Nursing is one of the most rewarding career paths you can pursue today – both personally and professionally. Nurses have the ability to make a real difference in the lives of others. They also have abundant jobs available, room for future growth, and high earning potential in the field. It’s no wonder why Registered Nurses (RNs) are ranked among the top 20 (out of 100!) best occupations today.
If you would like to become a nurse, there are two primary educational paths you can take. You can choose to pursue an associate degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN). Both options will make you eligible to sit for the national board exam – the NCLEX-RN – which will then grant you license to practice as a Registered Nurse.
As an aspiring nurse, you likely have questions like, “Which degree is right for me?” and “Which degree is more worth it?” When considering the value or “worth” of a future degree, many like to think about the return on their investment, i.e. the potential salary outcomes. This is also a top consideration for nursing students that are deciding between an ADN and BSN degree.
Nursing Salary Breakdown
The national average salary for Registered Nurses today is $71,730 annually, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In Connecticut, RNs make an average of $81,220 per year – far more than the national average. This translates to about $39 per hour for nurses in Connecticut.
While this encompasses all employed RNs, keep in mind that there are varying salaries depending on your level of experience and education. According to Payscale.com, BSN-educated nurses earn over 20% more annually than nurses holding an associate degree.
ADN vs. BSN Salary Considerations
When you think about the differences between an ADN and BSN degree, this salary gap makes sense. While both degrees will prepare you for an entry-level nursing career, a BSN degree will position you for upward mobility in the field.
Bachelor’s in Nursing programs, as well as RN-to-BSN programs, tend to cover more complex topics such as leadership, healthcare policy, nursing research, and advocacy, which are especially valued in advanced nursing positions. After earning a BSN—and honing your expertise through that program—you may find employers offering you a higher starting wage, or more opportunities to advance into higher-paying leadership positions.
Not to mention, some employers and roles require a bachelor’s education. For example, the following careers all require a BSN degree today, and promise substantial salaries as a result:
- Military/Army Nurses
- Psychiatric Nurses
- OB/GYN Nurses
- School Nurses
- Flight Nurses
- Informatics Nurses
- Case Management Nurses
- Clinical Research Nurses
To learn more about the BSN salaries, across the United States and in Connecticut, click here.
ADN vs. BSN Degree
Ultimately, the decision to pursue an associate degree in Nursing, or a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing, is really up to you and your career goals. If you are after a leadership position in the field, or a role that requires a BSN degree, then your educational path is clear. If you are just starting out and have time to invest in a four-year education, a BSN degree may also be a great route for you to pursue.
However, if you wish to get your nursing career started (and start earning money!) as soon as possible, you may opt for an associate degree in Nursing. This can take less than two years to complete, and will give you the foundational experience and knowledge to get licensed and to start working in the field.
With an associate degree, keep in mind that you always have the option to pursue a BSN later on. There are flexible and fast-track RN-to-BSN programs available for already-licensed RNs. At Goodwin, for example, the RN-to-BSN degree can take less than 16 months part-time to complete. With this, you can continue to work as a nurse while taking your BSN coursework online.
For more information about the differences between an ADN and BSN education, or the job outcomes you will encounter after graduation, please do not hesitate to reach out. Goodwin College is an accrediting nursing school in Connecticut with flexible associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in nursing. Call 800-889-3282 or visit us online to learn more.
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.