The Top RN to BSN Program Guide Online
RN to BSN Programs is the top nursing program-specific resource to find the best online RN to BSN programs. Remember, not all BSN programs are created equal. Time to completion, cost, accessibility, and additional classes are just some of the considerations that need to be made before choosing a program.
Online RN to BSN Programs specialize in offering you, the student, easy access to course materials from the comfort of your own home, or wherever your computer may take you. An online Bachelor of Science in Nursing completion option may be right for you if you are an independent learner, a self-starter and able to manage your time to complete assignments without a structured classroom environment.
An online RN to BSN Program may not be the correct fit for you if you thrive on face-to-face discussion, or if you need the weekly structured time offered by a classroom environment. If this is the case, then please cruise on over to the RN to BSN Programs by State option or simply click on the state of your choice below.
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Top Online RN to BSN Program Reviews
Below are some of our online RN to BSN program reviews. You can find the full list of reviews here. Some of the programs below and on the program review list are sponsored programs and they will be marked as such if you view more information on their admissions requirements or program information.
RN to BSN Programs by State
Alabama / Alaska / Arizona / Arkansas / California / Colorado / Connecticut / Delaware / Florida / Georgia / Hawaii / Idaho / Illinois / Indiana / Iowa / Kansas / Kentucky / Louisiana / Maine / Maryland / Massachusetts / Michigan / Minnesota / Mississippi / Missouri / Montana / Nebraska / Nevada / New Hampshire / New Jersey / New Mexico / New York / North Carolina / North Dakota / Ohio / Oklahoma / Oregon / Pennsylvania / Rhode Island / South Carolina / South Dakota / Tennessee / Texas / Utah / Vermont / Virginia / Washington / West Virginia / Wisconsin / Wyoming
Is an Online RN to BSN Right For You?
For those of you that simply cannot choose which option, online or on-campus, then a hybrid option may be the perfect fit for you! With this option, you get all the flexible benefits of an online BSN program, but you still get to go to class on a slightly less regular schedule. Often hybrid RN class options will be offered at night or on weekends, but are generally structured in such a way as to be flexible enough to meet the busy demands of a Registered Nurse.
Top 10 RN to BSN Considerations
When considering going back to school, or starting a new program, many nurses want to know why other nurses are going back to school. They also want to know what they should be looking for in a BSN program or a Nursing school in general. There are literally thousands of Nursing schools in the United States alone; what makes the one you are considering stand apart? With so many options available, the task of finding the right RN to BSN program can seem daunting if not completely overwhelming. So we’ve compiled a top 10 list of the most asked questions and considerations that nurses have given for choosing a RN to BSN program or for going back to school for more education.
Will a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Further Your Career?
This should always be the first question you ask. Unless you simply desire education for the sake of education, then you need to know how a BSN is going to further your career. Is there a specific position that you want? Are you having trouble getting a job without a BSN? Do you want to pursue a graduate degree at some point?
Knowing what you plan to do with your BSN once you have it is almost as important as actually having your BSN. At our sister site, you can find very detailed information written by actual RNs with their BSN, where they explain important questions like what the difference is between an LPN, RN, and BSN, with RN to BSN programs in every state and online, plus data that includes NCLEX pass rates for nursing schools and articles written by RNs with their BSN.
Is Your RN to BSN program Accredited?
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many BSN programs, especially RN to BSN transition programs, are not accredited or have shaky accreditation status. There are many different accrediting agencies throughout the US and almost all Nursing schools offer some kind of accreditation, but knowing which to accept and which to reject can be dividends. To be on the safe side, only choose schools that are nationally accredited. Regional and state accreditation are great, but do not offer the same degree of quality as a national accreditation.
As a loose and general rule, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, or CCNE, is the standard for national accreditation. On RN to BSN Programs, you will only find accredited programs that are accredited by the CCNE, CEN, or some other accrediting body. In our view, any other certification may be great, but it is not good enough to protect the education of the student.
How Much Does a BSN Cost?
Going back to school to get a BSN is a bad option if you are going to spend $20,000 and only ever going to make an additional $15,000 over the course of your career. Obviously, this is just an example and most nurses will have longer careers, thus longer pay back time. But the point remains, make sure a BSN, or any additional degree, is going to be cost effective. This means you, as an informed consumer, need to shop around. There are hundreds of RN to BSN completion programs out there and they all cost a different amount.
Why an RN to BSN?
This is the primary reason RN to BSN Programs was initially created: To inform nurses, and nursing students, what the BSN options are and how much they cost. Be sure to keep a lookout and balance cost of tuition vs. available financial assistance vs. what a BSN can get you in your nursing career. There are many questions here and each option is different for everyone.
Does the $40,000 RN to BSN program that you are considering really give you so much more amazing value than the $15,000 option? On the flip side, is the cheapest option necessarily a good option? Maybe you need to spend a little bit more money and get your BSN from a more respected or nationally known university. Remember, the monetary reward for possessing a BSN should always trump the cost of attaining a BSN. You can view some of the most affordable RN to BSN programs here.
Does It Matter if You Complete an Online RN to BSN Program VS On-Campus?
As a generalized, broad-sweeping answer to this question, No. However, some employers and some graduate programs might question an Online RN to BSN program. Most of this concern can be assuaged by adhering to schools and programs that are CCNE accredited. This is the crucial key for most employers and graduate programs. They want to know that the school that gave you a BSN is legit. If there is any chance of the program not being accredited, whether it is an online or on-campus program, don’t do it. Now the question remains, is there any benefit in an on-campus degree versus an online BSN.
RN to BSN Online Programs
Online RN to BSN programs are still relatively new, but some have been around for close to a decade. Many of the older online RN to BSN programs are extensions of a reputable universities already well established on-campus RN to BSN program. These universities saw the need for an online version of their already successful on-campus program and transitioned it to an online format.
This is not the case for all of the programs out there. There are many schools that offer online RN to BSN programs simply to make a quick buck. These might be the schools you wish to avoid. They are often absurdly expensive, have shady accreditation status, and if you go to their websites it is often extremely difficult to find useful information regarding their program. If you are running into these problems, look elsewhere. There are tons of options out there. Again, this is why we have compiled a list of schools and detailed their online RN to BSN programs here.
Does the Location of the RN to BSN Program Matter if You Complete It Online?
Generally, no. That is the beauty of living in the 21st century and having the option to complete your BSN online. You can live anywhere and still get a top tier education. Now there are a couple of exceptions to this rule. Some online programs are not certified in every state. When we have these exceptions, we have tried to note them on our detailed school pages. It has been our experience that most schools that do not take students living in a certain state are up front about this on their websites. If you are worried that your state might not be accepted at a specific school, contact the school or email us: admin@RN2BSNPrograms.com. We’ll track down the info for you. All that said, you can get a great education from a coffee shop in Seattle, Washington, but your diploma says Cleveland, Ohio.
How Long are RN to BSN Programs?
The answer to this question is both a function of you, the student, and the program you enroll in. On average most programs take between 12 and 24 months. Many schools offer either a part-time or full-time track, and many also let you start and stop the program as you need. The ability to complete your BSN on your own timetable is one of the great advantages to an online RN to BSN program.
Accelerated RN to BSN Programs Online
Some programs offer you the ability to finish in under 12 months or so, often noted as accelerated RN to BSN programs online.
Other online RN to BSN programs are just simply shorter than others but still called an RN to BSN online. There are several RN to BSN programs we have reviewed that have short program length:
- Western Governors University RN to BSN program
- University of Texas Arlington RN to BSN program
- Chamberlain College of Nursing RN to BSN program
- Kaplan University RN to BSN program
Are There Any Special Considerations for Getting an Online RN to BSN Degree?
Getting a degree online isn’t really that different from getting a degree on-campus. You will still have tests to take and papers to write. The difference is you will most likely never see your classmates or teachers in person. You will “see” them and meet them in the virtual classroom.
Depending on the school, you will most likely have to log into your virtual classroom a set number of times each week. You will probably need to contribute to class discussions and there will still be deadlines and homework. All this through your computer. This means you need to be comfortable and familiar with your computer. You need to have reliable access to the internet. If you are not comfortable navigating the internet and your computer for all your homework needs, an online RN to BSN may not be for your. Not to worry, as there are many excellent programs that are not online.
What Are the Requirements with Nursing Clinicals?
We all remember nursing school and what it felt like to where your nursing school uniform or scrubs and walk into the big scary hospital. Now you are a seasoned RN, or at least have your RN, and you can take care of patients like its no big thing. So why do RN to BSN transition programs require you to do more clinicals? Especially if you are already a working RN. At what point does the value of the clinical as education simply get lost in the “one-more-thing-to-do, but-no-value-added” box. When considering a RN to BSN program, try to find out why the program requires a clinical component. And ask yourself, will more clinical hours make me a better nurse? Just remember that most schools still require it.
What Should You Look for in a RN to BSN Program?
Your reasons for getting a BSN are completely up to you and therefore our reasons for recommending a BSN might not be right for you. But you asked for it, so here it is.
Cost: You get what you pay for, but there is no reason to overpay. Shop around and find a good deal.
Time: There are not many good reasons for taking forever to complete your BSN. Find a school that is flexible enough to meet your needs, but that will get you done in a timely fashion.
Clinicals: Some schools have them, some don’t. Some students find them beneficial, others do not. Is it really necessary to complete unpaid clinical hours when you are already a working RN? You decide.
Accreditation: This point has been thoroughly beaten, but it cannot be stressed enough. If the school or program is not CCNE accredited, then take a second look. Better yet, save yourself the time, and walk away. It isn’t worth it.
When Can You Start an RN-BSN Program?
Start right now! With online programs, you can often start the program at many times throughout the year. Many schools no longer tie you to a traditional semester or quarterly class schedule. Do your research now, apply and get started. Find the program that meets your specific needs and requirement here and get started on your online RN to BSN!
Salary Implications of Having a BSN
Will a BSN degree pay me more money? This question is often asked and the correct answer can be tricky to determine. The obvious and intuitive answer is yes, it does. But this does not mean that getting your BSN will automatically get you more money.
Some Statistics on RN & BSN Salaries
Let’s start off with some stats from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. According to bls.gov, there are a little over 2.6 million Registered Nurses in the United States. Most, 1.5 million, nurses work in hospitals with the remaining working in offices, home health, nursing care facilities, and clinics.
Further gleaned from the BLS we learn that of these 2.6 million nurses, they have a mean wage of $32.66 per hour and a mean annual salary of $67,930. Not too bad. Broken down further, nurses that work in clinics or what the BLS calls Outpatient Care Centers make the most money with a mean wage of $34.23 per hour and a mean annual salary of $71,200. Interestingly, nurses working in nursing care facilities or skilled nursing facilities have the lowest mean wage at $29.43 per hour, but nurses working in doctor’s offices had the lowest mean annual salary at $69,120.
The Difference Between RN and BSN
Now we have some basic statistics, taken from a national snapshot, from which to start our comparison of RN to BSN. To actually compare and contrast which nurse is making more money, we can pull information from websites such as careerbuilder.com and indeed.com. Both of these websites gather their statistics from jobs and positions posted on their websites. Let’s look at these two:
According to Careerbuilder.com, on a national scale registered nurses with a BSN make an average salary of $72,204. A registered nurse that does have a BSN makes an average salary of $69,423. This is a difference of $2,781 yearly or $231.75 monthly.
According to indeed.com, a Registered Nurse with a BSN makes an annual salary of $64,000 while a nurse without a BSN makes an annual salary of $67,000! That doesn’t seem to make sense. A nurse with less education is making more money on average than a more educated nurse? This is most likely not the case. The most probable explanation is that employers when posting positions are not always specifying BSN. It is also interesting to note that the average annual salaries for Registered Nurses on indeed.com are lower than both Careerbuilder.com and bls.gov. However, if you are considering your RN to MSN, Indeed.com offers much different numbers than Careerbuilder.com. $83,000 annual salary on indeed.com versus $67,127 on Careerbuilder.com.
Opportunities for RNs and BSNs
So does a nurse with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing actually make more money? The answer is not very clear from the statistics and websites cited above, and the truth is somewhere in the middle. Nurses with a BSN have more job opportunities. It is often easier to land a job with a BSN than without one, and having a job certainly pays more than not having a job. As noted above, nurses in offices and hospitals make more money on average than nurses that are in clinics or care facilities. This doesn’t mean that you have to have a BSN to get a job in an office or hospital, but your chances are greatly improved.
A nurse with a BSN may start at the same pay as a nurse without a BSN, but the nurse with the BSN will be able to advance more quickly and further in their career. Opportunities to move into specialty fields and management are generally reserved for those nurses with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and these jobs are the jobs that pay more money. By moving forward and upward in your career with a BSN, you are able to make more money.
A Bachelor of Science in Nursing is a smart choice and cost effective choice if you are planning on or desiring to move into a specialty, management, or need to make yourself more marketable. A BSN can certainly help you stand out from the crowd and give that extra edge to your resume.
RN to BSN Degree Completion for Adult Learners
For many Registered Nurses the idea of going back to school is a scary and daunting thought. Even if you are a New-Grad or newly minted nurse that is barely out of the school mindset, going back to school and doing more unpaid work is horrible. Then if you are one of the thousands of nurses out there that have been a nurse for years and years, the idea of trying to do school all over again is akin to birthing triplets; survivable, but just barely.
There are a few considerations for adult learners. First and foremost, figuring out which school are you going to attend. Really that is what this website is all about. Helping you wade through the myriad information out there so you can make an informed decision. The question of which school to attend comes down to the deciding factor of what you want to do with your BSN in the end. Are you looking for an upper management position some day? If so, then you might want to consider a top-tier school or a program that allows for a bridge to an MSN program. If you are simply trying to land a New-Grad job or make yourself more marketable, then you may not need a top-tier school, but simply an accredited school that will give you a BSN for the lowest cost and fastest time.
A second variable to consider is the obvious one of cost. This is often the number one consideration for many nurses when choosing a BSN program. And rightfully so, as those three extra letters can cost you over a hundred thousand dollars! But don’t let that scare you because it does not have to be like that. There are many hundreds of affordable schools that will provide those same three letters for under twenty thousand dollars.
As mentioned above, unless you are going for upper management someday, where you got your BSN from is not an issue. However, paying off students loans from now until eternity is huge issue. Find a program that fits you and your needs, but that is also affordable. Each school listed on this website comes with as complete as possible financial information. Your time is valuable so the guesswork and the leg work have been done for you. We have put together a list of the most affordable RN to BSN programs here.
Which leads to the final point; time to completion. On this front, not all BSN programs are created equal. In fact, they can be drastically different. Not only do schools offer part-time versus full-time, but they also may allow you to take time off and come back and finish later. Other programs require you to stay within your cohort. To complicate matters further, schools may offer classes that are five-weeks, 8-weeks, 10-weeks, 12-weeks or any combination thereof. This is one are where it really pays to do your homework. Shop around and find one that is flexible enough to meet your needs and your life. Do not get all starry eyed over the cost of the program only to later realize that it appears to cost so little because it is going to take you four years to finish. In the end, your inexpensive option may end up being the most expensive.
Think about what you are pursuing transitioning from RN to BSN. Consider the costs of the education, including financial but also in terms of quality of life. And finally, find a program that works with your schedule and your time table. Keeping these three simply points in mind can make all the difference between a horrible back to school experience and an exceptional one.
Tips to Succeed in Nursing School
It doesn’t matter whether you are a recent high school grad or a seasoned warrior starting on a second career, Nursing School can be a tough place to survive. For instance, it comes with its own language. I’m not just talking about medical terminology, although that is a different language by itself, but you also have to learn to speak nurse. Nurse speak is all the slang, jargon, and weird (and often made-up) words that nurses use to describe the nursing world. But this is only a tangent and does not help you succeed in nursing school.
#1 – Get a Life
This is by far the most undervalued and overlooked area of nursing school. You need to do something for yourself that is beyond your education. Seriously, get a life outside of nursing school. It does not have to consume your every waking moment and most of your sleeping ones too. You can pass every class and probably every test and still have a life. In fact, a little recreation and relaxation might just help you do better. Too many all-nighters and ad-nauseum study sessions only make you more anxious. Instead, go to class, take notes, and ask questions.
#2 – Ask Questions
Please, oh please, don’t be the annoying person in the first row who finds it necessary to ask a question about every single thing the instructor says. But do not be the wallflower in the back of the room that won’t even raise her head to make eye contact with anyone. Be brave and be bold and ask scary questions. Ask the tough questions and make sure you get adequate answers. Ask different people the same question and see what you get. Also, get to know your classmates. They come with a wealth of information from a diversity of backgrounds. This especially holds true for RN to BSN students. Your classmates are all experienced nurses or at the very least are all Registered Nurses. Ask them lots of questions too.
#3 – Research Can Be Your Best Friend
Or at least your best study buddy. Some professors do not endorse ever citing anything directly from Wikipedia, but down at the bottom of each of the articles are links to all the sources cited in the article. These articles may be gold for you and your article citations. Often following these links will lead you to original articles from peer reviewed journals and sources. These are the articles you want. Start with Wikipedia and work backwards.
#4 – Network with Other Nurses & Hospital Administrators
Ok, this tip probably falls more in line with after nursing school, but needs to be implemented during nursing school. You need to network. As mentioned in #2, don’t be the wallflower. Get to know everybody; at least a little bit. This means fellow students, instructors, clinical instructors, guest speakers, nursing preceptors, doctors, nurses. Whoever. These people will be your keys to learning what it takes to be a nurse. They will also be your keys to landing a job. Get to know people. Invest in people and it can pay huge rewards later on. Again, be genuine. Don’t pretend to be somebody or something you are not, but get out of your shell or your comfort zone once in a while and interact. After all, you are a nurse or are going to be a nurse, and your career will be built upon interacting with real human beings. You might as well start now with the people around you.
Nursing school can dominate your life. It does for many people, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Relax, let your hair down once and a while, and dive and dig deep when you to. Life is way too short to spend two plus years buried in one subject. Nursing is a great career and very rewarding, and it starts in nursing school.
Our Research on BSN Programs
All the legwork is done for you and you can quickly and easily compare and analyze different Registered Nurse Programs to fit your needs. Some schools offer part-time degree completion options and some offer full-time degree completion options. Spend some time, do your research and find the program that fits you the best. After all, this is your education and they are your hard-earned dollars. Take advantage of this website and come out ahead.
Whether you have been a Registered Nurse for years, a New-Grad Nurse trying to make yourself more marketable, or a Nursing Student looking into future education and career options, we can help you find the BSN Program that is right for you.