EDUCATION
April 20, 2022

Top 10 Online RN to BSN Programs 2022

What is an RN to BSN Online Program?

An RN to BSN program is a program for nurses who have either their Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or, less commonly, a nursing diploma, and want to advance their education to get the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). One of the benefits of an RN-BSN program is that it can be completed online. RN to BSN online programs are shorter than traditional BSNs and build on the skills and knowledge that the nurse has already obtained. They are able to be offered online because nurses have already gone through some clinical training in their ADN, as well as in their jobs as registered nurses.

There's a big industry push for all nurses to have a BSN and there's a growing number of RN to BSN online programs available as a result. Plus, the average nurse stands to make over $15,0001 more per year with a BSN. Not to mention it can open up more career opportunities. 

According to recent studies, out of 187,000 nursing jobs posted within a three-month period, BSN educated nurses were eligible for 88% of openings, while non-BSN nurses only were eligible for 51% of the same positions.

After earning a BSN, nurses will benefit from: 

  • Higher salaries
  • More preparation for the hospital setting
  • Increased marketability
  • Increased advancement opportunities
  • Increased clinical skills
  • A step towards obtaining an MSN degree

If you’re ready to make the leap, we’ve done the hard work vetting online RN-to-BSN programs for you. Our panel of nurses has chosen the best ones for 2022-2023.

>> Related: The Top Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Program in Every State

Top 10 RN to BSN Online Programs

1. Capella University*

Designed by nurses, this for-profit university program is designed in 10-week courses. Capella University boasts an impressive graduation rate and generous transfer credit allowance from other nursing programs.

Students can also apply to the Accelerated Master’s Pathway (AMP) option. This allows you to take master’s-degree level (MSN) courses that apply towards your BSN. Once applied and accepted to the MSN program, those master’s courses can be applied toward the degree, potentially saving time and money.

  • Application Deadline: Rolling Admission
  • Tuition: $9,600–$12,800 total cost
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education 
  • Contact Phone Number: (877) 884-0733
  • Email Information: info@capella.edu

2. The University of Oklahoma

This online bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program was named best in the nation by Best College Reviews in 2019. This program is flexible for working nurses but does require two Saturday in-person orientation dates per year and also has optional monthly on-campus sessions. Students can complete the program in as little as nine months but can be completed on a part-time basis. 

  • Application Deadline: April 1st and October 15th 
  • Tuition: Resident: $14,216 per/year Non-resident: $34,058 per/year
  • Credit Hours: 30 credit hours and flexible clinical hours
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education 
  • Contact Phone Number: (405) 271-2402
  • Email Information: nursing@ouhsc.edu

3. University of Central Florida 

This bachelor’s degree program made U.S. World News and Report Best Online Bachelor’s Program 2021. The coursework consists of 30 credit hours which can be completed in three semesters at a full-time pace or as slowly as ten semesters or five years. Students can also take up to nine credit hours of graduate-level work to apply towards an MSN degree. 

  • Application Deadline: March 1st, July 1st, and November 1st 
  • Tuition: $179.19 per credit hour
  • Credit Hours: 30 Credit hours
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education 
  • Contact Phone Number: (855) 903-8576
  • Email Information: ucfnurse@ucf.edu

4. Arizona State University

In this program, students take 10 classes that each last 7.5 weeks. Current RNs can finish this program in approximately 15 to 18 months. The program is 39 credits, longer than most other online programs, but students take classes that are considered more innovative than other traditional BSN programs. In fact, ASU was recognized by the U.S. News & World Report as one of the Best Innovative Online BSN Programs of 2019. 

  • Application Deadline: Rolling Admission
  • Tuition: Resident: $561 per credit hour Non-resident: $661 per credit hour
  • Credit Hours: 39 credit hours
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Contact Phone Number: (866) 277-6589 
  • Email Information: asuonline@asu.edu 

5. Herzing University*

This program is unique in that it offers rolling admission which allows students to apply whenever is most convenient. Furthermore, it allows students to start the program at their own pace. Classes are 8-weeks and the degree can be finished in as little as 12 months. Students can take master's degree classes while completing the online BSN degree. This allows students to save time and money.

  • Application Deadline: Rolling Admission
  • Tuition: $395.00 per credit hour
  • Credit Hours: 26 credit hours and a 45-hour project designed to help your community
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Contact Phone Number: (800) 596-0724

6. University of Cincinnati*

Students in this online degree program complete nine core courses as well as a capstone course. Each course is only seven weeks long with the exception of a fourteen-week capstone course. Full-time online BSN students can complete this program in two semesters, while part-time students can complete the program in either three semesters or five semesters. There are six start dates for students in this program and the program focuses on building nurse leaders through the BSN program. 

  • Application Deadline: March 1st, July 1st, and November 1st
  • Tuition: Part-time fee: $435 per credit hour Full-time fee: $5,230 per year
  • Credit Hours: 27 credit hours
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Contact Phone Number: (513) 558-5500 
  • Email Information: nursingbearcats@uc.edu

7. Chamberlain University

Courses are 100% online and this program boasts that there's no mandatory log-in for classes. Students in this asynchronous program can start and finish at their own pace and without much guidance. Chamberlain University advertises that this program is completely customizable and is ideal for the working nurse. This program can be completed in as little as three semesters. 

  • Application Deadline: Rolling Admission
  • Tuition: $590 per credit hour
  • Credit Hours: 45 credit hours
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Contact Phone Number: (877) 751.5783

8. University of Phoenix

Students can graduate in 14 months. This program allows students to take one course at a time or several courses. Courses in the RN to BSN program are 5 weeks long. This program was designed for working nurses and includes courses designed by industry experts to develop career-related, critical thinking skills.

  • Application Deadline: Rolling Admission
  • Tuition: $350 per credit hour
  • Credit Hours: 40 credit hours
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Contact Phone Number: (844) 937-8679

9. Western Governors University

Consistently named a Best Value School by University Research & Review this RN-BSN program builds on your previous nursing education and clinical experience with a focus on the areas of research, theory, leadership, and current trends in healthcare. Sixty-six percent of students complete this program within 18 months. 

  • Application Deadline: Rolling Admission
  • Tuition: $3,795 per term
  • Credit Hours: 24 credit hours
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Contact Phone Number: (866) 225-5948
  • Email Information: admissions@wgu.edu

10. The George Washington University

Nurses with an associate degree and active RN license can apply for this entirely online program. GW Nursing also guarantees admission for applicants who meet specific prerequisites. Furthermore, this online program has special funding for veterans and the military. Students usually complete this 36-credit program in approximately 15 months. 

  • Application Deadline: July 16th and October 15th
  • Tuition: $680 per credit hour
  • Credit Hours: 21 credit hours of coursework and 15 credits for advanced standing and competency
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Contact Phone Number: (202) 994-7901
  • Email Information: nursing@gwu.edu

FAQs about Online RN-to-BSN Programs

  • What is an online BSN program?

    • An online BSN program is designed for nurses who have already obtained an RN most likely from a diploma or associate’s degree program. Classes are offered solely online and only classes required to earn a BSN are offered. There are no associated clinical or lab components and no general education classes or electives. 
  • How long is an online RN-to-BSN program?

    • Most online programs can be completed between one and two years depending on the number of online classes a student needs to complete and the speed at which they are able to take them.
  • Can you work while in an online RN-to-BSN program?

    • One of the benefits of online nursing programs is that nurses are required to work during their enrollment. They are designed for the working professional who has already developed a nursing practice. Most programs require nurses to work a minimum of 30 hours per week while completing the program. 
  • Who is an online RN-to-BSN program right for?

    • Online RN-to-BSN programs are great for nurses of all kinds. Especially nurses who have busy schedules and need flexibility, nurses who have young children or care for loved ones, or nurses who need to be employed and do not have the option to take time off work for school.
  • What are the requirements for getting into an online BSN program?

    • The requirements for each program will vary by school. But, all programs share the same basic requirements: a registered nurse licensure in good standing, to possess an associate’s degree from an accredited program, a minimum 2.0 GPA in associate’s program, that you pass a criminal background check and that you are working a minimum of 30 hours per week or completion of equivalency exam.
  • Can you take an online BSN program in another state?

    • Yes! This is one of the beautiful aspects of online BSN programs. Nurses can take a program from anywhere in the country. With that being said, there may be some exceptions. Some programs, especially if associated with a brick-and-mortar university, may require nurses to obtain their RN license in that state. Even if the nurse will never practice there, this could be required.

Show Me RN-to-BSN Programs

Prerequisite Courses for an Online RN-to-BSN Program

Since all schools of nursing are slightly different, the following core courses are required for all students. In order to be considered for admission, these courses must have been completed. These classes may include:

  • Anatomy and Physiology with a lab component
  • Biology with a lab component
  • Microbiology with a lab component
  • Human Genetics
  • Statistics
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Nutrition
  • Pathophysiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Professional Ethics
  • Introduction to Research Methods and Designs
  • Chemistry with a lab component
  • Introduction to Sociology

What Courses Will You Take in an Online RN-to-BSN Program?

Courses in online BSN programs are higher-level courses that require a higher level of critical thinking and knowledge.

Degree completion doesn’t require basic core nursing courses, as students have already taken these for their associate’s degree and because students have already passed the NCLEX-RN exam and become nurses. 

There are roughly 10 courses required for approximately 30 credit courses to complete an online BSN degree. The number of required courses varies, and it depends on the courses taken during the initial ADN program. 

Online courses may include:

  • Nursing Informatics
  • Trends in Professional Nursing
  • Innovations in Healthcare
  • Transitions in Professional Nursing 
  • Nursing Research/ Evidence-Based Practice
  • Collaborative Nursing
  • Nursing Management
  • Nursing Leadership
  • Nursing Ethics
  • Community Health Nursing
  • Capstone Course

Show Me RN-to-BSN Programs

How to Pay for Online RN-to-BSN Programs

Online programs offer a great way for RNs to obtain a BSN degree which can enhance their nursing careers; however, the programs tend to be more expensive due to their convenience. There are a variety of ways to pay for an online BSN program but the most common is tuition reimbursement from your employer (scroll to the next section for that) but here are some of the other ways you can pay if your employer doesn't offer tuition reimbursement:

  • Scholarships
    • A scholarship is an award of financial aid to a student to further their education. This money does not have to be repaid. There are a variety of different types of scholarships. Scholarships are rare for students obtaining an online BSN but they are a possibility.
  • Grants
    • Grants are determined by financial need. They can be used to cover the cost of tuition, books, clinical uniforms and supplies, housing and educational supplies. When applying for grants they will inform how they are to be applied towards your education. The amount of money you are eligible to receive depends strictly on your financial situation.
    • Typically grants do not have to be repaid as long as you graduate nursing school. If you were to drop out there can be incurred costs.
    • Some grant programs are designed to help nurses with specific career goals such as nursing leadership roles or nurses in specializations such as pediatrics or public health. 
  • Student Loans
    • Unlike scholarships and grants, student loans must be repaid. Loans also incur interest, so you will ultimately repay more than the initial amount of the loan. The exact terms of the loan will depend on the lender and other factors.

Show Me RN-to-BSN Programs

Employer Tuition Reimbursement for RN-to-BSN Programs

This is the most common form of payment for online BSN programs. Healthcare systems benefit from BSN educated nurses so they generally will assist their staff in obtaining their degree. So how does this work? Most major healthcare systems have partnerships with a handful of accredited online programs. These partnerships will allow for quick acceptance and a dedicated admissions counselor. Furthermore, because of this partnership employees will be able to obtain a higher percentage of funds towards their degree. 

If an employee doesn’t wish to attend one of the partnered programs, they will still receive funds towards their BSN but it will be less overall money which could mean some out-of-pocket costs.

Specifics regarding BSN tuition reimbursement should be discussed with your employer and Human Resources department as this will vary between healthcare systems. 

Many employees require nurses to stay employed for a specific period of time in exchange for tuition reimbursement. If you’d rather not deal with this requirement down the road, consider using another source of funding such as grants or loans.

Why You Should Choose an Accredited and Credentialed RN-to-BSN Program? 

One major consideration that must be taken into account when applying to an online nursing program is accreditation. Non-accredited universities should be a HUGE red flag for all nurses and students. If you don't know whether a program is accredited, please check either of the two accrediting websites below.

  • Students who graduate from programs that are not accredited, whether an ADN or BSN degree program, will NOT be able to sit for the NCLEX-RN. This means you will NOT become a registered nurse.
  • Many grants and loans will typically be unavailable to students who attend non-accredited colleges of nursing. 

Look out for these two red flags while you are researching nursing programs - they usually indicate that a program is not-accredited (and you should run!)

  1. If the program is extremely cheap or extremely expensive. 
  2. The program promises completion in less than a year - non-accredited programs will boast about obtaining an online BSN in less than a year. Due to the number of classes a nurse must take, this is virtually impossible. Be skeptical of these programs.  

There are two main accrediting bodies for nursing programs,

  • The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
  • The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

The purpose of accreditation is to maintain the same standards and criteria across all nursing programs. This ensures there is some level of sameness within the programs. Hospitals know nurses with degrees from accredited schools of nursing have met competencies and have learned certain basic standards of patient care.

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*Indicates an affiliate link. At no additional cost to you, Nurse.org may earn a commission if you click through and use this service.

1. According to Payscale, Nurses with a BSN degree earn on average, $84,894 per year, while nurses with an ADN earn on average $69,361 as of September 2020. 
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