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The Best Online RN-to-BSN Programs of 2024

Janice Monti, Ph.D.
Updated April 11, 2024
Edited by
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Are you an RN interested in completing your undergraduate nursing education? These top RN-to-BSN programs can be completed in just 12-24 months.
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Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

Credit: filadendron / E+ / Getty Images

If you have an associate degree in nursing (ADN) and a registered nurse (RN) license, earning an RN-to-BSN degree can lead to more advanced nursing positions and higher pay.

A bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree builds on your clinical skills and practical experience, leading to enhanced career opportunities and a foundation for graduate studies. Online RN-to-BSN programs let you earn a BSN in as little as one year.

Explore our rankings of the best online RN-to-BSN programs and learn more about online courses, admission requirements, and accreditation.

Popular Online RN-to-BSN Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

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The Best Online RN-to-BSN Programs of 2024

#1 The Best Online RN-to-BSN Programs of 2024

University of Central Florida

  • Location-markerOrlando, FL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$4,478
  • Out-of-state$19,810
  • Retention Rate92%
  • Acceptance Rate36%
  • Students Enrolled70,310
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment9%
  • AccreditationYes
#2 The Best Online RN-to-BSN Programs of 2024

Ohio State University-Main Campus

  • Location-markerColumbus, OH
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$11,018
  • Out-of-state$34,101
  • Retention Rate94%
  • Acceptance Rate57%
  • Students Enrolled61,677
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment77%
  • AccreditationYes
#3 The Best Online RN-to-BSN Programs of 2024

Clemson University

  • Location-markerClemson, SC
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$14,118
  • Out-of-state$37,110
  • Retention Rate94%
  • Acceptance Rate49%
  • Students Enrolled27,341
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment49%
  • AccreditationYes
#4 The Best Online RN-to-BSN Programs of 2024

Lake-Sumter State College

  • Location-markerLeesburg, FL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$3,292
  • Out-of-state$13,276
  • Retention Rate0%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled4,342
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment79%
  • AccreditationYes
#5 The Best Online RN-to-BSN Programs of 2024

George Washington University

  • Location-markerWashington, DC
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$57,894
  • Out-of-state$57,894
  • Retention Rate91%
  • Acceptance Rate50%
  • Students Enrolled26,457
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment26%
  • AccreditationYes
#6 The Best Online RN-to-BSN Programs of 2024

Appalachian State University

  • Location-markerBoone, NC
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$4,242
  • Out-of-state$19,849
  • Retention Rate86%
  • Acceptance Rate85%
  • Students Enrolled20,641
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment60%
  • AccreditationYes
#7 The Best Online RN-to-BSN Programs of 2024

University of South Carolina-Columbia

  • Location-markerColumbia, SC
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$12,288
  • Out-of-state$33,528
  • Retention Rate87%
  • Acceptance Rate62%
  • Students Enrolled35,471
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment56%
  • AccreditationYes
#8 The Best Online RN-to-BSN Programs of 2024

The University of Tennessee-Knoxville

  • Location-markerKnoxville, TN
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$11,332
  • Out-of-state$29,522
  • Retention Rate88%
  • Acceptance Rate75%
  • Students Enrolled31,701
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment46%
  • AccreditationYes
#9 The Best Online RN-to-BSN Programs of 2024

University of North Carolina Wilmington

  • Location-markerWilmington, NC
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$4,443
  • Out-of-state$18,508
  • Retention Rate83%
  • Acceptance Rate68%
  • Students Enrolled18,030
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment75%
  • AccreditationYes
#10 The Best Online RN-to-BSN Programs of 2024

Abilene Christian University-Undergraduate Online

  • Location-markerAddison, TX
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$14,220
  • Out-of-state$14,220
  • Retention Rate0%
  • Acceptance Rate100%
  • Students Enrolled422
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment0%
  • AccreditationYes

Nurse Featured Online RN-to-BSN Programs

NurseJournal asked Elizabeth Clarke, FNP, MSN, RN, MSSW to review each of the online RN-to-BSN programs below. In their review, they considered factors that influence nursing student experiences, including reputation, faculty, program quality, and value.

The following are the featured programs selected by Elizabeth Clarke.

1. Ohio State University-Main Campus

“OSU’s program is 100% online and asynchronous. This is a great option for RNs who works full-time and do not want to cut back to part-time or PRN to complete their RN-to-BSN program.

“OSU also offers a great selection of financial aid and scholarships. Rather than having students spend $500-1000 per semester, they offer online resources and provide textbooks to their students at no cost. This shows dedication to their students and an understanding that the RN-BSN student is a working professional who may not be able to afford additional costs on top of tuition.”

Elizabeth Clarke, FNP, MSN, RN, MSSW

Meet Clarke arrow-narrow-right

2. Lake-Sumter State College

“Lake-Sumter’s online RN-to-BSN program is one of the more affordable program available. The courses are only seven weeks long rather than an entire semester. This shows that the program supports working professionals as it guides them through the curriculum over a short period of time instead of prolonging the program over multiple semesters.”

Elizabeth Clarke, FNP, MSN, RN, MSSW

Meet Clarke arrow-narrow-right

3. Appalachian State University

“APP state provides helpful breakdowns of completion times for their RN-BSN program. The program can be completed in one, two, or three-years. The cost of tuition is fair, and they have many scholarship opportunities for different communities around Western North Carolina.

“It seems to be a program built for the working RN, and I like that they offer multiple program length options to provide RNs with greater flexibility.”

Elizabeth Clarke, FNP, MSN, RN, MSSW

Meet Clarke arrow-narrow-right

Why Is RN-to-BSN Program Accreditation Important?

Nursing accreditation ensures that a nursing program meets nationally established professional standards to provide students with a high-quality nursing education.

All nursing programs selected for our rankings have earned accreditation from either the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

A program’s accreditation status impacts financial aid, licensure, and employment.

  • The National Council Licensure Examination for RNs (NCLEX-RN) and certification exams for advanced practice nursing roles require applicants to hold degrees from accredited nursing schools.
  • Graduation from an accredited program is necessary for state licensure.
  • Government financial assistance can only be applied to accredited nursing programs.
  • Credits from unaccredited schools may not transfer to other programs.
  • Employers and graduate nursing programs may not consider graduates from unaccredited schools.

How Online RN-to-BSN Programs Work

Depending on the program, distance learners may take asynchronous classes to lean on their own schedule. This format works best for independent, self-disciplined learners who need minimal faculty supervision.

Synchronous formats offer more interaction with faculty and other students, but less flexibility, requiring attendance at established days and times.

Online nursing students have access to the same resources as on-campus students, including advising, tutoring, technological support, and career placement services.

Because students enrolled in RN-to-BSN programs already hold a valid RN license, some programs waive the clinical requirement. However, many schools require in-person clinical training at approved sites.

Applying to an RN-to-BSN Program

Specific admission requirements for online RN-to-BSN programs depend on the school. Most programs expect applicants to hold a nursing diploma or ADN from an accredited nursing program and a valid RN license. Each program has a minimum GPA for acceptance, prerequisite courses, and health and safety compliance requirements.

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    Admission Materials

    Applicants must hold a nursing diploma or an ADN. They also need a valid and unencumbered RN license without any record of disciplinary action.

    While some online programs waive the clinical component for RNs, a school may require at least one year of nursing experience, a specific number of practical/clinical hours, or an equivalency exam. Applicants may need to submit a personal statement and participate in either an in-person or a remote interview.

  • chevron-right

    GPA Requirement

    Prior to enrolling, you need to complete prerequisite coursework in anatomy and physiology, microbiology, statistics, nutrition, chemistry, and other fields as required.

    Nursing schools require applicants to fulfill health and safety compliance protocols that often include a drug test, a criminal background check, a physical exam, and immunizations.

  • chevron-right

    Other Requirement

    Most nursing programs require a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale.

Paying for RN-to-BSN Programs

RNs may hesitate to enroll in an online program because of the cost.

Several factors can impact the affordability of a nursing program. Consider program length and how many credits it takes to earn the degree, whether you must pay out-of-state tuition rates, and whether you can work while enrolled in the program.

Fortunately, nursing students may qualify for several financial aid opportunities. Prospective online learners should begin their search for financial aid by filling out the Free Application for Financial Student Assistance (FAFSA).

The FAFSA determines eligibility for government-funded grants or loans. Federal and state governments sponsor student loan forgiveness programs for nurses who agree to work in high-need areas when they graduate.

Nursing schools and private organizations offer both need-based and merit-based scholarships, and awards targeted for specific fields or members of underrepresented groups.

At some schools, members of the armed forces and their family members may qualify for discounted tuition. Some healthcare employers offer tuition reimbursement benefits to nurses who successfully complete their degrees.

What Can You Do With a Degree From an RN-to-BSN Program?

While RNs can enter the field after earning a two-year ADN or nursing diploma, an online RN-to-BSN program offers financial and career advantages. Earning an online BSN can take as little as one year of study and often results in higher pay and increased job prospects.

The popularity of the BSN has grown. Between 2013 and 2020, the percentage of RNs with BSNs increased from 40 to 48, while the percentage of ADN holders in the same period fell from 32 to 28, according to the Journal of Nursing Regulation.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing strongly supports the BSN as the minimum educational requirement for RNs. Many employers, including acute care facilities, school systems, and public health agencies, hire only BSN graduates.

MSN programs that prepare graduates for high-paying advanced practice nursing and leadership roles require applicants to hold a BSN degree.

Using Our Rankings: What to Look For in an RN-to-BSN Program

Before deciding what RN-to-BSN program best suits your needs, pay attention to the coursework and clinical requirements, program length, accreditation status, NCLEX pass rates, and online format.

Program Curriculum

While most programs offer similar core courses, curriculums differ in electives and concentrations. Consider what kinds of required and elective courses a program offers. Does the coursework reflect your areas of interest or prepare you for a specialization?

Clinical Experience

The clinical requirement provides real-world and practical experience that builds on the knowledge acquired through coursework and labs. Some online BSN programs do not require clinicals for students with an ADN who already completed clinical hours for their RN license.

Many programs that require clinicals let distance learners complete their hours at their workplace or near their homes. Others require students to travel to specific locations.

Program Length

Most online RN-to-BSN programs require around 30 credits, depending on the number of credits transferred from the student’s ADN. Programs take between 12-24 months to complete.

School NCLEX Pass Rate

Although RN-to-BSN students will not need to retake the NCLEX, the pass rate can still serve as a good indicator of how well a nursing program prepares its students for RN licensure. Pass rates higher than the national average suggest better program quality and teaching effectiveness.

School Graduation Rate

The graduation rate tells applicants how many students finished their nursing degree within a certain time frame. Higher graduation rates can indicate a supportive learning environment and commitment to preparing nurses for practice.

Online Learning Format and Requirements

When choosing a program, make sure that the online format meets your personal needs. Schools that offer asynchronous schedules enable students to watch lectures and complete coursework when convenient. Programs with synchronous formats require students to log in at set times. Online learners may also need to attend on-campus meetings once or more per term.

Frequently Asked Questions About RN-to-BSN

Yes. Once you have completed your associate degree, you can apply to a BSN program. You may be able to complete the BSN in two years or less, depending on the program you choose.

Page last reviewed April 4, 2024. The nurse featured programs were reviewed by Elizabeth Clarke, FNP, MSN, RN, MSSW, on February 5, 2024.