The Best BSN-to-DNP Programs of 2022

Updated September 21, 2022 · 6 Min Read

Earn a DNP faster with an online BSN-to-DNP program. Read on to learn more about how these bridge programs work and how to apply.

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The Best BSN-to-DNP Programs of 2022
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With the demand for nurse practitioners growing, more nurses are considering bachelor of science in nursing-to-doctor of nursing practice (BSN-to-DNP) programs. This guide can help you find the right BSN-to-DNP program for your career goals and become familiar with the application process. It also covers online BSN-to-DNP programs and advises you on what to consider if you are looking at this terminal nursing program.

We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best online BSN-to-DNP programs, making it easier for you to find a 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-to-DNP programs, or go straight to our list of the best online BSN-to-DNP programs.

What Can You Do With a DNP Degree?

The DNP is a terminal degree, the highest degree possible in its field. Nurses with a DNP teach at universities; work as nurse practitioners (NPs), nurse anesthetists, clinical nurse specialists, or nurse midwives; conduct research; and oversee nursing in healthcare facilities.

Some reasons to enter a BSN-to-DNP program include more professional autonomy and higher levels of responsibility. Candidates with a DNP also have an advantage in applying for the highest paid jobs in nursing. Starting in 2025, nurse anesthetists must have a DNP.

Popular careers for graduates of BSN-to-DNP programs include:

msn Required

Family Nurse Practitioner

The majority of nurse practitioners are family NPs. Family NPs act as primary care providers, diagnose conditions, order tests, and prescribe treatments. The median salary is $107,000, according to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.
Salary $107,000*
Job Outlook 45% increase from 2019-2029
Learn More About Family Nurse Practitioners
msn Required

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

Nurse anesthetists administer anesthesia and pain relief before, during, and after surgical procedures. They also educate patients on pain management. Nurse anesthetists are the highest paid nurses, earning a median $183,580, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, giving them a significant return on their BSN-to-DNP investment.
Salary $183,580*
Job Outlook 45% increase from 2019-2029
Learn More About Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists
msn or dnp Required

Nurse Educator

Nurse educators teach and mentor nurses and other healthcare professionals or students at colleges and universities, within hospitals and health systems, or in other settings. If they are college or university faculty, they may conduct research and publish, as well. The average salary, according to Payscale data from November 2021, is $78,010.
Salary $78,010*
Job Outlook 9% increase from 2019-2029
Learn More About Nurse Educators
*SOURCE: Payscale, BLS, AANP

Featured Online DNP Programs

What to Look For in a BSN-to-DNP Program

Both on-campus and online BSN-to-DNP programs are a major investment of time and money. In addition to cost, consider the curriculum and how it matches your goals, the graduation rate, and how the course format would work for you.

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements tell you how likely you are to be admitted and the minimum qualifications needed for acceptance, along with how academically rigorous the program is likely to be.

Program Curriculum

The curriculum should match your career goals and interests. While schools use a standardized curriculum to meet accreditation requirements, electives emphasize the school and faculty's specialties and focus.

Clinical Experience

DNP programs require extensive clinical hours, and clinical placements help you build a network. See if the program places students in settings where you would like to work. If you are pursuing your BSN-to-DNP program online, you may want to ask if the school has placed students in your community.

Accreditation

Accreditation is a vital consideration. Many employers, including schools, will not consider hiring graduates from an unaccredited program.

School Graduation Rate

The school graduation rate, especially combined with certification examination pass rates, indicates how likely you will succeed once admitted. A high graduation and certification pass rate might be one of the best indicators.

Applying to a BSN-to-DNP Program

To apply, you need your BSN transcript and contact information for at least two professional references (teacher or supervisor). You also need to submit an essay or personal statement on why you are pursuing a DNP.

Admission Requirements

BSN-to-DNP programs require a current and unencumbered registered nurse (RN) license, completed application, and the ability to pass a background criminal/legal check. Many require at least 1-3 years of experience as an RN.

Program Length

Most programs last 3-4 years for full-time students. Part-time students can take 7-8 years.

Clinical Requirements

On-campus and online BSN-to-DNP programs generally require a minimum of 1,000 hours.

GPA Requirements

Most BSN-to-DNP programs require a 3.0 or higher.

Why is BSN-to-DNP Program Accreditation Important?

Accreditation status can be an important factor in determining a program's quality. It also can lead to more job opportunities and funding resources. Read on for additional advantages.

  • Accreditation and certification examination pass rates are the best objective measures of a program's quality.
  • Employers prefer graduates of accredited programs. Many employers will not consider graduates of unaccredited programs.
  • Accreditation ensures that when you graduate, you are prepared to practice nursing safely and effectively.
  • Accredited schools attract the best teachers and have the strongest alumni networks.
  • Because many employers do not accept unaccredited degrees, attending an unaccredited program risks throwing away all the time, money, and energy invested in your BSN-to-DNP program.

Paying for BSN-to-DNP Programs

When preparing to enter a BSN-to-DNP program, plan your budget based on tuition, books and supplies, and program length. Also consider if you can work (or how many hours) while studying, on-campus requirements, and in- and out-of-state tuition rates.

In addition to your school's financial aid program, you can get loans, grants, or scholarships from many sources. Because of the high demand for DNPs, some government programs will pay your full program costs or offer loan forgiveness in exchange for working in under-served areas once you graduate.

You can also get scholarships and grants from private foundations, associations, corporations, or other organizations. Your current employer may also help pay for your BSN-to-DNP, possibly in exchange for a commitment to work for them for a certain time period once you graduate. Most financial aid applies to both online and on-campus BSN-to-DNP programs.

Learn More About the Best BSN-to-DNP Programs and Schools

Allen College

School Information
Location Waterloo, Iowa
Graduation Rate 100%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 82% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Allen College, affiliated with the UnityPoint Health System in northeastern Iowa, provides students with the option to transition from a bachelor of science in nursing to a doctor of nursing practice degree. Once admitted, students choose from one of eight specializations, including nurse practitioner, leadership, nursing education, or public health nursing tracks. 

  • Program: BSN-to-DNP
  • Campus: Waterloo, IA
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $906 per credit hour 
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited program; current RN license from Iowa or a Nurse Licensure Compact state; minimum 3.0 GPA; completion of a statistics course
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 30 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96% first-time pass rate
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Andrews University

School Information
Location Berrien Springs, Michigan
Admission Rate 67%
Graduation Rate 59%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 27% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Sponsored by the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Andrews University offers a BSN-to-DNP program that incorporates Christian ethics into its curriculum while emphasizing evidence-based data and technology. The 65-credit degree prepares graduates for advanced practice nursing roles as family nurse practitioners. Degree-seekers take most courses online, typically completing their degree in 10 semesters.

  • Program: BSN-to-DNP
  • Campus: Berrien Springs, MI
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing 
  • Tuition: $1,386 per credit
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited program; current RN license; minimum 3.25 GPA; goal statement; two letters or recommendation
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 54
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
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Bay Path University

School Information
Location Longmeadow, Massachusetts
Admission Rate 72%
Graduation Rate 54%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 62% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Established in 1897 as a women's college, Bay Path University administers undergraduate programs for women and graduate degrees for women and men, including a BSN-to-DNP option. Designed as a part-time program, the fully online 70-credit degree prepares learners for the family nurse practitioner specialization. Most students can arrange for supervised clinical experiences near their place of residency.

  • Program: BSN-to-DNP/Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Campus: Longmeadow, MA
  • Type: Public Private
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $995 per credit 
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited program; current RN license; minimum 3.0 GPA; statement of purpose; resume; three letters of recommendation
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 36 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
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Bellin College

School Information
Location Green Bay, Wisconsin
Admission Rate 100%
Graduation Rate 86%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 45% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

This Wisconsin-based private school, founded in 1909, specializes in nursing and allied health programs. Bellin College offers online BSN-to-DNP programs with a family nurse practitioner focus. Designed for working professionals, this practice-focused degree does not require on-campus visits and allows students to arrange clinical placements near their homes. 

  • Program: BSN-to-DNP/Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Campus: Green Bay, WI
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $800 per credit 
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited program; current RN license; minimum 3.0 GPA; statement of purpose; resume; two letters of recommendation; interview
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 36 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No 
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 100% first-time pass rate
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Cedar Crest College

School Information
Location Allentown, Pennsylvania
Admission Rate 61%
Graduation Rate 51%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 45% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Established as a women's college in 1867, Cedar Crest currently serves a diverse student body at the undergraduate and graduate levels, including online BSN-to-DNP programs. These terminal degrees feature online nurse practitioner tracks in adult gerontology/acute care, family/individual across the lifespan, and a campus-based nurse anesthesia.

  • Program: BSN-to-DNP
  • Campus: Allentown, PA
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $1,076 
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited program; current RN license; minimum 3.0 GPA; statement of purpose; resume; two letters of recommendation; completion of undergraduate statistics, research, and health assessment courses
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 36 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 100% first-time pass rate
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Chatham University

School Information
Location Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Admission Rate 62%
Graduation Rate 70%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 40% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Founded in 1869 as the Pennsylvania Female College, Chatham University now offers undergraduate degrees for women and graduate programs for all in the health sciences, including a 53-credit online BSN-to-DNP option. Designed as an executive track that prepares nurses for leadership roles, the curriculum includes a DNP capstone project requiring 250 clinical hours.

  • Program: BSN-to-DNP Integrated Degree Executive Track
  • Campus: Pittsburg, PA
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $822-$1,081 
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited program; current RN license; minimum 3.0 GPA; essay; resume; two letters of recommendation
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 42 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
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Franklin University

School Information
Location Columbus, Ohio
Graduation Rate 28%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 80% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Recognized for its commitment to affordable and convenient education for working adults, Franklin University has created an accelerated, online BSN-to-DNP program that integrates practicum hours within specific courses. Once students complete two bridge courses, they choose from a family nurse practitioner track or one of three leadership tracks in healthcare administration, health informatics, or public administration. 

  • Program: BSN-to-DNP 
  • Campus: Columbus, Ohio
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $748 per credit
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited program; current RN license; minimum 3.0 GPA; resume
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 36 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
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George Mason University

School Information
Location Fairfax, Virginia
Admission Rate 87%
Graduation Rate 71%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 33% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Virginia's largest public university, Mason offers over 200 programs, including a 72-credit BSN-to-DNP. Nurses pursuing this terminal practice degree may choose nurse practitioner (NP) concentrations in adult-gerontology, family, or psychiatric mental health or a nurse administrator track. The curriculum comprises core courses in theory, ethics, healthcare delivery systems, and statistics; speciality-focused advanced practice courses; required doctoral-level courses; and two practice inquiry project courses. 

  • Program: BSN-to-DNP
  • Campus: Fairfax, VA
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $580 per credit for Virginia residents; $1,488 per credit for out-of-state students 
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited program; current RN license; one year minimum RN experience; resume; two letters of recommendation
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
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Illinois State University

School Information
Location Normal, Illinois
Admission Rate 82%
Graduation Rate 70%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 27% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The Mennonite College of Nursing at Illinois State University offers two online BSN-to-DNP programs. The 78-credit family nurse practitioner track, which features a hybrid delivery format, is a full-time program that prepares nurses for advanced practice roles. The 64-credit nursing leadership and management sequence, designed as a part-time online program, focuses on leadership, health policy, and patient advocacy.

  • Program: BSN-to-DNP
  • Campus: Normal, IL
  • Type: Public 
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $9,767 per nine credits for Illinois residents; $17,592 per nine credits for out-of-state students
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited program; current RN license; minimum 3.0 GPA; essay; resume; completion of statistics, nursing research, and physical assessment courses
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 48 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
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Kent State University at Kent

School Information
Location Kent, Ohio
Admission Rate 86%
Graduation Rate 62%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 54% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

BSN-holders interested in pursuing a terminal nursing practice doctorate at KSU can choose from several nurse practitioner and nurse specialist tracks, including three online BSN-to-DNP programs for adult-gerontology clinical nurse specialist, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, and women's health nurse practitioner specialties. The degree requires 71-79 credits for completion, including a capstone scholarly project. 

  • Program: BSN-to-DNP
  • Campus: Kent, OH
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $11,766 per academic year for Ohio residents; $21,952 per academic year for out-of-state residents
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited program; current RN license; minimum 3.0 GPA; completion of statistics course; GRE scores
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 30 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
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Frequently Asked Questions About BSN-to-DNP Programs


How long does it take to go from BSN to DNP?

A BSN-to-DNP full-time program usually takes 3-4 years to complete, depending on the specialty and program requirements. Generally, the master's level takes two years, and doctoral level takes an additional two years for completion. Part-time students can take seven or eight years to finish degree requirements.

Do you have to get your MSN before a DNP?

Students can earn a BSN-to-DNP degree without first earning a master's. However, many BSN-to-DNP programs require at least 1-3 years of clinical experience for admission.

Do NPs with a doctorate get paid more than NPs with a master's?

In general, practitioners with a DNP are paid more than NPs with master's, but pay also depends on the specialty, job responsibilities, other credentials, and the work setting. For instance, a master's-educated NP working in a major medical center in a large metropolitan area may earn more than one with a DNP working in a rural clinic.

Are nurses with DNPs called doctors?

While nurses with a DNP may be called "doctor," being addressed as one at work depends on workplace culture and personal preference. In most settings, only physicians are called doctors. In academic settings, anyone who has earned a doctoral degree is called a doctor.

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