online through another Wisconsin Technical College must provide the official transcript verifying coursework has been completed with a “C” or better to Western Technical College’s Registrar’s Office.

Students who take online courses elsewhere may encounter academic delays and/or difficulties with registration in a timely manner. Entry into clinical lab placement may be affected due to transfer of courses. Placement into clinical lab is on a space-available basis only and permission is needed from the Associate Dean of Nursing.

How do I Get Into the Program?

Complete and submit the Wisconsin Technical College System application.If you are interested in more than one program, you must complete an application for each program. A $30.00 non-refundable application fee (made payable to Western) must be submitted with the application. Applications are available at Western in the Welcome Center (La Crosse Campus) or any Regional Learning Center location. Applications are also available online at: