Nursing is a vital component of the healthcare system, providing essential care and support to patients in diverse settings. Aspiring nurses embark on their educational journey with a crucial decision regarding their degree path: pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN). While both pathways lead to becoming a registered nurse (RN), a common question arises: Do hospitals prefer BSN over ADN?
There are many paths to becoming a nurse, and the type of training and education an individual receives will affect the jobs and positions they can pursue.
This article will look at two distinct degree paths aspiring nurses can take—an Associate degree in Nursing (ADN) and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)—and determine whether hospitals prefer one over the other.
What is an Associate Degree in Nursing?
An Associate in Nursing degree is the shortest and quickest path to becoming an RN.
ADN programs typically take two years to complete and focus primarily on the core knowledge and clinical skills needed for nursing. Students learn how to care for patients by monitoring them and updating medical records through hands-on practice in clinical rotations.
Curriculum varies depending on the university and specific nursing program. And in addition to prerequisites, standard foundational classes students in Associate Nursing programs take include:
- Foundations in Nursing
- Behavioral Health
Upon graduating from these programs and obtaining licensure by passing the comprehensive National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), graduates are ready to find employment as an RN.
RNs with Associate degrees in Nursing find work in hospitals, physician’s offices, home healthcare services, nursing care facilities, and outpatient clinics and schools.
How Much Do Registered Nurses with Associate Degrees in Nursing Make?
A certified nurse with an Associate Degree in Nursing is prepared for entry-level roles that provide basic nursing care to patients in various healthcare settings.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), RNs earn a median annual salary of $77,600 annually, with the lowest ten percent earning $59,450 and the highest ten percent earning more than $120,250.
Demand and job security for skilled and qualified nurses are also high, with a projection rate of six percent by 2031 and 203,200 openings each year as the baby boomer generation grows older and the demand for healthcare services increases.
Salaries vary depending on an individual’s place of employment, experience, and education. Candidates find that hospitals and other healthcare institutions often pay higher wages to nurses with additional experience and training.
What is a Bachelor of Science in Nursing?
Typically a four-year program of study, a BSN Nursing program provides students with an in-depth understanding of the nursing profession and prepares them with advanced skills for upward mobility and leadership opportunities later in their careers.
Students gain the knowledge and skills to significantly impact the healthcare industry through a comprehensive nursing curriculum with courses in anatomy and physiology, chemistry, microbiology, fundamentals of professional nursing, pharmacology, and more.
Many students who enroll in BSN and accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs still need to be licensed or are aspiring nurses with degrees in other fields.
But, there are just as many working RNs interested in advancing their education and careers who enroll in these programs through a specialized, accelerated RN-to-Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.
All three of these programs, which many colleges and universities offer entirely online, show that earning a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing is a highly accessible, flexible, and viable option for a myriad of students.
How Much Do Registered Nurses with Bachelor’s Degrees in Nursing Make?
Much like students in Associate degree programs, students graduating with their Bachelor’s must also pass the nursing licensure exam and find work in similar settings.
However, RNs with Bachelor’s in Nursing degrees can pursue more financially lucrative and personally rewarding nursing career opportunities, such as being certified in a specific specialty and positions as nurse administrators or nurse case managers. These positions have more complex responsibilities and duties and require the advanced knowledge and skills gained through in-depth Bachelor programs.
These days, many hospitals prefer to hire nurses with Bachelor’s degrees due to the following:
- Healthcare becoming sufficiently more complex
- Needs of an aging population
- Legislative reforms
- Focus on collaborative and community care
Employers want healthcare workers who have a deep understanding of public health, evidence-based practice and are up-to-date on the current technological trends to ensure better patient outcomes.
Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs fulfill this need. Many RNs with this degree also find increased autonomy in decision-making and earn higher salaries than RNs with Associate degrees in Nursing.
Deciding Between an Associate or Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing
Aspiring nurses should research thoroughly and weigh the advantages and disadvantages of both degrees. While students will spend less time in Associate Nursing programs, their career and salary options are more limited. Plus, many programs will let you transfer a large number of credit hours to Bachelor’s degree programs, driving the cost of education down.
Though Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs take longer to complete and cost more, graduates have more career options and higher earning potential. Overall, hospitals prefer nurses who provide patients with a broad range of healthcare in challenging situations.
At University of Bridgeport, we offer a variety of flexible and affordable nursing programs designed to get students through college and into a successful career as a registered nurse.
Contact us today to learn more, and we’ll start something great together!