Top RN to BSN Programs

Registered nurses are the mainstay of nursing across the country - they work at hospitals, in clinics, in the military and other places that need nursing-level medical care. Most nurses enter the field through accredited diplomas or an associate degree at a relevant college. However, most realize that some professional doors are closed to them without a full BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) degree. To facilitate those with a diploma or associate’s degree, some colleges have study courses that essentially convert pre-existing qualifications to a full BSN.

A Bachelor of Science in Nursing will open those doors, including promotion and higher levels of responsibility such as management, logistics, and planning.

RN to BSN Programs State-by-State

Find out more about RN to BSN programs in your state by clicking on the state names below.

What To Look For In an RN to BSN Program

Now that you've made the decision to convert your pre-existing qualification that allows you to practice as a registered nurse, there are some things to be aware of. Examine each program for details of the following criteria to determine whether the RN to BSN program is suitable for what you want to achieve.

  • Accreditation - Most employers, especially in responsible roles like the medical profession, will usually only hire people with accredited degrees. Ensure your intended course is accredited.
  • Program Length - Particularly regarding flexibility and choice, especially if you intend to continue work as a nurse while studying.
  • Program Options - On-campus or online? How flexible is the course? The latter is usually better for those already working in RN roles who wish to work and study simultaneously. Also consider the courses that make up the degree along with your strengths and interests.
  • Tuition & Cost of Attendance - Cost of study varies by location (from $4,000 to $10,000), whether the course is accredited, and of course school prestige. Also consider cost of living and any available scholarships.

RN to BSN Admission Requirements

Typically, you can expect to find the following limitations and admission requirements when applying for an RN to BSN course:

  • The applicant must currently be an RN with a fully up-to-date license
  • Some courses may expect you to have experience working as a registered nurse
  • Associate degree or diploma from an accredited college or university
  • Minimum GPA of 2.0 for some courses, while most request 2.5 or 2.75
  • Professional letter of reference or recommendation
  • Proof of up-to-date immunizations
  • Some may subject you to criminal background checks

Accredited by the CCNE, California State University San Marcos Campus is considered among the best courses for flexibility, and for patient quality of care.

RN to BSN Curriculum

A typical RN to BSN program will contain both core and elective elements. Most content is weighted towards the mandatory (around 40-45 credits) while the student chooses from a list of elective courses (around 10-15 credits).

  • Introduction to Anatomy & Physiology
  • Behavioral Science
  • Biochemistry
  • Mathematics for the Medical Sciences
  • Statistics for the Medical Sciences
  • Critical Thinking and Research
  • Nursing Informatics
  • Communication Skills/English Language
  • Microbiology (typically optional)
  • Cultural Anthropology (typically optional)
  • Medical Ethics (typically optional)
  • Psychology (typically optional)
  • Pediatric Nursing (typically optional)
  • Geriatric Care (typically optional)

Online RN to BSN Programs

Many courses allow students to study online. There are numerous advantages to this. Working RNs have complex and changeable shift patterns that typically define their careers. They are sometimes called upon to change patterns due to sickness or because of an incident. Regularly missing classes is not conducive to completing an RN to BSN program. Online study means students can study at any time, working around their shifts and other commitments.

The other major reason for studying online is distance. If you live hundreds of miles from a campus offering the course you need, it may not be possible to commute or relocate. If the nearest course is several states away, this would make studying almost impossible. Remote learning means residents in Alaska can study courses in Virginia.

The University of Oklahoma has been voted as the best online RN to BSN course by multiple well-known nursing resources and recommended by qualified nurses. You will be required to attend two Saturdays for orientation in the calendar year.

RN to BSN Salary & Job Outlook

In 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the average salary for Registered Nurses without a BSN degree was approximately 30% lower than those with a BSN regardless of experience. RNs with up to one year of experience earned $57,088 (non-BSN) and $70,532 (BSN graduate). For 10 years of experience, salaries were $70,011 and $83,534 respectively. Clinical Nurse Management roles for which a BSN is essential have a median salary of $84,000 while Nursing Directors report an average of $90,000.

Nursing, like most healthcare roles, remains stable regardless of the economic outlook. Demand for nurses is expected to grow around 12% between 2018 and 2028, largely thanks to retiring Baby Boomers getting older and needing greater healthcare support.