Depending on the location, a nurse doesn’t always need to have a bachelor’s degree in nursing to become an RN. However, having a bachelor’s degree in nursing is one of the best ways to guarantee passing the NCLEX and earning the status of RN.
This can all seem a little confusing, but the bottom line is, there’s a difference between an RN and a BSN. An RN or registered nurse doesn’t always need a bachelor’s degree to obtain that position. In many places, an ADN, or associate’s degree in nursing accompanied by proper NCLEX testing can help someone become an RN. This can make some wonder is a BSN is worth it.
What Are the Benefits of a Bachelor’s in Nursing Degree?
If you wonder, why should I get a BSN in nursing, then the answer comes with the many benefits of a BSN. In some places, having a BSN is a requirement to become an RN.
Even in areas where this isn’t the case, the applicant with the BSN will almost always look better in the eyes of an employer than an RN that doesn’t have their BSN. A bachelor’s degree program not only provides more advanced skills and clinical experiences, but carries greater weight on the job market. This is why a BSN in nursing is important.
In addition, advancement in the nursing field or taking on a specialty will typically require a BSN as well. In almost all cases, it’s better to obtain a BSN for those who want to pursue a career in nursing. That’s just another reason a BSN in nursing is important.
Other benefits of a BSN include:
- Better and more nursing job opportunities
- Better preparation for expanding nursing roles
- Increased likelihood of a promotion or obtaining leadership positions
- Lessens the amount of time needed to enter advanced nursing roles
- Training for various roles in different settings
Many healthcare groups and facilities actively urge nurses to pursue their bachelors. Some places even offer incentives for nurses towards this purpose. Is a BSN worth it? To anyone who wants to pursue a nursing career, a BSN is worth pursuing.
How Do I Choose the Right BSN School or Program? Is Accreditation Important?
Many paths exist towards earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Generally, applicants will want to look for an accredited BSN program. For a nursing program, nursing school accreditations from the proper groups are of the utmost importance.
This means applicants should look for a reputable school or program, but they must also make sure that school or program has the right nursing school accreditations, as not just any will do. For example, an applicant may want to search: colleges near me with nursing programs.
However, the applicant can narrow that list further by eliminating the schools or programs that lack the right nursing school accreditations. Even a list of accredited nursing schools will need some vetting. But, to do that, applicants need to understand a little more about accreditation and how it works.
What is Accreditation for a Nursing School or Program?
Many types of accreditation exist for nursing schools and programs. Applicants should first check for regional accreditation. Regional accreditation means a school, college, or university meets or exceeds the educational standards set by a specific region’s governing accreditation board. These seven agencies, recognized by the Council for Higher Education, set standards mainly for brick and mortar schools.
Accreditation from one of these agencies means a school specifically applied for the accredited status and received it after meeting the agency’s requirements. As the most recognized form of accreditation, regional accreditation typically means a student can transfer credits far easier between schools, should they need to. Nevertheless, this type of accreditation is usually for the facility itself, and not specifically for the nursing program the school may have.
When choosing a school’s nursing program or a dedicated nursing program, students must look for specialized accreditations specifically for nursing programs. Several accrediting agencies exist for these programs, but there are some nursing school accreditations that hold more weight than others.
For nursing school accreditation what to look for includes:
- Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
- Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
These are the two main accrediting groups applicants will want to see in their list of “colleges near me with nursing programs.”
Other nursing accrediting bodies exist as well, but the CCNE accredited schools and ACEN standards are those most looked for. This also applies to online programs. Online nursing programs accredited by one of these groups are programs that have just as much reach as ACEN or CCNE accredited schools.
Applicants may also come across NLN accreditation. Understand that NLN accreditation typically means ACEN accreditation as the ACEN is a subsidiary of NLN. Applicants must show care though, because the CNEA is also a subsidiary of NLN, and offers accreditation, but the CNEA is not recognized nationally as an institutional accrediting agency. This means applicants should specifically look for ACEN standards.
All accrediting groups under the NLN accreditation umbrella adhere to NLN competencies. The 11 core competencies of nursing include:
- Collaboration and teamwork
- Ethical and moral responsibilities
- Health education
- Legal responsibilities
- Management of resources and environment
- Personal and professional development
- Quality improvement
- Record management
- Safe and quality nursing care
Understanding the NLN competencies or 11 core competencies in nursing can help applicants understand what an education from an ACEN accredited school will entail. That’s for those wondering is ACEN accreditation good.
The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accreditation group is wholly comparable to ACEN accreditation. CCNE accreditation standards apply to nearly 600 schools and programs across the nation. So, applicants can rest assured that CCNE accreditation is well respected and well known. CCNE nursing curriculums only apply to bachelor and master programs.
For those looking for an ACEN vs CCNE comparison, the CCNE accreditation standards and the ACEN standards both work well for creating industry acceptable graduates and degrees. If a school, program, or list of accredited nursing schools carries either of these standards in nursing education, then the applicant can choose the program with confidence without worrying about an ACEN vs CCNE comparison.
Once again, online nursing programs accredited by these groups, or other types of programs, such as accredited RN to BSN online programs, are all viable. So, for nursing school accreditation what to look for are these groups above others.
What Are the Different Types of Nursing Bachelor’s Degrees?
Several types of nursing bachelor’s degrees exist. Generally, there are three BSN types for nursing, but there are also various nursing specializations as well. In addition, nursing bachelor online options also exist.
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
Bachelor of science nursing programs typically requires a four-year, full-time commitment. Someone enrolled in a traditional BSN program will take all the proper classes to prepare them for various nursing duties. Students will also receive learning to prepare them for the NCLEX exam.
Students enrolled in Bachelor of Science nursing programs can also focus on a specialization. Nursing contains numerous specialties, and choosing coursework geared towards those specialties is a good way to pursue a particular type of nursing right after graduation.
RN to BSN – Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science Nursing
These programs are meant for those who already obtained an RN position without a BSN. Applicants who pursue this type of bachelors may already have an ADN or another type of degree, and have experience in the field of nursing.
As many nurses fit this description, the RN to BSN is a popular choice. These programs typically take far less time than a traditional BSN program, and lend themselves well to fast track RN to BSN online programs or other types of accelerated nursing programs.
Accelerated Bachelors of Science in Nursing
Usually, accelerated nursing programs refer to BSN programs geared towards students who already have a bachelor’s degree in a different field. These programs can use credits earned for the unrelated degree and narrow down coursework for a far faster BSN achievement.
Other types of accelerated nursing programs exist as well, and will typically include intensive, fast-track programs. Applicants to these types of programs need to know what they’re getting into. Something like an accelerated 1 year BSN online program can have the type of intensity that some people aren’t quite prepared for.
What About Online BSN Programs?
Applicants can find all the different types of nursing degrees online. Obtaining a bachelor’s in nursing online comes with the same considerations for obtaining a BSN in any other way. Applicants must look for bachelor’s in nursing online programs that have a good reputation and accreditation.
The best online nursing programs are comparable to the best offline programs. Nevertheless, finding the best online nursing programs takes a lot of research and diligence.
A nursing bachelor online program can often offer a lot more flexibility. That flexibility can become extremely important for those who need options so they can still work or take care of a family. The different types of nursing degrees are all available. For example, an applicant can find:
- Accelerated 1 year BSN online
- Fast track RN to BSN online programs
- Online BSN programs for non nurses
- Online LPN nursing programs
- RN to BSN online (no clinicals)
Online options even include things like free online nursing courses with a certificate and other free options. The free options and free online nursing courses with certificate options don’t always contribute to a BSN, but they can often help to hone a specialty or help a nurse find a position within a specific niche.
When looking at online programs, applicants must dig through a lot to drill down to find the best online BSN programs. If something sounds too good to be true, applicants must read the fine print and all available information. The best online BSN programs often accompany the best online schools for nursing prerequisites.
If applicants can’t meet the requirements, they will have to work on it. This can often lead to applicants looking for the cheapest accelerated BSN programs nursing schools have to offer. They should always keep in mind that the cheapest online RN to BSN programs or the cheapest accelerated nursing programs aren’t always the best RN to BSN online programs or the best online BSN programs in general.
A search for “bachelors in nursing near me” or “cheap nursing schools near me” may turn up both online and offline options. The costs for both these options are typically comparable. Online isn’t always cheaper because it’s online and various other factors affect the cost as with any other type of higher learning programs. Always factor in secondary costs and things like financial aid and grants when trying to figure out the most affordable nursing schools.
Bachelor of Science in Nursing schools can vary greatly from place to place. It’s not always about finding the best colleges for nursing in the US or cheapest online RN to BSN programs. Applicants must find the best colleges for nursing in the US or cheapest accelerated nursing programs that are right for their specific needs.
When searching, applicants must show care with the things they’re looking for. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing Requirements aren’t all the same between differing programs. An applicant may find themselves searching for things like easiest online RN to BSN programs, or easiest and cheapest online RN to BSN program, or even things like free nursing degrees.
While these types of search terms can bring up reputable results, it’s usually better to start by looking at the programs that offer the most value and then narrowing them down. Quick online RN to BSN programs exist in the world of BSN online nursing, but the easiest, quickest, and free options must also adhere to all the suggestions concerning reputability and accreditation.
What Kind of Certifications and Licenses Do BSN Nurses Require?
The nursing field comes with several licensing and certification considerations and requirements. RN licensure is a necessity to practice BSN nursing of any type in most cases. RN certification requirements can vary based on where the applicant wants to work. Nursing certifications and RN licensure aren’t the same things.
The path towards nursing certifications and nursing licensure can vary depending on the state an applicant is applying in. Typically, applicants will have to apply for a license through their states Board of Nursing. The applicant will also have to take and pass the proper NCLEX exam.
Different states may have further requirements, and some types of healthcare groups or facilities may also have additional qualifications for registered nurse certification. In some cases, it’s possible to gain nursing board certification or nursing certifications for nursing students while still attending a nursing program. Nursing certifications for new grads are possible if the graduate has started the process of applying with the state and signing up for the correct NCLEX exam.
What is the Nurse Licensure Compact? The Nurse Licensure Compact allows registered nurses to use their license in multiple states without the need to reapply or seek nursing license renewal in different areas. However, not all states are part of the Nurse Licensure Compact, so nurses who move around a lot may have to seek nursing license renewal in certain places or gain a fresh nursing board certification.
Depending on the state and position, applicants can sometimes receive nursing certifications online. When pursuing nursing certifications online, applicants should make sure it’s the right certification for their needs.
The qualifications for registered nurse jobs can often dictate the need to obtain certain certifications before the nurse can begin work. Sometimes, they can obtain these nursing certifications without experience, but, once again, this typically applies to certifications for particular jobs.
What Types of Nursing Careers are Available with a Bachelor’s?
Nursing careers and the types of nursing careers available to BSN nurses can vary a great deal. There are different types of nursing positions and nursing careers available, but there are also nursing careers that will have more to do with where the nurse works. For example, some nursing career options and nursing specialties in demand can include:
- Flight nursing
- Labor and delivery nursing
- Neonatal intensive care nursing
- Nurse anesthetist (CRNAs)
- Nurse educator
- OB-GYN Nursing
- School nursing
This isn’t an exhaustive list of the different types of nurses and descriptions out there. Generally, any healthcare field, niche, or specialty will likely have a corresponding nursing position. However, the different types of nurses and descriptions can mean where that nurse practices. An emergency room nurse and a burn unit nurse can require different skillsets. Even in the same hospital, the work environment of a nurse can vary.
Nursing careers in a city can vary a great deal from nursing careers in rural areas. Equally, working in a hospital as an RN and working in a nursing home as an RN are completely different things. Altogether, the types of nurses and salaries available will depend on a tremendous number of factors.
The types of nurse professionals that work with the elderly aren’t always the same types of nurse professionals who work with children. This all means that nursing career options are very broad. Those entering the nursing field would do well to develop a general idea of what it is they would like to do.
When searching for “nursing careers near me,” or best nursing careers, applicants should pay close attention to the types of nursing careers that show up and the nursing specialties in demand in their area. The types of nurses and salaries that show up in a nursing careers list will also have to do with location and the work environment of a nurse in that setting.
In all cases, the best nursing careers start with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing jobs found on a nursing careers list. Not all types of nursing jobs and salaries require a BSN. The list of nursing fields only expands and applicants can reap the better benefits of nursing career options that require a bachelors.
What are the Salary Expectations for BSN Nursing?
A bachelors in nursing salary will vary based on location, specialization, and type of nursing application involved. Across the board, with RN vs BSN salary, BSN nursing careers salary are higher than those who have an RN but no degree. And when it comes to ADN vs BSN salary, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing salary will always win.
Nursing careers salary sit between $69k and $81k on average, depending on the source. Those numbers can vary widely depending on the nursing position. Specialization or leadership roles increase a nursing careers salary, and so does experience. In all cases, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing salary can always grow.
Some wonder how much do nurses make an hour starting out or how much does a nurse make a month. An RN can start at any salary within the average range. Once again, this depends on several factors. According to the OOH, the lowest 10% of RNs earn about $50k/year which is around $24/hour or around $4,000/month.
Always keep in mind that how much does a nurse make a month will have calendar variables. This also applies to the question of how much do nurses make an hour starting out, as hours can become quite flexible in some nursing environments. A bachelors in nursing salary is a good one, and a BSN always wins in RN vs BSN salary or AND vs BSN salary comparisons.
Are There Any Professional Organizations for BSN Nurses?
Nursing is a very large field, and as such, there are numerous professional organizations dedicated to nursing, nurses, and healthcare. These organizations exist at the local, state, and national level. Even international nursing organizations exist.
Nurses can also find professional organizations dedicated to specific niches and specializations of nursing. For example, there are pediatric nursing organizations. Some searching narrowed by specialty will often show several professional organizations, even some with free nursing association memberships.
Schools can also have nursing organizations, so students don’t have to wait until after graduation to join a professional group of likeminded individuals. Students can check to see if their schools, colleges, or universities have nursing organizations for students or access to free nursing association memberships.
Any nurse at any level would do well to join one or more professional organizations. Professional nursing organizations purpose is typically to educate people in the profession and provide resources for them. Altogether, professional nursing organizations purpose will help to improve the industry.
These groups provide benefits ranging from networking to career opportunities. Many of these groups offer seminars, continuing education, opportunities for advancement, and can help someone gain access to schools or programs. Nursing organizations for students can also help with internships.
Outside of the smaller or local organizations, there are some large nursing organizations that are of note. Any list of the top 10 nursing organizations will likely include some of the following:
- American Academy of Nursing
- American Board of Nursing Specialties (ABNS)
- American Nurses Association
- International Council of Nurses (ICN)
- National League for Nursing (NLN)
- National Student Nurses Association (NSNA)
There are even groups of organizations, such as the Nursing Organizations Alliance.
In most cases, the American Nurses Association takes the top spot as the most recognized organization, but a top 10 nursing organizations list doesn’t even scratch the surface of the number of professional nursing organizations out there. Whether it’s international nursing organizations or local pediatric nursing organizations, these groups are well worth a person’s consideration.