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Nursing, Associate Degree

Associate Dean for Nursing

Nancy Novak, BS, RN, MN
For program and admission inquiries, contact Rhonda Ashpole 253.566.5218 rashpole@tacomacc.edu

TCC’s Associate Degree in Nursing program prepares students for employment as a Registered Nurse. The program’s structure is progressive, leading to an Associate in Applied Sciences degree and graduates are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) for Registered Nursing.

A graduate who has completed the Associate Degree in Nursing may articulate into a bachelor’s degree program at a four-year institution. Additional prerequisites for specific bachelor’s degree programs may also be completed at TCC. Interested students are encouraged to contact the four-year college or university of their choice to obtain more detailed information.

TCC’s Associate Degree Nursing program is approved by the Washington State Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission and is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), formerly NLNAC).


The nursing courses in the full-time generic program are taught in a six-quarter sequence over a two-year period, excluding summer. Visit http://www.tacomacc.edu/areasofstudy/careertraining/nursing/ for admission dates.

A part-time option is also available for those students who will be more successful attending school half-time. Part-time students attend theory class one quarter, followed by the clinical portion the next quarter. Due to this split, part-time students attend classes during summer quarter in addition to the usual academic year (fall-spring) for a total of 11 quarters. Entry to the part-time option occurs only once a year with the spring quarter enrollment.


Licensed Practical Nurses who wish to become Registered Nurses may apply for advanced standing in the program. LPNs are admitted into the program twice a year, in summer and winter. LPNs are required to take an LPN articulation course that prepares them to transition into either third (part-time) or fourth (full-time) level, depending on assessment level.


Upon successful completion of the AAS Nursing degree, students will:

  • Use critical thinking skills to apply the nursing process in caring for patients and their families by identifying, developing, implementing, evaluating and documenting a plan of care utilizing appropriate technology.
  • Demonstrate the ability to function effectively in a collaborative multicultural environment utilizing effective interpersonal communications, both written and verbal.
  • Demonstrate professional and ethical conduct in providing safe patient care, specifically: follow directions consistently and accurately, follows through on all assigned tasks and responsibilities, demonstrates receptiveness to questions, suggestions and feedback, demonstrates punctuality, satisfactory attendance, effective time management and prioritization, demonstrates honesty, integrity, and accountability for all actions, demonstrates respectful positive team behavior, and protects client rights and confidentiality.
  • Apply principles of caring and effective communication.


Students must take a select number of general study courses before application is made to the nursing program. These courses are designed to provide students with a strong foundation in sciences and humanities before they enter the nursing program.

Due to the sequencing of courses, student may find it difficult to complete the Associate Degree in Nursing in two years. Typically students take at least three years to complete all courses for the degree. Some courses are required for program application.

Course work completed at other colleges must be evaluated by TCC’s Credential Evaluator. Applicants should arrange to have official transcripts sent to TCC as early as possible. The applicant must apply to the college and submit the “Evaluation of Credits and Transcript Review Request,” with the official transcripts being evaluated. Please send transcripts to Enrollment Services in Bldg. 7. Do not send transcripts directly to the nursing program. Students are encouraged to apply to the Nursing program as soon as their prerequisites are completed.


  • Criminal and federal fraud background checks
  • Health insurance
  • Immunizations

It is the student’s responsibility to arrange for dependable transportation to and from the clinical site as well as for dependable child/dependent care.