Should I get my Associate’s in Nursing Before I Get My BSN?

When it comes to becoming a registered nurse, there are two basic pathways that a person can travel down. The first one is by obtaining an associate’s degree. The second one is by earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Many people will argue that earning an associate’s degree is a great way to enter into the field of nursing because the time period it takes to earn such a degree is only two years compared to the four years that it takes to earn a BSN. While this is true, there are some definite advantages gained by entering into a bachelor’s program without first earning an associate’s degree.

Nursing Statistics

Presently, the majority of nurses (59 percent) have graduated from associate-degree programs. Coming in second are nurses who graduate from baccalaureate programs (37 percent), leaving four percent graduating from diploma programs.

Education is Crucial

When it comes to the field of nursing, there are many researchers and policy makers who have concluded education is crucial in how nurses practice. Keeping this in mind, it only makes sense that more education equals better practice. With an associate program only lasting two years, it is safe to assume that a smaller amount of education will be obtained when compared to students who take part in a four-year program. In fact, if you go straight into earning your BSN, you will learn all of the topics covered in an associate’s program as well as obtain an in-depth knowledge relating to:

  • Nursing research
  • Public health nursing
  • Social sciences
  • Humanities
  • Nursing leadership
  • Community nursing
  • Nursing management

With your broad range of knowledge, your professional development will be enhanced, enabling you to provide better healthcare services than you would had you taken part in only an associate’s degree program. There have been several studies that have concluded hospitals who employ BSN nurses tend to have a lower death rate than hospitals who employ more associate-degree level nurses.

Choosing Between the Two

When it comes to choosing between the two types of nursing degrees, it is evident that you will be better off earning a BSN; however, this still doesn’t answer whether or not you need to earn your associate degree first. The best answer to this question is that your preferences will dictate the best educational path for you to pursue, but there are certain things you need to take into consideration.

First of all, if you know you are going to earn your BSN, you will save both time and money by entering straight into a BSN program instead of earning your associate’s degree first. In fact, earning your BSN will take about four years. If you complete an associate degree first, you will likely be in school for at least six years before earning your BSN credential. That’s two extra years of studies as well as four extra semesters that you will have to pay tuition. All in all, no matter the path you take to get your BSN, the main point is that you earn it. If you are wondering whether or not you need to obtain an associate degree first, the answer is no. You will be better off earning your BSN without taking part in a prior degree program.