RN Diploma vs. ADN vs. BSN Degree: Which One is the Right Choice for You?

RN Diploma vs. ADN vs. BSN Degree: What's the Difference?
RN Diploma vs. ADN vs. BSN Degree: What's the Difference?

You have a busy schedule and no time to learn about different career options. You’re also not interested in sitting for an exam or taking tests to gain an entry-level job. Fortunately, there are several ways you can get your foot in the door as a new employee without having to spend weeks learning everything about payroll, human resources, insurance, and other office functions. One option is a trade school that focuses on careers with computers and other tech-related fields. The other path is through a career training program that teaches you specific skills related to a particular job or field of work. A trade school or postsecondary education program typically leads to a bachelor’s degree while a vocational training program might lead to an associates degree or another level of training. However, these distinctions are often blurry because many programs offer several levels of study that’ll give you an edge when applying for jobs. Read on to learn about the differences between a diploma, associate degree, bachelors degree and master’s degree so that you can make the right choice for your career path down the road.

What is a Diploma?

A diploma is a kind of bragging rights that indicates you received your high school or junior college education. It usually comes with a large school cap and gown, but other than that, it’s almost identical to an ordinary high school or college degree. A trade school degree, sometimes called a diploma mill degree, is simply an online Bachelor’s degree that’s been taught at a trade school. You won’t get a degree that’s recognized by a school, but will have the same level of recognition as a Bachelor’s degree. Some trade schools, such as those that teach therenticeship trades, even offer a certificate of completion that confirms you received a high school diploma. You should note that a diploma does not guarantee you a specific job. It’s just a piece of paper with a formal seal of approval from your school that employers can ignore.

What is a Trade School Degree?

A trade school degree is a program that’s focused on a particular industry or career field. For example, if you want to be a barber or cosmetologist, a trade school degree might be right for you. You can expect to spend four years in a trade school after you earn your diploma or a certificate, and then spend two years working toward your degree. You’ll study business, accounting, mathematics, psychology, economics, law or other related fields. You may also choose to study a new field every year, which is called an interdisciplinary program.

What is an Associate’s Degree?

An associate degree typically consists of two to four years of study, which leads to a two- or four- year bachelor’s degree. An associate degree is a great option for people who want to start working towards a bachelor’s degree, but don’t want to do so immediately. In fact, many associate degree programs won’t even offer you a diploma at the end of your program. Instead, you’ll complete your program with a certificate that indicates you’ve completed a degree at the same level as the associate degree.

What’s the Difference between a Diploma, Trade School Degree and Bachelors Degree?

At the end of the day, a diploma will do you little good if you don’t have a school or jobs to go to. A trade school degree, on the other hand, is only good if you want to work in a specific industry. A bachelors degree is a more conventional path to a job. It’s a great way to get your foot in the door with a specific employer before you earn your own promotions or enter a competitive job market. A bachelors degree is usually the first step in earning a high-level job in a specific field. Along the way, you’ll likely earn yourself a number of different Associate and/or Bachelor’s degrees that’ll help you in your job search.

How to Choose the Right degreed for You

To help you determine which degree is right for you, consider the following questions: – Do I want to be a tech support assistant or a social worker? – Do I want to work in a hospital or a nursing home? – Do I want to work in a small town or in an urban area? – Do I want to work in an insurance office or in a financial sector? – Do I want to work with people or in a healthcare setting? – Do I want to work with computers or with people? – Do I want to work with people every day or on the internet? – Do I want to work with people on a daily or weekly basis? – Do I want to work in an office or in a warehouse? – Do I want to work in a call center or in an information technology environment? – Do I want to work in an academic or technical environment? – Do I want to work with people remotely? – Do I want to work in an emergency or anurgence setting? – Do I want to work with people every day? – Do I want a job that requires training and experience?


The best way to choose the right degree for your career is to do your research and apply to schools that interest you. There are many different paths to a degree and you should feel comfortable choosing the one that sounds the best on paper. Once you’ve chosen your degreed, make sure to get as much experience as possible before enrolling in school. You don’t have to work hard to earn an associate degree, and many associate degree programs don’t require you to work at all.

Noah Chapman
Hello, Im Noah Chapman. Im Editor And SEO analysis for Cambridgehack.com. Im a man with 3 beautiful angels towards me. That my beautiful wife, and two beautiful daughters.