Pros & Cons of Receiving an Associate’s Degree in Nursing

May 27, 2013 in Nursing Programs


Because of the flexibility of training and educational paths within the nursing field, students can pick and choose their paths accordingly. Not everybody is up for the academic requirements necessary to become a registered nurse. Graduating with an ADN (Associate’s Degree in Nursing) is enough to get a person’s foot in the door at entry-level nursing jobs but before committing to such a program, it is helpful for students to weigh both the pros and the cons.

Pro: More Affordable

Nursing programs aren’t known for being cheap. There are scholarships and grants to help pay down the costs, as well as student loans, but even with these efforts in place, nursing students might still find themselves pinching pennies. It’s no secret that the longer a person stays in school, the more expensive the school-related costs will be.

Pursuing an ADN at a local community college means a much more cost-effective approach and the ability to save money in the long run.

Con: Limited Learning Capacity

The curriculum that comes with an Associate’s degree in nursing covers the most basic subjects, including the core fundamentals of patient care, but students wanting to really get into the nitty gritty of the field may not find themselves completely fulfilled.

Want more in-depth courses and a wider range of subjects to cover? You’ll more than likely have to enroll in a BSN program.

Pro: Get Into the Work Force Faster

Receiving an ADN from a community college shouldn’t exactly be seen as a “shortcut” but it is a faster way to get a degree and jump into the work force sooner, compared to the time it typically takes to earn a BSN. Within two years, a person with an Associate’s degree in nursing can begin applying to entry-level jobs at hospitals, clinics and other medical facilities.

Con: Limited Job Opportunities

There is a huge demand for all types of healthcare careers, including nurses. However, those with only an ADN might find themselves with access to only a certain amount of occupations. With the advancements in healthcare, a large number of employers are raising the bar for candidates when it comes to their academic background and training.

Positions that used to be filled by people with an Associate’s degree in nursing are now being replaced by those with a BSN degree. In some states, it is even mandatory to have a BSN in order to take the NCLEX.

Pro: Ideal for New Career Seekers

Already a working professional? Whether your current job is in the healthcare field or an industry completely unrelated, the option of earning an ADN is a great way for working professionals to transition into a new career choice. Community colleges offer flexible class schedules, including evening, weekend and online courses, which allows those with full-time jobs to work at their own pace towards this type of degree.

Con: Less Likely to Earn a Lucrative Salary

A number of nursing occupations come with great benefits and pay but those with an ADN may find themselves on the lower end of the pay scale.

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