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Do you recommend obtaining an ADN then a BSN or going for the BSN straightaway?

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Suzanne’s Answer

Hello Tricia,

While the above answer provides very useful information, I would like you to also consider entering the first available BSN program. It's true: you will save money and some time by starting with taking your prerequisites at your local community college. Please consider this: many acute care institutions (not just California) will hire a BSN first:


It is true that you can sit for the state board after successfully completing an Associate's of Nursing degree just as well as a Bachelor's of Nursing degree. The big difference comes with your potential enter the nursing job market and to advance up the career ladder as well. Most institutions will only allow BSNs to enter into leadership positions.

I would advise you to check into your local RN programs: https://www.toprntobsn.com/best-nursing-schools-in-los-angeles/

I earned my ADN and then started practice. It took me an additional 5 years to work and go to school to complete my BSN. It was an arduous task. I ultimately went on to earn my MSN which placed me at the top of my earning and position potential. This took many additional years. (I am also Los Angeles based: I worked in the major hospitals: Cedars, City of Hope, LA County-USC). Magnet level acute care institutions will most likely prefer BSN to ADN holders.

Please read this article which articulates the impact of earning a BSN:


What are your long term goals? Which type of nursing are you interested in pursuing? Please carefully consider your choices before making the short term goal of finding and entering a nursing program. The current job market is heavily impacted by the COVID19 pandemic. With a competitive market, you want to carefully position your options once you have earned your degree and passed the NCLEX. You will do this by the type of degree you hold, the ways you have volunteered, and how this is reflected in your Resume.

I wish you all the best. I think I've given you a bit of research homework!


Thanks Suzanne, I appreciate it! Tricia L.

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Darcel’s Answer

I strongly recommend getting your Associate Degree in Nursing first. In California, where you and I live you can complete your ADN and BSN requestist at the same time if you are attending a public community college. The community colleges offer an Associate Degree in Nursing and/or a transfer degree with BSN requirement. As an academic counseling in the community college system in Los Angeles CA for over 10 years I always encouraged my nursing students to get their ADN first because of the need for nurses and employment opportunities. The ADN program is long enough as it is. Lucky you because you live in Los Angeles their are great community colleges that offer ADN programs. Because of the waiting list I advise my student while waiting to complete all of their CSU general education courses and prerequisite for the BSN.
The discouraging thing is that community colleges waiting list for ADN programs can be up to two years. That why I encouraged all my students while waiting to complete CSU general education requirement and BSN.
Even though their is a waiting period the community college is the best investment of time and $$$$ for your ADN degree.
There is an aptitude test for all community college applicants to be admitted to the colleges ADN. Reading, Writing, Math and Science courses. That is why it is so important to strive for As' and Bs' in English and ADN prerequisites.

Darcel recommends the following next steps:

The BSN is a great degree to have for the future; but while you still in college taking the course your ADN colleagues will be at work.
Save time and money buy attending a community college for your ADN and a CSU for your BSN
You will need to be very patience, persistent and perseverance for the journey to become a ADN!
Go online now to look up your local community ADN program.
If your still in high school take Chemistry, Biology and if they have it Anatomy/Physiology strive for As' and Bs'

Thank you Darcel! Tricia L.

Your welcome Tricia best of luck in your academic, career and job search efforts. Darcel Bowles

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Estelle’s Answer

While I agree with the comments above about the benefits of obtaining an ADN, I would also advise you that certain facilities require a bachelor's in nursing. My niece works at a cancer center that only hires RN's. If you want to have the maximum number of opportunities, get a four year degree.

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Nicole’s Answer

Hi Tricia! I got my ADN first and then while I was working I got my BSN. I thought it was helpful to do it this way because a lot of employers offer tuition reimbursement and I was able to get most of my BSN paid for by my employer. It is true that it can be difficult to balance work and school but I took only one or two courses at a time through an online program and felt that it was manageable while I worked full time. Many programs also have a streamlined option where you complete 2 years to get the ADN, sit for the NCLEX and become a registered nurse and then complete 1-2 additional years to get the BSN. I am happy with my decision to first get the ADN and then the BSN while working as a nurse.