Associate or Bachelor degree?


Hi Everyone!

I am changing careers from being a Paralegal to finally pursuing

a degree in Nursing. Now my question is, will I have a chance of getting

a job if I only have an Associate's degree? Or is it really necessary to have

a Bachelors? I am in my early 30's and would love to just complete an Associate's

degree for now since I feel like time is not on my side. I also don't have the opportunity

to be a full time student since I am a single mother and cannot afford to go

to school full time, but I'm afraid of not being able to find a job if I only have

a 2 year degree. Nursing is something I've always wanted to do and I am willing

to make any sacrifices to get my degree if a 2 year degree is not going to help

me a lot than I will find a way to maybe only work part-time and focus more

on school to complete a Bachelors. I would love some feedback!

Thank you!


547 Posts

Specializes in Adult and pediatric emergency and critical care.

What jobs you can get with an associates will depend on the region you are in and what kind of job you want. Generally speaking most hospitals are moving towards requiring bachelors degrees, and those who have one will typically be more competitive at hospitals that don't require it. In the area where I am at the jobs that new graduates of associates programs get are typically in home health, psych, and nursing home but this will also vary by region.


103 Posts

Check with your local hospitals as they are usually the employers that are picky about degree type.

You can go to a job posting site and see what they ask for in their job listings, but you can usually find someone in recruiting at the hospital who is more than willing to answer your questions.

FWIW, in my area (metro area but not a majorly huge city), the hospitals will hire ADN's but they require you to get your BSN within 5 or 6 years of hire. Both hospitals in the area will help pay for the BSN if you go to their affiliated school as well.

Also, you can frequently find work as an ADN RN, but you may not be able to advance without the BSN. Totally depends on your area and where you want to work (ie nursing homes are usually more flexible with the ADN, the 'non bedside' patient care jobs are usually more demanding of a higher degree).

Specializes in ICU. Has 30 years experience.

My current Director of Nursing has an ADN. The hospitals I've worked in, both in Florida and Alabama, do not require a BSN. Since the actual nursing classes are the same, employers around here do not differentiate. If you are an RN, you've taken the same state boards and have the same scope of practice. It really does just depend on what area you are in.


9 Posts

Thank you very much I will do my research and go from there. I really appreciate it :)

Has 4 years experience.

Just wanted to say, your age is not an issue whatsoever.....tons of people go into nursing in their 40s, 50s and even 60s. I'm, 45 and just starting school...


9 Posts

Thank you for your feedback!


3 Posts

Has 1 years experience.

I know this is a couple months old, but unless you're getting everything paid for, I ALWAYS recommend doing an ADN first. You can always "upgrade" any time after, and you'll pay a hell of a lot less money.

I went through school about the same age as you with a child. It was important to me to start working as an RN as quickly as possible to support my family.


9 Posts

Yes after crunching numbers, and putting a lot of thought into it the only way I'll be able to make it is if I start with an Associate's degree get into the field and then get a BSN. Thank you very much for your feedback, I just got done with all my prerequisites and I turned in my application to the Associates degree nursing program so hopefully I get the call and I'll be on my way soon!