The age old question: ADN or BSN?

  1. 0
    Dear fellow allnurses,

    I am sure this has been addressed many times before, but I wanted to start a new thread in hopes of finding some current/new information regarding whether to get an ADN or BSN in Illinois, specifically in the Chicago land area.

    I am currently in this complicated and frustrating situation where I have been accepted to both an ADN and an accelerated BSN program and am not sure which one to choose. If I go the ADN route, tuition would be MUCH cheaper (less than 10K) but I will finish in 2 years with an ADN. If I take the BSN route, I will finish in 16 months but I will be drowned with around 48K in debt, plus 20K I already have from my previous degree.

    I really want to go the BSN route since it is shorter and that is my ultimate goal, to obtain my BSN. I know there are numerous RN to BSN programs out there that would be a lot cheaper but would take longer.

    My question to you all is this whether you would take the ADN or BSN route and why? Also, I have heard many stories (mostly on here) about new grads not being able to find work. Is this true for both ADN and BSN new grads? I honestly would go with the ADN route if I knew I would be able to get a job after I graduated and passed the NCLEX whether it be in a hospital, LTC or home care is not an issue for me at this point. I just want to know if I would be able to get an RN position with an ADN. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    Get the hottest topics every week!

    Subscribe to our free Nursing Insights newsletter.

  2. 18 Comments...

  3. 0
    I live in downstate IL but here is my take: do the BSN. With any Magnet facility (of which there are many in Chicago), you will need your BSN to offset your new grad status.
  4. 1
    You're going to get varying answers. Honestly I'd say go the ADN route. There are plenty of RN - BSN programs out there, especially online programs. A BSN might have a slight advantage to an ADN if you're trying to work in certain hospitals but a new grad is largely going to be seen as a new grad whether they're an ADN or a BSN.

    And this is just my personal opinion but you're probably going to get much more well rounded experience in a 2 year ADN program than a 16 month accelerated BSN program. But that also depends largely on the program.. And like you said, cost is definitely a factor. 48k is a lot of money for a program when you can probably get your BSN in a little more than twice that time for less than half the cost, and still be a good nurse. I know plenty of ADN new grads in IL and I've never heard of them having trouble getting a job. You might have to look around but they're out there.
    Davidz0rs likes this.
  5. 0
    Thanks for both of your comments!
    Are you both nurses? Which route did you take?

    Jasel, you are right, there are many RN to BSN completion programs but I just want the fastest and least expensive route, but having both is impossible ha. I agree that both programs will provide very different learning experiences and that's what matters to me the most. By any chance do you know what the main difference between an ADN and BSN education is? Is it just that ADN students get more clinical time while BSN is more centered on theory? That is what I have heard but I am not sure.

    If I take the ADN route I will be done in May 2014. I found an RN to BSN completion program through Loyola that is completely online about $18,000 and 12 months long. If I start that program after I get my ADN, I will have my BSN by August 2015. That seems like such a long time from now and I just want to be done and financially independent! This is a really tough and frustrating decision, but I have to figure this out soon. Any other advice would be appreciated!
  6. 0
    Quote from MaleCNA87
    Thanks for both of your comments!
    Are you both nurses? Which route did you take?

    Jasel, you are right, there are many RN to BSN completion programs but I just want the fastest and least expensive route, but having both is impossible ha. I agree that both programs will provide very different learning experiences and that's what matters to me the most. By any chance do you know what the main difference between an ADN and BSN education is? Is it just that ADN students get more clinical time while BSN is more centered on theory? That is what I have heard but I am not sure.

    If I take the ADN route I will be done in May 2014. I found an RN to BSN completion program through Loyola that is completely online about $18,000 and 12 months long. If I start that program after I get my ADN, I will have my BSN by August 2015. That seems like such a long time from now and I just want to be done and financially independent! This is a really tough and frustrating decision, but I have to figure this out soon. Any other advice would be appreciated!
    I would just get the BSN. I'm not a nurse yet (waiting on an NCLEX test date) but I do have a BSN & I'm glad I have it. Not only does it make it easier to get jobs in a magnet hospital, but it's much easier to work up the ladder .... At least that's what I've been told. Either way if u can do the BSN you'll be happier you did
  7. 0
    The required number of clinical hours is the same for the BSN and ADN. It just seems like more clinical hours in the adn program because in the BSN program they are spread over three years. ADN to BSN programs are usually one and a half semesters long. One bridge semester then the two semesters missing from the ADN program. Just hearsay from my professors: The accelerated BSN students typical day (including study time.) is 16 hours a day Monday - Friday. Then study all weekend long.
  8. 0
    Quote from Pneumothorax

    I would just get the BSN. I'm not a nurse yet (waiting on an NCLEX test date) but I do have a BSN & I'm glad I have it. Not only does it make it easier to get jobs in a magnet hospital, but it's much easier to work up the ladder .... At least that's what I've been told. Either way if u can do the BSN you'll be happier you did
    I plan on getting my BSN eventually if I take the ADN route. So you think it would be better to just go for my BSN even with the high cost? I really wouldn't mind working in LTC or home care starting off as a new grad since it seems most hospitals prefer/require BSNs.
  9. 0
    I am doing the BSN, but only because it is shorter for me now since I have all the pre reqs done and classes outside the program needed to graduate. Here, there is no adn program. It's LPN to adn then BSN ladder. To go that route I would be in school another year! In your case, cost is a huge issue, but you need to also weigh the cost of going back for your BSN, the cost and physical cost of working and going to school at the same time. Good luck with your decision, it's a tough one.
  10. 0
    Quote from MaleCNA87
    Thanks for both of your comments!
    Are you both nurses? Which route did you take?

    Jasel, you are right, there are many RN to BSN completion programs but I just want the fastest and least expensive route, but having both is impossible ha. I agree that both programs will provide very different learning experiences and that's what matters to me the most. By any chance do you know what the main difference between an ADN and BSN education is? Is it just that ADN students get more clinical time while BSN is more centered on theory? That is what I have heard but I am not sure.

    If I take the ADN route I will be done in May 2014. I found an RN to BSN completion program through Loyola that is completely online about $18,000 and 12 months long. If I start that program after I get my ADN, I will have my BSN by August 2015. That seems like such a long time from now and I just want to be done and financially independent! This is a really tough and frustrating decision, but I have to figure this out soon. Any other advice would be appreciated!
    I'm an LPN, I'm halfway through a 2 year ADN program and enrolled in a Dual Degree Program for my BSN at another University. Honestly there's no "wrong" choice, you just have to decide what's best for you. Like I said the time flies. And I've honestly been more impressed with ADN new grads I've worked with compared to BSN new grades.

    I do think they tend to hit the floor more effectively due to being more clinical orientated. But that's just my opinion. And I have friends who are ADNs, work, and are doing online RN - BSN programs and it really doesn't seem to take up much of their time. For me that 48k for a BSN just seems like way too much when you can basically achieve the exact same thing for so much less money and a little more time. And seeing how it's still not apparent whether student loan interest rates will double or not, I'd personally err on the side of caution and just do the 2 year route. But once again there's no wrong choice.
  11. 0
    If you really feel like you'd be drowning with that much debt, I'd go the ADN route. If you go from
    Aug 2012 to 'May 2014, I have't actually counted but that only seems to be a 4 month difference. I can't see taking on tens of thousands of dollars extra just to get into the workforce 4 months sooner. If you're exceedingly concerned with having your BSN in hand during your first job hunt, than maybe the debt is worth it. I don't know. Personally, my ADN program had early acceptance to 2 RN-BSN programs. Graduate in May, start in June. If I can't find a job, I can just keep busy finishing school for a couple more semesters and save about $32,000 in tuition costs. Going slower is slightly annoying, but I'll enjoy keeping more of my paychecks when all is said and done.


Nursing Jobs in every specialty and state. Visit today and Create Job Alerts, Manage Your Resume, and Apply for Jobs.

A Big Thank You To Our Sponsors
Top