Best Online RN to BSN Programs 2020

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Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

Whether you’re looking to get your pre-licensure degree or taking the next step in your career, the education you need could be more affordable than you think. Find the right nursing program for you.

There are many pathways to a nursing career. For example, nurses can earn registered nursing (RN) licensure with either an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or bachelor of science in nursing (BSN).

Many associate degree-holders later add a bachelor’s degree to their educational qualifications. A BSN equips RNs with more advanced skills and knowledge, and RNs with BSNs typically earn higher salaries. On average, BSN-holders earn about $85,000 annually, while ADN-holders make around $69,500 each year.

Fortunately, RNs do not necessarily need to spend four years earning a BSN. RN-to-BSN programs usually last 1-2 years. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), there are 777 RN-to-BSN programs available across the United States.

More than 600 of these programs include some online components. Online RN-to-BSN programs are a great option for RNs who work full or part time.

If earning an RN-to-BSN online appeals to you, check out the following list of the best online RN-to-BSN programs.

Read about our ranking methodology here.
Advertisement NurseJournal.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Featured Online Programs

Advertisement NurseJournal.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Top Online RN-to-BSN Programs for 2020

  1. Appalachian State University
    Location

    Boone, NC

    Appalachian State University offers an online RN-to-BSN program, which ranks as one of the best CCNE-accredited online RN-to-BSN degrees. At App State, nursing students complete 30 credits of coursework in the fall, spring, and summer semesters. The program incorporates clinicals, such as class projects, and research to strengthen professional training. 

    The part-time program at App State, designed for working nurses, offers a flexible route to career advancement. Nursing students earn their BSNs in a single year, preparing graduates for advanced roles in nursing or for graduate-level nursing programs. App State offers significant tuition discounts for North Carolina residents.

    • Campus: Boone, North Carolina
    • Type: Public
    • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
    • Tuition: $163 per credit for North Carolina residents; $664 per credit for out-of-state students
    • Admission Requirements: Associate degree in nursing or a diploma in nursing from an accredited program; current RN license; minimum 2.5 GPA
    • Minimum Time Commitment: 12 months
    • On Campus Requirements: No
    • Program: Bachelor of science in nursing
    • School site: Tuition | Financial aid
  2. California State University-San Marcos
    Location

    San Marcos, CA

    The RN-to-BSN program at California State University-San Marcos offers a flexible, accelerated degree option, ranking it as one of the best CCNE-accredited, online RN-to-BSN programs. The 16-month program trains graduates for general nursing practice or graduate nursing programs. Graduates work in leadership roles in healthcare organizations and clinics.

    The curriculum at CSUSM emphasizes patient care, clinical experience, and nursing care management interventions, particularly for vulnerable populations and diverse communities. CSUSM reports that California nurses with BSNs earn more than $42,500 per year -- more than nurses with associate degrees.

    • Campus: San Marcos, California
    • Type: Public
    • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
    • Tuition: $299 per credit
    • Admission Requirements: Associate degree in nursing; RN license; minimum 60 transferable units; minimum 2.0 GPA overall with a minimum 2.75 GPA in pre-nursing core classes
    • Minimum Time Commitment: 16 months
    • On Campus Requirements: No
    • Program: Bachelor of science in nursing
    • School site: Tuition | Financial aid
  3. Farmingdale State College
    Location

    Farmingdale, NY

    The fully online RN-to-BSN program at Farmingdale State College enrolls recent graduates from associate nursing programs and experienced RNs seeking career advancement. The flexible curriculum, designed for working nurses, trains students in professional nursing skills, healthcare leadership, and supervision of nursing care. 

    The 62-credit program incorporates classes about caring for populations in a community setting, promoting health, and working with healthcare organizations. Students also complete senior leadership practicums with local preceptors to strengthen their clinical skills. Nursing students with RNs complete their BSNs in four semesters at Farmingdale, which offers tuition discounts for New York state residents.

    • Campus: Farmingdale, New York
    • Type: Public
    • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
    • Tuition: $295 per credit for New York residents; $708 per credit for out-of-state students
    • Admission Requirements: Accredited associate degree in nursing; minimum 3.0 GPA; current RN license
    • Minimum Time Commitment: 4 semesters
    • On Campus Requirements: No
    • Program: Bachelor of science in nursing
    • School site: Tuition | Financial aid
  4. Baptist Memorial College of Health Sciences
    Location

    Memphis, TN

    A specialized college dedicated to healthcare, Baptist Memorial College of Health Sciences offers a fully online RN-to-BSN degree.

    The program offers full- and part-time enrollment options to fit working nurses' schedules. Full-time nursing students can complete their degrees in one year.

    The curriculum at Baptist College includes 30 credits of nursing coursework, with three start dates each year. Students can apply for prior learning credits and test out of pharmacology and health assessment requirements through competency-based exams. Baptist College also accepts CLEP exams for general education requirements. 

    • Campus: Memphis, Tennessee
    • Type: Private
    • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
    • Tuition: $453 per credit
    • Admission Requirements: Official transcripts; active RN license or eligibility to apply for a license; graduate from a regionally accredited nursing program; minimum 2.5 GPA
    • Minimum Time Commitment: 12 months
    • On Campus Requirements: No
    • Program: Bachelor of science in nursing
    • School site: Tuition | Financial aid 
  5. CUNY Hunter College
    Location

    New York, NY

    The RN-to-BSN degree at CUNY Hunter College enrolls students who have associate degrees in nursing and New York state RN licenses. Students complete their coursework fully online, but must meet the program's 45-clinical hour requirement on campus at the Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing.

    Nursing students complete 30 credits in RN-to-BSN major courses, including nursing research, health assessment, promotion of wellness, and gerontological nursing. Admitted students attend two mandatory orientation sessions on campus. CUNY Hunter College admits new students for fall semester only and offers tuition discounts for New York residents.

    • Campus: New York, New York
    • Type: Public
    • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
    • Tuition: $305 per credit for New York residents; $620 per credit for out-of-state students
    • Admission Requirements: Associate degree in nursing from a regionally accredited college; minimum 3.2 GPA; current New York RN license
    • Minimum Time Commitment: 12 months
    • On Campus Requirements: Yes
    • Program: Bachelor of science in nursing
    • School site: Tuition | Financial aid
  6. Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis
    Location

    Indianapolis, IN

    IUPUI offers one of the best CCNE-accredited online RN-to-BSN programs in coordination with Indiana's eight other state nursing schools. Designed for working nurses, students can complete their BSN degrees in as little as 12 months after meeting general education requirements. IUPUI also offers a part-time enrollment option, where nursing students graduate in 18-24 months.

    Nursing students complete coursework such as health policy, comprehensive health assessment, nursing research, and informatics. IUPUI offers nursing courses in a condensed six- or eight-week term. Nursing students meet clinical requirements at their current workplaces.

    • Campus: Indianapolis, Indiana
    • Type: Public
    • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
    • Tuition: $424 per credit for Indiana residents; $1,223 per credit for out-of-state students
    • Admission Requirements: Associate of science in nursing or a nursing diploma; unencumbered RN license; minimum 2.5 GPA
    • Minimum Time Commitment: 12 months
    • On Campus Requirements: No
    • Program: Bachelor of science in nursing 
    • School site: Tuition | Financial aid
  7. Florida Atlantic University
    Location

    Boca Raton, FL

    The RN-to-BSN program at Florida Atlantic University offers a fully online BSN route for nurses with RN licensure. Students enroll for fall, spring, or summer start dates, choosing a plan of study to graduate in 3-6 semesters. The flexibility helps working nurses advance their careers with BSN degrees.

    The curriculum for BSN students emphasizes evidence-based practice, nursing research, and practical projects that build nursing skills. At FAU, online nursing students meet clinical hour requirements at local sites under approved preceptors. 

    • Campus: Boca Raton, Florida
    • Type: Public
    • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
    • Tuition: $203 per credit for Florida residents; $722 per credit for out-of-state students
    • Admission Requirements: Completion of 60 college credits from an accredited institution; associate degree in nursing; minimum 2.5 GPA; current RN license
    • Minimum Time Commitment: 12 months
    • On Campus Requirements: No
    • Program: Bachelor of science in nursing
    • School site: Tuition | Financial aid

Applying to an RN-to-MSN Bridge Program

Online RN-to-MSN programs typically maintain the same admission requirements as on-campus programs. All RN-to-BSN candidates must hold RN licensure and an ADN.

Usually, applicants are expected to hold a minimum GPA — typically 2.0-3.0 — and to have completed associate-level anatomy and physiology courses. Many schools require some professional nursing experience, and some ask for ACT or SAT scores.

In general, applicants can expect to provide their associate degree transcripts, resume, and at least one professional or academic recommendation letter.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What's the difference between a BSN and an RN license?

    A BSN is an academic degree that students obtain at colleges and universities, while an RN license is the credential that registered nurses need to legally work. Although a BSN and an RN license are two separate entities, aspiring nurses need a BSN or an associate degree in order to apply for RN licensure.

  • What is accreditation and why is it important?

    Accreditation is an evaluation process used to ensure that schools uphold quality standards. Most states require nursing licensure candidates to possess a degree from an accredited program. Look for programs with accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

  • How long does it take to complete an online RN-to-BSN program?

    An RN-to-BSN program typically takes 18-24 months to complete, although some accelerated options may allow students to graduate in one year. Part-time students may need more time to complete their degree.

  • What can I do with a BSN?

    BSN-holders typically work as RNs. A bachelor’s degree can lead to RN jobs with higher salaries and even nursing administration positions. In addition, nurses can specialize in certain areas, such as critical care, cardiovascular nursing, or nursing informatics. Some BSN-holders consider their bachelor’s degree to be a stepping stone to an advanced degree and a nurse practitioner career.

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