Online RN-To-BSN
Schools and Degrees

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Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees, or BSNs, can give registered nurses an edge in the job market, but finding the right program is key–especially if they plan to continue working while they study. Online RN-to-BSN degrees offer streamlined training in a flexible format. The following guide offers the information RNs need to know to get started, including common RN-to-BSN program options, specialties, courses and career paths.

RN-to-BSN Schools & Degrees

Not all RNs follow the same training path. While diplomas and associate degrees often meet minimum licensure requirements and offer a quicker path into the field, many employers prefer to hire candidates with bachelor’s degrees. It is not unusual for RNs to earn BSN degrees to improve their career and earnings prospects, or in the course of pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees. Because RNs by definition already have diplomas or two-year degrees, some nursing schools offer RN-to-BSN bridge programs designed to streamline training and minimize redundancy. This means RNs can usually complete their BSNs in less time than students enrolled in more traditional four-year bachelor’s degree programs.

All BSN programs–including RN-to-BSN programs–advance RNs’ knowledge and skill base, and some even allow students to specialize in certain areas of medicine, like pediatric, neurological or oncological nursing. Programs are also designed to help students meet ongoing licensure requirements, including passing scores on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). No one RN-to-BSN degree is right for everyone, but working RNs may find online programs especially appealing.

Online RN-to-BSN Degrees

Online RN-to-BSN schools can be major sanity savers for RNs who want to advance their educations while continue to work. Students in an RN-BSN program already have professional experience. Accordingly, some students might choose to test out of the hands-on courses, thus making their RN-to-BSN program a truly online option. This can allow students to take courses at a time of their choosing, which can be very important for those who work long hours or unpredictable shifts.

Students who do choose the online forum for learning are not alone in their quest. Numerous online tools are available for students, and communication with peers and instructors is easy through the use of email, message boards, chat rooms, video chats and more. In addition to making life easier for those with busy schedules, these digital technologies offer the added bonus of helping students become proficient with computer applications – a must in today’s fast-paced hospital settings. As electronic health records and health information management take on ever more importance, nurses need tech savvy and experience with databases and other medical software.

Best Colleges for an Online RN to BSN: 2017

Earning a bachelor of science in nursing can help a registered nurse move forward in their career and identify a specialty where they’d like to focus. Pursuing that degree online allows practicing RNs the ability to continue working while going to school on their own time. But finding the program that fits their individual needs can be a challenge. That’s why we did the legwork to identify the best schools to earn an RN to BSN degree in 2017.

1 Nova Southeastern University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
94%
Online
Nursing Programs
34
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
84.91%
Ranking SCORE 99.78
Read more

Registered nurses seeking a bachelor’s degree can earn one in four semesters at Nova Southeastern University. The school’s RN to BSN program is designed for working nurses with busy schedules, and students learn online from experienced faculty. Curriculum guides nurses in the areas of business, leadership, policy, and community service, preparing them to advance in the workplace. In addition to online courses, students complete face-to-face experiences in health promotion and education for the public. Graduates will finish the program with strong communication skills and professional values, as well as an understanding of technology and information management useful for the workplace.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
2 University of Cincinnati-Main Campus
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
54%
Online
Nursing Programs
54
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
86.90%
Ranking SCORE 99.02
Read more

At the University of Cincinnati, working nurses can complete their BSN in nine, 12, or 18 months of study. The RN to BSN program includes nine core nursing courses, and allows credit transfer from previous programs. Students progress through the degree with one advisor guiding them to support an on-time graduation. While classes are all online, learners also complete community or population-based projects local to them in lieu of clinical rotations. Curriculum centers on leadership, preparing nurses to accept increasing responsibilities as they progress in their careers. Academic advising, financial aid, and technology assistance are all available for the school’s online students.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
3 Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
83%
Online
Nursing Programs
17
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
92.25%
Ranking SCORE 98.55
Read more

The RN to BSN program at Nebraska Methodist College offers registered nurses the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree in seven semesters or less. Most courses follow a five week format, with one week breaks between the end of one course and the start of the next. The school is transfer-friendly, and students can choose part- or full-time study as their schedule permits. Curriculum guides students with a community-based approach that includes health promotion, self-care, collaboration, continuity of care, and prevention. Learners can also choose to minor in Spanish for healthcare professionals or healthcare sign language; however, these tracks do require on-campus coursework.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
4 Concordia University-Wisconsin
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
98%
Online
Nursing Programs
20
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
88.64%
Ranking SCORE 98.39
Read more

At Concordia University, registered nurses can enter completion programs to earn their bachelor’s or master’s degrees through online study. Students learn about trends in the nursing field, research strategies for RNs, and leadership in a healthcare setting. Programs also require courses in theology, ethics, communication, and statistics. Curriculum provides students with a foundation of understanding in the socio-economic, professional, and political issues surrounding healthcare, and prepares them to provide care that respects the needs and preferences of patients. For support, students can access career services, student success advisors, and online academic tools available through the school’s website.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
5 Saint Joseph's College of Maine
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
97%
Online
Nursing Programs
16
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
78.94%
Ranking SCORE 98.02
Read more

Both diploma and associate degree registered nurses are accepted into Saint Joseph’s College’s online RN to BSN program, which provides nurses with increased knowledge and skills in health promotion, disease prevention, evidence-based care, and population-based care. Participants also study ethical practice and clinical decision making to inform their work in the classroom and on the job. The school has a generous transfer credit policy, and no on-campus residency is required. Instructors work one-on-one with students to promote learning and share their experiences in the field. Those interested in earning a postgraduate degree can pursue an RN to MSN Fast-Track option, available for students with a qualifying GPA.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
6 Regis University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
95%
Online
Nursing Programs
17
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
86.36%
Ranking SCORE 97.03
Read more

Regis University offers registered nurses an RN to BSN completion program that can be completed online or on campus, accommodating busy work and personal schedules. With a lump sum transfer policy available for RNs with an associate degree, the program automatically grants eligible students transfer credits that reduce the amount of time it will take to earn a degree. Courses are eight weeks long, and delivered in an asynchronous format that has no set times for participation or online presence. No campus visits are required either, but online students are welcome to attend the on-campus graduation at the end of their program.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
7 Drexel University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
93%
Online
Nursing Programs
66
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
94%
Ranking SCORE 97.03
Read more

The curriculum in Drexel University’s RN to BSN program centers on action-based learning, preparing students with in-depth clinical skills that can be immediately utilized in the workplace. Students also gain experience through the school’s Health Assessment Simulation Lab, which offers the opportunity to work with virtual patients. Curriculum includes both traditional methods and new technologies, and students participate in direct patient interaction and community outreach activities. The program also has a study abroad option that brings its participants to Paraguay. Online students are supported by school services including 24/7 tech support, online library access, and a writing center.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
8 East Carolina University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
50%
Online
Nursing Programs
36
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
97%
Ranking SCORE 96.86
Read more

Aspiring nurses in North Carolina can earn a bachelor’s degree at East Carolina University through the school’s articulation agreement with area community colleges. Students first follow a progression of lower level courses at a North Carolina community college to earn an associate degree and become registered nurses. They can then continue their schooling at East Carolina University and earn a bachelor’s degree with the completion of four semesters of upper level nursing coursework. Areas of study include nursing research, professional communication, and nursing in a global society, and learners complete their studies with a capstone experience. RNs who studied at schools outside of North Carolina are also eligible for the RN to BSN program.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
9 Gardner-Webb University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
96%
Online
Nursing Programs
18
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
100%
Ranking SCORE 96.72
Read more

Gardner-Webb University’s RN to BSN program offers an education centered on holistic healthcare. Students learn to care for patients with a focus on clinical competence and social awareness, and gain respect for the importance of therapeutic relationships. Professors provide instruction based on Christian values, and students discuss the ethical and legal standards of the profession with their peers and instructors. The program also involves service learning, as the school partners with local healthcare facilities where students learn to provide care and collaborate with other healthcare professionals. An RN to MSN program is also available for those who wish to accelerate the path to a postgraduate degree.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
10 Indiana Wesleyan University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
50%
Online
Nursing Programs
27
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
86.90%
Ranking SCORE 96.60
Read more

Registered nurses studying at Indiana Wesleyan University can earn a bachelor’s degree through online, on-campus, or blended online/on-campus study. Students join a small cohort of peers at the beginning of the program, and progress through their courses together. While most students take one class at a time and graduate in 15 months, an accelerated option is also available. There are five start dates per year. Practice experiences are built into the curriculum, and learners can complete these in their home or community. Students also learn about leadership and service in the profession, with instructors who practice in the field and can share their real-world experiences.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
11 Allen College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
Online
Nursing Programs
22
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
96%
Ranking SCORE 96.09
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
12 Loyola University Chicago
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
93%
Online
Nursing Programs
56
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
92%
Ranking SCORE 95.63
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
13 Loma Linda University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
0%
Online
Nursing Programs
69
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
85.71%
Ranking SCORE 95.57
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
14 Rutgers University-New Brunswick
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
47%
Online
Nursing Programs
58
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
82.84%
Ranking SCORE 95.51
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
15 Weber State University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
50%
Online
Nursing Programs
24
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
89.30%
Ranking SCORE 95.45
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
16 Western Kentucky University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
37%
Online
Nursing Programs
17
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
97%
Ranking SCORE 95.37
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
17 Northern Arizona University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
66%
Online
Nursing Programs
17
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
90.97%
Ranking SCORE 95.26
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
18 Duquesne University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
Online
Nursing Programs
33
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
92.23%
Ranking SCORE 95.25
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
19 University of Florida
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
29%
Online
Nursing Programs
29
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
92.97%
Ranking SCORE 95.16
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
20 Virginia Commonwealth University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
41%
Online
Nursing Programs
36
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
93.06%
Ranking SCORE 94.77
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
21 Seton Hall University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
97%
Online
Nursing Programs
19
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
74.52%
Ranking SCORE 94.72
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
22 Misericordia University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
99%
Online
Nursing Programs
17
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
92.86%
Ranking SCORE 94.57
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
23 Viterbo University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
Online
Nursing Programs
18
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
94.79%
Ranking SCORE 94.57
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
24 Briar Cliff University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
Online
Nursing Programs
9
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
92%
Ranking SCORE 94.55
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
25 Maryville University of Saint Louis
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
97%
Online
Nursing Programs
21
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
93.40%
Ranking SCORE 94.46
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
26 Roberts Wesleyan College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
97%
Online
Nursing Programs
8
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
82.20%
Ranking SCORE 94.45
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
27 Youngstown State University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
45%
Online
Nursing Programs
25
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
87.64%
Ranking SCORE 94.37
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
28 University of North Dakota
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
30%
Online
Nursing Programs
25
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
94.74%
Ranking SCORE 94.37
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
29 Winona State University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
43%
Online
Nursing Programs
18
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
92.09%
Ranking SCORE 94.33
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
30 Washburn University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
58%
Online
Nursing Programs
12
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
81.33%
Ranking SCORE 93.92
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
31 University of Alabama at Birmingham
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
66%
Online
Nursing Programs
33
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
95.70%
Ranking SCORE 93.90
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
32 University of Toledo
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
85%
Online
Nursing Programs
59
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
81.36%
Ranking SCORE 93.84
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
33 East Tennessee State University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
15%
Online
Nursing Programs
21
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
88%
Ranking SCORE 93.82
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
34 Liberty University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
78%
Online
Nursing Programs
12
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
94.97%
Ranking SCORE 93.81
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
35 University of Saint Mary
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
99%
Online
Nursing Programs
6
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
90.57%
Ranking SCORE 93.81
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
36 Carlow University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
Online
Nursing Programs
8
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
95.74%
Ranking SCORE 93.78
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
37 Ohio University-Main Campus
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
68%
Online
Nursing Programs
24
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
87.21%
Ranking SCORE 93.73
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
38 Barry University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
96%
Online
Nursing Programs
26
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
82.28%
Ranking SCORE 93.72
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
39 University of Northern Colorado
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
79%
Online
Nursing Programs
11
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
88.29%
Ranking SCORE 93.70
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
40 South Dakota State University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
53%
Online
Nursing Programs
19
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
87%
Ranking SCORE 93.64
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
41 Quinnipiac University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
91%
Online
Nursing Programs
21
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
89%
Ranking SCORE 93.63
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
42 University of Southern Indiana
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
41%
Online
Nursing Programs
12
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
97.80%
Ranking SCORE 93.62
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
43 Texas Woman's University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
36%
Online
Nursing Programs
35
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
92.94%
Ranking SCORE 93.61
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
44 University of Kansas
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
60%
Online
Nursing Programs
46
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
91.09%
Ranking SCORE 93.58
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
45 Simmons College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
96%
Online
Nursing Programs
20
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
94%
Ranking SCORE 93.58
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
46 Iowa Wesleyan College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
99%
Online
Nursing Programs
6
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
100%
Ranking SCORE 93.52
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
47 Midwestern State University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
65%
Online
Nursing Programs
21
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
82.58%
Ranking SCORE 93.46
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
48 Jacksonville University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
98%
Online
Nursing Programs
14
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
83.50%
Ranking SCORE 93.37
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
49 American International College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
Online
Nursing Programs
14
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
77%
Ranking SCORE 93.36
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
50 The University of Texas at Tyler
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
39%
Online
Nursing Programs
13
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
NCLEX
Value
95.13%
Ranking SCORE 93.33
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes

Online RN to BSN Colleges

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Program Highlight:
Online RN-to-BSN

Registered nurses who want to further their education and advance their careers often choose to pursue an online RN-to-BSN program. Students interested in applying to an online RN-to-BSN program must be registered nurses with an associate degree or diploma. Some schools will allow students to transfer courses from an associate degree. Building on a student’s previous nursing education, an RN-to-BSN online program offers the theoretical and practical knowledge needed to advance in the complex and evolving field of health care. Programs usually require 120 to 130 credit hours, which include nursing courses, general education courses, and nursing support courses/electives. Curriculum will vary by school, but examples of common classes are nursing practice, health assessment and promotion, diversity, human anatomy and physiology, and nutrition. Online students are also required to complete a practicum that can be fulfilled at a local hospital, clinic, or agency. Graduates of an online Bachelor of Science program in Nursing (RN-to-BSN) will be well-prepared to progress in the professional nursing arena within private and public health care practices.

RN-to-BSN Programs

The RN-to-BSN program can take between one and two years to complete, depending on one’s schedule. Students can enter an accelerated program that takes into account the course credits earned while pursuing the associate degree, and that might shorten the time needed for completion. Some programs focus more strongly on nursing and prior experience, while others include general education requirements as well as nursing requirements. While general education classes in English or social sciences might seem off the path for nurses, studies like these can contribute communication skills that are valuable in the workplace. The curriculum for RN-BSN programs may extend beyond nursing to include issues and trends in contemporary health care, from privacy and ethical concerns to health care financing and public policy.

Those who plan to enter the RN-to-BSN program might encounter some of the following courses:

COURSE NAME overview
Foundations in Nursing and Health Analysis of nursing philosophy, professional nursing practice goals, concepts of health and systems of care. Also includes the clinical decision making assessment.
Health Assessment Comprehensive assessment of individuals, families and communities, including interviewing, data collections, physical assessment and genograms.
Principles of Nutrition Study of nutrition and health, as well as prevention of disease through healthy eating. Serves as the basis of clinical nutrition concepts in the practice of nursing.
Research and Scientific Evidence in Nursing Practice Emphasis on scholarly and analytical skills in examining evidence in clinical practice, including case studies, statistics and more.
Health Promotion and Home Health Focus on the community setting of care for individuals and families, exploring the unique issues of interdependent care and the family model in a home environment.
Global and Public Health Factors that influence local, national and global public health. Includes environmental health, social determinants of health, genetics and genomics, ethics, cultural influence, epidemiological data, and identifying the nurse’s role in population health.
Leadership and Management in Health Care Study of professional values, accountability among health care communities, role transition, collegiality and professional collaboration, as well as organizational processes as related to nursing.
Nursing and Health Policy Impact of health policies, health care economics, financing, and legislative and regulatory authorities on the quality of nursing and the health care delivery system.
Cultural Influences on Health Care Practices Examination of the sensitivity required for cultural understanding in nursing care, including the cultural influences and practices of certain individuals, groups and large communities.
Ethics in Health Care Study of the rights, duties and ethical considerations for the health care team in terms of death and dying, genetic engineering, manipulation of genetics and so on.
Industrial and Organizational Psychology Theories of psychology applied to the workplace, including effective teams, the work environment, formal and informal policies, and other factors that affect performance and satisfaction.
Health Information Management Systems Overview of database management, health information systems, data quality, system design, patient portals and other technology, and how it relates to workload, quality, resource utilization and management.
Health Care Policy, Finance and Regulations Study of financial and regulatory practices, operation of patient care services, implications of health care issues, and how the regulations affect the scope of practice.
The Healing Arts Exploration of various beliefs of mind and body interaction, contemplative practices, practical and appropriate connections with patient care, spirituality and nursing practice.
Capstone Project Focus on integrating program learning experiences, including the scope of leadership and management skills, highlights of accomplishments and complex values of nursing.

What Can You Do With an Online RN-to-BSN Degree?

Registered nurses work closely with physicians, patients and patients’ families in order to provide and coordinate the best care possible. Nurses handle a great deal of patient care, including recording medical histories, administering medications, planning for further care, consulting with other health care professionals on care plans, operating and monitoring medical equipment, performing diagnostic tests, providing health education, and helping patients and families understand the requirements of treatment at home. Registered nurses may advise and supervise others on the health care delivery team, such as licensed practical nurses, medical assistants or nursing aides.

Registered nurses might also specialize in certain areas, such as a specific health condition, part of the body, group of people, or workplace. Here are a few of the specialty areas that might appeal to registered nurses:

Featured Careers

  • Nurse Anesthetists

    Nurse anesthetists provide anesthesia to patients who are about to have, are having or have just had surgery, an invasive diagnosis or obstetrical procedure. They also work as pain-management professionals and help patients with allergies. They discuss the patient’s medical history before the procedure and remain with them throughout the procedure to monitor progress and vital signals.

    Median Salary: $148,160

    Median Hourly: $71.23

    Est. Growth: 24.9%

    No. Employed: 34,180

    Minimum Education: Master’s

  • Nurse Midwives

    Nurse midwives provide prenatal care to pregnant women and aid them during labor and delivery. In an effort to promote wellness care, these medical professionals educate their patients on important issues such as nutrition, disease prevention and family planning. Additionally, nurse midwives provide routine gynecological exams and may act as primary care providers for mothers and newborns.

    Median Salary: $89,600

    Median Hourly: $43.08

    Est. Growth: 28.6%

    No. Employed 5,710

    Minimum Education: Master’s

  • Nurse Practitioners

    Nurse practitioners, or NPs, can be providers of both primary and specialty care. They assess the health of patients and work with patients and their families to create strategies for future wellness. Depending on the state, some NPs prescribe medicine and order lab tests. They often consult with doctors and specialists on behalf of the patient.

    Median Salary: $89,960

    Median Hourly: $43.25

    Est. Growth: 33.7%

    No. Employed: 105,780

    Minimum Education: Master’s

  • Registered Nurses

    Registered nurses provide direct care to patients in a number of facilities and educate patients and the public about health care and health conditions. They also work in a supporting role for patients’ families, relaying information and offering emotional aid and counseling during difficult times. They may work in hospitals, military installations, prisons or assisted-living facilities. Some registered nurses pursue a specialty and focus their skills in a specific area, for example neonatology (working with newborns) or critical care.

    Median Salary: $65,470

    Median Hourly: $31.48

    Est. Growth: 19.4%

    No. Employed: 2,633,980

    Minimum Education: Associate’s