Monday, February 24, 2014

The Average Salary Of Firstyear Nurses With Associate Degrees

Nurses with an associate's in nursing qualify for the RN licensing exam.

There are three paths to becoming a registered nurse (RN). The first is a four-year bachelor's degree program in nursing. The second is a three-year diploma program in nursing offered by a sponsoring hospital. The third is a two-year associate's degree program in nursing. Regardless of the path chosen, all RNs must complete the same licensing exam to qualify as an RN.


Nurses are the primary caregivers for their patients. Registered nurses are responsible for the basic care and welfare of their patients. RNs take care of patients by assisting in the implementation of medical treatment plans, maintaining IV lines and administering drugs and injections. RNs also assist with therapies and treatments. RNs record observations, responses to treatments and the patient's overall condition and share this information with physicians and other hospital staff. All RNs are qualified to do the same level of work, regardless of their undergraduate education level.


The average pay difference of a RN with a bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN) compared to one with an associate's degree in nursing (ADN) is very small, particularly the average starting salary. PayScale reports that the average annual starting salary for a RN in December 2010 was $45,346. They also report that the average annual salary range for nurses with a BSN was $46,250 to $67,651, while the salary range for an ADN was $45,473 to $62,720. That is less than $750 per year difference in beginning salaries.

Hourly Pay

The closeness in compensation rates between BSN holders and ADN holders is even more noticeable with hourly rates. The average starting rate for an RN in December 2010 was from $19.59 to $25.12 an hour, according to PayScale. The average rate for a nurse with a BSN was $22.88 to $31.70, while that of ADN was $22.04 to $30.29. That is a difference of less than $1 per hour.

ADN Program

Many nursing students are comparing the difference in the cost of a BSN program and an ADN program along with the similarity in pay rates and deciding to proceed with an ADN program. Kapi'olani Community College in Honolulu, Hawaii has a program typical of an ADN program in a junior or community college. Their program allows students to qualify for the licensed practical nurse (LPN) after completion of the first year of their two-year program. After the second year of the program, students are fully prepared to take the RN license exam.

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