Nursing School · Pre-Nursing Preparation

ADN or BSN? Choosing a Nursing Program

Congrats! You’ve done some research & decided to be a nurse. Whether its a first career choice or second (third or fourth) career choice, choosing the type of program that works best for you can be daunting.

When choosing the best degree route, you have to choose what’s right for your pockets, lifestyle & goals. As a 25 year old working & expecting mom who had a prior career, a BSN program was not a reasonable option for me. I chose a local community college with a great reputation for producing amazing nurses. Honestly, I am a huge advocate for ADN programs, though I think if you are able to go the BSN route, you should & I’ll explain why.

Associate degree nursing (ADN) programs are a great option. For those students young & old who cannot afford University expenses, need to work or don’t want to be weighed down by student loan debt at graduation, ADN programs offer a cost effective way to reach your goal. These programs are often competitive, with limited seats & require the applicant to meet certain requirements before they are offered a seat. These programs are typically 2-3 years. The RN programs typically are 2 years in length & the additional time may be needed to complete any courses required before program application. After completing your ADN, you can move into an RN to BSN program & complete your BSN online as quickly or as slowly as you like.

Bachelors degree (BSN) programs are great options for those fresh out of high-school students who may still want to experience life on campus, though they are often unreasonably costly. These programs are not limited to high school graduates though, if it works for your life, schedule & pockets anyone can enter into these programs. Many of these programs allow direct admission to the college & the nursing program so they may not be as competitive as a community college with limited seats. These programs are usually 4 years in length.

Pros & Cons

One of the main arguments from people who encourage choosing a BSN over an ADN is that there has been a push to make baccalaureate prepared nurses the entry level requirement for the field. With this push, many magnet hospitals are requesting a BSN or a BSN within 3 years of hire. A wider range of job opportunities are also available for BSN RN’s as compared to ADN RN’s.

At this time however, BSN programs cannot produce enough nurses to meet the needs of the workforce. This makes ADN programs crucial in providing nurses. ADN programs also make becoming a nurse more accessible for students who come from families who may not be able to afford a university tuition, while still providing quality education & college experience. Considering the national nursing shortage & the recent pandemic, I do not see ADN nurses being phased out anytime soon.

No matter what route you choose, in the end both BSN & ADN prepared nurse graduates sit for the same NCLEX-RN & become registered nurses. Choose the route that’s best for you & enjoy the journey.

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