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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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2 Program(s) Found
  • Do you aspire to fulfill an evolving healthcare role as a highly-qualified nursing professional? GCU is the place for you.
  • RNs, pursue your BSN or MSN conveniently online, backed by the legacy of GCU's traditional campus.
  • GCU's bachelor's and master's programs prepare students to fill roles in direct care, management, health education and administrative disciplines.
  • The baccalaureate degree in nursing and master's degree in nursing at GCU are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Develop with hands-on practice, online and lab simulations and in depth peer discussions exploring best practices.
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
1 Program(s) Found
  • BSN completion program for Registered Nurses is available entirely online.
  • The RN to BSN program is designed to help students advance their career, or prepare for post-graduate opportunities.
  • Courses teach modern health assessment and treatment methods, how to evaluate potential disease or injury, and more.
  • Regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
  • Online Courses
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  • Transferable Credits
1 Program(s) Found
  • Earn your Master of Public Health Online from GW in 12 months.
  • GRE waivers available for qualified applicants.
  • Advance your career in a range of industries, including epidemiology, public health and biostatistics.
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Accelerated Programs
  • 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).
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid

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