Associates or Bachelors?

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    Can anyone tell me the major differences between an associates degree and a bachelors degree? I realize the bachelors requires more schooling and more job opportunities.
    Jobwise is what I mean. Can you still aquire a job at a hospital with an associates? Is it better to continue education and earn your bachelors?
  2. 67 Comments so far...

  3. 1
    The associates degree can definately get you lots of entry level positions in the hospital. In fact that's what it's for to prepare bedside RNs in hospitals. The job opportunities are many and the income is a nice middle income.

    The bachelor's degree is helpful depending on your goals. What do you envision your nursing career to hold for you? Do you simply want to be a bedside nurse forever? Or do you envision something else like management, teaching, getting a Masters Degree, working in public health? A BSN will give you more opportunities outside of the hospital away from the bedside.

    Good luck. Feel free to ask any questions you'd like to.
    mcabreza likes this.
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    AsTweety said, the differences in job opportunities between an ADN and a BSN are usually not significant at the beginning of a nursing career -- when the focus is upon establishing yourself as a nurse competent in the basic skills. The difference comes later as the nurse considers the opportunities for career advancement, for positions that are highly competitive, and/or for positions that involve more independence. Many of those types of positions require at least a BSN if not an MSN.

    llg
    Last edit by llg on Oct 26, '06
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    It's good to get the bachelor's but if money is tight or you want to start working sooner, get the associate's, it's cheaper and you can always go back for the BSN, and most hospitals offer tuition reimbursement so you can pursue your BSN. The shortage is so bad you will not have a problem getting a job as an ADN.
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    I agree. I got my ADN first, went to work in a hospital and continued with BSN/MSN. At least I was able to work and get tuition reimbursement.
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    Jobwise, a lot depends on what the supply and demand is in the area where you live. I lived in an area that had a couple of universities that were turning out BSNs in huge numbers. As a result of that many of the hospitals were very picky and were only hiring BSNs. The new grads from the AA programs were pretty much forced to go into long term care facilities. However, I was originally trained in a area that had no BSN programs so we AA nurses had no problems getting hired by the local hospitals. You just had to be careful not to apply for a hospital job too late or all the available openings got filled up and you went, guess where, long term care.

    In general, most places don't pay their BSNs higher than AAs. They are both doing the same job as staff nurses. The difference between them comes with promotion opportunities. Most hospitals are very clear about wanting their managers and supervisors to have BSNs. The reason is partly because BSN programs have time to focus on leadership and management more so than AA programs. My experience was that after many years as a staff nurse and having mastered most of the procedures required of me I started to get terribly bored and was looking for more challenging work. Mind you, it took 6 or 7 years before this happened, but I clearly had to go back to school for my BSN and then was quickly moved into management and supervision.

    So, look at the situation around where you live: the number of acute hospitals, the number of BSN programs in relation to AA programs to find your answers. Also, look for job fairs or hospital open houses for nursing being advertised in the Sunday classifieds and go to one or several of these. It gives you a chance to talk to nurse recruiters from the various local hospitals and the opportunity to ask them the same question you pose above. You can always give recruiters a call at their work place and ask as well. The recruiters are a great source of information as part of their job requires that they be aware of the job market in the area they are employed.
  8. 0
    Quote from llg
    AsTweety said, the differences in job opportunities between an ADN and a BSN are usually significant at the beginning of a nursing career --
    llg

    Did you mean "insignificant" here? I think you did.
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    I have been an ADN RN since 1992. In this time I have worked long term care and hospital both. I can tell you in our area BSN and ADN function the same. There is no little black book with cool things BSN nurses know more than ADN nurses except maybe statistics. I have worked as a med surg Charge Nurse for a larger hospital with BSN nurses under my supervision. Guess what! Many of them didn't know anything more about nursing than the ADN RN's did. In fact since the ADN program nursing students has use in the hospital from the 5th week of the first year and continue on through the whole 2 years. We ADN Rn's hit the floor running. We are not stuck in a class room trying to relate a disease or system failure in our minds, we were right there doing it from the start. Do Not get me wrong. I strongly agree in furthering your education if you want something for your career than as a floor nurse, charge nurse, Er nurse... The list could go on and on. I am no hyprocrit. in fact Iam back in college to get my masters degree. i have MS and can't work the floor anymore, but if I was able to i would be back there right on the most important part of nurses which is caring for them in a competent, efficient and caring manor. what really needs to happen is better wages, less patient to staff member ratio and encouraging our future generations into the field of nursing. I believe our biggest problem to overcome in the next 15+ years is to make nursing a career that is lucrative for the nurse, better care for the patient and for our administration in our jobs to actually listen to how we can better improve our job as a whole. in class this week we had to write down a Thesis for a subject we wanted to research. we handed our intro sentence around in class to all to see and write their imput. Mine was Being a Nurse. The majority of the other students were in their early 20-25 yrs. None of them had a positive expression to it on feedback. there we questions of why when the pay is so bad. Also didn't it take a lot of time college wise as well as money to become a nurse. I was astonished, because me and 1 other sudent were the only 2 in that class going for their nursing degree(ADN or BSN) and I don't think they will change their majors. I am going to try to put a more positive outlook on what i am as a nurse. I only hope it sinks in to a few of them. I could never be anything but a nurse. We all need to band together and take it upon our own shoulders to influence younger people to be nurses. I truly believe that being a nurse is extremely rewarding. For both patients and nurses.
    by the way if you did not get my meaning earlier about ADN vs BSN it is that no matter what field of nursing you embark on the most important thing is to be the best nurse you can be. credentials are just letters behind your name saying :Yah i have an MSN degree). bottom line we are all nurses.
    Bre14 and live4today like this.
  10. 0
    I have the same question. I am really in need of some advice. My mom and I have discussed this issue over and over but I don't think either of us are educated enough in the area to make the best decision. I am currently waiting to see if I will make it into the bachelor's nursing program but what do I do if I don't get in???? Do I go for the associates degree then the BSN? I feel like if I did that I would be stepping down instead of up. Do I keep trying to get into the BSN program, all the while time is slipping away? Do I apply to different colleges?? It seems like all of them have different pre-reqs, apply at different times, and are more apt to accept people who are going there. Do I change my major in the health care field? I've thought about radiology but chemistry isn't my high point and again i'll be back to square one, waiting to see if I get in. My mom has suggested physicians assistant but I'm not so sure I want to do that either. My mom also has said that she feels like I wouldn't become out with a very good paying job if I stuck with nursing. I feel like this is a critical time in my life and I just want to be sure that the decision I do make is the right one. Please help, it would be greatly appreciated!
    Last edit by Cls62011 on Jun 25, '07 : Reason: posted it in wront forum
  11. 1
    in my area physician's assistants go to school as long as ADN programs and make less money and have less opprotunity to advance their career (from what i've heard).

    you will start out making pretty good pay as a new nurse - i'm not sure why your mom thinks otherwise.

    there's nothing demeaning about doing an associates program instead of bachelor's - don't feel like you're taking a step down. i'm starting in the ADN program at a local community college this fall that has a 100% pass rate currently - ADN and BSN students take the same NCLEX, one is not better than the other per se - just different.
    live4today likes this.


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