ADN vs. BSN: Which One is Right for You?


The nursing field is in high demand for new workers. Nursing also provides stability and a steady income.

You can become a nurse with an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) or finish a bachelors degree in nursing (BSN) before entering the field. Which degree level is right for you?


Both degrees can get you started in the nursing field, but there are few key differences between them.

  • Length of time: An associates degree in nursing (ADN) takes around two years to complete. You can begin a nursing career with an ADN in only 24 months. If you are looking to start your career sooner, then an ADN is right for you. A BSN is a four-year degree. Four years to become a Registered Nurse is fine. It just depends on how soon you want to begin your career.
  • Advancement opportunities: While you can enter the field of nursing with only an ADN, the BSN opens more opportunities for advancement in the field. Nurses that hold BSNs may be on a fast-track path to promotions. You can work your way up to Nursing Manager in a few short years if you already have your BSN credential.
  • Level of care: Nurses with an ADN are able to provide patients with basic care. Depending on their location, ADN nurses may not be permitted to perform certain tests on patients or other actions. Nurses with BSNs are allowed to do more for their patients, thus offering more advanced-level nursing care.
  • Salary opportunities: Nurses with a BSN may command higher salaries at their places of employment. The starting salary for a nurse with a BSN may be higher than the starting salary for a nurse with only an ADN.

Which one is right for you?

Choosing which degree that you want to begin with depends on a variety of factors. How soon do you want to begin your career? What opportunities do you want to have as soon as you get started in the field? Knowing your career goals is the first step in deciding which nursing program you want to enter.

Just remember that even if you choose an ADN to begin your nursing career, you can always return to school and earn your BSN. HCI offers an accelerated BSN program that is 100% online, and your credits from your ADN program can be transferred into the program.

Ready to enroll? Still have questions? Call us at (561) 586-0121, and let us help you get started today!


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