Best Online ADN-to-BSN Programs

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Registered nurses (RNs) who already possess an associate degree in nursing (ADN) return to school for many reasons. A bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) can help nurses improve their practice and lead to better quality of care in outpatient and inpatient healthcare settings, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

In addition to helping RNs further develop their professional expertise, a BSN can lead to higher salaries. Payscale data shows that ADN-holders earn an average salary of about $69,500 — about $15,000 less than BSN-holders who make average earnings of about $85,200.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also projects that the number of RNs could increase by 7% from 2019-29, which means nursing jobs will be in plentiful supply after nurses return to school and reenter the job market.

Luckily, RNs do not need to enroll in a four-year program to earn their BSN. Instead, they can find RN-to-BSN or ADN-to-BSN programs. These degrees allow nurses to transfer their credits and graduate in half the time. Plus, pursuing an RN-to-BSN online offers students the flexibility to work while studying.

If you’re interested in advancing your education and career, you can find a list of the best online RN-to-BSN programs below.

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.

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Best Online ADN-to-BSN Programs

Rank School Location
1 University of Massachusetts-Amherst Amherst, MA
2 Jacksonville University Jacksonville, FL
3 University of Wyoming Laramie, WY
4 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA
5 Western Governors University Salt Lake City, UT
  1. University of Massachusetts-Amherst
    Location

    Amherst, MA

    Established in 1863, UMass Amherst offers an online ADN-to-BSN program for licensed registered nurses (RN) who seek a bachelor’s degree. Online learners need 60 credits to graduate. The school grants 30 credits to students with RN licensure, leaving 30 credits of coursework remaining. Courses in this program are synchronous and include nursing care of families, writing in nursing ethics, community health nursing, and vulnerable and underserved populations. Full-time students can finish their degrees in one year, while part-time students often need up to two years.

    Prospective students for this online ADN-to-BSN nursing program should hold a minimum 2.5 GPA and a current RN license. Applicants’ transcripts need to reflect successful completion of UMass Amherst’s seven nursing course prerequisites: nutrition, human anatomy, human physiology, medical microbiology, abnormal psychology, lifespan growth and development, and statistics. Students can complete all of their degree requirements online, with no on-campus obligations. All distance learners pay the same tuition rates at UMass Amherst, regardless of their location.

    • Campus: Amherst, Massachusetts – Online
    • Type: Public
    • Accreditation: NLNAC
    • Tuition: $15,300
    • Minimum time commitment: 30 credits over either one or two years
    • Degree requirements: GPA of 2.5 minimum, RN license, letters of recommendation, transcripts, application fee, English proficiency if applicable
    • Programs: RN to BSN
  2. Jacksonville University
    Location

    Jacksonville, FL

    Jacksonville University is a private institution that offers an online ADN-to-BSN nursing program for distance learners. Accredited by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, online students develop management and leadership skills in addition to learning academic research methods. JU nursing students follow a career-focused curriculum that includes courses like professional nursing, holistic nursing, healthcare policy, and evidence-based nursing. Students need 120 credits for graduation. Incoming students with a registered nurse (RN) license automatically receive 30 credits toward their BSN.

    This ADN-to-BSN online degree requires applicants to hold a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA and an active RN license. Applications must include three letters of recommendation and official transcripts. The school may require some applicants to interview. Active-duty military and veterans (and their spouses and dependents) receive a 10% tuition discount for both the undergraduate and graduate nursing programs.

    • Campus: Jacksonville, Florida – Online
    • Type: Private
    • Accreditation: CCNE
    • Tuition: $460 per credit hour
    • Minimum time commitment: 120 credits maximum (up to 66 credits can be wavered)
    • Degree requirements: State approved ADN degree, Grade C minimum, RN license
    • Programs: RN to BSN
  3. University of Wyoming
    Location

    Laramie, WY

    Located in Laramie, Wyoming, the University of Wyoming is a public land-grant institution with approximately 12,400 students. UW offers its distance learners an ADN-to-BSN nursing online program accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. UW’s nursing program features a completion-style program for incoming students who possess a registered nursing license. The program features 8-week, self-paced asynchronous coursework students complete entirely online with no on-campus obligations.

    The school is a member of a collaborative, statewide nursing education project that improves local educational resources, optimizes student use of clinical facilities throughout Wyoming, and creates mutually beneficial professional relationships between colleges and nursing professionals. UW offers students the opportunity to meet with prospective employers at their nursing job fair. Distance learners can attend the fair using a virtual recruiting tool provided by the nursing program. Admission to the program is competitive; prospective students must possess at least a 3.5 cumulative GPA.

    • Campus: Laramie, Wyoming – Online
    • Type: Public
    • Accreditation: CCNE
    • Tuition: $106 per credit hour
    • Minimum time commitment: 120 credits hours maximum
    • Degree requirements: RN license, ADN, GPA of 2.5 minimum, prerequisite courses, transcripts
    • Programs: RN to BSN
  4. Drexel University
    Location

    Philadelphia, PA

    As one of its 140 online programs, Drexel offers an online ADN-to-BSN nursing program. Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, this private research university allows nursing students to complete their BSN in as few as 12 months. Incoming students can transfer up to 180 quarter credits toward their degrees. Online learners complete practical, evidence-based courses including developmental psychology, anatomy and physiology, critical issues in nursing, transformational leadership, and issues in aging and longevity. Classes are accelerated and take place during 10-week quarters.

    Prospective students should possess an associate degree or diploma in nursing with a 2.0 GPA or higher. Additionally, incoming learners need a current registered nurse license. Applicants’ official transcripts should reflect 60 semester hours of college-level prerequisites — such as microbiology, sociology, and English — with a “C” grade or higher. Drexel alums and military members receive discounted tuition rates.

    • Campus: Online
    • Type: Private
    • Accreditation: CCNE
    • Tuition: $612 per credit hour or $510 for those who work for a partnering institution
    • Minimum time commitment: 47 credits
    • Degree requirements: RN license, ADN, High School/GED, transcripts
    • Programs: RN to BSN
  5. Western Governors University
    Location

    Salt Lake City, UT

    WGU is a private school established in 1997 with approximately 91,500 students. Online students in its ADN-to-BSN online program engage with an evidence-based curriculum focused on patient safety, healthcare policies, leadership skills, and the integration of modern technology with daily nursing practices. Graduates move on to work in doctor’s offices, school health programs, community health clinics, or to pursue further education. Students complete coursework entirely online. The program offers both self-paced and cohort-based learning, with eight live webcam sessions with fellow students and faculty. Additionally, the program requires some in-person fieldwork experiences that distance learners complete at an approved location convenient for them.

    Students should hold an associate degree or diploma in nursing and a current registered nursing license. WGU expects applicants to possess prior work experience in the nursing field and be actively working at the time of application. The school boasts a comparatively low overall student cost to complete the ADN-to-BSN online program.

    • Campus: Online or Salt Lake City, Utah
    • Type: Private, Non-Profit
    • Accreditation: CCNE
    • Tuition: Inquire
    • Minimum time commitment: 70 credits – 18 months
    • Degree requirements: Interview, RN license
    • Programs: ADN to BSN

Applying to an Online ADN-to-BSN Degree Program

Although ADN-to-BSN programs have varying admission requirements, all schools require incoming students to hold RN licensure and an accredited associate degree. Some programs require applicants to possess a certain amount of experience before applying, while other programs allow students to apply with just a degree and no professional experience.

Applicants should typically meet a minimum GPA requirement, which could range from 2.5-3.0. Schools often look for proof that candidates passed certain classes like anatomy and physiology with at least a “C” grade. In addition to sending in their ADN transcripts, prospective students may need to submit academic and professional letters of recommendation.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

Generally speaking, online RN-to-BSN programs take about two years to complete for full-time students. Traditional BSN programs comprise 120 credits, which students complete in four years. ADN-to-BSN students can apply the 60 credits from their associate degree to their bachelor’s degree and graduate in half the time. Keep in mind that part-time students may need an extra 1-2 years to earn their bachelor’s degree.

What is accreditation and why is it important?

When looking at potential ADN-to-BSN programs, it’s important to consider accreditation status. Accreditation guarantees that students receive a quality education that adequately prepares them for their careers. Accreditation holds an especially significant role with nursing programs; without accredited degrees, nursing candidates do not qualify for licensure. Accreditation agencies for nursing programs include the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

Are online BSN programs good?

As long as online BSN programs possess accreditation from an agency like the CCNE or ACEN, they match the same standards as on-campus programs. Online BSN programs can prepare students for nursing careers just as traditional programs do, which make them good degrees for anyone looking to advance their education on their own terms.

How long does it take to get a BSN from an RN?

It usually takes two years for RNs who already hold licensure to earn a BSN. However, part-time students who continue working as RNs may need an additional 1-2 years to graduate.

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