Salary Potential for RNs with ADN vs BSN Degrees

Salary Potential for RNs with ADN vs BSN Degrees

Earning potential is another factor to consider when choosing between an ADN and a BSN. ADN-holders earn an average annual salary of about $69,660, according to data from PayScale. In contrast, nurses with a BSN enjoy average earnings of just over $85,000 — an approximately $15,000 difference.

This discrepancy in earnings comes from the positions available to nurses with each degree. ADN programs tend to prepare learners for entry-level roles, while BSN programs often impart skills needed for specialized or advanced RN roles. A BSN can also lead to more opportunities for promotions and advancement, and may serve as a stepping stone for nurses interested in graduate study and nurse practitioner careers.

A BSN also opens the door for additional nursing specializations and certifications for which ADN holders do not qualify. Some of these specializations include neonatal nursing, critical care, trauma nursing, and pediatrics. Finally, BSN holders can potentially step into lucrative leadership, management, or education roles within the profession.

Visit these pages to learn about the best-paying ADN and highest-paid BSN jobs.

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