RN vs. BSN: What’s the Difference Between RN and BSN?

Consider several factors if you need help determining what to anticipate from an RV vs. a BSN. To find out how these qualifications vary from one another, continue reading.

RN vs. BSN

The terms “RN” and “BSN” are often confused, although they mean quite different things. A person with a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) may become a registered nurse (RN), albeit not all RNs have a BSN. Sound perplexing? Continue reading for a more thorough explanation of the distinctions between an RN and a BSN, which should help you make the best career decision.

What Is an RN?

In addition to providing and coordinating patient care, registered nurses educate the public about health concerns, inform patients about healthcare, and assist patients and their families. Every doctor will likely have an RN accompanying them. A person must finish a formal training program that consists of coursework, lab work, and clinical rotations to become an RN.

Students who want to become registered nurses (RNs) in all states must pass the NCLEX-RN after finishing their training. These are the three ways that people may become registered nurses:

  • Complete a nursing associate degree (ADN)
  • Complete a nursing diploma program.
  • Finish your BSN.

What Is a BSN?

A degree program for future nurses is the BSN. A BSN program takes four years to finish, compared to the two-year associate degree and diploma nursing programs. Students complete a basic nursing curriculum and general education courses. Candidates with a BSN may have more employment options than those with an associate’s or a diploma.

RN vs. BSN: Which Path Is Right for You?

Those looking for a rapid entrance into the nursing profession often choose diploma programs and ADNs. Shorter, less costly degrees and ADNs are effective, useful solutions for some RNs who do not desire or do not aim to go into leadership or management roles.

The prospective earnings of RNs with diplomas or ADNs will be less overall. Due to the lower responsibility of their jobs, these experts could also feel less stress. For students who wish to optimize their professional opportunities and establish the groundwork for further study in higher degree programs, BSNs are often a better choice.

BSN programs’ more demanding and thorough curriculum also affect patient outcomes. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, RNs who have earned a BSN are more likely to provide care of a better caliber and follow safety and quality requirements more closely.

The following tables list the respective benefits and drawbacks of these two educational paths:

ADN: Pros and Cons


  • Schooling takes less time, making it easier to enter the workforce more quickly.
  • Modified core curriculum swiftly and effectively impart necessary skills.
  • RNs can gain professional experience more rapidly since their road to licensing is quicker.
  • With more education, job progression prospects are still easily accessible.


  • Employment options for job seekers with BSNs may be constrained
  • RNs with degrees or ADNs often make less money and have fewer opportunities for promotion.
  • First-time NCLEX-RN pass rates are lower for candidates with degrees and ADNs.
  • RNs with diplomas or ADNs may need to pursue BSN degrees due to future career patterns.
  • Some businesses stipulate in their contracts that ADN/diploma RNs must complete a BSN within a certain amount of time after being hired.

BSN: Pros and Cons


  • Higher earning potential and possibility for professional progression
  • BSN programs foster the development of more comprehensive skill sets, which studies have linked to higher levels of patient care.
  • BSN holders have greater NCLEX-RN pass rates.
  • Direct access to focused, specialized training in specialist practice areas
  • Better job market accessibility
  • BSNs prepare nurses for potential professional progression and admission to graduate schools.


  • BSN programs are more time-consuming and expensive.
  • Candidates put off entering the employment, which makes it harder for them to get experience.