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What’s the Difference Between an RN versus BSN?

Higher Education Articles July 11, 2013

When you go into the nursing field, you need to consider whether you’re interested in a registered nurse (RN) degree or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. The registered nurse degree is either a two or four year program, while the Bachelor of Science in Nursing is always a four year degree. Whether you go for the RN or the BSN degree depends on your goals as a nurse, your life situation, and whether you have the time to dedicate to that level of commitment.

Registered Nurse Degree

Learning what a registered nurse degree is will help you figure out whether or not you should continue your education with a BSN degree after. If you’re interested in the BSN degree, you often go through the registered nurse program first. The registered nurse program provides you with classes and education specific to nursing, and you can practice as a registered nurse upon completion of this program.

A two year program may work out better in regard to time wise and financial for those with other responsibilities in their lives. It also costs less and has more of a focus on nursing classes as opposed to liberal arts classes that are a part of the four year degree. However, trying to get through all of the program material in two years might be problematic for some people, so the four year degree works out better.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree

A BSN degree is what a nurse goes for after he or she receives a RN degree, so it is sometimes called an advanced RN degree. This is a four year program that provides a wide range of classes in both nursing and liberal arts. If you are going to pursue education past the four year degree, you need to go for your RN first before continuing. While it’s not impossible to get into nursing graduate programs with only a two year RN, it severely limits your options, and you might not be able to go to the school that you want to.

A BSN provides you with access to higher paying nursing jobs, although this does come with more responsibilities. Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs, like other nursing programs, requires a separate application process that you have to go to, to gain admission into the program. Nursing programs may be extremely competitive depending on the school, so you might have to wait some time before you get in.

No matter which program you choose, you’ll find that a nursing career is a great opportunity. It might take some time to decide which degree you want to go for, but it certainly is going to give you plenty of job opportunities. Nurses are needed all over the world, after all.

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  • Why study nursing at Grand Canyon University?
  • Our bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing are CCNE-accredited and the College of Nursing and Health Care Professions (CONHCP) is approved by the Arizona State Board of Nursing.
  • We provide many options to prepare you to begin or advance your nursing career, including bridge programs and dual degrees.
  • GCU provides a low student-to-teacher ratio and a Christian environment that provides an opportunity for you to embrace a holistic approach to caring for patients.
  • Request more information today about program offerings, CCNE accreditation, start dates, financial aid and more!
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
2 Program(s) Found
  • Average class size is 25, allowing for more one-on-one time with instructors.
  • Has a 97% employment rate among available graduates.
  • All  graduates receive Lifetime Employment  Assistance—free and forever.
  • Michigan's largest independent college.
  • Most instructors are working professionals in the fields they teach.
  • Programs are continuously updated to ensure classes are career-relevant and in sync with what's needed in the industry
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
1 Program(s) Found
  • Flexible online course options - choose between 6-week and 12-week courses.
  • Benefit from our 24/7 tech support, Writing Center, Career Services Center, and more.
  • With 10 nursing courses required, you can complete this program in as little as 18 months.
  • Complete course projects in your own workplace and community.
  • Walden's RN-BSN Completion program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing (CCNE).
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
1 Program(s) Found
  • Designated a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media for the 4th consecutive year.
  • Listed on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in 2013, for the sixth consecutive year
  • Links students to hundreds of training opportunities (beyond their traditional internships and practicum) at their many “partner agencies” in each of their local communities.
  • Accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WUSCUC).
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5 Program(s) Found
  • Online Bachelor's programs include BBA, Criminal Justice, Psychology, IT, Healthcare Management & Public Health
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