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ASN vs. BSN pros/cons and POLL

by keepaskingy keepaskingy (New) New

Associates or Bachelors Program???

  1. 1. Associates or Bachelors Program???

31 members have participated

So up until a few days ago I thought I wanted to go straight for a BSN as opposed to going to the community college and doing a ASN. I got accepted to both programs. So now I have a decision to make, and I need some input!

The BSN program: PROS - I get my BSN in two years. CONS- school is 50 minutes away. costs twice as much as the associate program. Clinicals can be assigned across several counties. Word on the street is associates program gives stronger skills than this bachelors program (read that here on the forum, and heard the words from a girl that is currently in the bachelors program).

The ASN program: PROS - School is 20 minutes from my house, clinicals only done in my county, heard that this program better prepares its students skill-wise, program costs half as much as the bachelors program. CONS - Assuming I need my BSN at some point, I'd have to put in another year for a RN - BSN bridge program.

I've been to college before (BA in English/History from 10 yrs ago). I have student debt. I don't plan on taking out more loans for this...I plan to use the savings I have and to work part time as a CNA. So having a two hour commute every time I need to head to class at the BSN program can sure eat away at hours I would have available to work or to study.

What do you all think?

It sounds to me like you already made your decision. :)


Has 3 years experience.

If you want to get all of your schooling out of the way first, I would go the BSN route. If you want to be a nurse and don't care about the BSN route, then go through the ASN program. Either way you will come out as a RN.

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 44 years experience.

You left out the most important piece of information:

What is the job market for ADN's in your area? An ADN will do you no good if it won't get you a decent job. Being an unemployed ADN and then trying to add the BSN later (on your own) is not a good plan.

If you can realistically expect to get a good job with an ADN that will help you pay for the BSN, then I recommend the ADN.

If you will be unlikely to get a good job with the ADN, then I recommend the BSN.

sounds like you could go either way and do o.k.

Edited by emcadams
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Currently I volunteer in the ER of one of the main hospitals (there are about 5 big hospitals in my immediate area), and I always see students from the assosicates program doing extern/internships there. One company owns all the hospitals in the area, and they currently have 75 nurse openings ranging from registered nurse to nurse practitioner. All of the ads for registered nurse (mostly PRN, but about 10 or so FT openings) just say "graduate of accredited professional nursing program" under the educational requirements. If the ad is for an RN case manager, it says that you should have an associates with a plan to complete the bachelors in 5 years. If the ad is for a supervisor position, it says BSN required. Obviously, case management and supervisor require 3-5 years of RN experience anyway. Someday, if I want to do management and all I have is the ADN, of course I will do a bridge to get my BSN. I guess I just don't know that I would want to do management or a masters yet. Its helpful to discuss all these things though...even if I'm just beating a beaten bush.

ASN then start working....chances are you employer will pay for you online bsn!

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 44 years experience.

If the job situation is as good as you think... then I would recommend the ADN, with plans to continue on to a BSN program 1-2 years after graduating -- paid by your employer.


Specializes in Primary Care; Child Advocacy; Child Abuse; ED. Has 23 years experience.

I debated this also. I was lucky the school I go to will let you bridge into bsn or MSN. I go to a school that is a hospital so I don't have to worry about a job after. But I wanted to work and finish the rest of my schooling while working. I would have saved myself a semester if I did the bsn. But I save a semester doing the MSN anyway. Which was always my plan. They do not have a direct entry MSN so I would have been in the msn program longer. Either way I pay the same amount but doing the asn allows me to work and the hospital will pay a percentage of tutition if I work for them. Good luck with your decision.

Double-Helix, BSN, RN

Specializes in PICU, Sedation/Radiology, PACU. Has 10 years experience.

Really it depends on your area. Are there a lot of nursing schools in your area? How is the market for new graduates? Are ADN nurses finding jobs? Is there a pay difference between ADN and BSN nurses?

If your area is anything like mine, then the trend is to hire BSN nurses only, especially for hospitals. One of the main reasons I got the job that I have right now as a new graduate was because I have a BSN. I would not have been hired with an ADN. There was a girl who worked as a CNA on my unit, finished her ADN program, and the hospital would not hire her until she got her BSN.

If that's the case for you, then it would be worth it to spend the extra money and get the BSN. It will make it easier for you to get a job. If there are lots of nursing schools/graduates in your area then having a BSN will give you an edge over the competition.

I'd say BSN as you would need to take 1 more year to get a BSN after, and IMO, time is money.


Has 1 years experience.

You are not a nurse until you pass NCLEX and the sooner you have the chance to sit for NCLEX the better. Therefore, I would go for ADN, even if the market looks better for BSN in your area. Also, community colleges are much cheaper than universities. It is always better to have as little debt as possible, especially in this economy.

If you already have a Bachelor's degree, there are programs for accelerated second degree BSN for those who already have a degree. It cuts your nursing bachelor's down to like 12-18 months. Not sure if that program is offered in your area. A con may be that it is a full time course load including through the summer (according to what I hear), but you're done much faster, and possibly cheaper, than adding another 4 years of college and additional debt. Just a thought....

I also think that you should go for the ASN, start getting experience AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, and get your employer to pay for your RN-BSN.

There are even some programs that are RN-MSN, so you could just bypass the whole BSN altogether.

What did you finally end up picking?

Im currently in the same dilemma and i have more or less the same pros and cons. I myself am going for the ASN degree because i do not care for any management position. All i hope is finding a good job after nursing school.

I'm still new to this website....

How can I vote? Or is the poll closed now?

Well, either way, I think you should get your associates. :)

Its so tempting just to get that bachelors out of the way. Some people looked at me like im crazy when i told them i was turning down an awesome nursing school to go to a local college's nursing program.