The Best Online BSN Programs of 2022

March 4, 2022 · 6 Min Read

Pursuing a BSN online provides academic freedom and flexibility for aspiring nurses. Check out this guide for a list of the best online BSN programs.

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Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

The Best Online BSN Programs of 2022
Credit: SDI Productions / E+ / Getty Images

With the increased employment demand, online bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) programs are becoming more widely accessible. Online BSN nursing programs offer many advantages for nursing students compared to traditional schooling. Registered nurses (RNs) holding BSNs also enjoy greater earning potential than nurses only holding an associate of science in nursing (ASN).

Benefits to an online RN-to-BSN format include flexible schedules, affordability, ability to continue to earn an income while attending school, and much more.

We use our data-driven methodology to rank the best online BSN programs, making it easier for you to find the program that works for you. Our methodology is based on metrics that we believe matter most to students, including academic quality, affordability, reputation, and program offerings.

Keep reading to learn more about BSN online curriculums or go directly to our list of the best online BSN programs.

Hear From Real Students About Their Experience Earning a BSN Degree Online

What Can You Do with an Online BSN Degree?

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), a baccalaureate education equips nurses with the critical thinking skills necessary to manage patients with complex diagnoses. A BSN also serves as a bridge to a master of science in nursing (MSN) or an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) role.

The AACN's "The Impact of Education on Nursing Practice" fact sheet shows that education plays a key role in a clinician's knowledge and proficiencies. Nurses with a BSN degree learn to manage the challenges of a multifaceted patient population and advancing healthcare system. The AACN further encourages employers to offer incentives to RNs seeking to advance their career with a bachelor's degree.

With the evolving healthcare system and increased patient complexity, many hospitals require nurses to hold a BSN or higher degree for employment. For other facilities that don't require a bachelor's for nurses, they are adopting "BSN-preferred" policies.

Common careers and roles you can pursue with this degree include:

adn or bsn Required

Critical Care Nurse

Critical care nurses work in an intensive care unit (ICU), step-down, or telemedicine ICU (tele-ICU). According to Payscale, the median salary for critical care nurses is $71,470 annually.
Salary $71,470*
Job Outlook 7% increase from 2019-2029
Learn More About Critical Care Nurses
adn or bsn + RN License Required

Public Health Nurse (PHN)

PHNs work in community clinics, schools, government agencies, outpatient clinics, or nonprofit organizations. Payscale lists the median annual salary as $70,000.
Salary $70,000*
Job Outlook 7% increase from 2019-2029
Learn More About Public Health Nurses
adn or bsn Required

Oncology Nurse

Some oncology nurse roles include a blood and marrow transplant nurse, pediatric oncology/hematology nurse, or breast care nurse. The average median salary is $76,350 per year, according to Payscale.
Salary $76,350*
Job Outlook 7% increase from 2019-2029
Learn More About Oncology Nurses
*SOURCE: Payscale

Featured Online BSN Programs

What to Look for in an Online BSN Program

Prior to enrollment in a BSN online program, prospective students should research schools to identify curricula that align with their goals.

Key metrics to pay attention to when deciding which program is best for you include:

Check qualifications for admission to ensure you meet the applicant criteria. All schools require a high school diploma or GED certificate and have other specific prerequisites that vary by institution. Qualifications may include a specific GPA, transcripts, and SAT scores. An active RN license is a requirement for the online RN-to-BSN program. Students may choose a program based on the core courses offered. The curriculum establishes the standards, objectives, and outcomes for nursing students. Quality programs prepare enrollees for future success in their career. All BSN programs must incorporate supervised, customized clinical experience. The hours, location, and format vary by school. Some online BSN programs encourage students to choose their clinical site and help the student with placement. Accreditation is a crucial factor when searching for online BSN nursing programs. The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) are accrediting agencies that ensure nursing programs adhere to state and national standards. An RN-to-BSN program typically takes 18-24 months to complete with full-time enrollment and generally comprises 30 credits. This data point varies by school. The NCLEX pass rate is a good indicator of a school's success in preparing BSN online students for the nursing field. A first-time NCLEX pass rate of 90% or higher indicates a high value program. As of the third quarter in 2021, the national NCLEX pass rate for first-time test-takers is close to 84%. This metric enables you to assess the quality of the school and its programs compared to other institutions. It demonstrates the percentage of students who graduate in an acceptable time frame. Online RN-to-BSN formats offer a variety of coursework that fits your career goals. Online classwork allows you to continue working and juggling other aspects of your life while attending school.

Applying to an Online BSN Program

An online RN-to-BSN program offers you the opportunity to advance your education and knowledge in a virtual learning environment. Although the application process may vary according to individual school policies, steps to apply to this program include:

  1. Earn an ASN.
  2. Sit for the NCLEX-RN exam.
  3. Complete an application.
  4. Send in official transcripts.
  5. Complete a background check and fingerprinting with some schools.

Specific prerequisites for the ten leading online BSN programs in the U.S. include:

Admission Materials

  • Online application
  • Official transcripts
  • ASN from an ACEN-accredited program
  • Hold an active, unencumbered state RN license or enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC)
  • NCLEX-RN pass rate ranging from 89%-100%
  • Specific number of non-nursing credits and nursing prerequisite courses

GPA Requirements

Minimum overall GPA of 2.5-3.0

Other Requirements

  • Background check
  • Fingerprinting
  • Drug screening
  • Immunization verification
  • Proof of health insurance

Why is Online BSN Program Accreditation Important?

Choosing an accredited online BSN curriculum is beneficial for many reasons.

  • Accreditation ensures that programs nationwide adhere to common quality standards.
  • Accredited schools are more likely to offer leading-edge and current nursing theory and practice.
  • Employers typically want to confirm the validity of BSN online programs and prefer to admit nurses from accredited programs.
  • Many post-graduate programs do not accept graduates from unaccredited schools.
  • Having a degree from an accredited school can lead to higher job prospects.
  • Some state boards of nursing only grant licensure to graduates from accredited institutions.
  • Attending an unaccredited institution can disqualify you from being eligible to receive federal financial aid.

Paying for Online BSN Programs

You can weigh different financial assistance options for online BSN nursing programs. This level of education offers financial aid through programs, such as:

  • Scholarships (i.e., Healthline Stronger Scholarship or National Black Nurses Association Scholarships)
  • Grants
  • Loans from the federal government, private funding, or public sources
  • Federally funded work-study programs that allow you to work part time

Learn More About the Top Online BSN Programs and Schools

Frequently Asked Questions About Online BSN Programs


How much more do nurses with their BSN earn?

According to Payscale, nurses who hold a BSN earn $88,000 annually ($33.30/hour) and nurses with an ASN earn $72,000 annually ($30.03/hour). This is about a 20% difference in salary.

Do hospitals hire nurses with online degrees?

Hospitals are making the shift to hire more nurses who hold BSN degrees. However, there is still a growing demand for nurses. With online RN-to-BSN programs becoming more prevalent, hospitals are trending towards hiring nursing graduates from accredited online schools.

Are a BSN and an RN the same thing?

There are specific differences between a BSN and an RN. A BSN refers to a "bachelor of science in nursing" — the college degree that many nurses complete before beginning their careers. RN refers to a "registered nurse," which is an occupation. The two are related, however, since many nurses earn BSNs to become RNs.

Can I get a BSN without being an RN?

Yes. Although some licensed RNs enroll in RN-to-BSN programs, most aspiring nurses pursue their BSN before earning RN licensure. Many students pursue a BSN to become RNs or obtain RN licensure before applying to master's programs in nursing.

Hear From Students Who Earned Their BSN Online

To help you find the right nursing program for you, we surveyed 100 unique students and are sharing their opinions with you. Filter to explore programs you’re interested in and sort to read the good, the bad, and everything in between. By leaving a review, students were entered to win a sweepstakes.

  • Age 24
  • Accelerated BSN Program
  • BSN
  • Grand Canyon University

Experience

4.0
blue star blue star blue star blue star blank star

Networking opportunities

5.0

Support from professors

4.0

Affordability

3.0

Job placement assistance

4.0

"Online classes are great since I am learning by successfully using digital tools. A flexible schedule of lecturers allows me to learn from the comfort of my own home."

  • Currently enrolled
  • Fully online
  • Age 23
  • BSN
  • The University of Toledo

Experience

4.0
blue star blue star blue star blue star blank star

Networking opportunities

2.0

Support from professors

4.0

Affordability

3.0

Job placement assistance

4.0

"These online programs engaged me on a deeper level of comprehension and helped me study in a more advanced, efficient manner by using various online resources."

  • Currently enrolled
  • Fully online
  • Age 22
  • BSN
  • Ancilla College

Experience

4.0
blue star blue star blue star blue star blank star

Networking opportunities

2.0

Support from professors

3.0

Affordability

2.0

Job placement assistance

3.0

"The overall experience of online classes is good because experienced lecturers are presenting concepts with examples that make learning simple."

  • Currently enrolled
  • Fully online
  • Age 24
  • BSN
  • Nightingale College

Experience

4.0
blue star blue star blue star blue star blank star

Networking opportunities

3.0

Support from professors

3.0

Affordability

3.0

Job placement assistance

2.0

"I believe that online programs and courses provide a more flexible education. It manages the stress of students who have other commitments."

  • Currently enrolled
  • Fully online
  • Age 22
  • Professional nursing practice
  • BSN
  • Lehman College

Experience

4.0
blue star blue star blue star blue star blank star

Networking opportunities

2.0

Support from professors

4.0

Affordability

3.0

Job placement assistance

3.0

"Online lectures are terrific in my experience since I'm skilled at using digital tools and learning information, which makes learning through my online course easy for me."

  • Currently enrolled
  • Fully online
  • Age 22
  • Clinical Educator
  • BSN
  • AdventHealth University

Experience

5.0
blue star blue star blue star blue star blue star

Networking opportunities

3.0

Support from professors

1.0

Affordability

2.0

Job placement assistance

4.0

"Online courses for nursing programs are the most convenient approach to learning different specializations. Lecturers are also supportive in clarifying my doubts about any topic."

  • Currently enrolled
  • Fully online
  • Age 23
  • Nurse Practitioner
  • BSN
  • Maranatha Baptist University

Experience

4.0
blue star blue star blue star blue star blank star

Networking opportunities

3.0

Support from professors

4.0

Affordability

3.0

Job placement assistance

3.0

"I discovered that during COVID online courses for nursing practice are ideal to complete the basic curriculum quickly with the convenience online platforms provide."

  • Currently enrolled
  • Fully online
  • Age 22
  • BSN
  • Farmingdale State College

Experience

4.0
blue star blue star blue star blue star blank star

Networking opportunities

2.0

Support from professors

3.0

Affordability

4.0

Job placement assistance

4.0

"I realized that for online classes I need to maintain a high level of self-discipline to attend classes and self-study for my education."

  • Currently enrolled
  • Fully online
  • Age 23
  • Nursing Leadership
  • BSN
  • Eastern Illinois University

Experience

5.0
blue star blue star blue star blue star blue star

Networking opportunities

4.0

Support from professors

4.0

Affordability

4.0

Job placement assistance

2.0

"In my experience, students in an online classroom feel comfortable in understanding several topics, and moreover, online platforms give a chance for learning uniquely with teacher guidance and support."

  • Currently enrolled
  • Fully online
  • Age 23
  • Pre-Licensure Emphasis
  • BSN
  • Southern Utah University

Experience

5.0
blue star blue star blue star blue star blue star

Networking opportunities

2.0

Support from professors

4.0

Affordability

3.0

Job placement assistance

4.0

"Because of the COVID pandemic, I believe that online classes offered by universities have an impact on a student's mental health. I am experiencing the same as a result of recurring online classes."

  • Currently enrolled
  • Fully online
  • Age 24
  • Integrative Nursing
  • BSN
  • Rasmussen College

Experience

4.0
blue star blue star blue star blue star blank star

Networking opportunities

3.0

Support from professors

3.0

Affordability

4.0

Job placement assistance

2.0

"I think clinical education is important, which I do not have as part of my present online program."

  • Currently enrolled
  • Fully online
  • Age 22
  • BSN
  • Aspen University

Experience

4.0
blue star blue star blue star blue star blank star

Networking opportunities

3.0

Support from professors

4.0

Affordability

3.0

Job placement assistance

3.0

"While working and attending college, I believe that online classes are a terrific option for me. Online classes are not only convenient, but the classes also educate me on how to be a more disciplined student."

  • Currently enrolled
  • Fully online
  • Age 24
  • Clinical Nurse
  • BSN
  • University of North Dakota

Experience

4.0
blue star blue star blue star blue star blank star

Networking opportunities

3.0

Support from professors

4.0

Affordability

4.0

Job placement assistance

3.0

"I believe that online learning is a preferable option because I am safe at home and every university offers online nursing courses."

  • Currently enrolled
  • Fully online
  • Age 22
  • Professional Nursing Concepts
  • BSN
  • University of Louisiana

Experience

5.0
blue star blue star blue star blue star blue star

Networking opportunities

3.0

Support from professors

4.0

Affordability

3.0

Job placement assistance

4.0

"Online nursing schools provide the advantage of flexible scheduling and a wide range of nursing specializations."

  • Currently enrolled
  • Fully online
  • Age 23
  • Nursing Leadership
  • BSN
  • Pennsylvania State University

Experience

5.0
blue star blue star blue star blue star blue star

Networking opportunities

3.0

Support from professors

4.0

Affordability

5.0

Job placement assistance

3.0

"Online classes are effective because students from all over the world may participate in a virtual learning environment rich in different viewpoints and ideas."

  • Currently enrolled
  • Fully online
  • Age 21
  • Communication and Collaboration in Healthcare
  • BSN
  • McNeese State University

Experience

5.0
blue star blue star blue star blue star blue star

Networking opportunities

4.0

Support from professors

5.0

Affordability

4.0

Job placement assistance

3.0

"My faculty is excellent. They direct me to demands relating to clinical expertise."

  • Currently enrolled
  • Fully online
  • Age 23
  • Nurse Practitioner
  • BSN
  • Wilson College

Experience

4.0
blue star blue star blue star blue star blank star

Networking opportunities

3.0

Support from professors

4.0

Affordability

3.0

Job placement assistance

3.0

"I believe online nursing programs provide me a more affordable education, and they make it easier to manage distance learning through a range of online platforms."

  • Currently enrolled
  • Fully online
  • Age 23
  • Nurse Educator
  • BSN
  • California State University

Experience

5.0
blue star blue star blue star blue star blue star

Networking opportunities

5.0

Support from professors

5.0

Affordability

4.0

Job placement assistance

4.0

"There is less pressure in online classes, and classrooms are easier to organize with the help of online platforms. Learning is more participative and pleasurable."

  • Currently enrolled
  • Fully online
  • Age 22
  • BSN
  • Wilson University

Experience

5.0
blue star blue star blue star blue star blue star

Networking opportunities

4.0

Support from professors

5.0

Affordability

3.0

Job placement assistance

3.0

"Online courses improved my knowledge. I also learned various nursing concepts, and my faculty has experience in this field so they explained things very well."

  • Currently enrolled
  • Fully online
Reviews Methodology

This survey utilized a computer-assisted telephone interview (CATI) methodology, conducted by our partners at Jasper Colin Research. Jasper Colin Research is a market research agency with participant panels built through databases such as Dun and Bradstreet, Zoominfo, etc.

In terms of participant recruitment, Jasper Colin Research has internal repositories, which have been developed by sourcing the database from past studies. These databases are then reviewed, authenticated, and updated by maintaining a quarterly contact with these respondents, through which it is verified if the respondent is currently a nursing student or recent graduate. Further, the respondent’s qualifications / educational background is confirmed through a screening section within the survey. Those who qualify and complete the survey are awarded a small cash honorarium for their participation.

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