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What's the Difference Between LPN, ASN and BSN Nursing Degrees?

Jul 31, 2017 | Harrison College

What's the Difference Between LPN, ASN and BSN Nursing Degrees?

So you're considering a career in nursing, but you're not sure which degree program to pursue. 

First off, congratulations on choosing a degree that has a very promising career outlook. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts nursing careers to grow 16 percent between 2014 to 2024, a growth rate that is much higher than the national average. 

However, before you jump into the process of applying for colleges, you need to understand that there are several routes to becoming a nurse

Many people think that a BSN degree (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) is the only option. 

But, you also have the option to get your ADN (Associate's Degree in Nursing). Or your LPN (License Practice Nurse) 

Confused? Don't worry. We'll help you figure out exactly what each of these degrees entails and which one is best for you. 

Licensed Practical Nurse or LPN

One of the main aspects that sets the LPN apart from the BSN and ADN is that it is a certificate program and not a full degree program.

However, don't let this deter you. The LPN program is a great option for those looking to get their career started fast. LPN programs can be completed in as little as 2 semesters. 

An LPN's salary averages around $44,000. And because the program is so short, you'll be able to start paying off your loans much sooner. 

In the LPN program, you'll learn a lot of the hands on skills it takes to be a nurse. LPNs often work in hospital or home care settings and usually work under the supervision of an RN. 

This is truly a great option for those who want to "dip their toes" in a nursing career, before making a full commitment. 

However, keep in mind that career growth as an LPN is somewhat limited. While LPNs can specialize, they do not have as many specialization options as RNs. But don't worry, advancing your career as an LPN is quite simple. Keep reading to find out how. 

Associate of Science in Nursing or ADN

You can use your LPN degree as a stepping stone to earning your Associate of Science in Nursing by completing one more year of school.

Or, you can enroll directly into an ADN program, which takes two years to complete. Upon completing your ADN program and passing the national exams, you will have the title of Registered Nurse. 

There are a lot more career options available to those who are qualified registered nurses than there are for those who are licensed practical nurses. Plus, the median salary is a bit higher- around $68,000.

The ADN does take longer, but it will expand your options and give you a higher starting salary. 

Many students find that their career as an LPN helped prepare them tremendously for the last year of the ADN program. 

Bachelor of Science in Nursing or BSN

Just like the ADN, there are a few ways to earn your BSN degree.

You can do a 4-year direct-entry program (freshman to graduate), an RN-BSN (get your ADN first), or an accelerated program.

Accelerated programs take about 12-15 months to complete and are only for those who already have a bachelor's degree in a non-nursing field. 

RN-BSN programs are becoming more and more popular as the demand for highly-educated nurses grows. These programs are also quite flexible, with online, night, and weekend classes that allow you to continue working while you finish up your degree. Plus, some hospitals that require a BSN degree will even help you pay for tuition! 

Earning your BSN will help you expand your career options and increase your earning potential even more. 

Ready to Advance Your Career?

There is no "right way" to become a nurse. Ultimately, you need to choose the program that's best for you.

If you have any questions, contact an admissions representative who will discuss your options with you and help you find the best nursing program for your needs.

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