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:

Admission Requirements

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.

Program Curriculum

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.

Clinical Experience

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

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.

Program Length

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.

School NCLEX Pass Rate

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%.

School Graduation Rate

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 Learning Format and Requirements

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

#1

University of Florida-Online

School Information
Location Gainesville, Florida
Admission Rate 32%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

The University of Florida's part-time online RN-to-BSN program, approved by the Florida Board of Nursing, gives working nurses a convenient and virtual pathway to advance their careers. 

The program incorporates studies in pathophysiology and pharmacology, genetics and genomics, and legal and ethical issues. Nursing students complete the 90 clinical-hour requirement online, with no need to commute to campus.

UF only admits nursing students in the spring.

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#2

University of Florida

School Information
Location Gainesville, Florida
Admission Rate 37%
Graduation Rate 88%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The University of Florida offers an online BSN program with professional development opportunities outside of Gainesville, Florida. 

The program combines classroom, laboratory and clinical experiences to teach leadership, teamwork, and advocacy skills. Each semester, students complete critical-tracking courses, ensuring they earn at least a "C" grade to proceed.

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#3

University of Central Florida

School Information
Location Orlando, Florida
Admission Rate 44%
Graduation Rate 72%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 59% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The University of Central Florida's BSN online degree offers an affordable education with fee waivers for remote learners and a course plan that takes only three semesters to complete. 

Through classroom lectures, labs, and practicum experiences, students learn nursing research, pathophysiology, health assessments, and healthcare policy. 

The 30-credit program offers full- and part-time options with three start dates. UCF honors up to 29 prior learning credits, and three courses can go toward an MSN or a DNP degree.

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#4

Ohio State University-Main Campus

School Information
Location Columbus, Ohio
Admission Rate 54%
Graduation Rate 86%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 34% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Ohio State University's affordable online BSN program provides in-state tuition to students regardless of where they live and does not charge for textbooks. 

Online learners complete clinical experiences near their hometowns. The program offers a path to graduation in 12-15 months. 

Students take 30 credits in healthcare informatics, evidence-based practice, cultural competency, community health nursing, and concepts in leadership and management. 

Ohio State's BSN online degree offers start dates every semester.

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#5

University of Wisconsin-Madison

School Information
Location Madison, Wisconsin
Admission Rate 54%
Graduation Rate 88%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 18% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The University of Wisconsin's BSN online program lets nursing students study part time and graduate in as few as 18 months. 

Online learners complete 24-30 credits in the fall and spring. Summer courses are also available.

The seven-week courses explore concepts, such as chronic care management, nursing research, leadership and management, information and health technology, and community health nursing. Degree seekers gain professional experience during 60 hours of clinical work.

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#6

California State University-Stanislaus

School Information
Location Turlock, California
Admission Rate 89%
Graduation Rate 59%
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The California State University features an online BSN program that lets students complete the required 35 credits and 90 clinical hours in as few as 12 months. 

Courses teach nursing students about health assessments, leadership management, community health theory, pathophysiology, and transcultural nursing. 

Stan State accepts 30 nursing students every semester. Admitted students begin in the fall and spring.

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#7

Appalachian State University

School Information
Location Boone, North Carolina
Admission Rate 77%
Graduation Rate 73%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 23% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Appalachian State University offers an online program that students can complete in 1-3 years. App State's clinical requirements suit working nurses who can complete projects and research instead of traditional in-person work experience. 

Major coursework, comprising 30 credits, educates students about nursing informatics, health assessments, care of older adults, care of communities, nursing research, and nursing leadership and management.

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#8

Texas A & M International University

School Information
Location Laredo, Texas
Admission Rate 54%
Graduation Rate 47%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Texas A&M International University's BSN online degree, approved by the Texas Board of Nursing, puts nursing students on a track to graduate in 12 months.

TAMIU's 32-credit program incorporates lessons on health assessments, nursing research, cultural determinants of health behavior, community nursing, and nursing leadership and management. 

Nursing students complete each self-paced course in seven weeks. At the program's end, nursing students complete an extensive 126 clinical hours.

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#9

Farmingdale State College

School Information
Location Farmingdale, New York
Admission Rate 55%
Graduation Rate 52%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 25% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Farmingdale State College features a convenient online BSN degree that offers online clinical learning experiences and services programs in healthcare settings.

Nursing students take 60 core courses that focus on health promotion and patient education, advocacy, community nursing, and a senior leadership practice. 

Farmingdale only admits students in the fall.

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#10

Florida International University

School Information
Location Miami, Florida
Admission Rate 58%
Graduation Rate 63%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 68% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Florida International University's online BSN degree offers an accelerated program that takes as few as 12 months, or three semesters, to complete.

Nursing students can start this CCNE-accredited program during any semester and take courses in any sequence. FIU requires students to complete 33 credits that focus on health assessments, psychosocial nursing, adult physiological nursing, and evidence-based nursing and research.

Online learners take 27 credits in clinical practicum, which prepares them to earn advanced standing for a MSN or a DNP degree.

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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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