Guest Post by Justin Davis - Since this is Health Services week at FT Careers I decided to complement Wednesday’s post about the careers with the highest demand in health services with this one about transitioning from a RN (equal to an associates degree) to a BSN (equal to a Bacherlors).
In order to get a jump start on their career, many nursing students choose to obtain an Associate’s degree in nursing and pass their state’s licensure test in order to get right into the job market. Once the test is passed, the nurse is officially an RN, which for a number of years was an adequate amount of education to land a high-paying job. Many hospitals, clinics and nursing homes are now actively seeking nurses who continued on to achieve their Bachelors of Science in Nursing, or BSN. This advanced degree not only increases the likelihood of finding in employment and in several instances, RNs that hold a BSN over and ADN generally command higher salaries. If you’ve found it difficult to locate a high-paying job with your Associate’s degree, it’s possible to obtain your Bachelor’s in far less time than you originally thought, in some cases less than two years.
Finding an RN-BSN Program
The choices available to achieve your RN-BSN degree are varied, so do your homework and speak to the university’s admissions advisor to determine if you currently possess the credentials and qualifications required for admittance. For example, you’ve earned your nursing license in one state and wish to attend your RN-BSN classes in a university, either online or on campus, that is in a different state. There’s a chance that the university won’t accept your credentials unless you’re licensed in their state. If you’re a diploma holder as opposed to an ADN, make sure you have all the required pre-requisite courses before you even apply for the university RN-BSN program. Many universities also require the RN be currently employed for a certain length of time, generally two to three years, as a condition of the admissions process.
One final choice to consider is whether attending classes either online, on campus, or a combination of both is better for your lifestyle and current employment status. Many universities offer online RN-BSN classes, which is a convenient way to earn this certification while you continue to work full or part-time.
Why Many Still Obtain an ADN
With RN nursing jobs getting harder and harder to find thanks to the push being made by many hospitals, clinics and nursing homes to exclusively hire nurses possessing a Bachelor’s degree. You might be wondering why any students choose to still achieve their Associate’s degree through a community college? There are generally two main reasons why this decision is made: cost and confusion.
- Cost. Although it can add an extra year of schooling, many choose to achieve their core classes in a community college and achieve their ADN before enrolling in a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing program simply because the credits costs in community college are generally less expensive. Also, a community college is generally more forgiving when it comes to a student’s work life and offers a more flexible class schedule.
- Confusion. Many nurses obtain an Associate’s degree simply because they believe this level of education is enough to obtain the most sought-after, high paying jobs. This may have been the case several years ago, but now employers are giving nurses with a BSN first pick of the most lucrative positions.
Reasons to Obtain Your BSN
Aside from the bump in your salary and multitude of career opportunities, there are several other valid reasons to obtain your RN-BSN. Here are just a few:
- If you have future aspirations to achieve a Master’s degree in the field of healthcare, this advancement isn’t possible until you first obtain your BSN.
- Opportunities for career advancement in fields beyond nursing, including hospital administration. Many nurses possessing an RN-BSN are finding their future lies in hospital administration rather than nursing, which is a made possible by earning the advanced degree.
- The opportunity to learn a skill set that’s simply not offered in an ADN program. Many nurses are learning invaluable skills, including critical thinking, leadership and communication, through their RN-BSN courses.
- Many hospitals, clinics and other facilities will pay for the costs of their nursing staff’s RN-BSN training. If this is the case at your current employer, it just makes financial sense to take the plunge and enroll in an accredited RN-BSN program
When searching for an online or on-campus RN-BSN program, pay attention the university is accredited through their regional accreditation agency. This ensures the university is meeting the set standards for quality, and that you’re education dollars are being well spent.