Why to Start an RN to BSN Online Program
It’s a new year, so it’s time for resolutions! Are you considering taking the leap and earning your BSN? That’s a big resolution, but after all, new year, new you! Earning your degree online is one way you can work toward your BSN goals while keeping up with your current nursing duties. Before signing up for an online program, dive into the differences between the degrees and the benefits of continuing your education.
First, whether you’re an RN or a BSN, you’re still a registered nurse. The main difference is that a BSN is a degree and an RN is a license. Nurses must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) in order to become a working RN. To sit for the exam, you need to earn either an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).
Earning an ADN takes considerably less time than starting with your BSN. It often takes 18 to 24 months to earn a standard ADN, and students can expect to learn patient care and clinical decision making. Starting with your BSN typically takes four years, but with transferring credits and online programs it can be done more quickly. If you already have a previous degree, like an ADN, earning your BSN can take as little as three semesters with Ameritech! Upgrading your degree to a bachelor’s can make you eligible for management or more advanced positions.
RNs and BSNs can mostly do the same job duties, like assessments, medical charting, and patient care, but some roles require more education. More and more hospitals are requiring BSNs or encouraging RNs to achieve them.
- Nurse educators. Nurses taking on educational roles in hospitals or universities often need a higher level of education, including a BSN.
- Nurse coordinators. Leading a team or coordinating a department or unit is another job role that often requires more education.
- Management positions. If your goal is to manage other nurses, more education can put you in a better position to do so and open the door to management opportunities. Professional experience is also key in managerial roles.
Pay and income
When it comes to income and earning potential, job titles and roles play a large part. With a higher level of education, more high-paying positions are available. Because of this, BSNs typically make more than standard RNs. Starting with your RN is a way to quickly get professional experience, but it doesn’t always start with high-paying positions. The 2014 median pay for RNs was $66,620, but for BSNs the median pay was $75,484.
Specializations or managerial roles are the real place where BSNs can make a higher income. While becoming an RN can be lucrative, earning your BSN can take you to an entirely new pay bracket. The following positions make significantly more than an RN, and require a BSN to pursue:
- Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN): APRNs have duties outside typical RN responsibilities, like prescribing medication, examining patients, diagnosing illnesses, and providing treatment. APRNs also typically make about $30,000 more than RNs.
- Certified Nurse Midwife (CRM): A CRM is a type of APRN that helps with family planning, gives gynecological checkups and prenatal care, and delivers babies. A nurse midwife also makes about $30,000 more than an RN, but they can make more depending on their location.
- Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS): A CNS is another type of APRN that focuses on a specific healthcare area like geriatrics, pediatrics, psychiatric care, diabetes or cancer care, or critical care. They also make over $30,000 more than RNs.
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA): CRNAs are highly respected, and are the sole providers in 100 percent of the rural hospitals for some states. They also have one of the highest paying jobs, making an average annual salary of about $157,000, or about twice as much as RNs.
The future of nursing is bright! Whether you continue with an RN or a BSN, nurses are always in high demand. In 2010, the Institute of Medicine said that by 2020, 80 percent of U.S. nurses should have their BSN. We’re making progress toward this goal. In 2011, for the first time more than half of nurses graduated with their BSN. While RNs can always find work, career advancement is slowed without your BSN. Some hospitals hire RNs with the caveat that they earn their BSN within three to five years. With online programs, you keep working while chipping away at your next degree. It’s easier than ever to earn your degree, so take advantage of it.
As more nurses enter the workforce, staying competitive is to your advantage, and your BSN can do just that. Earning your BSN helps you provide better patient care, as there’s a strong correlation between education and the quality of care a nurse provides. Hospitals are taking notice, as the education level of the nursing staff plays a part in earning the coveted American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet Recognition Program designation. However you look at it, the future of nursing is bright, and for BSNs it’s even more so!
Here at Ameritech, we pride ourselves on being an organization operated and led by nurses. If you’re interested in learning more about how a BSN can help you achieve your goals, feel free to reach out to us. We’d love to hear from you!