Which is better RN cert. from a community college or BSN

  1. 1
    I am getting a little confused on what to do. I already have a BS, but would like to become a nurse. What is the difference in going to a community college and getting a RN Certificate through them and going to a University and getting a BSN? Which one has more opportunities. I see a lot of RN job postings, so that confuses me.

    Thanks for the help.
    TheCommuter likes this.
  2. 30 Comments so far...

  3. 3
    At the end of the day, you'll need a BSN but it can be smart to get ADN 1st then do ADN to BSN. I too have a Bachelor's in another field, and chose ADN route because at my age, it made more sense to do that then go on to do ADN to BSN.

    At my age, going to a university 60 miles from home doesn't make sense. The cost of community college cheaper too. At end of day it was cheaper for me to do ADN then bridge.

    It all depends on your situation. If you are young and university BSN doable for you, then go for it. All depends on your personal situation.
    Godivadess, mmc51264, and Joaquin49 like this.
  4. 1
    Do an Allnurses search - lotsofthreads about this.
    kalevra likes this.
  5. 2
    The job market is tough for both ADN and BSN graduates. However, most facilities prefer a BSN these days. I would suggest getting your BSN in order to maximize your opportunities.
    Cauliflower and cardiacrocks like this.
  6. 4
    RNs do not get a "certificate" they are Registered by virtue of passing the NCLEX. You get do that either way, depends on your personal goals and long term plan. If you do the 2-3 year route (ADN), you will be done sooner with less debt (most likely) but then the road to the BSN can be more of a challenge ($$ , time, other commitments).

    I did the BSN out of HS and glad I did. It took FOREVER to get a Masters Degree but I did it 2 years ago and it has paid off for me.
    lindarn, Godivadess, poppycat, and 1 other like this.
  7. 0
    Thanks so much for the help.
  8. 5
    It really depends on what is more advantageous for you. I was faced with this same decision about six months ago when I decided I'd picked the wrong thing, and I wanted to go back to school for nursing. I've got a BBA in Accounting, which would've let me skip right into doing a bridge program and getting my BSN in the same amount of time it'd take to get my ADN. The ADN is through the town's community college, the BSN through a university about a 45 minute drive away. For me, the considerations were:

    1) What do local hospitals hire? ADNs? BSNs?

    2) Which school has the best pass rates?

    For me, those answers were "mostly ADN graduates", and the hospital in my town very strongly prefers the local community college's students, probably because most of them graduated from that same program years ago. On top of that, the local CC had average NCLEX pass rates of about 93-94% from the last four years, while the university had 83-85%. Everything lined up: CC was cheaper, easier to get to, has a stellar regional reputation, and the superior NCLEX pass rate sealed the deal.

    Make your decision logically!
  9. 3
    When I made the decision to change careers into nursing six years ago, I faced a similar decision. I chose the direct-entry MSN route mostly because it was the quickest way through for me - no waiting list, no lottery... just a competitive admissions process for all qualified candidates. My backup plan was a 2nd-degree BSN.

    Had the ADN program been available to me, I probably would have done it... a choice that I would have come to regret.

    It took me three years after graduation to finally find a tier-1 job which, it turns out, requires a BSN/MSN in order to even be considered for hire. Even though I already held two baccalaureate degrees, I'd have been denied this opportunity if I held only an AS in nursing.

    Depending on where you are going to be looking for work, I'd caution against the associate's degree because you may find yourself unable to get hired over the baccalaureate nurses.

    Know your local market before you make your choice.
    joanna73, Cauliflower, and VickyRN like this.
  10. 3
    Accelerated baccalaureate programs offer the quickest route to licensure as a registered nurse (RN) for adults who have already completed a bachelor's or graduate degree in a non-nursing discipline. Fast-track baccalaureate programs take between 11 and 18 months to complete, including prerequisites. These programs are intensive, fast paced requiring great deal of crammed studying.

    American Association of Colleges of Nursing Accelerated Nursing Programs link has program description and college list.

    In my conversations with new grads, hospitals in Philadelphia-New York-Boston area hiring new grads with BSN predominately with community college grads feeling like they are being shut out of job market, especially in Philly as saturated with BSN program grads. Conversations with nursing programs need to inquire employment rates of new grads and length time it takes for grads to find first RN position.
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Jan 4, '13
    joanna73, oldenurselady, and VickyRN like this.
  11. 0
    A lot depends on your area. Though there is no such thing as an "RN certificate" from a community college. If you attend a community college nursing program, you graduate with an Associate's Degree in Nursing. If you attend a Bachelor's program, you graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Either way, you don't have your RN until you pass NCLEX.

    In my area, it is next to impossible for an ADN new grad to obtain employment. For that reason, if anyone in this area asks what route to take, I will always recommend a BSN. If your area has new grad opportunities for ADN grads, that route may be just fine for you. Though with a previous Bachelor's, I would suggest looking into an accelerated Bachelor's program.


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