Different Paths to Becoming a Nurse

As the demand for nurses continues to grow, those interested in entering the healthcare field can pursue a number of options on their way to becoming a registered nurse. When choosing a nursing school in CT, future nurses can take many different paths to become a registered nurse: an associate degree program; a baccalaureate program; an RN-to-BSN program; a hospital diploma program; and more.

Ultimately, all students hoping to become registered nurses must take the NCLEX exam in order to obtain nursing certification. But each path to that certification is different, with different requirements and different rewards. While each path has its pros and cons””particularly in terms of time and cost””ultimately the more advanced the degree, the better a nurse’s chance at securing and maintain a higher level position and better pay.

At its core, the most common paths to registered nursing certification are an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). The main difference between the two is the length of time required to complete the program. An ADN typically requires two years to complete, while a BSN takes four. Goodwin College’s nursing degree programs are flexible and accelerated to meet the needs of our students, and can take less time than usual. Our associate degree in nursing program can take just 18 months to complete, not including general education prerequisite courses. And Goodwin’s RN-to-BSN program can take just 16 months part time if students have already earned their associate degree.

Generally speaking, the starting rate for a registered nurse is the same for both an associate degree and a BSN-prepared nurse. But because many advanced positions require a BSN, those nurses have the potential to earn more money over the course of their careers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average pay for BSNs in the US is $75,000, compared with the $66,000 for RNs.

Additionally, as part of a greater move towards dynamic, competent health care, Connecticut is looking at an 80% BSN workforce by the year 2020. Even now, 78.6% of all healthcare employers express a strong preference for BSN graduates, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

Interested in learning more about Goodwin College? Learn more today, or check out all of our nursing programs to see why we’re a leader in healthcare education in CT! You can also interact with us on Facebook or Twitter!