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Can I get hired with an ADN degree?

Updated | Posted
by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist) Educator Columnist Innovator Expert Nurse

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

Dear Nurse Beth,

I am switching career paths and finishing up my prerequisites, I already have a master’s degree but in an unrelated field. There are two programs in my area (Northwest Arkansas), accelerated associate of nursing and a B.S.N. program. I am worried if I go with the ASN I might have a hard time getting hired after nursing school. I am also planning on getting my MSN. What program would you suggest?

Dear Switching Career Paths,

There are many paths to the same career of becoming a Registered Nurse.You are wise to weigh the benefits of a BSN over an ADN degree. Even though ADNs and BSNs both take the same NCLEX exam for licensure, BSN prepared nurses are often considered more marketable than ADN prepared nurses.

The benefit of an ADN program is being eligible to enter the workforce quickly. Accelerated associate degree nursing programs are typically 12-18 months long, year-round nursing programs that prepare you to take your NCLEX. The pace is fast and it's for the student that can handle an intense course load.

What's important is whether ADN nurses are hired in your area. In some communities the hospitals have long-standing, congenial relationships with the ADN nursing program. If the nurses graduating from that program have a good reputation with employers, then you have a good chance of landing a job, most likely with a contingency of earning your Bachelor's degree within a couple of years.

If entering the workforce quickly is not a concern for you, then take the time and get your BSN.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth

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