Associate vs Bachelor's Degrees

Nurses General Nursing


Hi Ladies - I'm brand new here, and am preparing for my dream career as a nurse.

I'm searching all of my options, and have concluded that going for my Associate degree is really the only finanncial feasible option. However, I want to be prepared as possible when I enter into the workforce, and I feel that a BA would better prepare me.

What are your thoughts/opinions/advice on the difference?

Also - I've heard that there's no difference in pay between RN's with an assoc vs bach degree. Any thoughts?

Thank you - and I'm really looking forward to being a memeber on this board!




2 Posts

In some hospitals there is a .50 more an hour difference in BSN nurses. I am a graduate of an AD program and am currently working on my BSN. I think that if you want to begin working and making RN pay then the AD program may be better and you can go back and get your BSN later. If money is not an issue, then I would suggest that you go ahead and enroll in a BSN program.


4 Posts

I started off in an AD program, then went into an RN track program for my BSN and now I am working on my Master's. Once I was finished with my AD program I did not have the confidence to immediatly start working in a hospital setting...hence the reason for continuing my education. I am a strong advocate for the BSN programs, not only does it allow you for more potential growth in your career, it also in the long run may improve the reputation as RN's. I also now that in the area I am from the AD programs are diminishing quickly and mostly all of the schools are going to BSN programs. Good Luck!!!


36 Posts

Hello mihi -

I started in a BSN program (graduating in December - yeah!), but my first choice was an ADN program. The ADN program I applied to had a lottery - you got in by chance after you met the prerequisites. The BSN program had a point system to be accepted (A's=4pts, B's=3pts, etc.), so this suited me better because I had the grades (grades didn't come into play in the ADN program).

Well, I got into the BSN program before the ADN program even called me! For me, this worked. The BSN program is only one semester longer, but it did have more prerequisites.

The only advantage that I have heard of in the work force is that there are some positions that you cannot apply to if you do not have your BSN - other than that, there is not much of a difference in the field.

With that said, I am also an advocate for furthering education. With our program, there are research courses, and specialty training, like public health, that the ADN program did not have available. For me, I felt the BSN will help me, as I am an older student who will not have the longer years to put in on the floor like my fellow students. I am also going to start an MSN program within 1 year of graduation, which speeds the process for me already having my BSN.

The debate will rage for as long as there is a difference in the initials after your name. Only you can choose what you want to do, as there are pros and cons for each choice.


live4today, RN

5,099 Posts

Specializes in Community Health Nurse.

Hi Michelle :)

Welcome to Allnurses! :balloons:

The Student Forum should prove to be quite educational to you, so I hope you'll check out their forum and gain some great knowledge from them as well as everywhere else on this BB. :)

Whatever program you decide to enter, I wish you well in your pursuit of a nursing career. No one can really tell you which program is best to go through because they do not live in your shoes....however....the suggestions you receive here will vary as some believe one program to be better than the other. It's good for you to research your options with this as many students do not before embarking on their career choice in nursing.

Both programs are good programs, and both graduate good nurses. One is not better than the other......they are both just two different programs that you have to choose from. Either one you choose will educate you enough to pass state boards where you can obtain a license to practice as a RN.

It's best not to ever enter a career based on who gets paid's better to choose a career based on how passionate you are about what career choice you enter into for it will be that passion for what you do that will keep you strong in the career choice you make long after you've become dissatisfied with the monetary aspect of it not being "nearly enough" for what you give.


124 Posts

Checkout the archives, there has been lots of ink spilled on this topic.



68 Posts

Hi Michelle! I was going to say the same as Cheerfuldoer, actually. When it comes to the boards it won't matter what you choose, ADN or BSN, both take the same boards. I got my ADN because it was quicker, and I didn't get back to school until I was 25. Now I'm a staff nurse in a hospital that is paying my way through a BSN program at a good college. I'm taking my time getting it since a BSN will do nothing for me as far as position or I'm in no hurry. This is what worked for me, the nice thing is you have so many routes you can go! Good luck!!


10 Posts

Wow - thank you all for such kind, wise responses, I truly appreciate it!

I think for now, I'll be going the AD route, because of time and money. I'm 24, and won't start the two year program until I'm 26. (There's a very long waiting list.) But, I'll take my non-core classed now, and start getting my feet wet.

Cheerfuldoer - I've been reading your responses today, you seem like such a beautiful person!

Thanks again ladies, I'll be sure to check the other boards. I imagine this horse has been around for a while. Thank you though for giving me some feedback!


renerian, BSN, RN

5,693 Posts

Specializes in MS Home Health.

I love nursing but my BS did not raise my salary. My MS that I am currently working on won't either. I am doing it because it means something to me.



68 Posts

I agree wholeheartedly with renarian!! My ADN instructors always emphasized that an associates should not be a terminal degree. One instructor went on to her PhD. simply to show her children (and her students) the importance of continuing ones education!

jnette, ASN, EMT-I

4,388 Posts

Specializes in Hemodialysis, Home Health.

Hey Michelle !

I,too, am one of those who went with the ADN merely because I have waited far too long to persue my goal of becoming a nurse, and time has crept up on me. At 53, I felt this would at least get me on the floor doing what I love to do. Then, as time goes on and I get the hunger for further knowlege and education, I can always continue. Right now, however, bedside pt. care is what moves me. Admin., Mgt., etc. does not. I fear that if I went to the BSN, I'd get stuck in one of those positions (and I may be wrong here, but this is what I've heard form many friends who HAVE "moved up"...) so I'll play that card when I choose the time.

Either way you go with this, WELCOME !!!:kiss And the very best to you! You can do this.

live4today, RN

5,099 Posts

Specializes in Community Health Nurse.
Originally posted by mihi


Cheerfuldoer - I've been reading your responses today, you seem like such a beautiful person!


Thank you for your kindness, Michelle! Anytime I can be of help to you, don't hesitate to ask. I wish you all the success you desire to achieve in whatever career you end up going into. :kiss :)

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