Diploma vs Associates degree school?

  1. 0
    What is the difference between diploma schools and getting your associates degree? Are there
    Any advantages to either?

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  2. 19 Comments...

  3. 1
    Quote from gabriellegoss
    What is the difference between diploma schools and getting your associates degree? Are there
    Any advantages to either?
    ADN
    You take college classes (ie English, Psych, electives) that may not be directly related to nursing. These classes may be useful when/if you transfer to a BSN program
    Usually afilliated with a community college

    Diploma
    Will not require college classes except for those most directly related to nursing (ice nutrition, A&P)
    Usually afilliated with a hospital


    Some people think the clinical experiences are better/more hours with a diploma program, but that is really program specific.

    ADN will most definitely be cheaper.

    I am an Diploma-RN grad and I believe my diploma program was rigorous, but provided me the foundation I needed to be a good nurse
    NutmeggeRN likes this.
  4. 0
    Getting associates is a better idea in the long run. First, it is a degree after all that required some other basic classes. Also, it counts much more if you want to go up to higher degrees. With only diploma, you may have to start over again for bachelor's degree.
  5. 6
    Quote from Seas
    Getting associates is a better idea in the long run. First, it is a degree after all that required some other basic classes. Also, it counts much more if you want to go up to higher degrees. With only diploma, you may have to start over again for bachelor's degree.
    This is NOT true. With a diploma you do not have to start over on anything. You will still have an RN, and will still be eligible for enrollment in RN-BSN programs, you just may need to take more gen eds type classes. I did an RN-BSN program after my diploma RN and graduated in under a year with my BSN and did not retake any classes.
    Esme12, applewhitern, OCNRN63, and 3 others like this.
  6. 0
    You'd have to look at the specific programs to determine what college classes are required. Mostly, they are the same. The diploma schools beefed up their college course requirements so that it's equivalent to the associate degree. Diploma may skip phys ed or a computer skills course. These are pretty standard for either diploma or associate degree:


    1. English Composition
    2. Introduction to Psychology
    3. Human Growth and Development
    4. Introduction to Sociology
    5. Human Anatomy (or Anatomy & Physiology I (with lab)
    6. Human Physiology (or Anatomy & Physiology II (with lab)
    7. Microbiology (with lab)
    8. Algebra or a nursing math class
    9. nutrition

    Depending on how fast you can get your college work done, it might be faster to go through a diploma program. All of them in western PA are requiring all college courses to be done before starting the actual nursing training. Then the nursing part is 16-18 months in some cases, 24 months in others. If you go associate degree, it's usually 24 months plus whatever time it takes to get all the prereqs done, and that will be a minimum of 2 full semesters = 1year.

    Either way, once you pass the NCLEX-RN, you are a RN. You can go from diploma RN into online bridge to BSRN ,like the one that Penn State offers.
  7. 0
    Quote from Seas
    Getting associates is a better idea in the long run. First, it is a degree after all that required some other basic classes. Also, it counts much more if you want to go up to higher degrees. With only diploma, you may have to start over again for bachelor's degree.
    The only bad thing about a diploma program vs. an associate degree is that if you flunk out or have to relocate and resume your training at a different RN school for any reason, the diploma RN classes other than Nursing I that's pretty standard everywhere will be difficult or impossible to transfer to another school. College credit courses are more standardized and are more likely to get accepted as transfer credit at a different school.
  8. 0
    Quote from TC3200

    Depending on how fast you can get your college work done, it might be faster to go through a diploma program. All of them in western PA are requiring all college courses to be done before starting the actual nursing training. Then the nursing part is 16-18 months in some cases, 24 months in others. If you go associate degree, it's usually 24 months plus whatever time it takes to get all the prereqs done, and that will be a minimum of 2 full semesters = 1year.
    .
    Actually Shadyside allows you to take required sciences and college courses concurrent with nursing classes, and I have heard that St. Margaret's just redid their curriculum to allow the same
  9. 0
    Quote from TC3200
    The only bad thing about a diploma program vs. an associate degree is that if you flunk out or have to relocate and resume your training at a different RN school for any reason, the diploma RN classes other than Nursing I that's pretty standard everywhere will be difficult or impossible to transfer to another school. College credit courses are more standardized and are more likely to get accepted as transfer credit at a different school.
    Not necessarily true. I started out in a diploma program & was forced to relocate halfway through my second year. I applied to the ADN program @ a community college & they accepted ALL of the courses I took in the diploma program (nursing & gen Ed). It all depends on the school.
  10. 0
    Quote from ChristineN
    This is NOT true. With a diploma you do not have to start over on anything. You will still have an RN, and will still be eligible for enrollment in RN-BSN programs, you just may need to take more gen eds type classes. I did an RN-BSN program after my diploma RN and graduated in under a year with my BSN and did not retake any classes.
    More gen ed classes with diploma. So?
    Why didn't ADN degree not take more gen ed classes then?
    Some classes may not transfer with only diploma.
    Your school may be okay with that, but don't generalize. Some schools may not recognize your diploma and make you restart.

    So, ADN is always more advantageous than diploma.
  11. 1
    Quote from Seas
    More gen ed classes with diploma. So?
    Why didn't ADN degree not take more gen ed classes then?
    Some classes may not transfer with only diploma.
    Your school may be okay with that, but don't generalize. Some schools may not recognize your diploma and make you restart.

    So, ADN is always more advantageous than diploma.
    Don't generalize - that may only happen for a program that is not NLN recognized. To the OP - pick the program that best meets your needs - and, Good Luck
    OCNRN63 likes this.


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