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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.

ADN vs. BSN? Click here to join the discussion!


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    caroldeaver

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    hello...i am currently looking into starting school to get my RN. after i get my RN i want to work in the maternity wing. can someone tell me if i can chose to do that w/ just an ADN or if i have to have a BSN?

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    Pamprdpriness

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    I an LPN with a lot of prerequisites completed. What is a quick & inexpensive program to get into? Has anyone started the University of Phoenix LVN to BSN Program?

  • Cape_halloween07_002_max50

    niksmom

    over 6 years ago

    4 comments

    If you are thinking about furthering your education to a masters or doctorate in nursing you should go for the BSN from the beginning. My boyfriends sister and I started nursing school at the same time. She took 3 years in an ADN program and is graduating in May. I am going to be a Senior in the fall and graduate in May 09 with my BSN. I can continue my education in a Masters program right away, but she would have to get her BSN first and it would take her at least another 2 years. So if you can, the BSN programs get you farther quicker. Also alot of hospital are now strictly hiring BSN prepared nurses....just something to think about:)

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    makeupgal

    over 6 years ago

    38 comments

    Now that California has a way for LVN's to become RN's again, I am now enrolled!! But...one big change. The program is called, "LVN to BSN". That is the only way now that CA LVN's can advance to become an RN. We had nothing for about 4 years, they stopped the LVN to ADN program. I am so excited, as I have tried twice to go back two different ways to continue my education towards my RN. Now I am focused on the BSN work, as that is the only way I can take my NCLEX now. I am just looking at this as a great opportunity, and as my schooling. Not just thinking I am getting my BSN and RN when I graduate. I know my opportunities are going to be much more open, as looking for a job now, I see that about 85% of employers that want RN's, want BSN's.

    Good luck to all of us, just look at all these wonderful people, all we want to do is help people, there is a nursing shortage, and we are all here asking questions about how how how do I do......but all to further our education. I am proud to be here with all of you!

    My question is kind of like one I saw above regarding the Florence Nightingale days. Why do we vary so much from state to state? I would love to see a National Nurse Registry! All of us have to have the same amount of education, be that an ADN, or a BSN.

  • 100_0138_max50

    makeupgal

    over 6 years ago

    38 comments

    Now that California has a way for LVN's to become RN's again, I am now enrolled!! But...one big change. The program is called, "LVN to BSN". That is the only way now that CA LVN's can advance to become an RN. We had nothing for about 4 years, they stopped the LVN to ADN program. I am so excited, as I have tried twice to go back two different ways to continue my education towards my RN. Now I am focused on the BSN work, as that is the only way I can take my NCLEX now. I am just looking at this as a great opportunity, and as my schooling. Not just thinking I am getting my BSN and RN when I graduate. I know my opportunities are going to be much more open, as looking for a job now, I see that about 85% of employers that want RN's, want BSN's.

    Good luck to all of us, just look at all these wonderful people, all we want to do is help people, there is a nursing shortage, and we are all here asking questions about how how how do I do......but all to further our education. I am proud to be here with all of you!

    My question is kind of like one I saw above regarding the Florence Nightingale days. Why do we vary so much from state to state? I would love to see a National Nurse Registry! All of us have to have the same amount of education, be that an ADN, or a BSN.

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    kat88

    over 6 years ago

    98 comments

    vascrn, you brought up someting I have been thinkin gabout off and on for a while. I went LPN, ADN, BSN and it took me 4 years to get ADN then 2 1/2 more to obtain BSN (at a later date). Other BSN people please respond I am interested in knowing how long it takes most people????
    I think this is part of nursing shortage and less people going into nursing. For instance teachers and other friends I have, spend 4 years and far less money to get their bachelors. NLN sets the standards. Maybe they need to change make ADN a bachelor program and BSN a masters program, maybe by adding a couple classes and get rid of different degrees for an RN.
    What do other people thing of this???

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    nursingstudent2010

    over 6 years ago

    14 comments

    Information on the difference between ADN and BSN is of great use! Currently I am in nursing school almost into my 2nd year! I went straight to the BSN program because my goal is to become a Nurse Practitioner (not sure what specialty yet), no kids yet, so I figured why not! I am so excited to start Clinicals here soon, get out there for more hands on action! Hopefully this will help me chose what I want to do! Anyone have any comments on what specialty you're in?

  • Me_max50

    SurgiNurse

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    I went through the ADN program at my local community college, which prepared me well for the boards and my career as a nurse. I feel slighted a bit because, as mentioned in the above article, "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.) " I spent more than 2 years obtaining my ADN degree because of all the prerequisites. I now am spending the next 2 years trying to get my BSN. Sometimes I wish I had just gone for the BSN to begin with. But then I wouldn't be working as an RN now... Just something to think about.

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    lt_93726

    over 6 years ago

    4 comments

    Great information concerning the difference between ASN and BSN. Thanks

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    tavon

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    great info

  • Robby_close_up_max50

    MBNurse

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    is any one here from wisconsin?

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    mistysutton45

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    I have my high school diploma and my cna license where do I go from here to further my nursing career?

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    Chynem

    over 6 years ago

    4 comments

    Where can i register for my prerequisites ASAP. I tried Huston commumnity college but they are closed 4 de term

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    Chynem

    over 6 years ago

    4 comments

    My Bachelor degree is in psychology. Can I still go for the accelerated BSN program. u can contact me via mail iheleo@yahoo.com

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    summer_brayden

    over 6 years ago

    4 comments

    Are there online programs you can do to get your BSN if you are not already a RN?

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