20+ Difference between ADN and BSN

“ADN” denotes a nurse with an associate degree. You may also see the abbreviations ASN or AASN while discussing associate degrees in nursing.

Two such credentials are the Associate of Science in Nursing and the Associate of Applied Science in Nursing.

There is no practical difference between an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN), an Associate of Arts in Nursing (ADN), and an Associate of Science in Nursing (AASN); therefore, the differences between them are mostly artificial.

A nurse with a BSN degree has completed the first four years of a 4-year program leading to a 4-year degree. Registered Nurse is an abbreviation for “Registered Nurse.”

Comparison Between ADN And BSN

MeaningThe National League of Nursing (NLN) Council of Associate Degree Nursing Competencies Task Force identified Educational Competencies for Graduates of Associate Degree Nursing Programs in 2000. The graduate of an ADN program is prepared and expected to practice within the framework of these competencies. Eight essential components and abilities have been recognized as necessary for ADN graduates to succeed in the field.A registered nurse (RN) who has earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree is better positioned to manage other nurses and carry out more complicated procedures under the supervision of a physician. The greater leadership prospects and compensation that come with the higher degree are perhaps the factors that stand out the most when comparing nurses with an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) to those with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).
Pass RateAccording to the information provided by NCLEX, this range is expected to become much more inclusive in the year 2020. The percentage of people who passed the test who had a BSN was close to ninety percent, whereas those who passed the exam which held an ADN was close to eighty-two percent.Between the beginning of the next year and the middle of that year, candidates seeking Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees had an opportunity to take and pass the exam. Of those applicants, 85% were successful in doing so. Applicants who already had an ADN at the time of the exam successfully passed it at a rate of eighty percent.
SalaryAccording to our findings for 2019, the median annual salary for registered nurses is $71,730. This figure, however, may be somewhat different based on things like geographical region, the field of expertise, employer, and degree of schooling. According to Payscale, the typical annual salary for an RN is $68,000. The median wage has been rising gradually over the last several decades. BSN-level nurses make more than the median salary by a wide margin. According to the same source, RNs with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree may expect an annual salary of $82,000. There will be a huge increase in pay for nurses with bachelor’s degrees in the field during the next five years. The income of a nurse might be affected by choice of specialty. On the other hand, a bachelor’s degree opens up many doors for you professionally and personally, including ones not limited to working in hospitals.
ScopeADN nurses have the predisposition to focus significantly on technical, clinical tasks and regular care, such as monitoring patients, administering important procedures, and updating paperwork. This is because ADN nurses have a shorter training program than RNs do. This is because ADN nurses do not need to have significant clinical training to practice.BSN-trained nurses are qualified for healthcare organizations’ leadership, administration, and management roles. These positions enable nurses to shift their focus from providing direct patient care to addressing bigger systemic issues. Some registered nurses with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree may be qualified for leadership roles in areas such as public health, nursing research, and nursing education.
Career AdvancementIt is easier for a nurse with a BSN to get an APRN certification or an MSN with a specialized specialization than it is for a nurse with an ADN or diploma. After completing an MSN, candidates may be admitted to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program, which is the profession’s highest degree.A BSN degree opens up several opportunities in the nursing field. You can focus your nursing education on either a specific care setting (oncology, psychiatry, etc.) or a certain age group (newborn, children, adults, the elderly). However, a BSN nurse may be eligible for better-earning jobs without pursuing an MSN. In contrast, APRNs such as clinical nurse specialists, nurse practitioners, or nurse anesthetists are needed to obtain a Master of Science in Nursing.

Major Difference Between ADN And BSN

What exactly is ADN?

Those who aspire to join the nursing profession and work in the medical sector as registered nurses must first get an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN), which typically takes roughly two years to complete.

This is the entry-level educational requirement (RNs). Students who enroll in nursing programs that lead to an associate degree get an education on the foundations of the nursing profession, including how to care for patients. This education may be considered the foundation of the nursing profession.

Key Difference: ADN

  • Six academic quarters of nursing courses are available in this format, based on the general education courses that students have already completed at other authorized schools. 
  • A graduate may then apply to take the Registered Nurse Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) and sit for the Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) credentialing exam. 
  • A full-time student takes a year and a half to finish the course. 
  • Clinical decision-making, evaluation, patient education, continuity of care, cooperation, and leadership are only a few of the essential qualities emphasized. 
  • The Associate Degree Nurse is a generalist nurse with a demonstrated commitment to caring for others. Nursing school alums work in a dynamic industry that is always evolving. 
  • High regard for the nursing profession who uses critical thinking and judgment and exhibits clinical competence and responsibility.
  • An associate degree in nursing prepares a person for work as a direct caregiver in various healthcare settings serving diverse patient groups. 
  • The Cerritos College Nursing Program has as a core principle and concept the idea that its ADN graduates would continue their education beyond the associate level.

What exactly is BSN?

To earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, often known as a BSN, one typically needs to put in an additional two years of study above what is required for an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing, also known as an ADN.

Students who earn a degree spend more time in class than their classmates who earn an ADN and benefit from a more well-rounded education. This could increase your career opportunities and improve your working conditions.

Key Difference: BSN

  • According to the Health Policy 2002, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing is a four-year undergraduate degree that aims to cultivate critical care and advanced thinking abilities.
  • The curriculum has been condensed to prepare students to meet the country’s public, community, and individual health demands. 
  • The curriculum trains students to be productive members of society who uphold a set of universally accepted ethical principles.
  • They act by their personal, social, and professional duties in response to national goals. 
  • Students with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree apply what they learn in the classroom to real-world scenarios via various projects and assignments. 
  • Following the program’s conclusion, students are expected to do a six-month internship to get experience in a real-world clinical environment. 
  • Prospective professionals who are interested in expanding their knowledge base in the same area may decide to enroll in an advanced degree program.

Contrast Between ADN And BSN


  • ADN – An ADN may be a good option if you are undecided between a diploma/certificate and a degree. In any case, students should expect to complete their coursework in around two years.

    Courses in general education, pharmacology, maternal-newborn and pediatric nursing, and psychiatric nursing make up most of the average of 60-75 credits. Clinical hours are completed in healthcare facilities and are by state regulations.

    Graduates are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN test and may use their ADN credits toward a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in the future.
  • BSN – Besides the breadth of a bachelor’s degree, four-year BSN programs include intensive nursing education. Students can take classes at a physical location or online and complete clinical rotations in area clinics or hospitals.

    After passing the NCLEX-RN test, nurses with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree may be eligible for a greater beginning salary than those with an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a diploma/certificate in nursing.


  • ADN – typically takes two years of study at a community college or other educational institution to get an ADN. Programs designed for seasoned nurses who have already acquired their RN license may be completed more quickly.

    This degree may be completed in less time for these RNs since they can transfer credits. Students in an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) program learn how to care for others by observing patients and recording their observations in medical records. Students will learn about several facets of the nursing profession in these classes.
  • BSN – Programs leading to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree usually take four years to complete. However, people with previous nursing experience may be eligible for the expedited study.

    Many advanced topics, like pharmacology, ethics, and statistics, are included in BSN curriculum courses.

    Courses in community health, advancing nursing practice, case management, and nursing research are just a few of the theoretical foundations laid by BSN students.


  • ADN – Nurses with an Associate’s Degree in Nursing program are prepared to work in several healthcare settings, including clinics, doctor’s offices, and hospitals.

    These nurses have the opportunity to pursue a variety of further specialties, including that of travel nurse, home health aide, occupational health aide, outpatient care nurse, community health aide, and psychiatric nurse, among others.

    Providing patients with the most fundamental nursing care is a common requirement for employment in these professions.
  • BSN – Individuals with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree have access to all of the same employment opportunities as nurses holding an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), and even more so for those who wish to advance in their professions.

    The terms “pharmaceutical nursing,” “informatics nursing,” “operative nursing,” “nursing administration,” and “nurse case management” are just a few examples of the plethora of conceivable specialties for these nurses.


  • ADN – Obtaining an Associate’s Degree in Nursing is a Fantastic First Step in the Nursing Profession. The primary benefits of an ADN program are its shorter duration and lower cost.

    You may receive your nursing degree sooner, begin making money, and get practical experience in the field. In about 18–24 months, you may get your ADN.

    For many, the ADN is the first step toward a BSN in an RN to BSN program; this will allow them to join the job, get experience, and then return to school to finish their education.
  • BSN – It usually takes four years to graduate from a BSN program. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree is often regarded as the gold standard in nursing education because of the breadth and depth of knowledge it imparts to its graduates.

    In BSN programs, students engage in more comprehensive clinical experiences than they would in an ADN program.

    BSN programs may be completed in as little as a year, and some are even shorter. Anyone without a prior college education or nursing experience will be denied admission to this degree.


  • ADN – Studying administration, leadership, public health, the social sciences, critical reasoning, and communication is required for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.

    Leadership education benefits registered nurses who aspire to higher-level professions such as management, academia, and research. Studying nursing theory and informatics helps students become better prepared to use new technology efficiently in the nursing profession.

    Additional courses beyond those necessary for ADN help nurses better understand the complexity of patient care and the whole of the healthcare system.
  • BSN – The nursing profession evolves and adapts over time due to nurses and doctors embracing and using newly developed technologies for patient care and diagnostics.

    Hospital administrators know the need to adjust how nurses interact with patients in light of these emerging standards.

    When it comes to training nurses to handle the ever-evolving challenges of providing patient care, the flexibility to personalize one’s education within the context of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree can make all the difference in the world.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. How exactly does one characterize the functions of a nursing assistant?

Assisting registered nurses and other healthcare professionals in delivering high-quality care to patients and the general public is one of the primary responsibilities of nursing assistants, who play a crucial role in healthcare settings.

In addition to this, obtaining this certification is an essential prerequisite for getting your registered nurse license.

Q2. Is getting a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in only two years feasible?

Students who study nursing for three years can get their diploma and become certified for careers as enrolled nurses or nurses working on temporary staff.

Diploma programs often continue for a shorter time and offer less in-depth education than bachelor’s degree programs. Still, other than that, they cover the same material.

Q3. Where exactly is there the most need for nurses who have specialized training, and in what area specifically?

In nursing, registered nurses with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree have a better chance of getting employment and advancing to higher-level positions than their colleagues who hold an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) degree.

Q4. Which course is better in B Sc Nursing?

After graduating BSc in Nursing, you might go for MSc in nursing, increasing your possibilities in the work market.

Your options for sub-specialization include psychiatry, general surgery, pediatrics, public health, and gynecology. You need a B to enroll in one of these graduate programs.

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