Best Online RN-to-BSN Programs Overview

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Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

Whether you’re looking to get your pre-licensure degree or taking the next step in your career, the education you need could be more affordable than you think. Find the right nursing program for you.

There are many pathways to a nursing career. For example, nurses can earn registered nursing (RN) licensure with either an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or bachelor of science in nursing (BSN).

Many associate degree-holders later add a bachelor’s degree to their educational qualifications. A BSN equips RNs with more advanced skills and knowledge, and RNs with BSNs typically earn higher salaries. On average, BSN-holders earn about $85,000 annually, while ADN-holders make around $69,500 each year.

Fortunately, RNs do not necessarily need to spend four years earning a BSN. RN-to-BSN programs usually last 1-2 years. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), there are 777 RN-to-BSN programs available across the United States.

More than 600 of these programs include some online components. Online RN-to-BSN programs are a great option for RNs who work full or part time.

If earning an RN-to-BSN online appeals to you, check out the following list of the best online RN-to-BSN programs.

Read about our ranking methodology here
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.

Featured Online Programs

Top Online RN-to-BSN Programs for 2021

Rank School Location
1 University of Florida Gainesville, FL
2 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL
3 Ohio State University Columbus, OH
4 The University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL
5 Florida International University Miami, FL
6 Appalachian State University Boone, NC
7 Texas A&M University College Station, TX
8 Pennsylvania State University-World Campus University Park, PA
9 University of Massachusetts Amherst Amherst, MA
10 Farmingdale State College Farmingdale, NY
  1. University of Florida
    Location

    Gainesville, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    With no in-person coursework, UF offers one of the most convenient RN-to-BSN programs for working registered nurses.

    At UF, students must complete required clinical components in health assessment and public health classes. They can satisfy course requirements through online activities or by working in their local community.

    Part-time students complete this 120-credit RN-to-BSN online degree within about five semesters. The degree requires 60 junior and senior credits in classes, such as policy and change, leadership and innovation, and pathophysiology and pharmacology. A valid RN license grants students 30 upper-level credits.

    Each candidate needs to complete a nursing application and a UF application.

    • Program: Bachelor of science in nursing
    • Campus: Gainesville, Florida
    • Type: Public
    • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
    • Tuition: $129 per credit for Florida residents; $552 per credit for out-of-state students
    • Admission Requirements: An associate degree in nursing from an ACEN-accredited program; valid Florida RN license; at least a 2.8 GPA
    • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
    • On-Campus Requirements: No
    • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 95.93% first-time pass rate
    • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
  2. University of Central Florida
    Location

    Orlando, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    UCF's RN-to-BSN online degree opens its virtual classes to learners across the nation.

    The curriculum focuses on the sciences with lessons in health promotion across the lifespan, public and community health nursing, pathophysiology, and health assessments.

    Registered nurses can complete 30 nursing credits, or 10 classes, in as few as three semesters. Some online learners take up to 10 semesters to graduate. The school accepts 28 credits from community colleges. Prerequisite courses include chemistry, microbiology, anatomy, and physiology.

    Students can apply up to nine credits toward a graduate degree. Enrollees can also pursue a hybrid RN-to-BSN degree through Health First.

    • Program: Bachelor of science in nursing
    • Campus: Orlando, Florida
    • Type: Public
    • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
    • Tuition: $105 per credit
    • Admission Requirements: Associate degree in nursing from a Florida institution or a bachelor's degree; RN license
    • Minimum Time Commitment: 12 months
    • On-Campus Requirements: No
    • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96.64% first-time pass rate
    • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
  3. Ohio State University
    Location

    Columbus, OH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    OSU's affordable RN-to-BSN online degree empowers registered nurses for leadership roles in healthcare within 12-15 months.

    This degree requires five prerequisite courses and about 30 core nursing credits. Required courses include evidence-based practice: transforming healthcare, concepts in community health nursing, interprofessional concepts, and healthcare informatics. Online learners at OSU can complete clinical work at nearby locations.

    The nursing school reduces costs by using open educational resources instead of textbooks. The program provides in-state tuition to students living anywhere in the country, although out-of-state students pay an additional $200 fee per semester.

    • Program: Bachelor of science in nursing
    • Campus: Columbus, Ohio
    • Type: Public
    • Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
    • Tuition: $13,268 per year; out-of-state students pay additional $200 per semester
    • Admission Requirements: Associate degree in nursing or diploma; current RN license
    • Minimum Time Commitment: 12 Months
    • On-Campus Requirements: No
    • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 80% first-time pass rate
    • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
  4. The University of Alabama
    Location

    Tuscaloosa, AL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    UA sets aspiring professionals on track to earn a nursing degree with a top online RN-to-BSN program.

    The RN-to-BSN degree takes about three semesters to complete, with classes available online and at local community colleges. Nursing students at UA must complete 52-58 lower-division credits and 25 upper-division credits. Courses like leadership and management roles require a research project that satisfies the clinical requirements.

    Full-time online learners can graduate in 12 months, including a summer session. Students who excel academically can apply for the RN-to-BSN/MSN program.

    • Program: Bachelor of science in nursing
    • Campus: Tuscaloosa, Alabama
    • Type: Public
    • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
    • Tuition: $10,780 per year for Alabama residents; $30,250 per year for out-of-state students
    • Admission Requirements: Associate degree in nursing or diploma from an ACEN or CNEA-accredited program; at least 2.5 GPA for lower-division courses; current RN license
    • Minimum Time Commitment: 12 months
    • On-Campus Requirements: No
    • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96.1% first-time pass rate
    • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
  5. Florida International University
    Location

    Miami, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    FIU's 120-credit online RN-to-BSN program offers a pathway for registered nurses and nursing students to expand their education beyond undergraduate degrees.

    Nursing students earn 60 credits, including 24 credits in core courses. They also take 30 credits by equivalency exams in adult nursing, psychiatric/mental health nursing, and maternal and child nursing.

    Enrollees gain practical skills through a senior practicum and the community nursing course, which requires work in a multicultural setting.

    Flexible formats allow degree-seekers to start in any semester on a full-time or part-time basis. Many graduates later enroll in FIU's master's in nursing or Ph.D. in nursing programs.

    • Program: Bachelor of science in nursing
    • Campus: Miami, Florida
    • Type: Public
    • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
    • Tuition: $228 per credit for Florida residents; $345 per credit for out-of-state students
    • Admission Requirements: An associate degree in nursing; at least a 2.75 GPA from an ACEN-accredited school; RN licensure or pending NCLEX results.
    • Minimum Time Commitment: 12 months
    • On-Campus Requirements: No
    • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 92.74% first-time pass rate
    • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
  6. Appalachian State University
    Location

    Boone, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Appalachian's part-time 120-credit RN-to-BSN online program offers convenient remote learning and flexible clinical requirements.

    Students take classes completely online, but they gain experience working in their local communities through a nursing care of communities course requiring 30 clinical hours on a service project.

    Degree-seekers complete research projects and classwork, rather than traditional clinical work. The program requires that students earn a minimum "C" grade in courses, such as informatics, health assessment, nursing research, and leadership and management.

    Enrollees typically take three semesters to complete this nursing degree.

    • Program: Bachelor of science in nursing
    • Campus: Boone, North Carolina
    • Type: Public
    • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
    • Tuition: $163 per credit for Florida residents; $663 per credit for out-of-state students
    • Admission Requirements: An associate degree in nursing or diploma; a minimum 2.5 GPA; a current RN license
    • Minimum Time Commitment: 12 months
    • On-Campus Requirements: No
    • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 100% first-time pass rate
    • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
  7. Texas A&M University
    Location

    College Station, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Texas A&M's RN-to-BSN program allows students to choose from three flexible tracks, each leading to a degree in 1-2 years.

    This 30-credit program offers fully online classes, aside from a mandatory two-day orientation at the Bryan-College Station campus. Depending on a student's work schedule, they can earn their degree in 3-5 semesters, completing practicum work in their local area.

    Students perform clinical hours at partner sites, such as St. Joseph Regional Medical Center, Baylor Scott & White Clinic, Texas Children's Hospital, and HCA Gulf Coast Division. New students begin classes in the spring and summer.

    • Program: Bachelor of science in nursing
    • Campus: College Station, Texas
    • Type: Public
    • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
    • Tuition: $2,503 per year for Texas residents; $5,390 per year for out-of-state students
    • Admission Requirements: An associate degree in nursing or diploma; a current RN license
    • Minimum Time Commitment: 12 months
    • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
    • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 99.28% first-time pass rate
    • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
  8. Pennsylvania State University-World Campus
    Location

    University Park, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Penn State offers a 120-credit RN-to-BSN program that allows students to customize their education plan with hybrid classes and an accelerated format.

    Online learners can earn their degree more quickly by taking sessions lasting 7.5 weeks. The program requires 42 core credits in subjects, such as nursing research, advanced health assessment, informatics, and family and community health concepts. They can take in-person and online classes.

    Each enrollee completes a capstone course, which requires 45 clinical hours. Students may satisfy this requirement through a project or healthcare activity, such as performing blood pressure screening or creating a weight management program for seniors.

    • Program: Bachelor of science in nursing
    • Campus: University Park, Pennsylvania
    • Type: Public
    • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
    • Tuition: $576 per credit for students with 59 or fewer credits; $617 per credit for students with 60 or more credits
    • Admission Requirements: An associate degree in nursing or diploma; a current RN license
    • Minimum Time Commitment: 12 months
    • On-Campus Requirements: No
    • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 93.27% first-time pass rate
    • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
  9. University of Massachusetts Amherst
    Location

    Amherst, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    UMass Amherst's RN-to-BSN online degree features a community-based curriculum that allows full-time nurses to graduate in one year.

    Coursework emphasizes community nursing care, with students studying cultural diversity in health and illness, health and physician assessments, and vulnerable and underserved populations. The practicum also focuses on serving vulnerable and underserved communities.

    UMass Amherst offers start times in the spring and summer. Online learners can also walk in the graduation ceremony and participate in the College of Nursing pinning event. Part-time students take about two years to graduate.

    Out-of-state and in-state students pay the same tuition.

    • Program: Bachelor of science in nursing
    • Campus: Amherst, Massachusetts
    • Type: Public
    • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
    • Tuition: $585 per credit
    • Admission Requirements: Pass the NCLEX-RN; current RN license; minimum 2.5 GPA
    • Minimum Time Commitment: 12 months
    • On-Campus Requirements: No
    • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 89% first-time pass rate
    • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
  10. Farmingdale State College
    Location

    Farmingdale, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Farmingdale's RN-to-BSN online degree equips nurses with the leadership skills to advance their career in public and community healthcare.

    Online classwork, clinical assignments, and service programs train students to deliver care to individuals, groups, or families in various settings. Along with 60 liberal arts credits, online learners also complete 60 nursing credits.

    Classes include developing nurses' ways of knowing, caring for populations in community settings, modes of inquiry, and the nurse as an advocate and change agent. Each enrollee finishes the program with a senior leadership practicum, working alongside a registered nurse in a leadership position.

    • Program: Bachelor of science in nursing
    • Campus: Farmingdale, New York
    • Type: Public
    • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
    • Tuition: $295 per credit for New York residents; $708 per credit for out-of-state students
    • Admission Requirements: Associate degree in nursing with a minimum 3.0 GPA; RN license
    • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
    • On-Campus Requirements: No
    • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96.3% first-time pass rate
    • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid

Applying to an RN-to-MSN Bridge Program

Online RN-to-MSN programs typically maintain the same admission requirements as on-campus programs. All RN-to-BSN candidates must hold RN licensure and an ADN.

Usually, applicants are expected to hold a minimum GPA — typically 2.0-3.0 — and to have completed associate-level anatomy and physiology courses. Many schools require some professional nursing experience, and some ask for ACT or SAT scores.

In general, applicants can expect to provide their associate degree transcripts, resume, and at least one professional or academic recommendation letter.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What's the difference between a BSN and an RN license?

    A BSN is an academic degree that students obtain at colleges and universities, while an RN license is the credential that registered nurses need to legally work. Although a BSN and an RN license are two separate entities, aspiring nurses need a BSN or an associate degree in order to apply for RN licensure.

  • What is accreditation and why is it important?

    Accreditation is an evaluation process used to ensure that schools uphold quality standards. Most states require nursing licensure candidates to possess a degree from an accredited program. Look for programs with accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

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

    An RN-to-BSN program typically takes 18-24 months to complete, although some accelerated options may allow students to graduate in one year. Part-time students may need more time to complete their degree.

  • What can I do with a BSN?

    BSN-holders typically work as RNs. A bachelor’s degree can lead to RN jobs with higher salaries and even nursing administration positions. In addition, nurses can specialize in certain areas, such as critical care, cardiovascular nursing, or nursing informatics. Some BSN-holders consider their bachelor’s degree to be a stepping stone to an advanced degree and a nurse practitioner career.