What is the best route to an RN degree?



I am a 34-year old college grad who wants to go back to school to become a nurse. I am unsure of which route to choose though - I could attend MCP Hahnemann University's nursing school in the fall for an accelerated one year BSN program (for $20,000!) or I could simply go to the local community college for an A.A.S. and become an RN for about $2,000.

If this were my first degree I would not be so worried about money, but I am already paying back $25,000 in student loans and if there is little difference between entering with an AAS or a BSN I would love to choose the less expensive route. I just thought that perhaps with the nursing shortage I would be able to enter work with an associates degree then benefit from tuition reimbursement to finish the BSN later.

Any thoughts on this? I would appreciate any insight into this dilemma. Thanks.


648 Posts

Has 36 years experience.

There is little difference in entry; any hospital will hire you, will welcome you with open arms. The difference comes when/if you want to look beyond bedside care roles. You will always be kind of a hybrid; you will be a nurse with a baccalaureate degree but not a BSN. You will have a bit more mobility than someone without a baccalaureate degree but may or may not be accepted to grad school or other education IF you would ever want to do that.

BTW, even for a state supported ASN program I think your cost estimate sounds low, but maybe you are counting in some grant dollars you would be eligible. On the other hand the BSN program sounds expensive considering you already have a baccalaureate in something. I assume it is a private college. Your pre-existing debt is considerable and so, ultimately, you have to decide. A major question that directs you is what is your desire in nursing. Bedside nursing with all of the shift work for a good long while. ASN will stand you in stead. IF you see yourself doing bedside nursing but wanting to grow into other roles then DEpending on what the roles are, the BSN might be best. Also, try to talk to grads from both programs, RNs in the area that have worked with grads from both programs. This is part of your fact finding, but don't weight it too heavily since nurses themselve hold so many preconceived notions about education.

Good luck


1,091 Posts

Specializes in ER, PACU, OR.

Well.......anni, its your choice. Unfortunatly, I dont say to much on this subject, because it tends too always start some type of war. Personally, if you already have a bachelors, why bother with the BSn. That's my opinion. Take the short route now, you can always move on later.




6 Posts


I just wanted to let you know that I am attending MCP Hahnemann University this coming August for the one year accelerated BSN program. I also have a degree as well, and had the same problem of deciding what to do. Let me know what you decide to do? It's a tough decision. I have so many questions, but it seems like this is a new program. Looking foward to hearing from you.

Kristin :)


349 Posts

Wow- a BSN in a year? That WOULD be tempting. I guess you have to weigh expense versus time and see what works best for you. Don't forget that your time is worth money too- and if you are going to wind up saving a considerable amount of it then maybe that makes the BSN attractive despite the price.

I myself chose the route you are considering, the inexpensive 2 year program. I plan to finish my BSN at my employers expense in the future. I think they're both good options you have to choose from, uit's a simple matter of what you feel most comfortable with.



114 Posts


I am in the same boat as you...I am leaning more towards the ADN degree because since I have all of my prerequisites out of the way it would only cost me a couple of thousand dollars. There are a ton of accelerated BSN degree programs out there, but they are so expensive. MCP is one of the cheapest I have seen so far. I owe about $20,000 from my first degree and just don't want to owe $40,000... The way I see it is that even if I do go back and spend $20K for my degree it won't even seem like I am making that much more money because I will be paying it back.

I plan to let my future employer pay for my BSN.



1,037 Posts


I would personally choose the ADN over the BSN.... I do plan on getting my BSN but the hospitals here will pay for it, so I am going to let them...

I think the BSN comes in more handy when you are interested in moving up into higher management type positions.. But I think that requires years as a floor RN for the experiance.. So I would get the ADN, work as a RN on the floor or wherver, then work on your BSN while you are working and by the time you finish the BSN, you may be ready to get off the floor anyways..

Good Luck.. ;)


19 Posts

I am currently in an ADN program and I have spent well over 2000

dollars already. I do believe it is probably the way to go, and let your employer pay the rest, but it is much more expensive than 2000 dollars. My books for first semester were 700 dollars and second semesters were 400!!


10 Posts

I think it's a smart idea to go for your BSN right away just to get it over with and in case later on you want to look beyond bedside care.

Aneroo, LPN

1 Article; 1,518 Posts

Specializes in Cath Lab, OR, CPHN/SN, ER.

I am almost an ADN grad, and I would have to go with the ADN. You say you already have debt. Would you be able to work thru the BSN program? How much clinical experience would you be able to get in a year (I am not familiar with this school).

As others have pointed out, I do plan on going back and getting my BSN. I have a desire to continue my education very far, however, my future employeer will pay for me to return to school in a related field (Could be nursing, business, pharmacy).

It's your decision, we're just folks behind a computer giving our opinion. -Andrea


145 Posts


Gee this seems to be the biggest nursing dilemma out there now, there are just soo many ways to go! I, like you already have a Bachelors in something else. I chose to go an accelerated Masters program in nursing (MN) I start this May 2005 and end next August. I was originally working on an ADN but the waitlist for clinicals at my ADN school was 18 months long..so that put me STARTING clinicals next year sometime, I really did not want to wait that long so I jumped at the chance to start next month (no wait)...it is a bit more expensive but im keeping my fingers crossed that I am eligible for some financial aid!! If I were you i'd check into all the programs and find out if they have a waiting list for clinicals and if they do, how long they are.... Some states and hospitals offer loan forgiveness too. I know in KY, you can apply for 3k a year if you work agree to work at a hospital there, maybe other states have that as well? Ive also checked into a few hospitals which are offering to pay off so much of your loans for each year you sign on, ie. one of our hospitals is offering 5k/yr loan payback plus salary...maybe check into that?

It also depends on what your long term career goals are. I'd like to go into management someday...so I chose the MN and it was short..lol....I looked into some BSN programs and I decided against those just for the reason that they were all done admitting for this school year, I'd have to wait till next fall before starting, so make sure you how many times a year and when these programs admit students! In the beginning I didnt really care what my degree in nursing was, I just wanted to be a nurse!! Good luck, just remember to weigh the good and bad of each program, not just the degree title.


27 Posts

Tough call. I'm studying to be an ADN nurse, but it took FOREVER to get into a program because of all the waiting lists. I saved a ton of money, but the downside is the time it took to get in. Like someone else said, time is also an important fact to consider. In a year you could be working, and probably be getting a hefty sign on bonus to boot. Plus, you could get your second bachelor's out of the way. It really all depends. Good luck in your decision :)

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