A 2-Year Nursing Degree Can Be a More Practical Option

Have you ever wondered how a 2-year nursing degree could benefit you over a 4-year degree? If it seems strange to think that getting a RN as opposed to a BSN degree could work in your favor, it is something that you might need to reconsider. This article discusses some of the pros and cons of this option.

While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the median salary of a RN as slightly less than $65,000 in 2010, this does not take education into account (it lumps RNs and BSNs together), or years of experience. You have to dig a little deeper to find out the differences in pay. For a RN with less than one year of experience, the average salary is a little more than $48,000, while the BSN's is nearly $51,000. In the five to nine years of experience category, the RN's salary rises to almost $59,000, and the BSN's to nearly $67,000. You can see that while the salaries are pretty close in the beginning, the BSN's salary rises more sharply with greater experience.

With that said, consider repaying your nursing school debt. With a 2-year nursing degree, you would be able to begin working, possibly at an institution that includes debt repayment as one of its benefits. Even if you are unable to secure a job with this perk, you would be able to begin paying down your student debt. After working for a while, you could start considering RN-to-BSN programs, which are often available online. You also might be able to defer your student loan payments during the time that you are in school again. Keep in mind that some institutions offer a tuition benefit to nurses who are furthering their education.

Once you return to school to complete your BSN, you will have been working in the nursing industry, and the classes may not seem as difficult. You will be familiar with the lingo, understand standards and processes, and have the hands-on experience that you probably did not have at the start of your 2-year nursing degree program.

Finally, think about whether you will be able to juggle work, home life and classes. While many prospective students find it worth the initial investment of time and money to seek a BSN degree right away, others find the quicker option of obtaining an RN degree preferable, because they want or need a shorter term reward. Consider where you want to be in five years. You can be an RN with three years of experience, possibly in school, or a BSN with one year of experience. Both paths will eventually lead to the same road, which will be a lifelong career as a nurse.

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Tags: LPN, nursing, Registered Nursing

Karen N. Brown, MSHA

About Karen N. Brown, MSHA

Karen Brown is a freelance writer specializing in content for the health professions, but her writing projects have been quite varied in subject. She graduated from The University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Philosophy, and a Master of Science in Health Administration. For nearly 20 years, she worked at UAB, an academic medical center, most notably as a division administrator for a large, international HIV/AIDS program. She also has considerable knowledge in federal research regulation. Karen lives in Alabama's Birmingham metropolitan area. View all posts by Karen N. Brown, MSHA →