What Is the Difference Between RN and BSN Degrees?
A registered nurse (RN) is a nurse who has passed the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) after completing an accredited training program. These programs come in the form of an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). The degrees differ in the time it takes to complete them and the type of coursework required for graduation.
ASN and BSN Degree Overviews
Aspiring registered nurses can earn a 2-year associate's degree at a community college or nursing school. ASN programs are generally open to those with a high school diploma or GED.
Students earn a BSN at a 4-year college or university. Applicants to these programs may need to take prerequisite courses in math and science. Some schools may also require previous experience in the health care field. Accelerated programs are available for those seeking a second bachelor's degree or for those who already have an ASN.
The curriculum of an associate's degree program teaches students basic nursing skills through a combination of classroom theory and hands-on clinical practicums. Students often take general education courses in math, science and English. Depending on the school, program curriculum may also include liberal arts courses for students looking to transfer to a BSN program.
The differences in a bachelor's degree curriculum include additional coursework in statistics, biochemistry and communication. Students must also enroll in additional general education courses. But, like students in an ASN program, bachelor's degree candidates also complete basic nursing coursework and extensive clinical practicums.
Typical coursework found in each program may include the following:
- Nursing theory
- Nursing fundamentals
- Anatomy and physiology
- Surgical nursing
- Pediatric nursing
- Mental health nursing
Students successfully completing either program are eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN.
Career and Continuing Education Opportunities
Graduates of either an ASN or BSN program are prepared for entry-level nursing careers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, RNs can advance to management positions through work experience, regardless of degree level (www.bls.gov). However, the most significant advancement comes through continuing education.
Nurses holding a BSN can go on to earn a master's or doctoral degree in nursing. These graduate programs train students to become advanced practice nurses such as nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists or nurse-midwives.
Related to What Is the Difference Between RN and BSN Degrees?
- Recently Updated
Learn about the prerequisites, courses and program requirements for registered nurses (RNs) to earn a bachelor's degree in...
Learn how to become an RN case manager. Research the education requirements, licensure information, and experience required for...
Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an RN case manager. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as...
Read about LPN to RN program overviews. Examine the educational prerequisites, program coursework, employment outlook...
- NICU RN: Job Description, Requirements and Duties
- Animal Nurse: Job Description, Duties, Salary and Outlook
- Education-Portal.com 2010 Scholarship Winners: Nursing
- What Is Education Portal's Certificate of Completion?
- Intro to Psychology CLEP Study Guide and Practice Tests
- 5 Wrong Reasons to Choose a College
- Online ESL and EFL Resources
- Diagnostic Radiologist Employment Information and Requirements for Becoming a Diagnostic Radiologist
- Human Sciences Degree
- Medical Administrative Assistants Career Info and Requirements for Becoming a Medical Admin Assistant
- Hospital Technician Job Description and Info About Starting a Career As a Hospital Tech