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ADN vs. BSN: Which should you choose?

ADN vs. BSN: Which should you choose?

NursingLink

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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    AtlasRN

    about 3 years ago

    44 comments

    I am getting a BSN and had my interview yesterday for a GN position in the ER. The manager said that they are not wanting ADNs anymore because the research is showing that BSN nurses are better than ADN nurses. Not wanting to cause friction, just repeating what she was saying.

    @Sugar. I am a second degree student and am getting my BSN at TWU. If you already have a bachelor's, there is no point in getting the ADN. It will either be two years for an ADN or two years for a BSN. ALWAYS go for the higher degree. If you have any more questions, let me know!

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    nurseOHME

    about 3 years ago

    2 comments

    My cousins works in UC DAVIS HOSPITAL HUMAN RESOURCE, and there is NO diff in pay. An ADN nurse is the same pay as a BSN nurse according to her, the only diff is you won't be able to move up to MNGMT level.

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    TheSingingNurse

    over 3 years ago

    32 comments

    I graduated with my ADN in May of 2009 and work on a Neuro ICU Stepdown unit. However, I am still trying to get into a L&D or Neonatal Internship. The sad thing is that here in the Dallas area, alot of the hospitals are now requiring a BSN to even get into an internship - SO UNFAIR! I graduated from one of the best nursing programs in the country, and now I am being turned away from internships even with a year of experience!

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    Jasmin14

    over 3 years ago

    2 comments

    I already have a bachelor's degree but its not in Nursing. I really want to get started in the nursing scene but don't know if I should go for an ADN or a BSN. I do have plans on continueing my education all the way through master's in nursing. Just don't know if I want to wait so long to get through the accelerated BSN. What should I do?

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    NLM_RNBSN

    almost 5 years ago

    4 comments

    LVN = Licensed Vocational Nurse which is the same as an LPN you will not have an BSN or ADN until you complete more schooling

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    Melissaochoa1

    almost 6 years ago

    4 comments

    To get the BSN or ADN, do you have to take certain classes or is it in a program? I'll be graduating in February 2010 as an LVN, does that mean I'll have a BSN or ADN? I'm totally confused. HELP!

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    LEM_RN2008

    about 5 years ago

    8 comments

    This was a informative article and spurs me to want to advance my nursing career. I wish to continue to advance my nursing career by obtaining my BSN. I am hopeful that the hospital I work for provides continuing education for ADN's.

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    angie067

    about 5 years ago

    170 comments

    Laid off, so I don't have the time for a BSN. If I take the ADN at Baker, I feel I will get as much education as the BSN because you need at leat a B- in all the classes to proceed forward. And if you can pass the testing than you must know the knowledge, right.

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    cheriee2009

    about 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

    about 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

    about 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

    over 5 years ago

    374 comments

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

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    Shelli78

    over 5 years ago

    16 comments

    What a great article!

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    dableaper

    over 5 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

    over 5 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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