10 Pros and Cons of RN-TO-BSN Degree Programs (2023)



Written By: Jennifer Schlette MSN, RN

Have you been thinking about your career lately, and you are just not sure if pursuing your BSN is worth everything that can potentially come along with pursuing this degree, good and bad? I mean, you already are working as a registered nurse, right? Well, like with anything in life, there are always going to be pros and cons. Knowing the pros and cons of an RN-to-BSN program will help solidify any decision you will make about your future. So, what are the pros and cons of RN-to-BSN degree programs? Below you will find the top 10 pros and cons of an RN-to-BSN degree program. This information will arm you with the tools to really figure out what direction you feel your life should take.

(Video) ADN vs BSN Nursing Degree's | PROS & CONS



(The following are the top 10 disadvantages of RN-to-BSN degree programs.)

1.Hope you have been saving up.

Let’s face it, nothing is truly free in life. So, this will definitely go for your education as well. An RN-to-BSN program can typically run you anywhere from $8,000 to $55,000. For example, Ohio State University will cost you $16,422 if you are an Ohio resident, and $17,022 for an out-of-state resident. These figures reflect a full-time course of study and will not include the cost-of-living expenses you may incur. The total cost of your education will make this one of the top cons of RN-to-BSN degree programs. Let’s face it, we all know money does not grow on trees.

2.How much time do you have?

An RN-to BSN program will take you anywhere from 18-24 months to complete. So that is 18-24 months of juggling everything in your life that needs to fit into that precious 24 hours a day. That is almost 2 years where you will have to try to balance all that life will throw at you. I am already exhausted thinking about it.

3.How do you feel about debt?

Regardless of where you are in life, you may or may not be in debt. So, if you decide to pursue this endeavor, you may find yourself in new debt, or you may find yourself adding to your existing debt. Taking on more debt is definitely one of the major disadvantages of RN-to-BSN degree programs. If you are up for the challenge of paying off your debt over the course of years, then hey, go for it.

4.How well do you deal with stress?

Of course, taking on more responsibility will add to your stress level. If you are a person who does not perform well with stress, this degree may cause you to break. The increased stress level will be one of the top disadvantages of RN-to-BSN degree programs. You will be facing the stress of school full time all the while of trying to juggle everything going on in your life.

5.Your work hours will not change.

If you are under the impression that if you pursue your RN-to-BSN degree that the type of schedule you have at work will change, well, you are wrong. Regardless of earning your BSN, you will most likely continue with shift work unless you decide to take a further leap and leave your current job. A bedside nurse will typically work 8-12 hours regardless of the type of degree that they hold.

(Video) Top 10 Best Online RN to BSN Programs 2023 | Manifesity

6.How was GPA?

Many RN-to-BSN programs will set a minimum GPA of what they are willing to accept into their program. This range is often somewhere between 2.5 and 3.0. PACE University has established its minimum GPA to 2.75, as is the GPA at the University of West Florida. So, if you want to pursue your RN-to- BSN degree, I hope you make the cut.

7.Is your program accredited?

If you plan on ever moving on to a postgraduate degree program in the future, you better make sure that you attend a school that has been accredited by either the Accreditation Commission For Education in Nursing or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Finding an RN-to-BSN program with the proper accreditation will require additional research on your part as well as time, which already may be limited.

8. An application fee may apply

Many RN-to-BSN programs that you apply to will require that you pay an application fee. I know what you are thinking, wait, I have to shell out more money? Well, yes, yes you do. These application fees are one of the disadvantages of RN-to-BSN degree programs. This fee does not guarantee your admission to the program of your choice and is non-negotiable. For example, William Paterson University requires that you submit an application fee of $50.00 along with your application to even be considered. Think about it, if you are applying to more than one school, this can really add up.

9.Not really reaching that GPA?

Let's just say that you did not really make the cut in terms of your GPA; well, you can repeat required prerequisite courses in order to increase your GPA. This will definitely raise your GPA, but it will also decrease your bank accounts or increase your debt.

10.Will you be able to continue to work full time?

Going to school and managing a full-time job can be difficult for some people. You may worry that either your academics or your job will suffer. If this sounds like something that will be difficult, you will definitely have some hard decisions to make down the road. If you end up not being able to work, you may end up further increasing your debt.


(The following are the top 10 advantages of RN-to-BSN degree programs.)

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1.Get ahead of the game.

Depending on what state you practice in, you may eventually feel a push to get your BSN degree. Not only will the push come from the states themselves, but you may also feel the push from institutions that you are currently or will potentially work for. This is because many institutions will only consider nurses with a bachelor’s degree for hire. This push is based on the Institute of Medicine's recommendations, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. Also, many hospitals are striving to achieve the prestigious recognition of being a Magnet institute, but in order to even be considered for Magnet, the hospital must satisfy the recommendation that 80% of their nurses hold a BSN. In short, if you don't want to feel this push and want to get ahead of the game, there is no better time than the present to start.

2.You will not have to retake your state boards.

One of the top pros of RN-to-BSN degree programs is that you will not have to retake your state boards again. You already have passed your state boards and earned your nursing license, so you don't need that extra stress of studying for this make it or break exam. Now, that being said, why wouldn't you get your BSN. You get a bachelor’s degree without having to sit for the boards. This is a total win for you.

3.You have the option to complete your work online.

If you are dreading the thought of sitting in the classroom for hours upon hours, then the good news for you is that you will have the option to complete your coursework online. Many RN-to-BSN programs have a total remote option for their students. This is great news for somebody who thinks they cannot find flexibility in an RN-to BSN program.

4.You will have a higher pay scale.

A nurse who holds an associate degree in nursing is looking at making around $70,820 per year. So, let us compare that to somebody who has earned their BSN degree. A BSN-prepared nurse with 20 years’ experience will be making around $115,280 per year. This difference in these two salaries is definitely one of the pros of RN-to-BSN degree programs, it will allow you to increase your earning potential. I do not know about you, but that is a pretty nice salary for a BSN nurse.

5.It will open up more job opportunities.

Earning your BSN will open up a whole new world of job opportunities to you. You will be able to apply for jobs looking for nurses who have a bachelor's degree, such as a charge nurse. Think about it; you could find yourself running an inpatient hospital unit.

6.You will be able to climb that career ladder.

One of the advantages of RN-to-BSN degree program is that it will enable you to climb that career ladder. You may now meet those qualifications to work in a leadership position. You will also be more likely to be considered for promotions. This will often not only increase your status within the institution you work for, but it will increase your pay as well.

(Video) ADN vs BSN nursing degrees | pros & cons | which is better ?

7.You will have such a comprehensive knowledge base.

As a nurse with an associate's degree or a diploma, you are prepared for the tasks associated with being a nurse. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), bachelor’s-level prepared nurses gain abilities beyond basic nursing skills. As a bachelor prepared nurse, you will gain skills such as case management, critical thinking, health promotion, and leadership. These newly acquired skills will make you such an asset to anyone you work for.

8.Your patients have been shown to have better outcomes.

Another one of the advantages of RN-to-BSN degree programs is that nurses who hold a BSN have shown to have patients that will have a decreased morbidity and mortality. Many studies have shown that patients who are cared for by a nurse who holds a BSN have better outcomes than those who are cared for with an associate degree or diploma. Some of these areas where these patients had better outcomes is with pressure ulcers, a lower incidence of postoperative deep vein thrombosis, a lower incident of hospital-acquired infections, and a lower incidence of post-surgical mortality among patients.

9.You are closer than you think to a nurse with a master’s degree

If you dream of one day is earning your master’s degree, you will have to complete your bachelor's degree in nursing first. This is a stepping-stone to advancing your nursing education. So, by completing your RN-to-BSN degree, you are partially on your way to an advanced nursing career.

10.You will gain an increased sense of personal satisfaction.

Accomplishing a goal like earning a BSN degree is a great accomplishment that will lead to an increased level of personal satisfaction. You now possess the knowledge base and skills that are expected of a bachelor-prepared nurse. Think about how many people try to obtain this degree but just fall short. So, way to go!

The Bottomline

So, what is the bottom line here? Obtaining an RN-to-BSN degree is a personal decision and one that you will have to make for yourself. It is one that will impact your current and future life situation no matter how you slice it. Well, what are the pros and cons of RN-to-BSN degree programs? You have just been presented with the top 10 pros and cons of RN-to-BSN degree programs, which should help clear up any uncertainty you may have about choosing a career path for yourself. If you are just starting out thinking about your RN-to-BSN degree, this guide will definitely help point you in the best direction for you.

10 Pros and Cons of RN-TO-BSN Degree Programs (1) Jennifer Schlette MSN, RN
Jennifer Schlette is a registered nurse in pediatric critical care in New York City. She is the former Director of Undergraduate Nursing at a college located in New York. After obtaining her BSN from the College of Mount Saint Vincent, she went on to complete her MSN.

(Video) My Honest Opinion on ADN vs. BSN | Associates & Bachelors Nursing Programs | PRO's & CON's


What are the cons of having a BSN? ›

One of the most obvious “cons” of a bachelor's degree is that it requires more time to complete. Entry-level BSN programs are about four years in length. This means BSN students often need to wait four years to get their license, start earning money, and begin building experience in the field.

What are the advantages of ADN vs BSN? ›

BSN nurses may enjoy increased autonomy in decision making on the job, with increased knowledge and understanding of RN specialties and skills. ADN nurses are typically highly focused on technical clinical tasks and day-to-day care, such as monitoring patients, administering basic procedures or updating charts.

What are the pros and cons of a registered nurse? ›

The pros include helping others, lots of career options, variation in work, you are good to pay, and job security, while to cons are long work hours, the emotional and physical stress of the job, and being exposed to bodily fluids and potential pathogens.

What are the benefits of getting a BSN in nursing? ›

Benefits of a BSN in Nursing
  • Higher Earning Potential. ...
  • Career Advancement Opportunities. ...
  • Improve Your Knowledge and Skills. ...
  • BSN Nurses Are in Demand. ...
  • Opportunity to Focus on Certain Areas. ...
  • Improved Quality of Care. ...
  • Step Towards Graduate Education. ...
  • Flexibility of Programs.
May 5, 2020

Is it better to have a BSN or RN? ›

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistic's Occupational Outlook Handbook: ”Generally, registered nurses who have a bachelor of science degree in nursing (BSN) will have better job prospects than those without one.” Increasingly, a BSN degree is becoming the degree of choice for other reasons as well.

Is it better to do RN or BSN? ›

Research with patients and patient outcomes has shown that nurses with a BSN have better patient outcomes on average. So, in a competitive healthcare market that must maximize patient outcomes, BSN has become the preferred degree for most hiring efforts.

Do hospitals prefer BSN over ADN? ›

Nurses with BSN degrees typically earn higher wages than those with only ADNs. Hospitals prefer BSN graduates, and nurses with BSNs have more opportunities to advance their careers.

Are BSN programs harder than ADN? ›

ADN programs are also generally easier to get into than BSN programs and they are not as costly. There are many advantages to both ADNs and BSNs. To help decide which program might be right for you, consider cost, program length, salary potential, and career advancement opportunities.

Is ADN to BSN worth it? ›

Both ADN and BSN degrees prepare nurses for entry-level roles. However, a BSN degree is designed to offer more career opportunities for upward mobility, and that comes with a bigger paycheck. The starting salary for a registered nurse with a BSN can be, at the beginning, similar to what an ADN nurse earns.

What are the benefits of being an RN nurse? ›

Benefits to Pursuing a Career in Nursing
  • Paid sick time.
  • Paid vacation and holidays.
  • Health and life insurance.
  • Tuition reimbursement.
  • Wellness programs.
  • Paid family leave.
  • Retirement benefits.
  • Reimbursement for certification fees.

What is the hardest part of being a registered nurse? ›

Seeing the death of their patients.

"Seeing those patients you took care of die and how devastating it is to the family" is the hardest part of being a nurse, said Melissa, a nurse from Oklahoma city.

What degree is better than nursing? ›

For those who are interested in more behind-the-scenes work, or who want to explore their options in healthcare, health science is a great alternative major to nursing. A health science degree can lead to many different careers, from a healthcare administrator to medical biller and coder.

What is the highest nursing degree? ›

What is the highest level of nursing? The highest level of nursing education is the doctoral level. Positions that require doctoral nursing degrees include certain types of advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), as well as leadership positions such as chief nursing officer or director of nursing.

What nurse specialty pays the most? ›

The Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist consistently ranks as the highest-paid nursing career. That is because Nurse Anesthetists are highly skilled Registered Nurses who work closely with medical staff during medical procedures that require anesthesia.

Does a BSN or MSN make more money? ›

Average salary

Although professionals with either a BSN or an MSN often can receive high salaries, having an MSN typically raises a nurse's earning potential more. The national average salary for registered nurses is $85,008 per year .

What is an ADN? ›

ADN stands for associate's degree in nursing and it can give you a solid foundation for a career in healthcare. Popular among registered nurses (RNs), this degree provides opportunities to work in entry-level nursing positions.

What does DNP stand for? ›

A doctor of nursing practice, or DNP, and a medical degree are both earned following rigorous coursework, and both lead to or accelerate careers in the health care field.

What is the pay difference between ADN and BSN? ›

Associate degree nurses have a salary range from $49,810 at the beginning of their careers to over $106,000 with twenty or more years of experience. BSN nurses typically begin their careers with an annual salary of about $53,000 and may make over $115,000 annually (or more) with twenty plus years' experience.

Should all nurses have a BSN? ›

While several degree options that grant entry into the nursing profession exist, the BSN is the one that opens the most doors. That's because it goes beyond basic nursing knowledge, taking a deeper dive into health policy, research and evidence-based practice and leadership development.

Are BSN nurses safer than ADN nurses? ›

Over the past two decades, a substantial body of research in the U.S. and abroad has documented that hospitals with a higher proportion of registered nurses with a bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN) experience significantly fewer deaths, have shorter hospital stays and fewer readmissions, and have lower Medicare ...

What is the hardest class in BSN? ›

Pharmacology. Pharmacology, or the study of medication, can seem scary because of the sheer scope of the course. "It becomes one of the hardest classes for nursing students due to the depth and amount of knowledge needed," says Megan Lynch, RN and instructor at Pima Community College.

Who has the easiest BSN program? ›

15 Easiest BSN Programs to Get Into – 2023
  • RN-to-BSN Capella University. ...
  • BBA - Human Resource Management Strayer University. ...
  • BS - Business Administration: Human Resource Management Southern New Hampshire University. ...
  • Bachelors: Social Work Simmons University.

Why get a BSN after ADN? ›

Graduates with a nursing diploma or associate degree in nursing (ADN) can apply for registered nurse (RN) licenses, but spending the extra time to earn a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) can lead to advantages. BSN-holders can expect higher pay, more job opportunities, and career advancement.

Do adn take the same nclex as BSN? ›

After earning their degree, BSN graduates are required to pass the same NCLEX-RN test taken by ADN candidates. As a result of the additional education, BSN-RNs are otherwise better positioned for certain nursing specialties, career advancement opportunities, and better pay.

How hard is the Nclex exam? ›

NCLEX Pass Rates

The second-attempt pass rate for domestically-educated students taking the test was 45.56%. These results demonstrate that it is a pretty difficult test. The questions are designed to test your critical thinking, knowledge of the nursing process, and assessment skills.

Is ADN and ASN the same thing? ›

The main difference between ADN and ASN degrees is ASN programs put a bigger focus on clinical practice. The courses for ASN programs are similar to ADN programs, but often have more clinical hour requirements.

How do you know if nursing is not for you? ›

So, ask yourself how caring are you of other individuals and their needs. In order to be a good nurse, you have to deeply care about people. If you are one of those types of people who just worry about themselves and do not really concentrate on how to help others, then nursing really is not for you.

Is it really worth it to be a nurse? ›

A nursing career offers a high salary range for your level of education and can be a good choice for a more financially secure future. According to 2021 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the salary range for registered nurses was 59,450 to 120,250 a year.

What is hard about becoming a nurse? ›

Nursing school should be hard. Good programs take a rigorous, immersive approach to preparing you for patient care. There are pressing deadlines to meet, lab skills to master, and challenging exams to take. You may have moments of feeling exhausted, burned out, or defeated.

What challenges do nurses face? ›

Here are some of the challenges nurses face in their profession:
  • Long shifts. Nurses often work 10- or 12-hour shifts. ...
  • Changing schedules. ...
  • Emotional involvement. ...
  • Physical demands. ...
  • Exposure to illness and chemicals. ...
  • Lack of nurses. ...
  • Changing technology. ...
  • Poor treatment from patients.
Mar 10, 2023

Why do you love being an RN? ›

As nurses, we have the opportunity to empower our patients and their families with knowledge. When I see that a patient understands their disease process and the plan of care, it is an awesome feeling. Nurses have the ability to bring understanding and peace during what can be a confusing or challenging time.

What is the best thing about becoming a nurse? ›

One of the great things about being a nurse is the opportunity to continue learning throughout your career. The field of medicine continues to evolve, and nursing skills evolve with it. You'll have constant opportunities to learn new skills (both hard and soft).

Which nursing semester is hardest? ›

Without question, the most difficult semester for me was the last semester of my junior year in nursing school. I attended a 4-year BSN program, and that particular semester included three classes that were very content-heavy, as well as the corresponding clinical hours for those classes.

What is the most stressful RN job? ›

The most stressful nursing jobs include ICU nurse, ER nurse, and NICU nurse. In these roles, nurses work in an intense environment with high stakes. They manage emergency situations and care for critically ill patients. Other stressful nursing jobs include OR nursing, oncology nursing, and psychiatric nursing.

What is the hardest test in nursing school? ›

What is the hardest part of nursing school? The hardest part of nursing school is getting used to the NCLEX-style questions. Most students will not be used to questions where every answer choice will seem like it's the correct answer.

Is it really necessary to have a BSN? ›

The degree allows you to practice as a Registered Nurse (RN) after you graduate and have completed the NCLEX-RN licensing exam. A BSN is not required to become a Registered Nurse; however, it is an accelerator of your career and skills as a nurse.

Do nurses really need a BSN? ›

Can You Become a RN Without a BSN? There are many paths one can take to become a registered nurse. The only requirement for RNs to officially practice medicinal care within their field is that they must pass their NCLEX exams. An RN can either have their ADN or BSN degrees, although a BSN degree is preferred.

Are BSN nurses safer? ›

We found that hospitals with a larger proportion of nurses with BSN qualifications have significantly lower risk-adjusted mortality for surgical patients, regardless of the specific pathway nurses take to earn a bachelor's degree in nursing.

Is BSN stressful? ›

Nursing is one of the professions that need to be ready for anything. Whether you have people's lives to care for, or are working long hours, Nursing can sometimes feel like a source of stress.

Can you do anything with just a BSN? ›

Graduates with a BSN can work as bedside nurses in medical settings, such as hospitals, clinics, and physicians' offices. They can also pursue careers as nurse educators, health policy nurses, nurse recruiters, nurse informaticists, forensic nurses, clinical research nurses, or nurse health coaches.

What is the difference between BSN and BS in nursing? ›

Despite the difference in name, the curriculum is essentially the same. If the BSN acronym is used, the institution awarding the degree has a School of Nursing. For institutions that do not have a School of Nursing, the university itself presents the degree, thus awarding a BS in Nursing.

What is the difference between BSN and BS? ›

While both undergraduate degrees will provide a strong academic foundation, a BS is a more general science degree while a BSN prepares graduates specifically for furthering their careers in nursing.

What percentage of nurses have a Bachelor degree? ›

The percentage of registered nurses who hold a bachelor's of science in nursing or higher is at an all-time high with a national average of about 56 percent, up from about 49 percent in 2010.

Are nurses highly educated? ›

Essential Education

Higher education is essential for sharpening nursing competencies. One of the most advanced degrees in the nursing profession is Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).

Are nurses trusted more than doctors? ›

Twenty-nine percent of those people ranked nurses' honesty and ethics as very high, 12 percentage points more than the second highest-ranked profession — medical doctors. Medical doctors and pharmacists ranked second and third, which shows that people trust their healthcare professionals the most.

Is being a nurse respected? ›

Nurses have an excellent reputation - they are regarded as honest and caring by the general public. Nurses work closely with the public, providing medical care while being mindful of people's privacy rights.

What is the average age to finish BSN? ›

BSN programs have an average age of early-mid 20s. Students in RN-to-BSN programs are typically in their late 30s.


1. ADN vs BSN Pros and Cons
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2. RN-to-BSN: A Flexible Degree for a Flexible Nursing Career
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6. ADN vs BSN How to choose? | Nursing degrees: Pros and cons, differences, my experience
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