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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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    vertuousree

    over 6 years ago

    6 comments

    I have a lot of medical classes, for instance, A & P, medical terminology, etc. is there a certain amount of time that these classes are good for. I am interested in going into nursing and I am trying to find the fastest, and easiest way to do so.

  • Chris_ash_max50

    christinaknight

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    I am a hospital corpsman in the Navy. My question is how hard is it to find a school that will accept an Assosiates in the MLT program towards becoming an LPN. I start Thomas Nelson Com. College on 7 Jan. for lab tech school, the MLT program, but that is my job in the Navy. I plan on getting out in three yrs and really want to persue the Nurse Practioner job. What would be the best way to go at it?

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    mommaniese

    over 6 years ago

    272 comments

    Is it worth to get masters then BSN from ADN because I know some programs that will give you your masters from ADN. Will this make a difference?

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    medic478

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    I am a Paramedic with an Associates Degree and would like to find a bridge to RN program on line I will working toward my ADN (I hope)

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    jessicavelez

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    I am 27 years old and looking to get my associate's degree for RN.

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    LittleO

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    I am 58 years old and a former federal government employee. I was a certified nursing assistant and wish to become a RN with an Associate's Degree. I would like to get my degree online with financial aid. Is there a program to fit me?

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    chooper54

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    I have completed all coursework and NUR101 towards my LPN. Had to leave school to care for mother and work. Is there a program out there where I can finish an LPN diploma online and go into a local hospital for my clinicals each week? Pls help! Cindy H

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    dan

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    Is there a program available to get my Nursing Degree on line?? I am presently a Hemo-Tech, am considering a Nursing Degree, I have 2 daughters in the Nursing program, am paying their tuition so I need to work. My e-mail address is dorwithspaz06@yahoo.com, please comment, appreciated!! Thank You

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    vinnigirl

    over 6 years ago

    22 comments

    Having started as a CNA and then going up the ladder so to speak; I still think it depends on whether you want to do patient care primarily or become a nurse manager or some other speciality.

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    kirikese_woman

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    Nice article, I taught about that when i decided to go to nursing school, alot of friends that where or had done nursing told me to do the ADN or or even LPN and if i finished I could work will I was doing the BSN to obtain a degree.

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    lauriefree

    over 6 years ago

    6 comments

    I am currently pursuing my ADN. Community college is much more affordable for me than a 4 year university. I do plan to eventually get my BSN. Right now my goal is just to be able to get my RN. I am ready to be finished with school.

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    cateyes01

    over 6 years ago

    8 comments

    HI, I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IF OR TECHNICIANS ARE ABLE TO TRAVEL AS WELL AS NURSE'S.
    I AM GIONG TO SCHOOL NOW FOR NURSING, I MAY WANT TO CHANGE AND START AT LPN, I AM A PCT NOW, IS THERE ANY WAY THAT PCT'S CAN TRAVEL AS WELL? I AM SINGLE WITH NO CHILDREN AND I HAVE A WONDERFUL AMOUNT OF PATIENTS AND I LOVE WORKING WITH PEOPLE, I HAVE GREAT REFERENCES AND I WOULD LOVE TO TRAVEL. THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME JILL MCNEY

  • 15-photo_15_max50

    cateyes01

    over 6 years ago

    8 comments

    HI, I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IF OR TECHNICIANS ARE ABLE TO TRAVEL AS WELL AS NURSE'S.
    I AM GIONG TO SCHOOL NOW FOR NURSING, I MAY WANT TO CHANGE AND START AT LPN, I AM A PCT NOW, IS THERE ANY WAY THAT PCT'S CAN TRAVEL AS WELL? I AM SINGLE WITH NO CHILDREN AND I HAVE A WONDERFUL AMOUNT OF PATIENTS AND I LOVE WORKING WITH PEOPLE, I HAVE GREAT REFERENCES AND I WOULD LOVE TO TRAVEL. THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME JILL MCNEY

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    tiajuana36

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    Hellor, I need some advice regarding the topic ADN and BSN and accelerated BSN. I am considering nursing and was told that since I have a 2 bachelor's degree there is a way of going about it.Can anyone give me an example? I do not qualify for financial aid & just wrapped up a divorce & have recently had to file bankruptcy. I am also a single mom. I am trying to see what might be the smartest way of going about it. Should I do CNA first and then move up from there while trying to do an ADN course. .Roughly, how expensive is an ADN degree? & does anyone know of schools in CA (or elsewhere) worth looking into. Where and how and whom should I talk to regarding an ADN or an accelerated program (since I have a Bachelor's ). Any input is appreciated. Thanks.

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    amcpadp

    over 6 years ago

    4 comments

    I received my ADN degree in 1984. I also possess 2 additional Bachelor degrees. My starting salary and that of a BSN were initially not the same, but most facilities recognize "on the job traing" and have "grandfathered" in the ADN to account for this. Therefore, the salaries of an ADN and a BSN after a few years are the same. (at least at one facility I worked at).
    The difference does lie in the opportunities for advancement. This is where a BSN becomes important. However, in the State of Ohio to become a Nurse Practitioner, one does not always need to have a BSN; a Bachelors Degree is all that is required.(depending on the area of focus).
    Over the years, I can honestly say, I have always made as much as my BSN conterparts. I do wish that I had finished my BSN though. So, if you have the time and the determination, do it when you can...it will benefit you in the long run! And remember, aquiring more knowledge is never a waste of time. :) Good Luck!!!!

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