Easiest Online RN to BSN Programs
The demand for registered nurses (RNs) continues to grow every year. Between RNs transferring to other careers and RNs retiring, the need for qualified RNs is constantly increasing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that RNs should see job growth of six percent from 2022 to 2032. They also report that RNs earn wages averaging from $61,250 to $129,400 or more as of February 2024. The average wage for an RN as of 2024 is $81,220.
Several factors influence wage potential, including experience, education, and degree level. Although you can become an RN with an associate degree, many RNs choose to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree to improve their wages and job opportunities. A popular and convenient way to do this is through an online RN to BSN program. Here is all the information you need on this popular program as well as a list of some of the easiest online programs for this degree.
What is an RN to BSN Program?
The term “RN to BSN” might sound very complicated, but it’s a relatively easy degree option for individuals who are already RNs but wish to advance their education. Although many students may say there is nothing easy about earning a nursing degree or a BSN degree, the RN to BSN program allows the RN to earn the bachelor’s degree in much less time than it would take a student to earn the BSN if he or she started from scratch.
In many cases, the individual may have completed an associate degree in nursing, and may be an RN, but may want to advance his or her education. The only main requirement is that the individual must already have an RN degree and active license.
RN to BSN programs, often referred to as Bridge programs, can be completed online in as little as one year. It’s referred to as a bridge program because it allows the RN to advance forward towards the BSN in much less time than a typical BSN program.
Although every nursing college may be different in its requirements and its BSN programs, most colleges offer a few different program options. Depending on the student’s schedule and time, RNs may often have the choice of earning the online BSN in the following ways.
- One course at a time – This method is ideal for the RN who already has a fairly busy schedule and can’t really find time for more than one course. It’s also ideal for students who can’t afford to attend college full-time or even part-time.
- Part-time – This method is ideal for the RN who has more time to attend college. An RN that is already working full-time typically finds this method very convenient. By only attending college part-time, the RN can continue to work full-time while earning the degree.
- Full-time – This method is the perfect solution for the individual that wants to earn the BSN as quickly as possible and has the time to successfully complete the BSN program.
Types of Nursing that Require a BSN
The BLS reports that by the year 2030, about 276,800 new RN jobs will be created. Many of these jobs will require the RN have a bachelor’s degree. Whether the RN has an associate degree, a diploma, or a bachelor’s degree, RNs have excellent job opportunities. However, certain types of nursing or certain nursing areas of specialization required a BSN.
- Palliative and Hospice Care
- Obstetrics and Gynecology
- Surgical Nursing
- Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
- Cardiac Care Nursing
- Nursing Administration
- Perioperative Nursing
- Orthopedic Nursing
- Flight Nurse
- Psychiatric Nursing
10 Easiest Online RN to BSN Programs
Earning a BSN is much easier when it’s done through the online RN to BSN program. To make their lives a little easier, many RNs look for the easiest online RN to BNS programs so they can rejoin the workforce as an RN with a BSN much quicker. Let’s face it, students typically choose an online program because they already have a busy enough life and can’t fit attending college full time into their schedule.
Online programs allow students the chance to earn their degree without sacrificing other important areas of their lives. Here are ten of the easiest online RN to BSN programs. These are all excellent programs that can make it a little easier for an RN to advance his or her education.
1. Purdue University Global
- Admission Requirements: Must be current with all required immunizations and show proof of health examination; must clear a criminal background check and have a valid nursing license.
- Curriculum: The program has an asynchronous format that is 100% online so you can do your work on your schedule. Any clinical requirement can be completed on your schedule at a location you choose. The program offers several elective courses that can lead to professional certification.
- Time to Complete/Graduate: Students can complete this program in 16 months but also offers the FastTrack option for even earlier completion.
- What makes it easiest? The program can be completed online in the comfort of your home. The program allows students to transfer credits from their associate degree program. They also offer students a free three-week trial period where the student can take courses and see if they like the program.
2. Utica College
- Admission Requirements: Students must be RNs with a valid nursing license and meet the GPA requirements set by the school or program.
- Curriculum: This fully online program includes nine nursing courses that can lead to leadership roles or professional certification in nursing specialized areas.
- Time to Complete/Graduate: Program can be completed in 20 months or as soon as the student completes the required 31 to 60 credits.
- What makes it easiest? Online support from faculty is always available for students. Students can complete the courses at a time that’s convenient for them.
3. Grand Canyon University
- Admission Requirements: Students must be RNs with valid nursing licenses and must pass any health requirements.
- Curriculum: The 100% online program offers both asynchronous and synchronous communication. Its flexible format allows the student to work while earning the degree, but the student is required to complete a practicum course.
- Time to Complete/Graduate: The program can be completed in 12 months.
- What makes it easiest? Students can transfer up to 90 credits and work at their own pace. They can also complete their practicum in their location.
4. Walden University
- Admission Requirements: The student must be an RN with an active nursing license, a GPA of at least 2.0, and must pass health requirements.
- Curriculum: The 100% online format uses Digital Clinical Experiences™, which help students obtain health assessment skills.
- Time to Complete/Graduate: Can be completed in 12 months.
- What makes it easiest? The school offers three flexible options; competency-based, course-based, and RN to BSN Accelerated RN to Master’s Option. The program allows you to transfer up to 75 credits, some programs even allow transfer of up to 135 credits. Students can choose between six- and 12-week courses.
5. Sacred Heart University – Sacred Heart College of Nursing
- Admission Requirements: Applicants must be RNs with an active nursing license in their state. They must also satisfy the program’s GPA requirements.
- Curriculum: This 100% online format allows students to earn the degree while working as an RN.
- Time to Complete/Graduate: Can be completed in 18 months.
- What makes it easiest? The program offers six starts per year and allows the transfer of 90 credits. Its online format allows students to learn at their own pace. Students can also pursue a master’s degree simultaneously and take several nursing specialties, such as nursing education, nursing management, and clinical nurse leadership.
6. Northern Kentucky University
- Admission Requirements: In addition to meeting GPA requirements, the applicant must be an RN with a nursing license or must obtain the license before starting the first course.
- Curriculum: The 100% online program includes both asynchronous and synchronous courses as well as online tutoring if needed. It also offers areas of specialization.
- Time to Complete/Graduate: This program can be completed in ten months.
- What makes it easiest? It’s fully online and offers multiple start dates as well as seven-week courses.
7. Radford University
- Admission Requirements: Students must have an active nursing license as an RN and must satisfy health requirements.
- Curriculum: The curriculum is 100% online and offers various specialized nursing courses.
- Time to Complete/Graduate: This program can be completed in as little as ten months.
- What makes it easiest? In addition to being 100% online, the program offers multiple start dates, a pay-by-course tuition option, and one-on-one support from teachers.
8. Concordia University
- Admission Requirements: The student must be an RN with a valid nursing license.
- Curriculum: This is a 100% online program offering both asynchronous and synchronous courses. Up to 84 credits from previous nursing programs can be transferred into this program. If already working as an RN, the student can complete the clinical practicum requirements while working.
- Time to Complete/Graduate: This program can be completed in as little as 18 months or as long as 24 months depending on the student’s schedule and commitment.
- What makes it easiest? Its online format allows students to complete work at their convenience and offers multiple start dates.
9. The University of Illinois – Chicago
- Admission Requirements: The applicant must be an RN with an active nursing license in his or her state.
- Curriculum: Offering both asynchronous and synchronous courses, this 100% online program can be completed on the student’s schedule, but they can still get assistance if needed.
- Time to Complete/Graduate: This program can be completed in 12 months.
- What makes it easiest? It’s 100% online and does not require clinicals. This program was ranked #3 among the best online programs by U.S. News & World Report.
10. University of Texas Arlington
- Admission Requirements: The applicants must meet GPA requirements, be RNs, and have valid nursing licenses.
- Curriculum: The online curriculum requires students to complete 60 credit hours and does allow the transfer of 29 credit hours from previous nursing programs.
- Time to Complete/Graduate: This program can be completed in nine months.
- What makes it easiest? Its online format allows students to complete courses on their own time. It also offers five-week and ten-week courses.
General Admissions Requirements for an Online RN to BSN
Nursing schools and colleges have specific admission requirements that RNs must meet before they will be accepted into an online RN to BSN program. There are currently 777 RN to BSN programs in the U.S. according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). Of this high number, more than 600 of these programs are offered online.
Some may be partially online while others are offered fully online. Although the requirements typically vary from school to school, most nursing schools require these things.
- Applicant must have an associate degree or diploma in nursing from an accredited nursing program.
- Applicant must have met a minimum grade requirement in specific prerequisite courses. This might be at least 2.0 on a 4.0 scale.
- Applicant must have passed the NCLEX nursing exam.
- Applicant must have a valid RN license.
- Applicant must submit a resume, personal statement, application form, and letters of recommendation. The program must be approved by either the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
Online RN to BSN FAQ
Q: Can I get financial aid if I’m only enrolled in an online RN to BSN program but only enrolled as a part-time student?
A: When it comes to financial aid, online RN to BSN programs are treated the same as on-campus programs. The student may be required to complete a certain number of credits to be eligible for financial aid.
Q: Is a BSN that important if I’m already working as an RN?
A: The benefit of earning the BSN is that you’ll be qualified to work in various nursing specialties that were not available for associate degree nurses. You’ll also be qualified for leadership positions in a healthcare setting. Some states even require a BSN to work as a registered nurse. Check with your state for requirements.
Q: Why is a BSN important?
A: In recent years, it has been determined that RNs with a BSN are better trained and more knowledgeable in various areas of nursing. This results in:
- Lower mortality rates
- Shorter hospital stays
- Fewer infections while in the hospital
- Fewer re-admissions
- Lower hospital costs
Q: Does the online RN to BSN program require clinical education?
A: Because the RN already has a nursing degree, the clinicals were completed in that program and will not have to be completed again. However, there are some programs that may require clinical education. Most programs require the student to complete a clinical practicum.
Q: Are longer online RN to BSN programs better than shorter programs?
A: Most online nursing programs require a certain number and type of nursing courses. Some just allow you more time to complete the courses. Shorter nursing programs just mean that the student will have to complete the program in a shorter amount of time.
Q: Is the tuition cheaper for online RN to BSN programs?
A: Most schools charge their tuition based on the credits so the tuition will be the same for on-campus programs.
Q: What does transferring my credits mean?
A: If you received your RN degree through a diploma program or an associate degree, you can transfer some of the prerequisite science courses, general education courses, and pre-nursing courses into the BSN program.
Q: Are online RN to BSN programs regarded as highly as on-campus programs.
A: Hospital and medical facility administrators state that they regard the online programs every bit as highly as the on-campus programs. They are more concerned with how you did in the program and if the program was accredited.
Inquiring about an online RN to BSN program is your next step. Unless you are certain which school you want to attend, you may want to look at multiple programs to compare the features and benefits of each.