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ABSN vs Direct Entry Masters Program.



I have a few questions about the difference between ABSN and Direct Entry Masters programs. I have a BS already in a non-nursing major and have been looking at a variety of different programs.

I am coming across 3 types of accelerated nursing programs for non-nursing Bachelors students.

1) Accelerated BSN programs that are about 15-18 months. You graduate with your BSN and are eligible to take the NCLEX. e.g Concordia University

2) Direct Entry Masters of Nursing programs that are also 15-18 months. For these programs, you graduate with your MSN and are eligible to take the NCLEX. e.g John Hopkins University

3) Direct Entry Masters of Nursing program where the curriculum is split into two. One half being your RN coursework and the second half being your speciality coursework to become a nurse practioner, DNP, etc. When you graduate, you have your RN license and your Advanced Practice license.

My confusion lies in what the difference really is between option 1 and 2. Essentially, both programs finish with you having your RN license. Is the hiring/ job outlook different for someone who has a MSN vs a BSN if they both program end with you having your RN license?

Thank you so much for any responses ! I wanted to post it here as well as the Pre-Nursing section as maybe you all have insight after going through application processes!


Specializes in Adult Internal Medicine. Has 10 years experience.

The ultimate difference between 1 and 2 is the degree at the end, but there are some subtleties there. The most important one to consider is how you are going to pay for the program: if you plan to use federal loans there may be a big difference between ABSN vs MSN degree path so that it something to look closely at and get solid answers before matriculating.

I’ve heard arguments on both sides about BSN vs MSN in the job market for new grads. My opinion is that holding the advanced degree may help you in a competitive market as a novice RN just getting the resume to stand out. It may help you down the road applying to non-traditional RN jobs.

There is no difference in the scope of your work based on the degree.

My unsolicited opinion: go to the best school you can get in to regardless of the program type.