Difference between programs



I am currently a transitioning student (recent high school graduate on the way to community college) and I have been researching nursing programs for the past several years. I do not know if it's just the way I'm comprehending the information but I am very confused about the difference two methods of nursing pathways.

On the one hand there's an RN to BSN program, and on the other hand there's an ADN to BSN. Is the RN the same as the ADN? I know RN is the licensure, I meant is it the same preparation as for an ADN? If I were to take the ADN to BSN route would I take the NCLEX before transferring to the BSN stage or after the whole process and I get my BSN?

Am I just compiling multiple versions of the same concept?

Extra questions:

1. Is it better to do pre-requisites only and then transfer to earn the BSN straight after the pre-reqs?

2. Is it safer to do so? If earning my BSN fell through would it benefit me more if I had at least a little bit of a safety net (by that I mean the ADN) rather than nothing at all?

Thank you for answering my questions, I've tried researching a little more specified and clear difference but I guess I'm just comprehending that part of nursing school differently.


3,413 Posts

Has 38 years experience.

A RN is "registered" by the State Board of Nursing, (BON), after completing accredited courses in nursing, and passing the the NCLEX exam.

A two year community college ADN nurse and a 4 year BSN nurse are equal in the eyes of the BON, they are RN's.

Some hospitals prefer only BSN nurses. Yet many ADN nurses have posted here they had no problem getting hired in BSN "preferred" hospitals. Most hospitals do NOT pay a higher salary for BSN nurses.

If you have the time and financial resources getting your BSN is kinda sorta the best path.

If for any reason getting into a BSN program is hard, and you can get into an ADN program, that route is great also.

After you get an ADN degree it isn't that difficult to get your BSN, going to school part time and taking on line classes.

Whatever you do, do NOT, go to a private for profit college for either degree.


103 Posts

Has <1 years experience.

An RN is someone with either an ADN or BSN degree.

ADN nurses are paid the same as BSN nurses, and both do the same job. BSN degree nurses have more opportunities. A lot of hospitals prefer to hire BSN nurses over ADN nurses, so you would have to do a RN to BSN program, which are usually 1 to 2 years online. Here in Michigan, ADN nurses are still being hired, but we have to get our BSN degree within a certain amount of years (usually 3 years). If you end up choosing the ADN route, a lot of hospitals will even help pay for you schooling! :)

I'm doing the ADN route, then straight after I graduate I'm getting my BSN degree. If you choose to go this route, you would take the NCLEX exam after graduating from the ADN program, so then you can work as a RN. This is usually less competitive and cheaper then going straight for the BSN.

Both routes are a great choice, but it just depends what route you think would work best for you. Best of luck!