If You Get a BSN Degree Will You Make More Money?

Ok, this is a common questions full of yes, no and maybe answers. It also tends to be a tender subject amongst nurses because, sometimes it seems to be interpreted as a suggestion that as an Associate’s Degree Nurse (ADN) you might somehow be less competent in your job than a Bachelor’s of Science Nurse (BSN). Let me clear the air regarding this topic, right up front- then we can talk about the actual question about making more money with a higher degree.

To become a Registered Nurse (RN) you need one of 3 degree types and then you must pass the NCLEX.

(go to www.ncsbn.org for more info on NCLEX)

Thus, you can be an ADN, a BSN or a Diploma Nurse, pass the exam and be an RN. These three variation of nurses tend to work side by side, doing pretty much the same daily tasks (more on this later). There are many very competent ADNs that have years of experience that are helping to train BSNs with less experience- and vise versa. All variations of obtaining the RN status are good legitimate learning experiences and although programs differ and positions differ, most of the base tasks of nursing may be found in equal competency across the board.

However, what we are focusing on here today is not if a BSN is a better nurse than an ADN. We are talking about will a BSN make more MONEY. This is where the yes, no and maybe so comes into play. As with all cases, much of this answer has to do with experience, location, specialty, and employer.

Just because you get a BSN, a higher degree than an ADN doesnt necessarily mean you get paid more. If you have 1 year experience as a BSN then you may not be getting the same salary that an ADN with 15 years experience has. I think that is an understandable situation.


If you are in a small rural town versus a large metropolitan area, then the difference in pay between the degrees may be negligible.


Your specialty can also have a huge affect on pay. Family practice vs. neonatal vs. psych can all have varying impacts on pay in regards to your education.


Your employer is probably the biggest factor. Some employers reward getting a higher education (in fact some even pay for it). This is for many reasons. Sometimes they are ranked on the level of education that their staff has- meaning it is better for them if you have a higher education, sometimes they are in need of higher management and thus need employees with a deeper education.

Do you see how difficult it can be to answer this question accurately?

The answer specifically depends on you.

Where are you, what’s your experience, who is your employer, etc.

However I can say that a more advanced degree nearly always will allow more doors to be open to you so that potentially down the road you might get paid more. You see, in most situations, in order to move up the ladder and manage units, floors, divisions, offices, etc. your employer is looking for that advanced degree- the higher the better.

Now, I am not saying that if you are an ADN that you are stuck on the floor doing 12 hours shifts covered in blood and fecal matter for the rest of your life, but it does tend to be more difficult to move up. And with

Moving up, usually comes more money.

Well, once again I am beginning to get in to a pretty long post here . I hope that this has given you some good information on the relationship of higher degrees as well as some parameters involved in getting more money. In a later post I will talk about advantages of getting a Masters’ of Science in Nursing (MSN).


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