How is a Graduate Certificate Different from ADN or BSN Degree?

A nurse career is choice number one for many people.

Aspiring nurses have several pathways to become a registered nurse.

The one pathway is obtaining an Associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) or Bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) through colleges and universities.

The duration of ADN programs is usually around two years, and BSN programs take four years to complete.

There are also online BSN programs for ADN-prepared nurses willing to earn a higher degree in nursing.

ADN and BSN programs focus on similar aspects.

The programs include core nursing theory and practice and have clinical hours requirement in different healthcare settings.

The difference is that BSN programs offer more concentration in areas such as management, leadership, research, healthcare policies, and public health.

After the ADN or BSN program is completed, a student can complete the NCLEX-RN exam and obtain its license.

On the other hand, graduate certificates or diplomas, nurses earn through the hospital.

In the past, it was a primary method of nursing education, until the degree programs develop and become more popular.

The diploma programs in hospitals cooperate with nursing schools and offer students a specific curriculum.

The length and structure of the diploma program curriculum last like the ADN program, but it focuses more on the clinical experience.

Nowadays,  degree programs, both ADN and BSN are becoming the widely accepted way of becoming a nurse, and the popularity of diploma programs is decreasing.

Only 10% of students choose to enroll in diploma programs.

Also, after they complete a diploma program, students can take the NCLEX-RN exam and get their license.

The decision on ADN/BSN or diploma program is individual and depends on several factors.

Personal preferences and finances, as well as long-term career goals, can be some of the determining factors.

For example, if you want to become a nurse practitioner, and develop a career in nursing management, start with the BSN program, as it will simplify the educational path.

On the other hand, if you want to start working as soon as possible, choose an ADN or diploma program.

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