RN to BSN Online

RN to BSN programs are bridge programs for registered nurses. By entering with an RN license, you could earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in less time. How? By transferring credits from your ADN or ASN program. This may be the ideal way to take your education to a new level and prepare for enhanced nursing roles.

Types of RN to BSN Programs

Online RN to BSN programs come in a variety of formats. They are often built to meet the needs of working registered nurses. Program types include:

Full-Time Versus Part-Time Online RN to BSN Programs

Some online RN to BSN programs offer both part-time and full-time options. So, you can study at your own pace – potentially ideal if you’re a current RN. Benefits of a part-time program may include. You could:

  • Work full-time in your nursing career while studying.
  • Take fewer online courses at one time.
  • You could balance school with other responsibilities.

Benefits to a full-time program may include:

  • You could earn your BSN degree in less time.
  • You could potentially pay less tuition, overall. 
  • While your schedule may be busy, online learning offers flexibility.

Hybrid Versus Fully Online RN to BSN

A hybrid RN to BSN program includes some in-person instruction. While many of your courses will be online, you’ll need to go to campus sometimes. Benefits of this may include:

  • The chance to learn nursing skills in person
  • Potential opportunities to network with other nursing students
  • Face-to-face time with your nursing instructors

Benefits of fully online RN to BSN programs include:

  • Greater flexibility to study anywhere
  • No need to live close to campus
  • The ability to engage with classmates and instructors online

Synchronous Versus Asynchronous RN to BSN Online Options

Synchronous online RN to BSN programs require you to attend classes in real time. Though your courses are online, you’ll need to attend live virtual lessons. Benefits may include:

  • You can ask questions of your instructor, live.
  • Classes may be more engaging, since they take place in real time.
  • Courses may seem more structured, since they have set meeting times.

Asynchronous online RN to BSN programs don’t have set class times. That doesn’t mean your assignments and tests don’t have due dates. You’ll still have deadlines for deliverables. However, you won’t need to attend virtual lectures at set times. Benefits to this format may include:

  • Greater flexibility to study at times that work for you.
  • Fewer scheduling conflicts – especially if you’re a working RN!
  • You won’t miss a live class due to tech issues.

Pros and Cons of an RN to BSN Online Program

Online RN to BSN programs offer many possible benefits for ambitious nurses. But they may not be for everyone. Let’s run through the pluses and minuses.

Potential Pros of an RN to BSN Online Program

  • You could earn the degree in less time. RN to BSN programs are already big potential time-savers. That’s because you could build on your past education and earn the degree sooner. But studying online may help you save even more time. That’s because you could enjoy added flexibility and a schedule built for working adults.
  • Keep working in the job you love. Online RN to BSN programs are often asynchronous. That means you could pursue your courses at night, on weekends, and during breaks. So you could continue working as an RN while pursuing your degree at the same time.
  • You could earn credits for work experience. Most RN to BSN programs award credits for your RN license or experience. (That’s not just true of online programs; it could apply to traditional programs too.)
  • Clinicals could be done at your workplace. Traditional BSN programs often have in-person labs and clinicals. That’s because students need to gain hands-on experience in nursing. But if you’re working as an RN, you could potentially do most clinicals at your job. How convenient is that? 
  • High tech experiences. Many online RN to BSN programs feature virtual experiences like simulation labs and problem-based web learning. You could even examine a virtual patient using software like Shadow Health and Practice. In other words, your online coursework could end up being just as interactive as a traditional program.
  • Support when you need it. If you’re new to online learning, it’s understandable to be nervous. But most online RN to BSN programs are not just designed to be effective in an online format. They offer ongoing guidance. Like, tutoring services and IT support.

Potential Cons of an RN to BSN Online Program

  • You need to be motivated. Sure, it can be hard to come home from your busy job as an RN and work even more. When the distractions of home call to you, it might be a challenge to focus. The silver lining is that what you’re studying likely ties right into your RN job. If you’re passionate about nursing, you may be able to summon the willpower.
  • There tends to be less structure. In an online RN to BSN program, there often aren’t regular class meeting times. You study at the times that work for you. If you prefer more structure, this format could be a challenge.
  • There’s less face-to-face time. Online learning can be quite engaging. Live lectures or online message boards give plenty of opportunities to interact. But you may not see as much of your classmates and instructors as you would in person.
  • Technology challenges can happen. Tech glitches can be an occasional annoyance. Of course, most of us are no stranger to that! Know how to contact your school’s IT support in case you have issues.
  • There’s less hands-on experience. Since you’ll be learning online, there may be fewer opportunities to practice skills under your instructor’s watchful eye. But for experienced RNs, that may not matter. You’re already practicing nursing skills every day, at work. And clinicals are often still part of online RN to BSN programs.
  • It’s not the traditional Nursing School experience. Online learning doesn’t tend to come with college sports, extracurriculars, and dorm life. But since you’re already working as an RN, this may not matter to you.

What Are the Admission Requirements for RN to BSN Online Programs? 

Admission requirements for online RN to BSN programs include RN licensure, of course. You’ll need to have a current, active, unrestricted RN license. This should be generally be in the U.S. state where you live. At some schools, it could be in any jurisdiction that is an associate member of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). Check with your prospective school for details.

Of course, to be an RN you need to have earned at least an Associate’s degree in nursing. Or, a diploma from an approved nursing program. You’ll need either one of these to apply to an RN to BSN program. Check with your prospective school of nursing to learn more about potentially transferring credits from your prior education.

Other possible admission requirements include:

  • Minimum cumulative GPA. Some schools may ask you to have at least a 2.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Criminal background check. This is fairly common for those studying nursing or other health professions.
  • Prerequisite courses. Like, Anatomy, Physiology, and Microbiology. You’ll need to submit transcripts showing what courses you completed.

What classes will I take in RN to BSN Online Programs? 

RN to BSN coursework includes subjects in several main categories: health sciences related to the nursing profession, other social and behavioral sciences, and general education or liberal arts courses. Likely, you’re most interested in core courses directly related to nursing! These could include:

Population Health /Community Health

This course explores health as it relates to large populations, communities, and cultures. You could study healthcare systems in the United States and around the world. You’ll examine how to address public health challenges in community settings. And you could explore how cultural differences enrich the community nursing practice.

Clinical Microbiology

Get to know the organisms that cause the spread of disease. This subject is all about microorganisms like bacteria, fungi, and yeast. You’ll learn the role they play in health, and how to manage risks in a clinical setting. You could also gain a better understanding of disease by looking at topics like immunology and epidemiology.

Nutritional Science

Nurses can help educate patients about how to manage illness and stay healthy by eating right. This course covers the science behind topics like nutritional information, weight management, and the role of exercise. You could also learn health promotion strategies for informing patients about healthier eating.

Health Assessment

When working with patients, nurses need to take in key information quickly. This course covers the skills to assess a patient’s health in a clinical setting. You could learn everything from physical assessment techniques to preventive health interventions. And, you could learn how to assess diverse patients with care and sensitivity.

Clinical Experience in an RN to BSN Online Program

Not all RN to BSN programs require clinicals. After all, these programs are typically designed for professional nurses. But many have some kind of in-person requirement, like a practicum experience. For instance, you could participate in field work, in which you may learn nursing skills related to patient safety, care, and education. In some cases, you may need to complete a certain number of practice hours. And many programs end with a capstone project.

So what constitutes a clinical experience? It varies by program and could consist of:

  • Working in a health care setting (this could potentially be your workplace)
  • Performing health care assessments in a given environment
  • Conducting a quality improvement health care project
  • Completing a nursing research project
  • Creating and teaching a health care education program
  • Performing clinical experience in a specialty nursing area
  • And other potential paths

What Do Online RN to BSN Programs Cost?

The tuition rate for an online RN to BSN program can be as low as around $7,000 per year. But tuition costs vary widely. Some programs charge per credit, rather than by the term or academic year. A 180-credit program that charges $574 per credit would cost $103,320 in total, to earn. Keep in mind that you could potentially transfer credits from your past education or work experience. That’s a way to save money. And, financial aid may be available to those who qualify.

How Much Will I Make After Graduating from an Online RN to BSN Program?

The average annual salary for someone with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing was $84,378, as of 2020.

In 2019, registered nurses earned a median annual salary of $73,300. But this is the median for all RNs, at all levels of education. The top 10% of RNs earned $111,220. While earning a BSN does not guarantee you will be in that top tier of earners, RNs with a Bachelor’s degree may have the best job prospects.

How Long Does It Take to Complete an RN to BSN Program Online?

RN to BSN program length depends on how many credits you transfer from your past nursing education and experience. It also depends on whether you study part time or full time.

University Level of Degree # of Credits Required Starts Per Year Minimum Months to Complete
Western Governor’s University Bachelor’s 72 (24 courses) 12 12
Chamberlain University Bachelor’s 45 (with 77 proficiency credits) Multiple 3 semesters
Drexel University Bachelor’s 180 quarter credits (transfer up to 135) Multiple 12
Widener University Bachelor’s 122 N/A 8

What Accreditation is There for My Online Nursing Program?

The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredits online RN to BSN programs. This is a national accreditation agency that focuses on excellence in nursing education. CCNE accredits baccalaureate, graduate, and residency programs in nursing. Check to see if your prospecting nursing program is one of them!

The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) also accredits online nursing programs. It offers accreditation for all levels of nursing education. In fact, ACEN is one of the largest specialized accrediting agencies. It evaluates nursing programs throughout the United States, its territories, and internationally.

15 RN to BSN Programs

Many online schools offer public health degrees. Here are 15 schools with online degrees in public health at all levels. 

  1. University of Maryland Global Campus 
  2. The University of Texas at Arlington 
  3. Widener University
  4. Pennsylvania State University World Campus
  5. Drexel University
  6. Maryville University
  7. University of Virginia 
  8. Fitchburg State University  
  9. Capella University  
  10. La Sallle University  
  11. Columbia College
  12. Seminole State College of Florida 
  13. Mississippi College
  14. The University of Tennessee – Knoxville
  15. Ohio University – Main Campus

FIND AN RN TO BSN ONLINE PROGRAM

Let’s take a closer look at the online public health degrees that these 15 schools have to offer. Listed tuition is out of state unless noted with *.

1

University of Maryland Global Campus

RN to BSN Program 


UMGC offers a CCNE accredited online RN-to-BSN program. It offers a way to prepare for potential paths like clinical research or public health nursing. Or even graduate nursing programs. Clinical and practical experiences as well as nursing theory round out the program. Students must have an Associate’s degree in nursing to apply.

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $12,336
Grad $12,132

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$4,663 

Average Net Price:
$14,635 

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
Middle States Commission on Higher Education

2

The University of Texas at Arlington

RN to BSN Program


UTA’s RN to BSN program is offered online and on campus. You could earn the online degree in as few as 9 months, as long as you only need to take core nursing courses. You’ll also have to take both non-nursing and nursing electives, plus a capstone course. In addition, UTA offers an RN to MSN bridge program, which leads to earning a Master of Science in Nursing.

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $28,129
Grad $22,980

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$4,897 

Average Net Price:
$14,445 

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

3

Widener University

RN to BSN Program


Widener’s online RN to BSN program is open to applicants with an Associate’s degree from a community college or a diploma from a nursing diploma program. And of course, you must be an RN. The program covers topics like evidence-based practice for RNs, population health, health policy, and gerontology. You could even study nursing management and leadership.

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $47,328* 
Grad $24,130*

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$29,991

Average Net Price:
$31,666 

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training & dedicated point of contact.

Accredited:
Middle States Commission on Higher Education

4

Pennsylvania State University – World Campus

RN to BSN Program


The RN to BSN program at Penn State World Campus is a CCNE accredited program. The College of Nursing is also approved by the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing. This program is designed to be flexible – potentially perfect if you’re a current RN. Expect to study everything from nursing research to community health nursing. You could even pursue additional certificates in Nursing Management, Nursing Informatics, or Nursing Forensics.

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $13,988*  
Grad $22,186* 

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$8,678 

Average Net Price:
$24,724* 

Military Programs:
Credit for military training, dedicated point of contact & member of SOC.

Accredited:
Middle States Commission on Higher Education

5

Drexel University

RN to BSN Program


The RN to BSN program at Drexel is open to applicants who are working nurses or even those planning to take their NCLEX soon. This BSN degree program is 100% online and can be earned in as few as 12 months. Your nursing courses use simulation technology to create an interactive experience. So online students may feel as if they are pursuing real life practice in areas like patient assessment.

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $54,516* 
Grad $36,021*

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$30,416 

Average Net Price:
$38,025 

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
Middle States Commission on Higher Education

6

Maryville University

RN to BSN Program


The RN to BSN online degree program at Maryville is designed to help you take your nursing career to a new level. You’ll explore potential nursing career opportunities. And you could study topics like health promotion, psychosocial nursing care, adult nursing, and nursing care of children. The program features three start dates each year.

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $28,470* 
Grad $15,646*

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$18,738 

Average Net Price:
$29,357 

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
Higher Learning Commission

7

University of Virginia

BSN Program


This BSN program is hybrid, meaning it has mostly online courses but features some in person experiences. The program is connected with the UVA Health System. Students have the chance to take up to three RN to BSN courses before applying. This gives you a chance to see if the UVA RN to BSN program may be ideal for your professional nursing goals. The degree is intended to be earned part time, in around two years.

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $50,900
Grad $30,720

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$23,377 

Average Net Price:
$17,579 

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program & recognized student vet organization.

Accredited:
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

8

Fitchburg State University

RN to BS in Nursing


Fitchburg State offers a CCNE-accredited RN to BS in Nursing program. You could earn the degree in as few as 12 months, if you need only 32 credit hours. (Remember, the credits you can transfer from your previous nursing school vary by student.) The program’s focus areas include applying evidence-based practice to ensure the best patient care. You’ll also take a look at healthcare policy, finance, and more.

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $16,690
Grad $5,742

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$6,809 

Average Net Price:
$15,237 

Military Programs:
Credit for military training, dedicated point of contact & recognized student vet organization.

Accredited:
New England Commission of Higher Education

9

Capella University

RN to BSN Program


Capella has an online RN-to-BSN program with several flexible options for earning your degree. You could even pursue the Accelerated Master’s Pathway (AMP) option. This lets you take BSN courses at the master’s degree level. So, you could work toward your Master of Science in Nursing while still an undergrad. Capella is an accredited institution, and the RN to BSN program is accredited by CCNE.

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $14,540*
Grad $15,233

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$3,760 

Average Net Price:
$17,368 

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact & member of SOC.

Accredited:
Higher Learning Commission

10

La Salle University

RN to BSN Program


The Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at La Salle is both online and accelerated. You could earn your BSN in as few as 10 months. Students dive into health promotion, risk reduction, and disease prevention. They also practice critical thinking skills, culturally sensitive nursing, and other key knowledge areas.

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $31,650*
Grad $25,630* 
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$18,244 

Average Net Price:
$25,059 

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact & member of SOC.

Accredited:
Middle States Commission on Higher Education

11

Columbia College

RN to BSN Program


Columbia College’s online RN to BSN program was built for professional nurses. It does not require clinicals. And, Columbia strives to make it easy to transfer credits from your previous education. If you have already earned an associate degree in nursing, you could earn your BSN in as few as two years. 

  • Research Methods for Public Health 
  • Applied Field Experience 
  • Public Health Data Analysis 

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $23,498*
Grad $8,602* 

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$11,356

Average Net Price:
$25,065

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
Higher Learning Commission 

12

Seminole State College of Florida

RN to BSN Program


This Florida college offers an RN to BSN program designed to be earned in as little as one year. BSN students can be working RNs in Florida or elsewhere. They could also be preparing to sit the NCLEX exam. The RN to BSN curriculum was developed in collaboration with Central Florida health providers. And the program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $11,456  
Grad N/A
Special rates available for military students 

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$4,953 

Average Net Price:
$8,022 

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

13

Mississippi College

RN to BSN Program


Mississippi College’s RN to BSN program is 100% online and built for working nurses. The program brings together both clinical reasoning and a Christian world view. It offers faith-based and globally aware courses to help BSN students prepare for real world nursing challenges. The program includes 30 credit hours and can be pursued at your own pace.

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $18,800*
Grad $12,130*

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$15,841 

Average Net Price:
$18,040 

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

14

The University of Tennessee – Knoxville

RN to BSN Program


This program is offered through UT’s College of Nursing and features flexible start dates as well as full- and part-time options. The program is fully online. Plus, clinical components can be completed virtually or close to home. Among other requirements, you must have a minimum of 63 credit hours that are eligible for transfer.

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $31,664
Grad $31,568

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$10,464 

Average Net Price:
$21,024

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact & recognized student vet organization.

Accredited:
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

15

Ohio University – Main Campus

RN to BSN Program


Ohio University’s online RN to BSN program is designed for experienced nursing professionals. It offers the flexibility you need to keep working. The degree calls for 120 credit hours, many of which you could potentially transfer. You must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours at Ohio U. Also keep in mind that your RN licensure must be from select states. These include Ohio, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, and others.

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $22,406
Grad $17,712 

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$6,903 

Average Net Price:
$22,521 

Military Programs:
Credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
Higher Learning Commission 

*Unemployment Earnings.  Sources for school stats and data include the NCES and IPEDS.