While there are a number of paths to a career in nursing, holding a Bachelor of Science in Nursing has many advantages when seeking job placement. If this is a course of study you are researching as a possible lifelong career, you may want to know just why it is advantageous to enter nursing with a 4-year degree as opposed to a diploma or 2-year ADN, Associate’s Degree in Nursing.
Here are just 6 of the key advantages but these are sufficient to show you why that four-year degree is so vitally important to your future. If you already hold a diploma or an ADN and are thinking about furthering your studies in a BSN program, you will find this information helpful in making your ultimate decision.
1. Earning Potential Is Higher
As of data released on payscale.com, RNs with a two-year degree earned a median salary of $39,100 while those with a BSN earned a median salary greater than $61,603. That’s a huge difference and one which would lead you to assume it’s time to take that RN degree to the next level. You may have chosen the shorter path to enter the workforce quicker, but now that you are employed, wouldn’t you like to have an opportunity to make a much, much higher wage?
2. Greater Job Opportunities with a BSN
It only takes a simple job search to see that most RN job postings require a BSN degree. A large part of this is because you can learn twice as much in four years as you can in two and when you earn a BSN you have spent a greater portion of your education on more than just clinical applications within the field. While there may be some positions open to those with a diploma or two-year degree, you will find that even with the shortage of nurses, those openings are few and far between.
3. Higher Level of Patient Care in Holders of a BSN
According to research conducted by the American Association of Colleges for Nursing, they recognize a BSN as the only degree teaching the minimal amount of skills necessary for an RN to have mastered. It is the goal of the AACN to increase the percentage of RNs with a BSN to 80% within the next few years from where it stood in 2014 at 50%. At the time of their recommendations from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), they found that only 50% of RNs employed in the field held a BSN, and it is their aim to work towards making that level of degree mandatory in the field in the coming years.
4. Prestige Hospitals Enjoy as a “Magnet” Award Recipient
One of the greatest awards a hospital can be given is presented by the American Nurses Association. Being designated as a Magnet institution, a hospital must employ only nurses with a BSN or higher and that at least 48% of those must have an even higher degree. It is a prestigious award and one which many hospitals are working towards attaining.
5. Greater Options for Achieving a BSN
There was a time in the not-so-distant past that nurses had to attend classes on a college campus. In recent years, an increasing number of schools like Kaplan University have begun offering RN-to-BSN programs online. The Kaplan University RN-to-BSN program offers greater options for nurses already working full-time to advance their degrees. Nurses no longer need to go to school part-time or take a sabbatical to earn their BSN because they can attend school online around their current schedule.
6. A BSN May Be a Requirement in the Very Near Future!
Having said all of the above, there is some talk within the medical community that the day is fast approaching when RNs may very well be required to hold a BSN in order to work as a registered nurse. Although requirements do vary from state to state, much is dependent upon recommendations from national bodies like the IOM and AACN. It is projected that even as soon as 2020, nurses being hired by major hospitals will need a minimum of a four-year degree for entry level positions or at least within five years of getting their 2-year diploma.
Since it is easier to find a good-paying job as an RN if you hold a BSN degree, that should be the greatest advantage of all. However, if you intend to take your nursing career to the next level, you will need a minimum of a baccalaureate before being accepted into graduate school.
Are you looking to one day qualify as a nurse practitioner? If so, you will need to take the first step and get that bachelor’s degree. Without it, you can’t further your studies and without furthering your studies you can’t realize the career growth you are after. Since you can study online at your own convenience, this is the time to think about the future of your nursing career.