25 Best Accelerated Nursing Programs Online [2020 BSN Program Guide]

We've ranked the 25 Best Accelerated Nursing Programs Online. Compare accelerated BSN programs, career paths, and salaries.

We’ve ranked the 25 Best Accelerated Nursing Programs Online. Compare accelerated BSN programs, career paths, and salaries.

accelerated nursing programs

For those who enter the field of nursing, you are in good company. With the Bureau of Labor Statistics showing an average salary of $73,300, more and more nurses are seeking out accelerated nursing degree programs to take their careers to the next level.

Since nursing is in such high demand, it comes as little surprise that top universities across the nation have started designing accelerated nursing degree programs to help Registered Nurses (RN) earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) at a rapid pace.

Best Accelerated Online Nursing Programs

The most convenient types of accelerated nursing degrees are those offered online.

Taking your nursing degree to the next level can mean higher pay and promotion as competition for top jobs continues to increase in the healthcare industry.

Accelerated BSN Online

nurse fixing a patient's bed

Accelerated online RN to BSN programs are for those individuals who are already registered nurses.

Accelerated degree programs help those with their RN earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) at a faster pace than they would through traditional, campus-based classroom programs. However, an accelerated BSN still requires a certain number of clinical hours prior to graduation.

An online accelerated BSN program allows you to learn at a pace that suits you best, while still covering all the same requirements and course information, which allows you more time for work and family.

Accelerated online RN to BSN programs can usually be completed within one year, which is half the time it would take to complete your degree through regular programs. By going to school for only one year, and still having the possibility to earn financial aid, accelerated nursing programs are the most effective financially and timely.

Prerequisites or admission requirements for these online programs differ a little from school to school. But the two most common prerequisites are a nursing degree (ADN or diploma) and an RN license.

Nursing Careers & Salaries

Nursing Careers & Salaries

According to PayScale your nursing degree can take you down various avenues in your career. The medical field needs nurses of diverse types in distinctive areas to help others.

Career Median Annual Salary
Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) $165,000
Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP) $106,000
Nurse Practitioner (NP) $98,000
Pediatrics Nurse Practitioner (NP) $91,000
Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (NP) $89,000
Long Term Care Nursing Director $87,000
Clinical Manager $80,000
Registered Nurse (RN) $66,000
Public Health Nurse $64,000
Psychiatric Nurse (RN) $61,000

Registered nurses tackle a broad spectrum of duties, including:

  • Administering medication and treatment based on a doctor’s recommendation
  • Recording, observing, and reporting symptoms in a patient
  • Monitoring or using medical equipment
  • Assisting with medical procedures
  • Advocating for patients and families

RNs are integral to efficient healthcare and can work in a variety of settings, including pediatrics, general care, family care, geriatrics, and emergency care.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing Salary & Responsibilities

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that nurses with their BSN can earn, on average, $73,300 per year. In addition, a 12% job growth is predicted for registered nurses (RNs) alone.

Through a traditional or accelerated BSN program, nurses are taught not only the same topics covered through an associate’s degree program but also learn about social and physical sciences, nursing management, public health, and humanities. In addition, their required clinical hours gives them the clinical experience necessary to set them up for success in the healthcare and human growth industry.

Specialties offered in an accelerated BSN program include:

  • Clinical nurse leader
  • Cardiac care nurse
  • Forensic nurse
  • Public health nurse

The duties of a nurse with a BSN can be required to perform depends entirely on what area of nursing he or she chose to enter. However, many of their duties are similar to that of an RN.

While the salary and duties of a nurse with a bachelor’s degree in nursing may not differ much from a nurse who doesn’t have a bachelor’s degree, the opportunities are much broader.

On average, nurses with a BSN do make $1 more per hour than those who don’t, according to RN Magazine. While this doesn’t seem like a lot, keep in mind that the more education you have (in the form of a BSN or other certifications and licensures), the higher your salary usually climbs. Think of this small salary bump as the starting point once you receive your BSN.

Plus, if you complete an accelerated BSN program, you can prove to both yourself and your employer that you’re capable of learning the most up to date knowledge in the field.

If you want to go to graduate school and specialize in a field like anesthesia or take on a management role, you’ll have to hold a nursing bachelor’s degree in order to do so. You might consider the value of the BSN as a stepping stone toward other opportunities in the field.

If you’re comfortable with classic nursing duties and have no desire to become highly trained or specialized, then pursuing an accelerated BSN might not be right for you. If, however, you may have the desire to pursue something beyond your current duties as a nurse, an accelerated bachelor’s program online can make it easy.

With accelerated nursing degree programs for both your BSN degree, it’s easy to take advantage of the possibilities that unfold if you move beyond your RN and go back to school.

Comparison: RN vs. BSN vs. MSN

RN vs. BSN vs. MSN – Salaries, Benefits, Responsibilities

For some individuals, the most important differences between having your RN, BSN, and MSN are the differentials in earnings.

Other people will be interested in how job responsibilities vary between the three. Being aware of the variations will help you decide which online nursing program you want to pursue.

Let’s take a look at each nursing career level to see how they compare:

Why bother with a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing?

In addition to an increase in salary, one of the appeals of going beyond registered nurse status to earn an accelerated BSN is that additional job opportunities open up. Management or leadership roles in health care facilities are possible with a BSN that weren’t possible with an RN.

Additionally, you can practice in specialty areas of healthcare, like the ICU, ER or OR, much more readily with a BSN, because you’ll have additional training and knowledge through the extended clinical hours and coursework. Many of these more specialized positions are not available to RNs, and as more nursing students go back to school for their bachelor’s degree in nursing, this program will rise in demand.

Financial Aid for Nurses

screenshot of FAFSA website

The total cost of post-secondary study makes it difficult for many people to attend college. That being said, there is an abundance of financial aid options open to students interested in accelerated online nursing programs.

Federal Student Grants

Grants, along with bursaries and scholarships, are some of the most popular financial aid options since they are essentially free money given to a student for the purpose of paying for post-secondary education. You are not required to pay back a grant. However, some grants may have additional requirements that must be met, or they will default to a loan.

There are a wide variety of grants available to students, including grants for students with disabilities, grants for students that do not have an associate’s degree, and grants for students with family members in the military, among others.

The amount of money awarded through a grant varies depending on a recipient’s financial need, part-time or full-time status, and cost of attendance.

Federal Student Loans

Loans are money given to a student that must be paid back over time. Like grants, loans are available based on your financial need, your enrollment status, and the cost of your attendance. The school you attend will determine the type of loan you qualify for if any.

There are two types of federal loans available: subsidized and unsubsidized.

  • Subsidized loans – possess terms that are more lenient for students that are in financial need. The U.S. Department of Education pays the interest on subsidized loans as long as you are in school half-time, during a period of deferment, and for the first six months after you leave school.
  • Unsubsidized loans – have terms that can make it harder for students to pay back what is owed. You will be required to pay the interest. If you choose not to pay the interest while you are in school or during the period of deferment, the interest will accumulate over time and will be added to the overall amount of your loan.

Find out what you qualify for by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). But don’t stop there. You can also research information on private organizations offering scholarships as well as talk to your employer about tuition assistance programs. Your school may also offer you a scholarship to enroll in its accelerated nursing program. Any potential financial aid that is available can go a long way when pursuing a degree.

Nursing College Accreditation

logos of National accreditors in the field of nursing

Another crucial element to be aware of when pursuing an accelerated nursing degree is the accreditation, not only of the program but of the university.

Accreditation is important because it demonstrates the university’s dedication to providing the highest quality of education to its students, as well as being educationally suitable overall.

The regional accrediting agencies are:

  • New England of Schools and Colleges
  • North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Schools
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

Ensure that any accelerated online nursing programs you apply for are accredited by one of these regional accrediting boards.

In addition to regional accreditation, some programs have additional accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

25 Best Accelerated Nursing Degree Programs Online

Rankings Methodology: Each of these universities is fully accredited and provides accelerated nursing programs in an online format.

#1  AdventHealth University

AdventHealth University campus

AdventHealth University is a Seventh-day Adventist institution that specializes in healthcare education. Service-oriented, faith-affirming, and nurturing, the school aspires to develop future healthcare leaders who value their profession as a ministry.

The institution started offering Nursing education at Florida Hospital in 1913. Then, in 1998, it became a baccalaureate-granting institution.

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

These online nursing programs offered at AdventHealth University are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#2  Appalachian State University

Appalachian State University campus

Appalachian State University, founded by the Dougherty brother in 1899, is a public school in Boone, North Carolina. It became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1971.

The school aims to prepare students to become global citizens who understand and do their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for everyone. There are over 150 undergraduate and graduate majors with a low student-faculty ratio.

  • BSN

The online accelerated nursing programs at Appalachian State University are accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

#3  California State University – Stanislaus

California State University - Stanislaus campus

California State University is a public school system in California and is considered the largest four-year public university system in the country. It has 23 campuses and 8 off-campus centers. It was founded in 1960 under the California Master Plan for Higher Education. Each year, California State University educates around 482,000 students.

  • RN to BSN

California State University and its accelerated nursing program is accredited by the Senior College Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

#4  Clemson University

Clemson University campus

Clemson University is one of the country’s most selective research institutions. Since its founding in 1888, it has remained committed to world-class research. It was ranked by U.S News and World Report as the 27th Best National Public University.

Their picturesque campus sits on a 20,000-acre land in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. They also have research facilities and economic development centers throughout South Carolina.

  • RN to BSN

The accelerated online nursing programs at Clemson University are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#5  Drexel University

Drexel University campus

Drexel University was founded by the financier and philanthropist, Anthony J. Drexel, in 1891. It is a comprehensive private research school with its main campus located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It has a unique model of experiential learning through Drexel Co-op. It has three campuses in Philadelphia and other regional sites.

  • BS in Nursing
  • RN to MSN Bridge Program
  • RN to BSN to MSN Program

All these online nursing programs at Drexel University are regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#6  East Carolina University

East Carolina University campus

East Carolina University, founded in 1907, is a public research university in Greenville, North Carolina. It is considered the fourth-largest university in the state. It was established as a teacher training school and has grown into the reputable school it is now. It offers an undergraduate program, master’s program, specialist program, and doctoral program for a variety of degrees.

  • RN to BSN

East Carolina University’s online accelerated BSN and RN program is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

#7  Florida Atlantic University

Florida Atlantic University campus

Florida Atlantic University spans 110 miles of Southeast Florida’s Coast and fosters a dynamic culture that nurtures ingenuity and independence. It was established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964.

Presently, it serves more than 29,000 undergraduate and graduate students across its six campuses. It is ranked as a top public university by U.S. News and World Report.

  • RN to BSN

The online accelerated nursing programs at FAU are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#8  Linfield College

Linfield College campus

Linfield College is a private, comprehensive, undergraduate institution located in McMinnville, Oregon. It connects the traditional liberal arts with practical education by providing students with opportunities for collaborative and experiential learning.

The school is nationally recognized for its excellent teaching faculty, outstanding academic programs, and international emphasis. There are 56 majors offered through three programs.

  • RN to BSN

The accelerated BSN program and RN program at Linfield College is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

#9  Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University Chicago campus

Loyola University Chicago is a private university founded in 1870. It was first known as St. Ignatius College. It is considered as one of the country’s largest Jesuit, Catholic Universities. It has four campuses, namely Lake Shore, Water Tower, Health Sciences, and the John Felice Rome Center in Italy.

It is home to 14 schools, colleges, and institutes. There are more than 170 graduate, professional, and graduate-level certificate programs.

  • RN to BSN

The online accelerated nursing programs offered by Loyola University Chicago’s school of nursing are fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#10  Michigan State University

Michigan State University campus

Michigan State University is one of the top research universities in the world. It strives to forge enduring partnerships to solve the most challenging global issues while providing relevant and life-changing opportunities to an inclusively diverse academic community.

It was founded in 1855 and was the first institution of higher learning in the country to teach scientific agriculture.

  • RN to BSN

The online accelerated BSN and RN program at MSU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#11  North Dakota State University

North Dakota State University campus

North Dakota State University excels in innovative and technology-driven research and has been listed in the Top 100 public research universities in the United States in the program areas of psychology, agricultural sciences, and social sciences.

Its mission is to address the needs and goals of people in a changing world by building on its land-grant foundation.

  • RN to BSN

The online nursing program at NDSU is accredited as an institution by the Higher Learning Commission.

#12  Northeastern University

Northeastern University campus

Northeastern University is a private research university with a main campus in Boston, Massachusetts. It was founded in 1898 and is categorized as an R1 institution (Doctoral Universities: Highest Research Activity).

The school has satellite campuses in Charlotte, North Carolina; Seattle, Washington; San Jose, California; and Toronto, Canada. The school features a cooperative education program, which integrates classroom study with professional experience involving 3,100 partners across the globe.

  • RN to BSN

Northeastern University and its online accelerated BSN program and RN program is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

#13  Quinnipiac University

Quinnipiac University campus

Quinnipiac is a private, coeducational University located in Southern New England. There are over 100 programs offered to approximately 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Its three campuses are located in Hamden and North Haven, Connecticut.

The school provides the knowledge and tools that students need to make an impact in their chosen profession by providing them with a combination of market-driven knowledge and expertise, academic innovation, and the quintessential student experience.

  • RN to BSN
  • RN to MSN in Operational Leadership

The accelerated online programs offered by Quinnipiac University’s school of nursing are accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

#14  Sacred Heart University

Sacred Heart University campus

Sacred Heart University is a private Roman Catholic school in Fairfield, Connecticut. It was established in 1963 by the Bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Most Reverend Walter W. Curtis.

It offers more than 80 degree programs to over 8,500 undergraduate and graduate students. Its curriculum is rooted in the liberal arts and Catholic intellectual traditions. Its mission is to educate students holistically and prepare them to lead and serve in the world.

  • RN to BSN
  • RN to BSN to MSN

The accelerated online programs at Sacred Heart are accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

#15  The University of New Mexico

The University of New Mexico campus

The University of New Mexico, established in 1889, is a public research university in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It offers over 200 bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs. Its main campus encompasses more than 800 acres of land in the heart of Albuquerque.

Its distinctive campus environment, with a Pueblo Revival architectural theme, echoes its nearby Pueblo Indian villages. There are also satellite campuses in Gallup, Los Alamos, Rio Rancho, Taos, and Los Lunas.

  • BS in Nursing

The online accelerated Bachelor’s and Doctorate’s nursing program at University of New Mexico is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of (HLC).

#16  The University of Iowa

University of Iowa campus

The University of Iowa, founded in 1847, is the oldest university in the state of Iowa. The University of Iowa is comprised of 12 colleges that offer more than 200 areas of study.

It is the first among American public universities to open as coeducational. Its main campus is located in Iowa City. The magnificent Iowa River flows through the campus, dividing it into east and west sides.

  • RN to BSN

The online accelerated BSN and RN program at University of Iowa is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of (HLC).

#17  The University of Southern Mississippi

University of Southern Mississippi campus

The University of Southern Mississippi has its main campus in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. It is a community of engaged citizens, operating as a student-focused, public, research university.

It was established in 1910 and is one of the few universities in the nation to earn the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education’s “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity” distinction.

It has a campus culture characterized by warmth and supportive relationships among students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

  • BSN

The online accelerated BSN program at University of Southern Mississippi is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#18  University of Central Florida

University of Central Florida campus

The University of Central Florida is the hometown University of Orlando, Florida. It offers over 220 degrees across 13 colleges. It was founded in 1963 with the mission to provide opportunities for Central Florida and the growing U.S. space program.

It was ranked as one of the nation’s top 10 most innovative colleges, according to U.S News and World Report.

  • BSN
  • RN to BSN

The online nursing programs at University of Central Florida are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#19  University of Delaware

University of Delaware campus

The University of Delaware, located in Newark, Delaware, is a diverse public research university and the largest university in the state. Currently, it offers three associate’s programs, 148 bachelor’s degree programs, 121 master’s degree programs, and 55 doctoral degree courses across eight colleges.

The school exists on a mission to cultivate learning, develop knowledge, and foster the freedom of ideas.

  • RN to BSN

The online nursing program at University of Delaware is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#20  University of Massachusetts Lowell

University of Massachusetts Lowell

The University of Massachusetts Lowell, located in Lowell, Massachusetts, is a national public research university and is part of the University of Massachusetts system. It is committed to preparing students for life and work in the real world by solving real problems and helping real people.

By providing an affordable, high-quality education, it is an ideal place to discover and achieve one’s purpose.

  • RN to BSN

The online accelerated BSN and RN program at University of Massachusetts Lowell is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

#21  University of North Carolina Wilmington

university of north carolina wilmington campus

The history of the University of North Carolina can be traced back to 1946 when a college center was established under the direction of the North Carolina College Conference.

At present, the academic year 2019-2020 began with an enrollment of nearly 17,500 students. It offers 56 bachelor’s degrees, 36 master’s degrees, and 4 doctoral programs.

  • RN to BSN

The University of North Carolina Wilmington and its online nursing program is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#22  University of North Dakota

University of North Dakota campus

The University of North Dakota, more commonly known as UND or North Dakota, is a public research university in Grand Forks, North Dakota. It was founded by the Dakota Territorial Assembly in 1883, making it the state’s oldest University.

The main campus is located in the middle of Grand Forks, University Avenue, and is comprised of 240 buildings.

The school offers 224 fields of study, including 2 professional programs in law and medicine, 73 undergraduate minors, 90 undergraduate majors, 54 master’s degree programs, 27 doctoral programs, and a specialist diploma program in educational leadership.

  • RN to BSN

The online programs and University of North Dakota as a whole are regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

#23  University of Rochester

University of Rochester campus

The University of Rochester, a private and nonsectarian University, is considered as the largest employer in the Greater Rochester area and the 6th largest employer in New York.

Its main campus houses 158 buildings and offers over 200 academic majors. It is known as one of the world’s leading research universities through its long tradition of breaking boundaries, always questioning, learning, and unlearning.

  • RN to BSN

The online accelerated BSN and RN program at University of Rochester is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#24  University of South Florida

University of South Florida campus

The University of South Florida, established in 1956, is a public research university in Tampa, Florida. It is one of the members of the State University System of Florida.

As of the recent academic year, it has an enrollment of around 50,000 students. As a premier research university, it is dedicated to empowering students in order to maximize their potential for lifelong success.

  • RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

USF and its online accelerated BSN and RN nursing programs are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges.

#25  University of Texas Arlington

University of Texas – Arlington campus

The University of Texas at Arlington, a public research university, is a part of the University of Texas System. Established in 1895, it is distinguished as Carnegie Research 1 institution with more than a century of academic excellence.

It offers modern facilities that encourage students to think critically. Through various programs in academics, internships, and research, students gain access to real-world experiences that help them make a difference to their community to the world.

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • RN to BSN
  • RN to MSN
  • RN to MSN – Family Nurse Practitioner

From the online accelerated BSN program, to the online accelerated MSN program, the nursing programs offered by University of Texas at Arlington are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Getting Your Nursing Degree Online

a nurse studying on her computer

Pursuing an accelerated nursing degree online won’t be the best option for everyone. You’ll need to consider the pros and cons of such a degree program.

If you’re a busy adult who already has a nursing career and a family to raise, you’ll more than likely see the advantages offered by an accelerated online nursing program.

Regardless of whether you opt to pursue an RN to BSN, or an RN to MSN, you’ll be improving your academic standing and will gain valuable clinical experience through the large number of clinical hours achieved. All of which can open up far more career options than you have as a registered nurse. Additionally, you’ll be able to do it from the comfort of your own home at a pace that suits you and your lifestyle best.

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Daniel Nguyen
Daniel Nguyen
Author
Stephen Wilson
Stephen Wilson
Editor
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