ADN vs. BSN: Which Is Best For You?

This article is going to compare ADN vs BSN and highlight the key differences that you need to know about if you want to pursue a nursing career. A BSN is a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, while an ADN is an Associates Degree in Nursing. Both degrees will lead you to getting your RN but there are some differences between the two.

The major difference is in the length of time it takes to complete the two degrees. Another major difference is the amount of credits required to complete the programs. For example, an ADN normally takes 2-3 years to complete while a BSN will take 4-5 years to complete (including the time spent with the prerequisites to enter the program).

In terms of the starting salary for a fully qualified nurse, the rates are very even for an ADN or a BSN. However, as many advanced positions require a BSN, the BSN prepared nurse does have the potential to earn more money. To give you a quick guide of the expected salary, in 2006 the state of California conducted a survey of registered nurses and the survey showed that BSN prepared nurses have a mean income of $75,017 while ADN prepared nurses had a mean income of $70,804.

Overall, the advantages of taking a ADN program are that you will usually save money in the long run, as they are usually less expensive. The other important consideration is that ADN programs are less time consuming, which means you will become a qualified nurse faster, and can start earning money from your career.

The advantages of taking the BSN route are that you will have more opportunities to advance to higher positions in nursing (for example as a nurse manager.) You will also be prepared to enter advanced degree programs following your BSN degree.

In 2006, the state of California had 46.6% of RN licenses obtained through ADN programs, while 37.7% of RN licenses were obtained through a BSN program. The rest of the RN licenses were obtained through hospital based diploma programs, which is the third alternative that some people choose.

The hospital-based diploma is a type of nursing program that is administered by a hospital. When completing a diploma program, the students are eligible to sit for the NCLEX (the exam to become an RN), however, no degree is obtained via this route, and so it might not be right for you.

As you can see, when comparing the and vs bsn, the main things to consider are the time it will take to obtain the degree and the long-term opportunities that will be available to you. But keep in mind, even if you start with an ADN program you can always obtain your BSN later down the road so don’t think you are “stuck” with an ADN degree if you go that route.

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