The Difference in Pay Between an RN & a BSN


Many nursing jobs, particularly at the hospital level, have significantly increased the educational requirements of nursing positions over the past decade. In many cases, licensed vocational and practical nurses are no longer able to find employment at hospitals. A related trend has seen increasing educational requirements for registered nurses. It used to be that just an associates degree in nursing or an RN diploma was sufficient for almost any RN job, but today many hospitals are requiring RNs to have a bachelor of science in nursing degree.

Education for ADN or RN Diploma

Most ADN or RN diploma programs are two-to-three year educational and internship programs to train nurses, and have traditionally been offered at local community colleges and major teaching hospitals, but there are relatively few such programs remaining as the field has evolved towards nurses having more education (because of the use of more complex equipment and legal liability).

Education for BSN

A BSN is a traditional bachelor of science degree that usually takes at least four years to complete. The extra education involved in getting a BSN offers nurses a more thorough grounding in basic science and a more balanced curriculum outside of nursing courses. There has also been growth in the number of specialized programs for RNs currently working with just an ADN or diploma to earn their BSN (often called ADN-to-BSN or RN-to-BSN programs).

Pay for RNs without BSN

According to, RNs working in the U.S. with an ADN earn an annual median salary of $53,371 as of February 2011. RNs working as emergency room nurses with ADN degrees earned an annual median salary of $58,844.

Pay for RNs with BSN lists the median annual salary of RNs with a BSN in the U.S. as $56,548 as of February 2011. Emergency room RNs with a BSN earned a median annual salary of $66,683.

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