If you’re a licensed nurse who’s ready to learn new things, upgrade your skills, and advance your career, you might be interested in learning more about RN to BSN programs.
Having a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) demonstrates your commitment to the profession and assures potential employers that you have the necessary expertise to care for patients. A BSN also ensures that you’re knowledgeable about new trends, theories, and technology in nursing.
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Whether you want to become a specialized nurse or transition into a new area of healthcare, an RN to BSN program could be a strategic way to achieve your goals.
Online RN to BSN Programs
The main objective of RN to BSN online programs is to help licensed nurses broaden their knowledge, expand their skill sets, and get up to date on current practices in nursing. All of these achievements help nurses provide the best possible care to patients.
Progressing from being a registered nurse (RN) to having a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) requires the completion of more advanced courses in nursing as well as several general education courses.
The subjects that you might encounter during your degree program include:
- Health informatics
- Healthcare policies and regulations
- Community health
- Communication in nursing
- Human growth and development
- Anatomy and physiology
Many RN to BSN nursing programs also include fieldwork or internships to give students hands-on experience in a healthcare facility. Online students are often allowed to complete this component of the program at an approved local site.
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Nursing professionals with bachelor’s degrees are in high demand by many different employers. Graduates might apply for a position with one of these organizations:
- Government agencies
- Psychiatric facilities
- Residential care facilities
- Colleges and universities
- Community clinics
- Private practices
One natural career path for a BSN graduate is nursing. Completing a bachelor’s program may give you the opportunity to specialize in an area of interest, which can give you an advantage when applying for jobs.
If you enjoy nursing but would rather work in a position that isn’t involved with direct patient care, you may choose to become a nursing instructor or medical writer. A BSN is also a necessary step if you want to pursue a master’s degree in nursing.
Nursing Careers and Salaries
After graduating from an RN to BSN bridge program, you may be well-positioned to apply for a number of healthcare roles.
Many graduates of these programs work as registered nurses, often with a particular focus or specialization, such as pediatrics, oncology, or critical care. Online BSN programs are also useful for current nurses who want to advance within the field. A bachelor’s degree, for instance, may help you qualify for leadership roles, such as nurse manager.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are the median salaries of potential career paths related to nursing.
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Medical and Health Services Managers||$104,830|
|Registered Nurses — Outpatient Care Centers||$82,680|
|Registered Nurses — Hospitals||$82,220|
|Postsecondary Nursing Instructors and Teachers||$78,580|
|Registered Nurses — Offices of Physicians||$77,560|
|Registered Nurses — Home Health Care Services||$77,040|
|Registered Nurses — Skilled Nursing Facilities||$75,980|
|Health Education Specialists||$59,990|
|Community Health Workers||$46,190|
Some nursing professionals choose to work outside of healthcare facilities. After earning a BSN, some graduates might work as health educators, either in a postsecondary institution or within the community. This degree is also a solid foundation for a prospective writer who wants to share their knowledge about the medical field through journal articles, textbooks, and blogs.
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In addition to having above-average median salaries, many of these positions are also projected to experience steady growth. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that RNs have a projected growth rate of 6% over the next ten years, which is as fast as the average for all occupations.
RN to BSN Online Curriculum & Courses
Although all RN-BSN online programs are unique, some courses are common to nearly every program. Here are some course examples:
- Information Technology in Nursing: In this class, you’ll learn about the connections between nursing, information science, and computer science and how they apply to modern health applications.
- Comprehensive Health Assessment: This course focuses on strategies that nurses use to assess patients’ physical, mental, and emotional health and explores how they inform diagnoses and treatment plans.
- Pathophysiology: Students who take this class learn about how human diseases develop and progress, along with forms of treatment.
- Professional Ethics: Ethical behavior is key to successfully caring for patients, and this class teaches you how to apply ethical principles and professional standards in the workplace.
- Healthcare Policy and Economics: During this course, you’ll discuss current healthcare policies and how the cost of care affects patients and their health outcomes.
- Global and Population Health: Nurses work with diverse patient populations, so this course provides an overview of the skills needed to effectively treat patients from different racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
- Professional Communication in Healthcare: This class prepares you to effectively communicate information, including sensitive or confidential patient data, within healthcare organizations.
- Community Health Nursing: Many nurses are closely connected to their local communities, and this class teaches you how to analyze and address community needs.
- Psychology: Students in this course learn about psychological theories, including normal and abnormal behavior and mental health disorders.
- Human Growth and Development: This class exposes you to the entire human lifecycle, from infancy until death, and emphasizes developmental changes that occur at each stage of life.
BSN programs often require you to complete a capstone project prior to graduation to demonstrate the breadth of the knowledge you have gained during your studies.
RN to BSN programs typically require students to hold a diploma or associate degree in nursing. Other common admissions criteria include:
- Official transcripts with evidence of prior studies
- Proof of active RN license
- SAT or ACT test scores (only required by some schools)
- Letters of recommendation from instructors or supervisors
Programs may also ask you to submit your resume so they can see your work experience. You might also write a personal essay and pay an application fee.
ADN to BSN Programs Accreditation
Attending an accredited online BSN program is essential from an academic and professional standpoint. Regional accreditation status indicates that a school has met high standards in both curriculum and faculty.
You are more likely to receive a quality education with the most current practices in the field at a school with regional accreditation. Also, it’s typically easier to transfer courses from a regionally accredited institution if you choose to change schools before graduating.
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Most employers give preference to job candidates with degrees from accredited colleges. Accreditation may be a core requirement for obtaining and maintaining licensure or certification within your state.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
Earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing may open the door to new job opportunities, but many students seek financial aid to help pay the upfront costs of a degree program.
As you begin researching financial aid opportunities, submitting a FAFSA is a common place to start. This application will determine whether you are eligible for federal grants and student loans. If you are studying in-state, your state government may also offer aid programs.
You can also see if you qualify for scholarship programs. You might consult with a financial aid specialist or use an online database to find scholarships that are designed for your degree program or personal circumstances.
If you are currently working, your employer may offer tuition reimbursement or assistance to help you complete your degree. Organizations use this type of financial support to encourage their employees to develop their skills.
What Is an RN to BSN Program?
An RN to BSN program is a bachelor’s degree program for licensed nurses who want to gain new skills and knowledge.
Most BSN students already have an associate degree or nursing diploma and are interested in more advanced coursework and nursing specializations. This program builds on a registered nurse’s prior education. During an RN to BSN bridge program, you can learn about subjects like healthcare leadership, research, and technology.
Completing a bachelors degree can help current licensed nurses qualify for a wider range of jobs and focus their nursing on the areas that they feel most passionate about.
Is an RN to BSN Online Program Right for Me?
You might consider these key factors when deciding whether to pursue an RN to BSN degree:
- Licensure status. This type of program is designed for registered nurses with active RN licenses.
- Career goals. Having a BSN may help you qualify for management or administrative positions or for enrollment in a master’s degree program in nursing.
- Flexibility. An online program allows students who work or have childcare obligations to customize their schedules and study from any location.
- Study skills. Students in online courses generally have strong time management and organization skills.
If you are a self-motivated RN, a BSN bridge program may be a good fit.
What Can You Do with a Bachelor of Nursing Online Degree?
If you’re a registered nurse with an active license, furthering your education could increase your earning potential and expand your job opportunities. Graduates who complete RN to BSN programs online hold a variety of positions.
Many continue in their careers as registered nurses, but they may become specialists in areas like emergency care, obstetrics, and public health. A BSN might also help you transition into a new position, such as a nurse manager, nutritionist, or healthcare writer.
How Long Is an RN to BSN Program Online?
RN to BSN programs typically take 1 to 2 years to complete, depending on the school and your chosen specialty. Bachelor degrees traditionally take 4 years to earn, but current RNs who already have an associate degree generally need a shorter timeframe to complete their bachelor’s program.
Some online BSN degrees are accelerated so that full-time students can graduate in as few as 12 months. If the program has a field experience or internship requirement, it may take longer for you to complete. A longer period of study may also be necessary if you are enrolled part-time or if some prior credits don’t transfer.
Is an Online RN to BSN Degree Program Worth It?
Yes, an online RN to BSN degree program is worth it for many students. Nurses are in high demand by healthcare facilities, and a bachelor’s degree may make you a more qualified applicant for jobs in nursing, management, and education.
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A BSN is also valuable to nurses who are invested in developing new skills, broadening their knowledge, and developing a greater understanding of patient needs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers for nursing professionals have steady or faster than average projected growth rates. This includes medical and health services managers (28% job growth), community health workers (16%), and registered nurses (6%).
Universities Offering Online RN to BSN Degree Programs
Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.
Appalachian State University offers a part-time, online RN-to-BSN program. Potential coursework includes Nursing Research, Health Assessment, Nursing Care of Older Adults, Nursing Informatics, and more. The completion of 30 credit hours of coursework is required, and most classes are taught asynchronously. The program typically takes 1 to 3 years to complete.
Appalachian State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Arizona State University offers an online program for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing: RN to BSN. Potential courses include Nursing Research and Evidence Translation, Professional Nursing Theory, Health Promotion Across the Life Span, and more. The program requires a total of ten 7.5 week classes, or 39 credits. Courses are commonly offered in a self-paced format.
Arizona State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Chamberlain University offers an RN to BSN program online. There are typically no mandatory login times, and classmates may interact through discussion forums. Each class typically lasts 8 weeks, and the program may be completed in 1 year of full-time enrollment. Classes are usually taught by faculty with real-world experience and master’s or doctoral-level degrees.
Chamberlain University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Drexel University offers an online RN to BSN program. The curriculum commonly emphasizes experiential learning and evidence-based practice. The program requires the completion of 180 quarter credits, and can potentially be finished in 1 year. Access to online library services and all-day tech support is typically provided as part of the program.
Drexel University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Indiana University offers an RN to BSN program online. The program can usually be finished in 1 to 2 years, depending on whether attendance is part-time or full-time. Typically, 16 week semesters are split into two 8 week modules, so taking 2 courses at a time may result in completing 4 courses each semester.
Indiana University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
LaSalle University offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program online for registered nurses. The program requires the completion of 27 credit hours and can usually be completed in 1 to 2 years. There are typically multiple start dates every year, to be convenient for working professionals.
La Salle University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Louisiana State University–Alexandria offers an online RN to BSN degree. Potential coursework includes Professional Role Development, Ethical Dilemmas in Nursing, Health Assessment, Informatics, and more. The program aims to build a community of learners, and instructors typically can be contacted via video conferencing.
Louisiana State University at Alexandria is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Maryville University offers an online program for an RN-to-BSN degree. Connecting with classmates and receiving personalized attention from faculty is an aim of the program. The program offers flexible scheduling options, and there are typically 6 start dates every year. The program is completed in an average of 1 year. Tech support is available to help with online issues.
Maryville University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Ohio University offers an RN to BSN degree program online. Potential courses include Professional Nursing Practice, Health Assessment and Promotion, Family Nursing, Community Health Nursing, and Evidence-Based Nursing Practice. Classes are typically offered in a self-paced format. The program typically takes 4 semesters to complete.
Ohio University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Southern New Hampshire University’s online RN to BSN degree program can be completed in as little as 1 year. There are typically no set class times, so learning may take place on a flexible schedule. Up to 45 credits may be granted for having an RN license, and up to 45 more qualified credits may be transferred in from other accredited institutions.
SNHU is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education, Inc.
SUNY Delhi offers an online RN-to-BSN program online. Classes are typically 7 weeks long each, and there are usually 5 start dates every year. Academic credit for your prior work experience may be granted. Select courses have practicum requirements, but a practicum coordinator may help with finding a convenient practicum site.
SUNY Delhi is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The University of Alabama offers an online program for an RN to BSN degree. Potential courses include Nursing Informatics for Registered Nurses, Inquiry for Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing for Registered Nurses, and Role Transition in Baccalaureate Nursing. Applications are generally accepted year round and the submission of standardized test scores is not usually required.
The University of Alabama is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of Arkansas offers an online program for an RN to BSN degree. The program requires the completion of 30 credit hours of asynchronous coursework, and there are often 5 start dates each year. The curriculum is designed to help develop critical thinking and analytical skills. The program also aims to teach social and economic issues related to healthcare.
The U of A is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of Central Florida offers an RN to BSN degree program online. The program requires the completion of 30 credit hours of coursework, and enrollment is often offered on a full-time or part-time basis. The program’s requirements may be completed in 3 semesters when attending full time.
The University of Central Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of Cincinnati offers an RN to BSN program online. Potential courses include Health Issues of Vulnerable and Marginalized Populations, Informatics for Professional Nurses, and Scientific Basis for Evidence-Based Practice. The completion of 27 credit hours of courses that are typically 7 weeks long is required. The program may be completed in 12 to 15 months.
UC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of Iowa offers an online program for an RN-to-BSN degree. There are typically 2 start dates each year, 1 in the fall and 1 in the spring. The curriculum aims to help prepare to advance a nursing career by teaching both clinical skills and managerial skills.
The University of Iowa is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of Louisiana–Lafayette offers an RN to BSN degree program online. The accelerated program typically features 8 week courses, and may be completed in 1 year. The program aims to provide access to a variety of resources, including tutoring, library services, and tech support.
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of Maryland offers an RN-to-BSN degree program completely online. Concentrations include Substance Use and Addictions and Care Coordination with Health IT. Either part-time or full-time enrollment is typically offered beginning in either the fall or spring semester. In the final semester a community health practicum is commonly completed.
The University of Maryland is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The University of Southern Mississippi offers an online RN to BSN degree program. Potential coursework includes Ethical and Legal Issues in Nursing, Evidence-Based Practice, Population Health Nursing Theory and Practice, and more. The program requires the completion of 30 credit hours and can potentially be completed in 2 semesters. Courses are typically either 7 or 15 weeks long each.
The University of Southern Mississippi is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Western Governors University offers an RN-to-BSN degree program online. Coursework includes Interprofessional Communication and Leadership in Healthcare, Healthcare Policy and Economics, Global and Population Health, and more. The program typically offers start dates each month and also usually includes some field experiences.
Western Governors University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Getting Your Accelerated RN to BSN Degree Online
For nursing professionals, enrolling in an RN to BSN degree online program is a path toward increased earning potential, more job opportunities, and advanced skills.
While completing your BSN degree, you can expand on the knowledge you already have from your professional experience and prior education. You might also become a nursing specialist in an area of the field that you find particularly important or engaging. Completing an RN to BSN degree might also help you move toward positions in management or education.
You could get started on your journey toward an online BSN today by exploring accredited colleges and universities.