ADN or BSN: Which Is Right for You?

If you are working on your education to become a nurse, you may be wondering if you should earn an ADN or a BSN. An

ADN is an Associate’s Degree in Nursing, and a BSN is a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. While both degrees will qualify you to work as a Registered Nurse, there are some fundamental differences between the two degrees.


The major difference between the two degrees is the amount of credits required and the length of time involved. While the ADN typically takes 2 years of study, the BSN takes approximately 4 years. The time involved in earning a BSN may be somewhat shorter if you have previously earned a bachelor’s degree in another field.

Both degree programs will include training in maternal and newborn nursing, adult health, and pediatrics. You can also expect to study additional areas such as community health nursing, psychiatric nursing, gerontological nursing, and more. A BSN program will also include nursing informatics, research, and more advanced courses.
Advantages of Each Degree The starting salary for RNs is the same regardless of which degree you hold, but those with a BSN have the qualifications to enter advanced positions and earn a higher rate of pay throughout their careers. On average, those with an ADN earn around $70,000 a year, while those with a BSN earn around $75,000.

The advantages to choosing an ADN program are fairly obvious. This degree costs less to earn and takes a shorter period of time, allowing you to go to work much more quickly. A BSN, however, provides its own advantages. Among these are increased opportunities for advancement and preparation to enter an advanced degree program to become a nurse midwife, nurse anesthetist, or nurse practitioner, among others.

So which degree is the best choice? That depends upon your personal time schedule and career goals. Both degrees will get you into the nursing field and will allow you to eventually work toward more advanced positions. If you are in a hurry to get to work, the ADN is probably your best choice, but you may want to consider the BSN if you are in no hurry and want to move up the career ladder quickly.