LPN or ADN or BSN?


Hi everyone!

I’ve been a reader and lurker on the site for awhile now and finally decided to ask my first question. ? I have dreamed of being a nurse for the last ten years and have worked hard on finishing up my prerequisites and keeping up my GPA while being a homeschooling SAHM to nine young kiddos. Suuuuper excited that I am now in a place when I can finally apply to and attend nursing school! Woot! I would love your input on my current predicament

The school closest to me is a community/tech college with an LPN program (two semesters with start dates every spring and fall) and a bridge to ADN program (two semesters with only fall starts). It will be the cheapest option for me, as I will get 16 free credits a year (part of my husband’s employer benefits) and the rest will be covered in both grants and cash-flowed. I don’t really desire to get my LPN first and would prefer to go straight to an ADN program, but the ADN program closest to me is just over an hour away (and the clinical parts of the program will also be over an hour away). This ADN program would also be almost completely paid for between free credits and grants, but gas prices would be costly. If I did the bridge from LPN to RN program at my local community/tech college, I would have at least 1 semester of lag in between graduating with my LPN and starting the bridge program (which is highly competitive due to the low number of seats available and the one-a-year start dates) and more realistically a three semester lag.

Another option is to go straight for my BSN at the local state college. The program will cost me around $15,000 out of pocket when all is said and done, and the wait list right now is around 1-1.5 years. I do eventually want to earn my BSN, and would have the option to do so for around $8,000 online if I go through the partnership program at my local community/tech college.

The last option is to go through Rasmussen College. The only benefit to this would be guaranteed acceptance, accelerated classes, and a BSN at the end. The major downside is cost. I think I could graduate with around $30,000 in student loans (no way could my family afford to cash flow that all, and I would not receive any free credits from my husband’s employer as it is a private school) and be finished in less than two years.

I think I know which direction I should go, but I wanted to hear from others who may have faced similar options. What were your deciding factors in going the route you did, and passing up on alternate routes? I already feel like I’m starting the program so much later in life than everyone (I’m almost 33) so I’m naturally inclined to rush into whichever option is fastest, but the logical side of me says that slow and steady wins the race. Help!

MiladyMalarkey, ASN, BSN

Specializes in Neuro. Has 3 years experience. 519 Posts

Since finances are a factor, I personally would forgo Rasmussen. A 30k price tag isn't so bad in the scheme of things, but student loan interest does absolutely suck....that 30k can easily turn out to be 50k ,60k, 70k by the time you pay it off, depending of course on current interest rates & how quickly or slowly you pay the loan off.

I don't think going straight BSN is a bad idea, especially if that is what your area goes for & it's only 15k. You didn't mention if your husbands work would maybe assist with that? A 15k loan again isn't, bad, but like above, that can turn into more down the line.

Personally, I'd go the LPN route first. Yeah, you have a semester in between you'd have to wait, but you could start working & LPN pay is not bad. Plus, the experience you get during that semester will only help you in the last year of your RN. If I could go back, I probably would have done the CNA or LPN route first. There is something to be said about their experience & I wish I had done it. Also, now that I'm applying to new grad positions with ZERO healthcare work experience, I'm really wishing I had something to put on my resume shouting "Hey, I know enough to get started at least, choose me!". My classmates with CNA/LPN experience definitely have some advantages in that department. I'm 35, so get the wanting to get it done thing, but, in the long run faster is not always best, sometimes it is, but sometimes it isn't if that faster carries a hefty price tag. My two cents, whatever you choose, I wish you well in your endeavor!

We just paid off my husband's student loans after him being out of school for 7 years, and we are trying super hard to not go back into debt. I agree that Rasmussen is not a good fit for us.

My husband's employer only gives free credits to his dependents enrolled in a technical or community college, so unfortunately I won't get help going that route. However, I have almost every single pre-requisite for the BSN program completed, and they will all transfer over to the state college. (I originally went to school to become an English teacher, and have lots of generals already completed.) I think I will get in touch with the admissions counselor again to get a better idea on things I need to do.

I should also find out if becoming an LPN will go towards any of their BSN core nursing class credits (I highly doubt it but it is worth asking). Since the program has a long wait list anyways, it might be nice to get started in the nursing field as an LPN. I love what you said about experience gained! I would love to get in the field and start building rapport in my community. I eventually want to become a family nurse practitioner, so years of experience will definitely be on my side.

Thanks for the insight! :)



25 Posts

I do not think you should get any student loan debt at all when you have the option of becoming a nurse for free. Trust me, you do not want 30k or 15k in student loan debt. Yes, becoming an LPN first does mean that it will take you a little longer to get your BSN, but there is nothing wrong with that, especially if you're saving money. I wish you the best! ?