Is a BSN worth it?

Registered nurses have three options for basic educational preparation: a nursing diploma, an associate’s degree and a bachelor of science in nursing, or BSN. Since all meet the requirements for licensure, many prospective students wonder if the BSN is worth it. The answer is — it depends.

Time and Money

Many nurses in hospitals and other work settings hold exactly the same positions regardless of their educational preparation. The BSN debate is primarily fueled by two issues: It takes longer to get a BSN, and it’s more expensive. Diploma and ADN programs typically last two or three years, while a BSN takes four years. A BSN may cost twice what the others do, partly because getting one takes longer, and partly because BSN programs are offered by universities rather than community colleges, which makes them more expensive.

Moving on

If you want to advance in your career, the odds are very high that you will need a BSN. Management positions and nursing education, for example, typically require a BSN. Research on salaries and educational attainment doesn’t indicate that a BSN will help you earn more money, because few organizations pay a differential for BSN-prepared RNs. However, the BSN does allow you to move into positions that offer higher pay and which are not available for an ADN-prepared nurse.

Other Issues

Some hospitals prefer or require a BSN when hiring, particularly if they are seeking Magnet® status, a symbol of excellence from the American Nurses’ Credentialing Center. And if you want to move into advanced practice nursing, a baccalaureate degree is required to enter an APRN master’s program. An increasing number of professional and educational organizations are pushing for the BSN to become the minimum requirement for a nursing license. While the odds are high that existing nurses would be “grandfathered” in, having a BSN may be a good idea for that reason alone.

Take It Slow

One option is to obtain a diploma or ADN and then continue for a BSN. That can be advantageous in getting some experience under your belt, but with rising educational costs, in may be more expensive in the long run than starting right out in a BSN program. However, doing so does allow you to go to school part-time while continuing to work. Accelerated programs can shorten the total time required.

So what’s the right answer? If you simply want to get your education finished and start work, a diploma or ADN may be a perfectly good choice. If you have adequate financing, are sure that nursing is the career for you, want to advance your career beyond the bedside, and a BSN program is readily available, then go for the bachelor of science in nursing instead.


Written by 3rd independent party

2016-24135  Exp. 6/18