Should I get my RN or BSN? What if I already have a Bachelor's degree?

Nurses Career Support


I graduated college 2 years ago with a BA in Political Science. I decided to go back to school for nursing. I am taking prerequisites courses and applying to several ABSN programs. I was wondering would it be quicker, easier, cheaper, and more convenient for me to just get my RN? What if later on I wanted to get my Master's degree? Would it make a difference that I don't have a BSN? I plan on going into Navy Nursing after I have my nursing license, so I don't know if that would make a difference either.

Any advice would be appreciated!


Specializes in ER, IICU, PCU, PACU, EMS.

I'm not sure about the Navy nursing. Can you speak to a recruiter and get his/her input on the matter if that is what you plan on pursuing?

I was in a similar situation. I had a bachelors degree in another field and got my RN via ADN. I want to pursue my masters degree in nursing, so I have to get my BSN. I'm not aware of any graduate program where you don't need a BSN. Talk to the Navy and see what they say. I would suggest going through the accelerated BSN.

I hope this helps. Perhaps other members have a better solution for you.

Best of luck!

If you wanted to go for the MSN you would need to get your BSN regardless, so if I were you I'd go for an ASBN program....

I also wanted to mention, at least in my area, an RN program is 2 years and the ABSN program is 16 months... did you check the timeframes?

Specializes in Nursing Education, CVICU, Float Pool.

Makes sense to me that since you already have a BA in Poli Sci then it wouldn't be to much of a difference for you to go ahead and do the ABSN. I know for a fact that there are some online and campus based RN (ADN prepared) to MSN programs. Most of them don't grant a BSN along the way though even though you might have the credits to get one. Most of the programs will let you stop and enroll in their RN-BSN program if you wish to no longer pursue an MSN. But, it is important to do what makes sense to you. You're the only one that's going to have to go through the program. Hope it all works out! :)

Specializes in Critical Care, Postpartum.

I have my B.A. and I start my 15-months ABSN program this January.

I will have to make some corrections to some of the above posts. You have the option to go for direct-entry MSN, without getting your BSN. Some people have chosen that path and are very happy without that decision. In fact there are plenty of career changers on this board that have done it. I personally wanted to get the BSN first, get some experience, then I'll specialize.

If you go for an ADN program and later you decide to get your MSN, you have the option to go from RN-MSN.

With finishing my prequisites and completing the ABSN program it would total 2 years. If I had gone the ADN route, it would have been 3 years.

Specializes in Family Practice, Urgent Care, Cardiac Ca.

Get your BSN done. Tons more opportunities. If an ADN is the only way of getting your foot in the door, it's a start. :)

I've done alot of research on this since I already have my B.S. I'm not sure about the navy aspect of it, and would suggest you talk to a recruiter because they may pay for your education if you sign up now. Anyway, The ABSN is a shorter program. Here it is about 14 months, but more expensive than a ADN/RN program. The ADN/RN program I am doing at my local community college takes 20 months (4 full semesters), but is cheaper and the schedule fits me better. The ABSN programs are usually shorter in length, but full time (all day, everyday) and I couldn't do that. Plus the ABSN program was about $15,000 more than the RN program at my community college. Most MSN programs have a few bridge courses you take before you start the MSN program. Most of the time you do NOT need your BSN to enter a MSN program. just a bachelors plus an ADN/RN degree which is the way I am doing it. Before starting the MSN program you would then be required to take 1 to 3 classes. Its called a bridge program. Check it out for the schools near you.

Specializes in Emergency Department, House Supervisor.

Like a couple of previous posts, I also have seen some programs that bridge ADN to MS. However, depending on where you live, there may be fewer of those to choose from. You might want to check that out.


I already had a bachelor's degree in another field when I decided to pursue a degree in nursing. In my state, the ADN and BSN programs both take 2 years to complete. I figured since I already had a bachelor's and eventually would like to get a master's, it'd be easier to go straight for the BSN. I didn't count on the extra science prerequisites I would have to take increasing the time frame to complete my BSN to over 3 years. If I'd gone for the ADN, I could've taken care of my prereqs and nursing classes at the same time. Of course, I would still have to go on to get a BSN in some form or fashion.. but I would've at least been out and working as an RN in the meantime. Basically, If I'd done the ADN and then done a bridge program, I would still have finished my BSN in about the same time.. but I would've had my RN license and a year experience (hopefully!) under my belt already.

My advice is choose the route that takes the least amount of time to get your RN. I would take into consideration any extra classes you might need for your BSN. In my case, I had to take A&P I and II, Microbiology, some psychology classes and a stats class. If you already meet the requirements for entrance into a BSN program, or only have one or two classes to take, go for the BSN because it won't take you that much longer to complete it. If you have a lot of prereqs to do like I did, then it might be a better idea to go for the ADN first.

Another thing to take into consideration is if you'll be needing financial aid. In most cases, if you already have a degree you don't qualify for student loans at a community college. I have heard that if you have proof that you've been admitted into a nursing program, that you can file for a hardship and still be eligible.. but since I didn't go that route, I'm not 100% sure. Maybe someone else can comment on that..

Go straight to the horses' mouths on this one. I'm in an AAS, Medical Assisting program because I was told that everything would transfer directly into an accelerated BSN/Nursing program. However, a check with the schools that offer the program told me that the accelerated programs are for RNs who want to continue for their BSN degrees.

All I could hope for would be to enroll is the standard 4-year program. So I'm going to change schools to one that offers a 2-year AAS in nursing, then transfer to the accelerated program. So 4 years instead of 3-1/2. At least I'll be able to work over summers.

I have never heard of any MSN program that would let you apply without being a licensed RN. ASN or BSN. If the the ASN you would just have more coursework to get the BSN then MSN as part of the program. If a BSN then just less coursework to get the MSN. But either way you have to hold an RN license to even apply-- this is in Rochester NY.

I did an accelerated BSN and it was 12 months. That was also taking into account I had no pre-reqs to take because my first BS was in Health Science so I had them all.......for many of my classmates it took longer if you counted the pre-reqs. So the pre-reqs are the kicker as far as having it take longer. I could have gone right into the MSN program as soon as I finished the BSN portion of the program......without stopping to work as a nurse--however the thing is if you looked at any of the job posts for the hosptial where the program is, the NP positions require an MSN and NP AND at least 5 years of experience as a practicing RN!

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