BSN or Associates Degree

  1. Hello, I have begun taking pre-requisites for nursing finally. I'm in my forties and wondered if the rumor about nurses with associates is true. Are companies preferring nurses with BSN, and is it hard for a nurse with an associate's degree to find a job nowadays? Ultimately, I want to pursue the BSN but in future. I may have the opportunity to transfer from TRI-C (a community college) after taking my pre-requisites to a larger university for the BSN. Any suggestions would be helpful. Thank you.
  2. Visit raynpetal profile page

    About raynpetal

    Joined: Dec '13; Posts: 13; Likes: 6

    66 Comments

  3. by   caliotter3
    In general it is better to obtain a BSN from the get go. Get it out of the way if you can. But if the ASN is your only option at this point, there is certainly no harm in that other than you might find it more restrictive as far as available jobs when you start working.
  4. by   EGspirit
    In all the time I have been a nurse, I have never once found anyone who cared whether or not I had a BSN, which I don't. What they care about is an RN license. Experience is really important, so I think it's better to get your ADN, get a job, and then decide if you want to pursue a BSN. Like me, you're older, so you may not want to take on the extra debt of getting a BSN.

    Of course, it depends on what you want to do as a nurse. If like many in this forum you want to become an NP as fast as you possibly can, then get a BSN right off the bat. If you want to be an RN and work with patients at the bedside, it can be hard to justify the extra cost of a BSN.

    However, there is one other consideration, and and that is social class. If you do not have a bachelor's of any kind, getting a regionally accredited bachelor's (of any kind) does put you in a different social class. It puts you in the "educated" class. This can matter when it comes to getting any kind of a job. When I fill out an application at a hospital, I am able to fill in that I have a bachelor's degree (Liberal Arts, Concentrating in Psychology). That does say something about me, even though it's not a BSN.

    But for nursing, keep this in mind as well: Employers hire bedside nurses. They really don't care if you want to be in "management." They don't really care if you want to use them as a stepping stone to an NP program. They want an employee who will stay and care for their patients. I honestly believe this is why I have never encountered a hospital that cared if you had a BSN, especially in larger, busier states.
  5. by   klone
    Quote from EGspirit
    In all the time I have been a nurse, I have never once found anyone who cared whether or not I had a BSN, which I don't. What they care about is an RN license.
    It's highly dependent on the region. In Denver, for example, it's an employer's market and most hospitals that have new grad residency programs have a BSN requirement.

    Where I live now, it doesn't matter one whit.
  6. by   Rocknurse
    It depends what area you'd want to work in, and in which state. If you're in the NorthEast and plan to work inpatient in a hospital environment, or any acute area, you might wish to consider a BSN as it's becoming increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to get a job without a BSN, so that's worth considering. I would not have been hired into the ICU or into informatics without my BSN as it was required, however I know other nurses who work long term care and dialysis who have an ADN. However, if they wish to change areas to somewhere more acute they might find it difficult. I always say it's best to place yourself in the direction you wish to go, and to give yourself the best chance of succeeding in that, so I would shoot for the BSN. You'll have many more options and be much more competitive.
    Last edit by tnbutterfly on Jan 22 : Reason: Inflammatory
  7. by   EGspirit
    Quote from klone
    It's highly dependent on the region. In Denver, for example, it's an employer's market and most hospitals that have new grad residency programs have a BSN requirement.

    Where I live now, it doesn't matter one whit.
    Yes, I agree. it definitely depends on supply and demand in the area.
  8. by   BCgradnurse
    Raynpetal,

    If you can do it, I highly recommend you go for the BSN. I quickly looked at the job boards of several major hospitals in my area, and they are requesting a BSN. Why limit yourself if you can afford the extra time and tuition? A BSN can open doors for you, especially if you are interested in any type of leadership position down the road.

    As far as advice from others here, please take the time to get to know the members from their previous posts. There are some distinct biases here.

    There is nothing wrong with an ADN license. BSN vs. ASN does not speak to a nurse's competency. Just consider what you want to do in your nursing career, and set yourself up for that from the very beginning.
  9. by   EGspirit
    Quote from raynpetal
    Hello, I have begun taking pre-requisites for nursing finally. I'm in my forties and wondered if the rumor about nurses with associates is true. Are companies preferring nurses with BSN, and is it hard for a nurse with an associate's degree to find a job nowadays? Ultimately, I want to pursue the BSN but in future. I may have the opportunity to transfer from TRI-C (a community college) after taking my pre-requisites to a larger university for the BSN. Any suggestions would be helpful. Thank you.
    By the way, I do want to say as well that if it's no skin off your back, that is if you aren't in any particular hurry, there's no reason not to transfer to the university and finish your BSN. But don't waste the years of not having a job, gaining experience, or going into debt because you think it will make your initial hiring easier. Experience is what employers want, and the degree you come out of nursing school with won't make up for that.

    What you want to do is try to get a PRN job as a tech in whatever area you want to work as a nurse. Get your foot in the door; let them see how energetic and dependable you are. That's the key. You can always get a BSN later.

    Don't even think about "management" at this point. That's something that may require a BSN, but it's also going to require some years with a company before they will "promote" you to management.

    And don't listen to people who say I'm against nursing education. That's totally not true. Before my story is finished, I may have an MSN. Who knows? I don't know how prosperous I will be in the future. But that would be for teaching, not for nursing. And since I want to teach CNAs more than anything else, I'm not sure it will ever be necessary. But who knows, maybe I will never want to teach.

    These are the things you have to think about. I can tell you this, the most employable nurse is one who has a clean RN license, a clean background, experience in the field, ACLS, and for the final "wow" certification in that area of nursing. ADN/BSN is not usually a deciding factor.

    There may be hospitals that require it, and it does depend on supply and demand in that area. So, think about that as you decide. But just remember, experience trumps all. The longer you wait to get it, the longer you don't have it.
  10. by   EGspirit
    Anyway, good luck, Raynpetal. Either way you go, if you are enthusiastic about being a nurse and joining the profession of caring, everything will fall into place for you.
  11. by   nursemaryzzel
    Getting your BSN, at least in my area, is a must. It's hard to find acute care/highly desired areas of nursing nowadays that accept nurses with an associate's. Plus, I truly believe the extra years of training provide you with even more knowledge to be an effective, knowledgable provider. Not to say there aren't good nurses with an associates; I just believe a BSN helps you feel more confident from the get go and adds a certain marketability to your resume. I will add a bit of a disclaimer, I'm in full support of making BSN entry level for nursing, especially since we are trying to break the "RN=refreshments and narcotics" stereotype surrounding the profession we all worked hard to practice.

    As for student debt, I went to a state university and graduated debt-free. I know a lot of programs bridging from a CC to a state uni are as low cost, and perhaps your financial situation can help cover most of the difference.

    Best of luck!
  12. by   SpankedInPittsburgh
    Anyway, the answer depends on you. I got an Associates Degree and went to work in about a year because I was switching careers. I was poor as heck in nursing school and wanted done as soon as possible. I got a job right away in a Hospital and I'm still employed there. Where I work they help you pay for your BSN so I got one. Education level is strongly tied to advancement and now hiring where I work. Honestly the BSN I earned on my employers dime didn't teach me much. That's just the truth. However, even back then if I wanted to get into critical care (I did) and move to the next level in the pay scale I needed it. The best thing the BSN did for me so far besides making a heck of a lot more money since getting it was allow me to apply to the DNP program I'm graduating from in a couple months. There are places that hire Associate Degree Nurses where I live so you can get a job but in my experience (now or later) you should probably look at getting you BSN as it opens doors you may want to walk through.
    Last edit by tnbutterfly on Jan 22 : Reason: Inflammatory
  13. by   Susie2310
    Quote from EGspirit
    By the way, I do want to say as well that if it's no skin off your back, that is if you aren't in any particular hurry, there's no reason not to transfer to the university and finish your BSN. But don't waste the years of not having a job, gaining experience, or going into debt because you think it will make your initial hiring easier. Experience is what employers want, and the degree you come out of nursing school with won't make up for that.

    What you want to do is try to get a PRN job as a tech in whatever area you want to work as a nurse. Get your foot in the door; let them see how energetic and dependable you are. That's the key. You can always get a BSN later.

    Don't even think about "management" at this point. That's something that may require a BSN, but it's also going to require some years with a company before they will "promote" you to management.

    And don't listen to people who say I'm against nursing education. That's totally not true. Before my story is finished, I may have an MSN. Who knows? I don't know how prosperous I will be in the future. But that would be for teaching, not for nursing. And since I want to teach CNAs more than anything else, I'm not sure it will ever be necessary. But who knows, maybe I will never want to teach.

    These are the things you have to think about. I can tell you this, the most employable nurse is one who has a clean RN license, a clean background, experience in the field, ACLS, and for the final "wow" certification in that area of nursing. ADN/BSN is not usually a deciding factor.

    There may be hospitals that require it, and it does depend on supply and demand in that area. So, think about that as you decide. But just remember, experience trumps all. The longer you wait to get it, the longer you don't have it.
    This is very sensible advice, and it is the conclusion I have come to also.
  14. by   Buckeye.nurse
    Having your BSN makes it much easier to get in the door for interviews, especially in competitive areas. My employer has yes/no questions on the application, one of which is whether or not you have your BSN. With that being said, there are many great RN to BSN programs out there, many of which are online. Getting into 4 year BSN programs can be difficult, as well as cost-prohibitive. Several of my co-workers went the route of graduating from a community college with their associate of nursing degree, and then taking an online RN to BSN program. Many employers will hire new grad nurses with the expectation that you will complete your BSN in about 2 years. As an added bonus, many employers have tuition assistance programs. No matter what you decide though, best of luck. Nursing is a great field!

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