Compared to an ABSN program completed within 16 months, an ADN program is usually two years. I guess you’re wondering which program to choose.

Perhaps you’ve been asking whether I should do ADN or ABSN.

ADN Vs. ABSN Programs

Nursing might be a promising career if you’re concerned about people and want to help them live healthier lives.

In choosing a nursing career, you might need to decide between an associate degree nursing (ADN) program or an accelerated bachelor of science nursing (ABSN) program.

While both programs help you accomplish your lifelong dream of being a registered nurse, there have been debates about which program is the best.

No worries! This article will help you make the right choice. Here, we’ll consider the differences between the two programs and the factors you should consider to make informed decisions.

Typically, registered nurses (RN) are familiar with these nursing terminologies, but this might seem unclear for a newbie looking into nursing.

What Does ADN Stand For?

ADN stands for Associate Degree Nursing. ADN is a 2-year program that enables students to gain a vast knowledge of clinical and healthcare.

Most community colleges and vocational schools offer this program to prepare students for the nursing world. ADN is the bedrock of a nursing career.

Furthermore, this preliminary program exposes students to the world of healthcare. ADN graduates have good hands-on clinical experience deeply ingrained in science, patient care, and nursing science.

What is ABSN?

ABSN stands for accelerated bachelor’s science in nursing. ABSN is a second-degree program best suited for students who have previously completed a non-nursing degree.

This program usually lasts for 16 months.

Before offering ABSN admission, most nursing schools ensure prospective second-degree nursing students are well-grounded in health wellness, patient-focused nursing, and preventive medicine.

Furthermore, they’re taught leadership skills, critical thinking, and research.

Differences Between ADN and ABSN Programs

From the duration of the program to salary, patient outcome, and curriculum, there are differences between ADN and ABSN.

  • Patient outcomes

There’s no disputing that ADN and ABSN nurses have patient outcomes. However, due to the rigorous training, extensive curriculum, and on-the-job clinical, ABSN nurses have better patient outcomes.

Thorough research over the years proves that quality healthcare increases with ABSN nurses.

Also, hospitals with ABSN nurses record fewer medical errors, reduce patient mortality, and improve relationships between patients and nurses.

  • Curriculum differences

While both programs educate students on health rudiments, ADN and ABSN have different curricula—clinical skills, lab training, and nursing coursework are the core of ADN programs.

Meanwhile, the ABSN curriculum encompasses clinical skills, public health, leadership training, nursing informatics, etc.

If you’re considering entry-level roles as a registered nurse, you should consider an ADN program. In addition, ABSN runs a comprehensive curriculum that prepares professional nurses looking to advance their careers.

  • Education differences

The program duration is one of the significant differences between ADN and ABSN. Also, the number of credits required for graduation varies between ADN and ABSN.

While the ADN program runs for two years, ABSN takes about 16 months to complete. Meanwhile, the length of time differs for ABSN, considering the experience and previous education.

Compared to ADN, accelerated BSN coursework is often rigorous and demanding. While ABSN offers almost the same coursework as ADN, it creates room for extensive practice and career growth.

If you want to enter the nurse workforce, you might opt for ADN. Furthermore, if you’ve previously completed a program, you can switch to nursing by taking the accelerated BSN.

  • 2-Year Vs. 4-Year Nursing Degree Salary

While ABSN nurses earn as much as ADN nurses, they get higher earnings over time. Payscale states that registered nurses with ABSN degrees may earn up to $88k.

An ADN nurse can take home an average salary of $69k. Due to the increasing demand for BSN nurses, the annual wage will increase in the coming years.

Advanced career, leadership, or managerial roles can also increase a nurse’s income.

  • Career opportunities

Whether you obtained an ADN or ABSN degree, your career profile is almost identical. ADN and ABSN nurses perform similar job functions. Nevertheless, ABSN offers more career opportunities than ADN.

In addition, ABSN nurses can teach or take up administrative roles. With a BSN degree, you can specialize in nurse education, public health, or nurse research.

Pros and Cons of ADN and ABSN

While considering the program to choose, you should consider the pros and cons of ADN and ABSN to make the right choice.

Below are the merits and demerits of each program.

Pros of ADN

  • ADN degrees are more affordable than ABSN.
  • You can work and earn income while you study.
  • You can complete the ADN program within a short timeframe.
  • After completing your program, you can proceed with further studies.

Cons of ADN

  • ADN nurses earn less income than ABSN nurses
  • Graduates have limited career opportunities
  • Some healthcare facilities prefer ABSN nurses to ADN nurses

Pros of ABSN

  • ABSN nurses have a broader knowledge of nursing than their counterparts
  • ABSN programs take a shorter time to complete, usually within 16 months
  • More career opportunities with higher earnings

Cons of ABSN

  • The ABSN program may be more expensive than the ADN
  • The ABSN program can be pretty competitive, requiring more prerequisites and a high GPA

Should I Do ADN or ABSN?

Are you torn between choosing an ADN or ABSN program? We can’t outrightly make that decision for you. An ADN or ABSN program may be suitable, depending on your preference and needs.

What’s your long-term goal? Are there available resources to enable you to achieve your goal? Think about this, as it will help you make informed decisions.

For someone busy and with financial needs, ADN might be a good option. Meanwhile, someone willing to dedicate time and effort to obtain a nursing degree can opt for ABSN.

Above all, consider time, finance, and long-term goals in your decision-making. Also, consider your professional desires and the benefits of your chosen program.

I wish you the best in all your endeavors.