I don't remember who said it, but in the CA National Guard, you can commission with ADN. However, you will not promote past O2 (1st Lieutenant) without the BSN or MSN.
An interesting path someone may want to consider (takes much longer, but check out the reasoning) -
I enlisted as an E4 (Specialist) Paralegal in the Army National Guard. I have a BA in Legal Studies. I could have become an officer at the very start (Officer Candidate School) after basic training. There were pros and cons to going this route:
1.) at the time I enlisted, there were NO bonuses for officers (I received $10K by enlisting first).
2.) Now I am an NCO, there is a certain understanding that comes along with being an NCO, especially when you are leading enlisted Soldiers (Airmen, Sailors, Marines).
3.) When I commission, I will have the "E" time, so I will get paid slightly more than a nurse that direct commissions with no or less than 6 years of prior enlisted service.
4.) It is pretty difficult to get into BSN programs (or any nursing program for that matter). It is a little quicker to get into an ADN program. And as I stated previously, the Guard will allow you to commission with the ADN and let you have a few more years to get that BSN or MSN. There are tons of RN-BSN or RN-MSN (for those with a bachelors in a different field) online. This will allow a new RN to work in their field (on the civilian side) while gaining the leadership/military experience as an O1 or O2 and while working on the subsequent degrees.
: This takes forever.
Sometimes I look back and I wish I would have taken that opportunity to commission after basic training. I would be an O3 (Captain) by now!!! :smackingf Hind sight is 20/20, right?
But I can still continue with my original plan of taking the military for EVERY
they have. I enlisted and (as my friend sent me an e-mail today for Veteran's Day) I gave the US Government a blank check for up to and including my life. THEY OWE ME!!
The military is paying for my ADN and MSN through tuition assistance and the Post 9/11 GI Bill. I can go to school full-time and still take care of my bills and my children
(That last part right there is the reason why I didn't become a nurse sooner!)
As far as respect, a "butter bar (O1)" is like a "private" by officers. And by enlisted Soldiers (Airmen, Sailors, Marines), we may respect you in your face - but almost always we look at you as if you don't know anything... YOU'RE NEW! We almost always respect those who were enlisted first more than those who joined the military as officers off the bat. We feel (and when I say we, I mean approximately 90% of the NCO Corp) an officer who was enlisted first knows where we are because they have been there before. Sometimes it's a little easier to respect someone who has walked in your shoes before.
With prior enlisted time, when people see that "butter bar," you can let people know, "I didn't just fall off the back of the turnip truck - I knows me some stuff!" (Or you can be a really humble new officer - we like those ones, too!)
Both routes - prior enlistment and direct commission has it's pros and cons. With the economy being what it is, more people are joining without the college credits. There are few - if any - enlistment bonuses. There may be more for officers because the military (especially the guard) is hurting for medical officers! It just depends on what your motivation is. It is always advisable to do your own independent research before making any decision before "handing over that blank check to Uncle Sam."
Good luck and happy decision making!