Surgery, Hospital, Doctor, Care, Clinic, Disease

Ph.D. LPN. RN. BSN. CCRN. All these different medical credentials can be confusing when we aren’t sure what they stand for. It’s especially important to differentiate them if you are looking into entering the medical field. Below, we’ll go into detail about what the difference between a BSN and RN are.

BSN vs. RN

Something to consider is both BSN and RN are registered, nurses. As both have “completed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).” The difference between RN and BSN is the level of education earned. This is the most basic differentiation. So, your next question may be, what do they each do? Every RN is required to pass the NCLEX, as mentioned above. This exam confirms that the RN has the capability to perform the job. According to GraduateNursingEDU, an RNs scope of practice includes the following:

Management of Care

Safety and Infection Control

Health Promotion and Maintenance

Psychosocial Integrity

Basic Care and Comfort

Pharmacological and Parenteral Therapies

Reduction of Risk Potential

Physiological Adaptation”

Typical duties an RN may encounter are preparing patients for exams or treatments, administering medicine, recording medical histories, and operating medical equipment.

Being a BSN means an individual has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Since BSNs are already RNs, having a BSN is the next level of education in nursing. Those pursuing a BSN know the potential growth opportunities it offers. In fact, in the coming years, it may be expected that all RNs continue their education and acquire their BSN. In 2017, New York passed its “BSN in 10 Law,” requiring all nurses to earn a BSN within ten years of earning their RN license. This was passed based on evidence showing higher education resulted in better patient outcomes. Unlike RN, BSNs are qualified for upper-level work-related roles. These include:

Nurse Manager

Health Educator

Case Manager

Quality Coordinator


Pediatric Nurse

This results in increased salaries and growth opportunities. Not to mention, better-educated nurses will lead to an increase in patient treatments and experiences.

Education Requirements

Now that we’ve done an overview of the main differences between an RN and a BSN, it’s time to look at what the education requirements for both are. It’s important to remember that nursing is an extremely competitive industry and many who attempt to earn these degrees don’t.

To become an RN, you need to attain at least an Associate Degree in Nursing. Earning this degree will prepare you for entry-level positions in the medical field. RNs curriculum incorporates both a classroom setting and clinical experience. This degree will take about two to three years to complete. Once the degree has been earned, the NCLEX must be taken and passed.

A BSN is the next level of education for an RN who attained an Associates Degree. The main benefits to further one’s education are to earn higher pay and get offered upper-level jobs. For students just entering college, the BSN program will take approximately three to four years to complete. If you already have your RN, you can earn a BSN in one and a half to two years. For RNs furthering their education, they will only be strengthening their qualifications, making them great job candidates. To attain a BSN, there are three options for pursuant students. They are:

Obtaining a BSN without an RN License

This program is set up similarly to the Associate’s Program, but with added BSN level courses. This program prepares students for the NCLEX exam and the nursing profession. Passing the NCLEX is required to be considered a registered nurse. Once the BSN is completed, you can take on more responsibilities in the workplace than your Associate counterparts and be paid accordingly.

Total Career Change Toward Nursing

Maybe you earned a degree in communications and have recently wanted to enter the medical field. That’s ok! It’s never too late. If you already have a bachelor’s degree, you may want to consider an accelerated BSN program. This is considered a fast-paced program and is completed in one and a half years. Typically tied with flexible schedules, these courses are challenging.


Dr, Doctor, Women, Professional, Stethoscope, Medicine

To enter this program, you have already earned your RN license and are probably working as a nurse already. You could look at this program as a gap between RN and BSN degrees. A great benefit is you can attain this degree without missing out at work. By furthering your qualifications and skills, you can be promoted to additional roles within the industry.

These options were developed to reach any prospective student at any stage in their career and education without missing work.

Career Opportunities

Surgery, Operation, Hospital, Surgical Team, Medicine

According to CollegeGrad, 60% of RNs work in hospitals. These include nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and nurse educators. RN work schedules are anything but traditional. Since hospitals are open 24/7 to accommodate patients, work schedules cover all these hours. RNs can expect to be on call, work long hours, weekends, and holidays. The median pay for RNs that work in hospitals is approximately $73,650, according to CollegeGrad. Best of all, RNs aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, within the next ten years, RN employment is expected to grow by 12%. This is likely due to the demand for healthcare and the aging population. Something most probably don’t take into consideration is the injuries RNs accumulate over their years of service. Registered nurses are on their feet their entire shift and sometimes lifting patients. Back injuries are often a result of this. Injuries aren’t the only concern. RNs often deal with infectious diseases and sometimes hazardous situations. It is important RNs follow all guidelines to prevent harm to themselves and the environment.

Now, as we already learned, BSNs are already RNs. So, they have either already worked in the field and encountered most of what was mentioned above or are new to the nursing world. It’s highly probable a student will pursue a specialization while earning their BSN. This allows for mobility in their careers.

The top 5 BSN jobs are:

Surgical Nurse – $74,197 annually

Pediatric Nurse – $41,000 – $65,500 annually

ICU Nurse – $62,000 annually

OBGYN – $60,000 annually

Hospice Nurse -$61,672 annually

All these BSN jobs are expected to experience at least a 25% growth by 2020. Earning a BSN will strengthen your skills and make you more marketable in the industry. Did you know that 37% of nursing employers prefer to hire a nurse with a BSN? This alone already makes you stand out among the competition. A typical work schedule is quite identical to that of an RN. The hours vary on hospital demands, so BSNs suffer the same as RNs by being on their feet all day.


When considering entering the medical field, it’s important to know the difference between an RN and a BSN. To decide what you’d like to pursue, you’ll need to decide what would work best at this time in your life, regarding career and education. An RN degree can be obtained in two years while a BSN typically takes four. BSNs dive deeper into nursing education and offer higher paid job opportunities. As we turn to the future, the nursing field is expected to continue to grow based on healthcare demands, and it would seem this will influence degree requirements as well.