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Best Online BSN Programs 2021

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A bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) prepares graduates to advance their career opportunities as registered nurses (RNs). According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, RNs who hold a BSN receive higher-quality preparation and provide better patient care than RNs with an associate degree (ADN).

The need for well-trained RNs continues to grow, not only on the front lines of the current COVID-19 crisis, but also to care for an aging population. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 7% growth rate in employment of RNs from 2019-29. Job prospects look particularly strong for RNs with a BSN.

Students can complete their BSN online in about a year. Distance learning allows RNs to continue working while studying through asynchronous lectures accessible 24/7 or synchronous sessions offered at scheduled times. The curriculum comprises courses in communication, critical thinking, healthcare leadership, nursing informatics, pathophysiology, and research and statistics.

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Top Bachelor's in Nursing (BSN) Programs

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Featured Online Programs

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  1. University of Florida-Online
    Location

    Gainesville, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Description:

    UF's RN-to-BSN online program prepares RNs for career advancement or graduate nursing education. The university's entirely online curriculum teaches the analytical, leadership, and management skills required to deliver high-quality care. Health assessment and public health courses include clinical components, which enrollees can complete online or in their local communities. Graduates emerge trained for BSN-level positions as clinical nurse specialists or in ICU, OB/GYN, surgical, pediatric, or school nursing.

    Distance learners who reside in Florida receive a significant discount on tuition. Online students can access financial aid, IT support, and counseling services.

    Details:

    • Program(s): Bachelor of science in nursing - RN-to-BSN
    • Campus: Gainesville, Florida
      • Type: Public
      • Accreditation(s): Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC); Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
      • Tuition: $129 per credit in-state; $553 per credit out-of-state
      • Admission Requirements: Associate degree in nursing from an accredited program; minimum 2.8 GPA in nursing courses; current, unencumbered Florida or Nurse Licensure Compact RN license; prerequisite coursework
      • Minimum Time Commitment: 48 months
      • On-Campus Requirements: No
    • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96%
  2. University of Central Florida
    Location

    Orlando, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Description:

    The online BSN program at UCF leads to a post-RN-licensure bachelor's degree. Its 30-credit core curriculum emphasizes science and leadership, along with preparation for graduate nursing studies.

    Distance learners can accelerate their studies or take one course per semester. Coursework explores dimensions of professional practice; public and community health nursing; health promotion across the lifespan; and leadership, management, and role development. The plan of study includes a community and public health practicum, which students can complete in their local communities.

    Florida residents pay far less tuition than non-residents. UCF offers more than $200,000 in nursing scholarships to eligible applicants.

    Details:

    • Program(s): Bachelor of science in nursing - RN-to-BSN
      • Campus: Orlando, Florida
      • Type: Public
      • Accreditation(s): Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC); Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
      • Tuition: $179 per credit in-state; $716 per credit out-of-state
      • Admission Requirements: Minimum 2.8 GPA; RN license; resident of Florida or Nurse Licensure Compact state; associate degree, bachelor's degree or equivalent; prerequisite coursework
      • Minimum Time Commitment: Three semesters
      • On-Campus Requirements: No
    • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 97%
  3. Ohio State University-Main Campus
    Location

    Columbus, OH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Description:

    Ohio State's online BSN degree offers a degree-completion pathway for registered nurses. Distance learners apply existing credits earned in their associate degree in nursing or nursing diploma program toward their bachelor of science in nursing degree. Enrollees must previously have earned their degree from a school accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.

    Students admitted to the 30-credit core course program can opt for a 12-month or 15-month curriculum. Required courses include foundations and contemporary issues for registered nurses, cultural competence in healthcare, concepts in community health nursing, and evolving concepts in leadership and management.

    Students completing the program online can expect to pay in-state tuition rates regardless of residency.

    Details:

    • Program(s): Bachelor of science in nursing - RN-to-BSN
    • Campus: Columbus, Ohio
    • Type: Public
    • Accreditation(s): Higher Learning Commission (HLC); Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
    • Tuition: $382 per credit
    • Admission Requirements: Associate degree or diploma in nursing; minimum 2.0 GPA; current, unrestricted RN license; prerequisite coursework
    • Minimum Time Commitment: 12 months
    • On-Campus Requirements: No
    • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
  4. The University of Alabama
    Location

    Tuscaloosa, AL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Description:

    UA's online RN-to-BSN program allows registered nurses to study fully online while continuing to work. The curriculum includes university core requirements and student-arranged clinical practicums. These experiences fulfill community health course requirements for RNs and individuals interested in pursuing leadership and management roles.

    UA accepts approved transfer credits. Additional classes include nursing informatics, complex client systems, and inquiry for evidence-based practice.

    The distance learning tuition rate does not vary by residency. Remote learners can apply for scholarships and financial aid. Coursework uses the Blackboard online platform for video-streamed lectures and interaction with professors and students.

    Details:

    • Program(s): Bachelor of science in nursing - RN-to-BSN
      • Campus: Tuscaloosa, Alabama
      • Type: Public
      • Accreditation(s): Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC); Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
      • Tuition: $375 per credit
      • Admission Requirements: Associate degree in nursing or nursing diploma from an Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing-accredited nursing school; minimum 2.5 undergraduate GPA (2.0 in science courses); unencumbered RN license; prerequisite coursework
      • Minimum Time Commitment: Three semesters
      • On-Campus Requirements: No
    • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 98%
  5. Florida International University
    Location

    Miami, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Description:

    FIU's online RN-to-BSN program creates opportunities for nurses to advance their careers and expand their skills. With coursework in community health, nursing leadership in global healthcare, and health, wellness, and care across cultures, the BSN degree program provides the foundation in evidence-based nursing practice.

    Distance learners can pursue their degree through full- or part-time enrollment. FIU accepts a minimum of 60 lower-division transfer credits. Students complete their classes fully online and arrange onsite clinical placements during their final semester.

    Before beginning their placements, nurses submit background checks, health information, proof of liability insurance, and signed agreements with their clinical preceptors.

    Details:

    • Program(s): Bachelor of science in nursing - RN-to-BSN
      • Campus: Miami, Florida
      • Type: Public
      • Accreditation(s): Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC); Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
      • Tuition: $229 per credit in-state; $346 per credit out-of-state
      • Admission Requirements: Associate degree in nursing or nursing diploma from an Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing-accredited nursing school; minimum 2.7 undergraduate GPA; unencumbered Florida RN license; prerequisite coursework
      • Minimum Time Commitment: Three semesters
      • On-Campus Requirements: No
    • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 93%
  6. Appalachian State University
    Location

    Boone, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Description:

    Appalachian offers a 30-credit, part-time RN-to-BSN. Nursing online students graduate prepared for advanced studies or career enhancement. Appalachian's cohort-structured program features entirely online coursework and includes project-based and research-based clinical experiences within each course.

    Enrollees typically complete the clinical components at their places of employment. Core requirements include nursing informatics, concepts of professional nursing, and nursing care of older adults. Professional nursing synthesis, an evidence-based research course, occurs during the final semester.

    Admitted students work with assigned advisors and interact with faculty members through virtual appointments or office hours. Distance learners attend a mandatory online orientation session.

    Details:

    • Program(s): Bachelor of science in nursing - RN-to-BSN
      • Campus: Boone, North Carolina
      • Type: Public
      • Accreditation(s): Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC); Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
      • Tuition: $163 per credit in-state; $663 out-of-state
      • Admission Requirements: Applied science or associate degree in nursing or nursing diploma; minimum 2.5 GPA; unrestricted, unencumbered RN license issued in North Carolina or a Nurse Licensure Compact state; 60 hours of lower-division coursework and 30 hours of major nursing courses
      • Minimum Time Commitment: 12 months
      • On-Campus Requirements: No
    • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 100%
  7. Texas A & M University-College Station
    Location

    College Station, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Description:

    As one of the leading Texas online BSN programs, Texas A&M's RN-to-BSN allows distance learners to balance their education with their careers and other obligations. Students complete the 30-credit core course load online, except for a required new student conference held on campus over two days. Enrollees log their clinical practicum hours at sites in their own communities.

    Depending on the program start date, completion options span 3-5 semesters. Course topics include nursing dimensions and informatics, health promotion across the lifespan, pathophysiology and pharmacology, and community health.

    The online learning platform features interactive resources like wikis, blogs, and other communication tools. Students can access technical help 24/7.

    Details:

    • Program(s): Bachelor of science in nursing - RN-to-BSN
      • Campus: College Station, Texas
      • Type: Public
      • Accreditation(s): Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC); Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
      • Tuition: $12,000 per year in-state; $39,000 per year out-of-state
      • Admission Requirements: Associate degree in nursing; minimum 3.0 GPA recommended; unencumbered RN license; 59 prerequisite course credits in humanities and sciences
      • Minimum Time Commitment: 12 months
      • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
    • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 99%
  8. Pennsylvania State University-World Campus
    Location

    University Park, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Description:

    Offered by Penn State's World Campus, the RN-to-BSN online program focuses on nursing theory, clinical skill development, and career marketability. Asynchronous learning provides flexibility and combines self-study with peer-to-peer interaction.

    Each enrollee can choose to earn a specialty certificate in nursing management, nursing informatics, or nursing forensics. The program culminates with a 45-hour clinical experience as part of a capstone course.

    Students can transfer qualifying credits but must earn 36 of the final 60 credits at Penn State. Distance learners may opt for accelerated courses. Graduates of the accredited online BSN program often move into supervisory nursing roles or pursue further education at the master's or doctoral level.

    Details:

    • Program(s): Bachelor of science in nursing - RN-to-BSN
      • Campus: University Park, Pennsylvania
      • Type: Public
      • Accreditation(s): Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE); Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
      • Tuition: $576-617 per credit, based on credit load
      • Admission Requirements: High school diploma or GED certificate; active RN license; prerequisite coursework
      • Minimum Time Commitment: 12 months
      • On-Campus Requirements: No
    • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 93%
  9. University of Massachusetts-Amherst
    Location

    Amherst, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Description:

    UMass Amherst's RN-to-BSN online program emphasizes culturally relevant care for underserved populations, collaboration, and professionalism. Distance learners can earn their degree at UMass while working full time in 1-2-year pathways with asynchronous course instruction and 24/7 technical support.

    The program accepts approved transfer credits and works with students to tailor their study plans to their needs. Courses include nursing care of families, cultural diversity in health and illness, health and physical assessment, and writing in nursing ethics.

    The curriculum also includes clinical practicum hours working with vulnerable and underserved populations. Online students pay the same tuition regardless of their location.

    Details:

    • Program(s): Bachelor of science in nursing - RN-to-BSN
      • Campus: Amherst, Massachusetts
      • Type: Public
      • Accreditation(s): New England Commission on Higher Education (NECHE); Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
      • Tuition: $585 per credit
      • Admission Requirements: Minimum 2.5 GPA; current RN license; completion of 52 out of 60 non-nursing credits and seven nursing prerequisite courses
      • Minimum Time Commitment: 12 months
      • On-Campus Requirements: No
    • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 89%
  10. Farmingdale State College
    Location

    Farmingdale, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Description:

    A nurse interested in earning a BSN degree online should consider the RN-to-BSN completion program at Farmingdale. As a part of the State University of New York system, the program balances general education with nurse training. Clinical experiences complement the program's virtual course delivery to prepare bachelor's-level nurses.

    Courses include the art of nursing, developing nurses' ways of knowing, health promotion and patient education, and the nurse as an advocate and change agent.

    Admitted students can transfer a minimum of 30 nursing credits and 20 liberal arts and science credits with departmental approval. New York residents pay less than half of the tuition of non-residents.

    Details:

    • Program(s): Bachelor of science in nursing - RN-to-BSN
      • Campus: Farmingdale, New York
      • Type: Public
      • Accreditation(s): Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE); Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
      • Tuition: $295 per credit in-state; $708 per credit out-of-state
      • Admission Requirements: Associate degree in nursing from an accredited program; minimum 3.0 GPA; current, unencumbered RN license; prerequisite coursework
      • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
      • On-Campus Requirements: No
    • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96%

Applying to an Online BSN Degree Program

Online BSN programs typically follow a model of virtual course delivery designed for working RNs. The curriculum includes in-person clinical experience, which students may complete at their current place of employment or approved site.

Applicants need an ADN from an accredited school — or a diploma in nursing at some schools — with a minimum GPA of 2.0-3.0 and an RN license. Admission may also require lower-division core coursework, usually 60 transferable credits, and nursing major courses (24-30 hours). Submission requirements may include transcripts, resumes, SAT or ACT scores, and recommendation letters. Some programs prefer applicants with professional nursing experience.

Professionals with a BSN can apply for master of science in nursing programs, which train advanced practice nurses, along with certifications in specialization areas and specific skills.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

    Online BSN programs usually take between 18 months and two years to complete. Accelerated options may allow completion in a year or less. Time to graduation depends on full- or part-time enrollment status and the number of transferable credits students have earned in their ADN programs.

  • What is accreditation and why is it important?

    Accreditation of online BSN programs indicates high-quality academics that adhere to professional nursing standards. Students should make sure to attend programs accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. Schools should also hold regional accreditation recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

  • Are online BSN programs good?

    Accredited online BSN programs offer the same educational quality as traditional BSN programs. They also provide flexibility and accelerated degree options for working RNs. Earning a BSN degree online works best for students with professional nursing experience and completion of core undergraduate coursework along with the requisite ADN and RN license.

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

    To become licensed RNs, applicants need an ADN or a diploma in nursing, which takes 1-3 years to earn. State boards specify criteria for RN licensing, including requisite supervised clinical hours. All states require a passing score on the NCLEX-RN exam. RN-to-BSN programs can usually be completed within two years.

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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