The Value of Additional Education in a Licensed Profession: The Choice of Associate or Baccalaureate Degrees in Nursing

Feb 2002

This paper assesses the relative value to employers and Registered Nurses (RNs) of different types of basic education in nursing: the associate degree; the baccalaureate degree; and the nursing diploma. Using the National Sample Surveys of Registered Nurses the determinants of nursing wages are evaluated with a Tobit model. After finding that RNs do not expect to gain (financially) from obtaining the baccalaureate degree in nursing (BSN) the reasons why a prospective nurse would pursue a BSN are explored. Non-wage career objectives and personal circumstances when education begins appear to be more important determinants of the choice of RN training than financial returns.