Beckfield College - Healthcare Career Training - Cincinnati, OH


CALL NOW 859-371-9393

Clicking the request information button constitutes your express written consent, without obligation to purchase, to be contacted (including through automated means, e.g. dialing & text messages) via telephone, mobile device (including SMS & MMS), and/or email, even if your telephone number is on a corporate, state or the National Do Not Call Registry, and you agree to our terms of use and privacy policy.

The Difference Between RN and BSN

A young female nursing student is studying on her laptop


RN vs BSN: Do You Know the Difference Between The Two?

When deciding on a long-term, future profession, forward thinking is priceless!

Particularly if you’re looking for a good nursing school, plan to park your car and stay awhile as the already steady demand for nurses in the job market continues to climb.

One of the first questions you will hear from prospective schools is:

“Tell me, Are you planning to get your ADN or BSN?”

Though you’re not required to make this decision prior to checking out schools…

…understanding the RN vs BSN conversation will save you a big headache when discussing your options!

This guide will answer all your questions about the basic RN vs BSN issue.

Have You Polished Off Your Alphabet Soup?

For starters, let’s unpack a few definitions:

In order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), one must pass the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN).

Before one is eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN, they must at least have an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ASN).

The discrepancy between RN vs BSN arises in the amount of schooling invested in one’s licensure.

Though both qualified nurses, a nurse with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) uses the title “RN-BSN” in recognition of the level of education they put towards their license.

Similarly, a nurse with their ASN tends to highlight the license rather than the degree by simply using “RN” as their credentials.

A Quick Review Before We Continue:

RNs and RN-BSNs are both nurses who are eligible for most of the same entry-level nursing positions. The main difference is that RN-BSNs have a Bachelor’s degree while RNs possess an Associate’s degree.

RN vs BSN Round 1: Schooling

If one is uncertain about whether they want a future in nursing, it doesn’t hurt to start by getting an ASN.

The difference in length and cost is the main appeal for getting an ASN rather than a BSN.

One can achieve their ASN in two years, while a BSN typically takes four.

Round 2: Salary

An RN with a BSN can expect to earn slightly more… at first.

As time goes on, nurses with their BSNs have much greater opportunity for advancement into positions with higher salaries.

The income for RN-ASNs typically plateaus unless they decide to return to school to complete their BSN.

Round 3: Opportunity

Both RNsand RN-BSNs begin their careers with basic-level patient care positions.

They will likely monitor and record patient progress while the majority of their instructions come from Doctors in their unit.

However, a few years into one’s career, and the nursing options for those with BSNs are much more diverse.

RN-BSNs can work in public health, as a nurse educator, as a travel nurse, research nurse, and are eligible to train for a certificate in critical care nursing.

The Knock-Out Punch: Research

The value of getting a BSN is most obviously displayed in the research. RN-BSNs have tested to have greater competence, rapport with patients, and even fewer deaths on their watch!

As a result, the Institute of Medicine is pushing for a standard that a BSN is a prerequisite to becoming an RN.

Still Have Questions? Don’t Worry, You’ve Only Just Begun!

At Beckfield College, we are happy to discuss your options and answer any questions you may have. Take a look at our different nursing programs or email your questions to