7 Best Online RN to MSN Programs

by Ann Steele Community Director, NurseJournal.org   

Nursing is a wonderful career for those people who truly want to make a difference in the lives and well-being of others. It is not a job for everybody, but those that truly have a passion for health and serving their community can enjoy a diverse job where no two days are the same, and be rewarded with a very decent salary. In terms of salary, the BLS has reported that there will be a growth of 19 percent by 2022, which means that it will see a higher than average growth.

There is a strong need for nurses across all communities in our country. We face an aging population and there are numerous conditions that are becoming increasingly common, such as osteoarthritis, diabetes and obesity. Because of this, there is a need for a wide range of specialized nursing care.

Very often, people study towards becoming an RN (registered nurse) and enter the workforce. However, after a while, they want to improve their knowledge and career prospects and wish to achieve a BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) degree. This requires more studying time, which is something not everybody is able to invest in. However, various online RN to BSN programs are now available as well, which means that it becomes possible to study and work at the same time. It is very important to only study with an online school that is accredited and that has a very good reputation.

Let’s take a look at the 7 best online RN to BSN programs out there.

1 – SUNY College of Technology-Delhi School of Nursing

SUNY (State University of New York) at Delhi is part of the educational system of the State University of New York and it is a public university. It was founded in 1913 and its focus is mainly on technical courses. They currently enroll some 3,000 undergraduate students. The degree program is 100% online, although certain select courses do have practicum requirements. These are then completed in the hometown area of the student. The emphasis is on critical thinking and management of patients. The school also prides itself on its affordable tuition fees.

Location: Catskill Mountains, Delhi, New York
Type: Public
Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
Tuition: $29,642
Degree Requirements: A requirement to earn 120 credits. Due to the fact that the degree is offered online, the time it takes to earn this can vary. Additionally, it depends on how many transferable credits a student has, although this is usually between 60 and 80.
School Site: Visit School

2 – University of Wisconsin-Superior

The University of Wisconsin-Superior was founded in 1893 as a teacher’s college. Later, it amalgamated with the University of Wisconsin and now enrolls over 2,400 students every year in a variety of degrees. Students set their own pace in the online program so they can study around their current work schedule. Flexible payment arrangements are offered as well as financial aid to cover the cost of tuition fees.

Location: Superior, Wisconsin
Type: Public
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission of North Central Association of Schools and Colleges
Tuition: $36,600
Degree Requirements: A number of general education requirements and elective requirements are in place. Students must earn 124 credits to complete the program, although transferable credits are also accepted.
School Site: Visit School

3 – Fort Hays State University

Based in Hays, Kansas, the Fort Hays State University offers a huge range of online programs. Indeed, it has some 13,000 students at present across its 28 academic departments. Additionally, 8,600 students are enrolled in online programs with the university. Founded in 1902, the university’s goal has always been to provide opportunity to students who know what they want. The school also prides itself in its affordable tuition fees.

Location: Hays, Kansas
Type: Entrepreneurial
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges of Schools, Academic Quality Improvement Program and Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
Tuition: $21,039
Degree Requirements: Only those RNs who have maintained a GPA of 2.50 are accepted. Steady advancement has to be shown and they must partake in at least 30 hours of nursing classes, as well as an internship.
School Site: Visit School

4 – Bellevue University

Bellevue University, a private, non-profit institution, was founded in 1966. Since then, it boasts of some 10,000 yearly students and three different campuses as well as an online program. Nationwide, this university is listed on the top 20 of colleges offering online programs. The RN to BSN courses focus specifically on professional development, leadership and social issues.

Location: Bellevue, Nebraska
Type: Private, non-profit
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
Tuition: $46,990
Degree Requirements: 127 credits must be earned, of which 36 must be core nursing courses. Those who hold an RN can transfer 60 credits and work experience can also be included.
School Site: Visit School

5 – American Public University System

This private, for-profit learning institution was founded in 1991 by James P. Etter, retired Marine Corps Major. When founded, the courses were specifically designed for those in military professions. However, it has since expanded to offering professional courses as well as the military ones and it has opened its doors to both military and civilian people. The online RN to BSN program is designed for those who currently hold an ASN, RN or have active licensing as a nurse. Financial aid is available for students and there is a full TCE waiver for those people who are currently an active military member, regardless of their position.

Location: Charles Town, West Virginia
Type: Private, for-profit
Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
Tuition: $30,250
Degree Requirements: 121 hours of coursework must be completed. Credits can be transferred through previous degrees and work experience.
School Site: Visit School

6 – Ball State University

Founded in 1918, Ball State University is based in Muncie, Indiana. It currently enrolls some 21,000 students every year in a range of different degree programs and academic colleges. The university is an Up-and-Coming university, ranked 8th in the country. Their online RN to BSN program can be completed fully online, although some clinical training hours are also required.

Location: Muncie, Indiana
Type: Research institution
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and National League for Nursing Center of Excellence
Tuition: $59,120
Degree Requirements: 31 credits in core classes, 39 credits in nursing prerequisites, 20 credits in nursing courses. This can be completed across 3 or 6 semesters.
School Site: Visit School

7 – Western Carolina University

The Western Carolina University was founded in 1889. Some 10,000 students attend this university, and they come from 35 different countries and 48 states. Furthermore, their curriculum includes over 120 different specialties. They have been recognized as one of the country’s most environmentally responsible universities as well, which can be seen across its campus and overall focus. The online RN to BSN program focuses mainly on leadership capabilities.

Location: Cullowhee, North Carolina
Type: Public
Accreditation: Commission on Colleges through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and North Carolina Board of Nursing
Tuition: $58,622
Degree Requirements: 24 credits on core courses, fully online. 8 credits of online elective courses. 2 clinical course rotations.
School Site: Visit School

Nurse Journal Comments and Discussion