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ADN vs. BSN: Which should you choose?

ADN vs. BSN: Which should you choose?

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First of all, let’s establish what each one stands for. A BSN is a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, while an ADN is an Associates Degree in Nursing. Both degrees lead to getting your RN but there are some differences between the two.

The main difference is the length of time and the amount of credits required to complete the program. An ADN typically takes 2 years to complete while a BSN will take 4 years to complete (including the time spent taking the prerequisites to enter the program.) There are also accelerated BSN programs (18-21 months) for students who have already obtained a previous Bachelor’s degree.

Both programs would include the following in their core curriculum: Adult health, Maternal and newborn nursing, and pediatrics. Psychiatric nursing, community health nursing, and gerontological nursing are sometimes included as well. A BSN program would typically offer more courses in nursing theory, including nursing research, and nursing informatics, which is a field of study that examines how nurses use technology.

Generally speaking, the starting rate is the same for an ADN or a BSN prepared nurse, but because many advanced positions require a BSN, the BSN prepared nurse does have the potential to earn more money. In 2006 the state of California conducted a survey of registered nurses. This survey showed that BSN prepared nurses have a mean income of $75,017 while ADN prepared nurses had a mean income of $70,804.

Advantages to taking an ADN program:

  • It is usually less expensive
  • It is less time consuming – You will become a nurse quicker

Advantages to taking the BSN:

  • You will have more opportunities to advance to higher positions in nursing (for example as a nurse manager.)
  • You will be prepared to enter a advanced degree program (for example, nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, or nurse anesthetist.)

How common is one over the other?

In the state of California in 2006, 46.6% of RN licenses were obtained through ADN programs, while 37.7% of RN licenses were obained through a BSN program. The rest of the RN licenses were obtained through hospital based diploma programs. This is a type of nursing program which is administered by a hospital. When completing a diploma program, one is eligible to sit for the NCLEX (the exam to become an RN), however, no degree is obtained.

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    cheriee2009

    over 5 years ago

    10 comments

    i want to get my cna i dont know where to start from any ideas

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    Account Removed

    over 5 years ago

    I want to become at nurse but I haven't went to school for any of it and I was wondering where I should start? Any ideas!!!

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    saira

    over 5 years ago

    2 comments

    My name is saira i live in pakistan if i want to study BSN in usa I'm eligble or not i did my diploma in nursing 3 years in pakistan if want to go for BSN in usa then what are the requirements.

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    Mandy_28115

    almost 6 years ago

    374 comments

    I am so glad for my MGBIL. I couldnt afford nursing school without it!

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    Shelli78

    almost 6 years ago

    16 comments

    What a great article!

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    dableaper

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    I graduated from an ADN program and will never regret it. There are two different programs less than ten miles apart and the nurses that come out of the ADN program, I believe, are much more prepared for the bedside than the BSN nurses. They are more prepared for behind the desk. I am currently enrolled in school to continue my education and get a BSN and hopefully APRN FNP. I LOVE NURSING!!

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    bbptoy

    about 6 years ago

    2 comments

    hello my name is eileen. I'm an LVN in California working in neurological care. Is there anyone doing the College Network/Indiana State LVN to BSN program? If so, how is it working out for you?

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    dwhowe61

    about 6 years ago

    14 comments

    Go to school for an ADN first, as a manager I can say that ADN nurses are equally or with some schools they are better prepared for the bedside, hands on nursing. Some of the BSN programs seem to lack in the actual time spent at the bedside. But, after you get your ADN you should go back to School part time and get your BSN because it opens more doors later.

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    Account Removed

    about 6 years ago

    SLewis; You can work as a L & D nurse or a lactation consultant with an ASN.

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    SLewis

    about 6 years ago

    6 comments

    I am seriously considering making a career change in the the medical profession. I have a non-nursing bachelors degree and am currently working as a CNA. I'm currently considering 2 programs: ASN, part-time for 21 months, >$7,000 (28 mile commute) or an Accelerated 2nd degree BSN, full-time for 12 months, <$20,000 (56 mile commute). I too think I would like to work is a L&D nurse and then possibly even as a lactation consultant. Can anyone offer any advice on which RN track I should persue?

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    karlagb

    about 6 years ago

    2 comments

    Wow, I just wanted to thank everyone who responded with comments to this article. I have a big question mark above my head trying to figure out which way to go for my RN. Both have different advantages. I want to ask a question (that caroldeaver asked already, but was not answered). I also would like to work in Maternity, other than RN is there any requisite needed for that?

    thank you in advance for your help and wish me luck on my new adventure!!!!!

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    electra7780

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    Hi Nurses everywhere and from all backgrounds...First, the ADN, then I bridged BSN and then14 years ago MSN Family Nurse Practitioner. How long did it all take....well, about 7 years and people invariably ask...why didnt you become a doctor?? I AM A NURSE, that is why! And furthermore, many clinical doors have opened on the way and whenever I need to challenge myself there is a new opportunity. There is no one program which excels another as we all have to do whatever it takes to get to our goal and along the way we learn and that is what counts. Good luck all of you out there going for more education, that is the key and let your voices be heard to legislators and to state level nursing lawmakers and nurse lobbyists.

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    didirn04

    over 6 years ago

    26 comments

    I have my A.D.N.; Right after school I worked on Tele floor, and now I work in the ICU department of the same hospital. I work with other nurses who have their A.D.N. and some that have their B.S.N.. (and we make the same amount) I think it depends on what you want to do with your career, if u want a manager type position then maybe the BSN is a better choice for you. I am going back to school but I'm thinking of doing a BA in healthcare management, instead of the BSN program. Alot of schools offer RN to BSN which is also a good idea b/c then u can bridge into a BA program with already having your A.D.N.

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    AbusyRN2go

    over 6 years ago

    13876 comments

    It is really true, you generally do get make more money with your BSN, but it does depend on your career path. You can get paid more if you desire to go into management, but the hours...I don't know.

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    Account Removed

    over 6 years ago

    WOW...think I was screwed. I started school in 2005 and will graduate in 2009 with my ADN. By leaving a school and entering another I was required to take additional classes. Not sure why this won't allow me a Bachelors. The whole thing is a scam if you switch schools. It's all a money thing if you ask me.

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