RN-to-BSN online programs are educational programs for registered nurses seeking a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree completed entirely online.
Understanding RN-to-BSN online programs
The demand for highly qualified nurses in healthcare has increased significantly in recent years, leading many registered nurses (RNs) to pursue higher education through online RN-to-BSN programs. With the convenience of online learning, RNs can continue working while obtaining their BSN degree, advancing their careers, and expanding their knowledge in the field of nursing.
Finding the best RN-to-BSN online program can be challenging since many factors such as accreditation, curriculum, faculty, and flexibility must be considered. This guide will give you an insight into some of the best online RN-to-BSN programs available, highlighting their unique features and benefits to help you decide on the program that best suits your needs.
Just as a treasure hunter must dig deep and sift through the dirt to find their treasure, prospective RN-to-BSN students must carefully evaluate each online program to uncover the one that meets their unique needs and aspirations.
What Is an RN-to-BSN Program?
An RN-to-BSN program is an educational program for registered nurses (RNs) who hold a nursing diploma or an associate degree and seek a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). The goal of these programs is to help RNs build upon their existing knowledge and skills and gain a thorough understanding of the profession, nursing theory, leadership, community health, nursing research, and informatics.
To complete these RN-to-BSN programs, you have the options of on-campus or online programs, the length of which depends on the institution and the student’s pace of study. You must complete a set number of credit hours, which can be completed part or full time.
RN-to-BSN Program Requirements
To enroll in an RN-to-BSN degree program, you must hold a nursing diploma or an associate degree from an accredited nursing program. Additionally, you are required to meet a particular GPA or earn a minimum grade in specific prerequisite courses.
RN-to-BSN programs also require passing the NCLEX Registered Nurse Examination and holding an unrestricted U.S. RN license or a license to practice in certain states, depending on the school and program. To complete the application process, you must submit:
- Application form and fee
- Personal statement
- A resume
- Recommendation letter(s)
It is advisable to check the program’s prerequisite course list before applying.
Top Online RN-to-BSN Programs
Identifying the top online RN-to-BSN programs can be daunting; however, there are a few factors to help you narrow down your options. These factors include:
- Student support
Considering these factors, you can identify the top online RN-to-BSN programs that will best meet your needs and help you achieve your career goals. Here are some of the top online RN-to-BSN programs.
Arizona State University
The online RN-to-BSN program at Arizona State University is considered one of the top programs available for registered nurses seeking to earn a BSN degree. Students in this program must complete 39 semester credits; each course lasts 7.5 weeks. Before being accepted into the CCNE-accredited nursing program, prospective students must possess an RN license.
The curriculum for the RN-to-BSN program at Arizona State University focuses on several areas, including health promotion throughout a person’s lifespan, nursing management, and innovation within the nursing field.
CUNY School of Professional Studies
CUNY School of Professional Studies is one of the most affordable online RN-to-BSN programs available in New York. For over 15 years, the CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS) has been leading online education accredited by the CCNE, with around 75% of candidates completing it within five years.
They offer the largest selection of fully online undergraduate and graduate degree programs, along with certificates, advanced certificates, and professional non-degree programs. These flexible and convenient learning opportunities cater to adult learners looking to further their education or advance their careers.
University of Illinois at Chicago
The College of Nursing at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC Nursing) delivers one of Chicago’s top online RN-to-BSN programs. This program is designed for working RNs and offers start dates in the summer, fall, or spring terms.
Students must complete eight classes during eight-week terms, which cover topics such as contemporary nursing concepts and statistics for evidence-based practice. The university offers over 250 academic degrees, including bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, across its sixteen colleges and schools.
University of Massachusetts Amherst
The College of Nursing at the University of Massachusetts Amherst provides one of New England’s top online RN-to-BSN nursing degree programs. This program is specifically designed for students who hold an unencumbered nursing license.
Full-time students can complete the program in about twelve months, while part-time students take two years to finish. Moreover, the BSN completion program offers the same tuition fees for both in-state and out-of-state students.
West Virginia University
The RN-to-BSN online program at West Virginia University is considered one of the top programs for nurses in the state. This program requires a minimum of three semesters to complete after students have met the general education requirements. All nursing courses are delivered online, and students must complete 28 credits of nursing coursework to finish the RN-to-BSN program.
Registered nurses deemed eligible can enter the School of Nursing with 50 undifferentiated nursing credit hours. Furthermore, this RN-to-BSN degree program charges the same tuition fee regardless of the student’s residency.
Top Cheapest Online RN-to-BSN Programs
Online programs can be more affordable due to reduced costs associated with commuting, housing, and campus fees. With online programs, students can complete coursework from the comfort of their homes, saving them a significant amount of money.
Factors that impact the affordability of the program include:
- Tuition rates
- Financial aid
- Residency requirements
- Credit transfer policies
- Course materials
- Length of program
Here are some of the cheapest online RN-to-BSN programs.
University of Central Florida
The University of Central Florida offers a highly affordable RN-to-BSN program, ideal for those who want to further their nursing education without breaking the bank. With three admission cycles a year and 100% online delivery, students can choose a start date that suits them and complete the program in as little as one year of study.
At just $5,375 for the entire program, including lab fees and other associated costs, this program is one of the cheapest available. It is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
University of Wyoming
For those looking for an affordable RN-to-BSN program, the University of Wyoming offers an excellent option. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the Higher Learning Commission, ensuring students receive a high-quality education. Applications can be submitted in the fall and spring of each calendar year and completed in one year, depending on course availability.
The 30-credit hour program is 100% online, with full- or part-time availability to suit students’ needs. The program costs just $5,370, including lab fees and additional university-associated costs, which equates to $154.00 per credit hour.
University of South Florida
For an affordable and flexible RN-to-BSN program, the University of South Florida is an excellent option. The program accepts applications in the fall, spring, and summer of each calendar year, allowing students to start when it suits them. The 30-credit hour program is 100% online with full- or part-time availability. This offers excellent flexibility for busy students who want to advance their nursing education while keeping costs low.
Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), the program is highly affordable, costing only $3,152. However, students should note that additional lab fees, online fees, and other University-associated costs may apply.
The Bottom Line
The best online RN-to-BSN programs offer registered nurses a flexible and convenient way to advance their nursing careers while building upon their existing knowledge and skills.
By selecting an accredited program, RNs can take the next step in their nursing career with confidence. With so many options available, carefully evaluate each program to find the one that best meets your needs and career aspirations.