average program length

average credits required

average earning potential

average earning potential$52,080-$111,220SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics / PayScale

Opportunities With a BSN

partial online offering
clinical hours required
Good career mobility
Most administrative and supervisory positions require a BSN.
Path to advancement
Grants entry to master’s or doctoral nursing programs, leading to career advancement and higher salaries.
Job potential
With a BSN, a range of specialized nursing jobs outside of the traditional floor nursing is available.
Skills Learned
Clinical and leadership skills, case management, community participation, nursing care of children and adults
A smiling mid-adult African American nursing student is sitting in class with her colleagues. She has short, curly black hair, and is wearing teal green scrubs. Her laptop and notepad are open so she is ready to take notes during class. She is looking directly at the camera.

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What To Expect From a Traditional BSN Program

While curriculum content and timelines vary by program, the University of Washington’s (UW) BSN program offers a general idea of the traditional, four-year nursing school progression during each year of study. BSN students typically spend the first two years completing prerequisite coursework and their final two years immersed in their nursing studies.

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Admission Requirements for a Traditional BSN Program

Four-year nursing programs maintain distinct application requirements and timelines, but a program beginning in the fall typically sets a January or February deadline to apply. Students should begin assembling their application materials early, particularly if the program requires test scores. Common admission requirements for four-year BSN programs include the following:

Traditional BSN vs. Bridge Programs

As opposed to traditional BSN programs, bridge programs serve nurses who already possess RN or licensed practical nurse licenses. Bridge programs commonly offer online and full-time or part-time options that provide flexibility for working nurses.

They can also streamline the process of earning separate degrees. For example, an RN with an ADN can pursue a master of science in nursing (MSN) via an RN-to-MSN bridge program to bypass the four-year traditional BSN. RN-to-BSN bridge programs onlineallow RNs with ADNs or nursing diplomas to earn their BSNs in 18-24 months of full-time study.

Traditional BSN vs. Accelerated BSN Programs

Accelerated BSN (ABSN) programs enable applicants with bachelor’s degrees in non-nursing fields to transfer undergraduate credits and fulfill general education and prerequisite coursework requirements. ABSNs allow some students to finish in 1-2 years.

Many programs only accept applications from candidates with GPAs of 3.0 or higher. The full-time, compressed nature of the ABSN curriculum makes it quite rigorous. Other admission requirements mirror those of four-year BSN programs. At some nursing schools, ABSN students can take classes online and complete their clinical hours at hospitals and medical facilities near their homes.

Featured BSN Specialties

Beyond working in hospitals as RNs, individuals with a BSN degree find careers as geriatric nurses, OBGYN nurses, and neonatal nurses. Check out the descriptions below to learn more about these specialty occupations.

Registered Nurse

adn or bsn”>Required
High Demand
RNs work in hospitals, clinics, physicians’ offices, and other medical facilities, caring for and educating patients and their families about treatments and health maintenance.
Salary 73,300*
Job Outlook 7% growth from 2019-29
Learn More About Registered Nurses

Geriatric Nurse

These professionals work with elderly patients and specialize in dementia, osteoporosis, and other diseases that affect older adults. They also assist with basic living activities.
Salary 64,870*
Job Outlook positive growth in coming years
Learn More About Geriatric Nurses


adn or bsn”>Required
As specialists working with obstetricians and gynecologists, these nurses care for women throughout pregnancy, labor, and delivery.
Salary 60,000*
Job Outlook 7% growth from 2019-29
Learn More About OBGYN Nurses

Travel Nurse

Travel nurses work on a contract basis and temporarily help in physicians’ offices, hospitals, and clinics. They may be self-employed or receive assignments through agencies.
Salary 79,000*
Job Outlook 7% growth from 2019-29
Learn More About Travel Nurses

Neonatal Nurse

adn or bsn”>Required
These professionals care for newborns in neonatal intensive care units, treating premature babies and infants with illnesses until they gain enough strength to go home.
Salary 60,797*
Job Outlook 7% growth from 2019-29
Learn More About Neonatal Nurses
*SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, PayScale

How Much Will I Make With a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing?

Average Hourly Pay

Average Salary

*SOURCE: PayScale.com

Explore BSN Programs

Reviewed by:

Portrait of Elizabeth Clarke, FNP, MSN, RN, MSSW

Elizabeth Clarke, FNP, MSN, RN, MSSW

Elizabeth Clarke (Poon) is a board-certified family nurse practitioner who provides primary and urgent care to pediatric populations. She earned a BSN and MSN from the University of Miami.

Clarke is a paid member of our Healthcare Review Partner Network. Learn more about our review partners.

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