What is the Difference Between an Associates and Bachelors Prepared Nurse?

The various paths to becoming a nurse can be confusing, so you may wonder about the difference between an associates and bachelors prepared nurse. You’re probably aware that an associate’s degree is a shorter academic path than completing a bachelor’s level program. However, there are several differences with regard to the knowledge base, limits of practice and job prospects. Read on for an in-depth look at the topic. In terms of which path is the best one, there is no one correct answer. This article will help you to make an informed decision regarding what’s right for you.

Education Requirements

A professional who holds an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) can both be considered a registered nurse (RN). In order to become employed, both must take and pass the NCLEX, a national certification exam that allows registered nurses to practice. An associate’s program is generally 21 months in length and offered through an institution such as a community college. A bachelor’s level nursing program is commonly four years spent at a college or university. You can often find academic programs with flexible learning options such as part-time and evening campus classes or an online curriculum.

Considerations to Keep in Mind

The shorter program may seem like the best option for many because it allows you to gain the same title as someone who attends a four-year program while getting to work much faster. It may be the best choice for you if you have life circumstances that require you to become employed as soon as possible or if you are someone who truly does not wish enjoy formal education. Many students actually find that pursing a degree is quite fulfilling as an adult for a variety of reasons. Adult students tend to be more goal-driven to learn independently and have a great deal of life experience to guide their education. School can also be positive for personal growth in a life filled with obligations to others.

In addition, employers are seeking bachelor-level nurses in increasing numbers. The advanced knowledge and soft skills such as critical thinking ability and interpersonal communication are appealing. You can, however, earn an associate’s degree now and pursue an RN to BSN program at a later date should you decide you are interested in furthering your academic credentials.

Job Differences

Both an associates and bachelors prepared nurse can perform many of the usual duties that come to mind when you think of nursing. They work with the medical team to take patient vital signs, dispense medication, assist with various procedures and provide direct care to patients in a number of ways. However, a BSN has options that go beyond the practical duties of nursing. With a bachelor’s degree, you can move on toward positions of an educational nature. Public health educators are nurses who deliver workshops and trainings to organizations about the health issues that affect them and their clients. If you are interested in educating future nurses, a BSN has the credentials to become a nurse educator. BSNs are also eligible for management positions and specialty nursing roles. These can lead to higher pay.

These are some of the primary differences in nursing degrees and how they can affect your job outlook. The choice between becoming an associates and bachelors prepared nurse is unique to you.