Pay Grade: Having an AS vs. a BS


I have a friend who got her BSN over a year ago and she told me she only makes .25 more than the nurses with an ASN. Is this really the difference? I hardly see how going to school for two extra years will only get you a quarter more an hour.


98 Posts

I have also heard there is not much difference in pay. The advantage of having a BSN is that more job opportunities are available and there are more options for advancement.

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Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

6 Articles; 11,433 Posts

Specializes in OR, Nursing Professional Development. Has 18 years experience.

My facility does not differentiate between ADN and BSN. No pay difference at all for BSN or certification, although in order to reach the highest level of the clinical ladder, one must either hold a BSN or be certified.

llg, PhD, RN

13,469 Posts

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 46 years experience.

My hospital does not offer any pay differential for having a BSN -- but they won't hire any new nurses unless they have it. There is a HUGE pay difference between having a job (and/or opportunities for advancement) and being unemployed (or not eligible for advancement).

Job opportunities for ADN and diploma grads are shrinking. There are still some opportunities out there, but there are a lot fewer of them than there used to be. As someone just entering the profession, you need to plan on getting that BSN (either now or later) if you want to have good career opportunities open to you in the long run. It's not about immediate cash in your pocket -- it's about having long term options for the decades to come.


26 Posts

Thank you all! I guess I just thought it would be more pay but having more job opportunity is well worth it.

llg, I'm not worried about immediate cash in my pocket. As of right now I have no job and am going to school FT so even just having the ASN is great for me. I wont be struggling with bills and I'll have extra money.

The thing is that I was offered a position in the nursing program at the community college I go to now and also one at a university. At the community college I'll get my AS degree and it's three days a week. The university is the BSN program but it's 5 days a week 8-5. I'm trying to look at the pros and cons of both because I have a son and a husband who is working and going to school as well.

Either way I will go for my BSN. My final goal is a Masters.


139 Posts

You could always do the ASN and then bridge to your BSN while working. That is what I chose to do bc I have two children and it is a lot cheaper and less time consuming if I get the ASN first. Also, I can take the NCLEX a year and a half earlier. Around here, if you work as a tech while in school you can usually transition to an RN once you hve a license.


26 Posts

Ruby, I also had a friend in the community college program and they hired her as a nurse tech after her first semester. If she passes the NCLEX in a few weeks they are hiring her on.

It's just a really hard decision because my son is so young... he'll end up being with my mother in law ALL the time if I do the BSN right now (which is really the best option) and I'm not ok with that.


210 Posts

Do the assoc. degree, then finish the BSN online. Where I used to live there was no difference between ASSOC. RN and BSN. So I moved and I get $5/hr for having my BSN + CCRN. That is in addition to having a higher base salary. If you are willing to move you can find someone that will compensate you fairly.


2,723 Posts

Specializes in Forensic Psych. Has 2 years experience.

There's no pay difference here. There is a hiring difference, though. Some hospitals are no longer hiring ADN new grads.


139 Posts

I have two young children as well. For my career, it would have been better for me to go straight for my BSN. However, I'm not okay with letting my kids be in daycare from 0630 to 1630 five days a week. (The BSN program is a 45 min commute) Also, my husband is deploying again fairly soon an he hasn't even been back an entire year yet. Right now his unit is in the field for two weeks and he is going for training again between thanksgiving and Christmas. They are going to be without their dad for the majority of the next two years. I can't leave them with 1/2 a mom too.

With the ADN/ASN program here, I can take 8 credits a semester as opposed to 15. For my situation, the ASN is a better choice right now.


26 Posts

I can do the BSN online??? Is that an additional two years or how much extra? The community college I'm going to is switching to a university. Their ASN is 5 semesters and then it's an extra semester after that for the BSN, so not much of a difference when compared to the university that offered me a position.

Here where I live they hire ASN's but in Orlando they will only hire BSN. I know I'm definitely going to continue my education, I guess it's just a preference of how and where. I'm definitely willing to relocate to get better pay but I'm sure I'll be happy with what I get since I have nothing now ;)

Ruby, I'm sorry to hear that their father will be away so much. Bless your husband for serving and bless you and your family for standing by him :) I know how you feel about daycare because I feel the same way. I don't like my son having to be with anyone else (even family) almost ALL day unless he's in school.


4 Posts

I have a friend who got her BSN over a year ago and she told me she only makes .25 more than the nurses with an ASN. Is this really the difference? I hardly see how going to school for two extra years will only get you a quarter more an hour.

Everywhere I've been, there has been no difference in pay between the two. Most people I know now that have their BSN wanted to do management and/or decided to teach. But I think there are a little more opportunities for BSN?