As the need for BSN prepared nurses increases, you may be thinking about moving from your RN license to a BSN degree. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) report The Future of Nursing has a goal of 80% BSN prepared nurses by 2020. You may have hit a wall in your place of employment because you don’t have the education you need for the role you want to be in.
You have a Registered Nurse (RN) license, but you have decided that you want to pursue further education. What are your options for getting a Baccalaureate degree in nursing (BSN)? You really have three options for continuing your formal education: a bricks-and-mortar school at a college or university, an online program, or a hybrid of these two.
What are the Prerequisites for an Online RN-to-BSN program?
Although specific requirements will vary from school to school, all RN-to-BSN programs will require:
- Graduation from an accredited school of nursing,
- Successful completion of the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), and
- A current registered nurse license.
Depending on the program you select, you might also be required to have a minimum grade point average in your basic nursing program. Although most programs will accept an ADN or Diploma degree, you should always check the specific requirements for the programs you are interested in. Depending on the program, you may also be able to transfer credits you already have from your Diploma or ADN program. Some online programs even offer testing programs that will allow you to show your competency by taking an online examination to “test out” of some of the basic course.
Another factor to consider is that you must have reliable access to a computer and the internet. Questions to ask about technological requirements include:
- What internet browsers (Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, etc.) are supported in the program?
- Do I need any specific software programs?
- Does my computer have to have any other specifications?
Is an Online RN-to-BSN Program Right for Me?
An online RN-to-BSN program is perfect for a nurse who is self-motivated and will actually sit down and do the work independently. If you need structure in order to get work done or if you crave face-to-face interaction in a classroom, the online pathway is probably NOT for you! However, it is a great option if you are working and cannot afford to take time off from your current job. If you do not like technology and using a computer is a chore for you, you might want to think twice about starting an online nursing program. You do NOT want to be fighting technology while you are trying to learn new material!
What RN-to-BSN Programs are Available Online?
The good news is that there are a TON of online RN-to-BSN programs available and the number is growing every day. A good place to start looking for programs is with your local college or university. Call the Registrar’s office and see if they have an online RN-to-BSN program. Of course, because these programs are totally online, you do not have to be restricted to a program that is close to you. You could conceivably take courses from a college or university located thousands of miles from your home. One consideration is that some online programs continue to charge in-state versus out-of-state fees.
The courses listed below are all accredited by one of the two major national accrediting organizations: the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC). Be aware that the total tuition costs listed are approximate and subject to change. The costs will also vary depending on whether or not you can transfer credits into the program. Always check with the specific program to determine current costs.
|Name||Location||Program Length||Tuition||Applications Accepted||Accreditation|
|Ball State University||Muncie, Indiana||6 semesters or 3 semesters||$23,098||Flexible with no specific login times||CCNE|
|Capella University||Minneapolis, Minnesota||18 months||$290 per credit hour||CCNE|
|Fort Hays State University||Hays, Kansas||125 credit hours; Transfer credits can reduce this load||In-state $141 per credit hour;
Out-of-state in contiguous states $195 per credit hour;
Out-of-state $414 per credit hour (Total $5595)
|Spring, Summer and Fall||CCNE|
|Herzing University||Menomenee Falls, Wisconsin||59 credit hours through Herzing and at least 60 transfer credits||$30,800||Fall, Spring and Summer||CCNE|
|Kaplan University||18 months; 180 quarter hours||$315 per credit hour (Total cost = $28,350)||3 start dates each year||CCNE|
|Kent State University||Kent, Ohio||18 months part time study; 12 months for full time study||In-state $440 per credit hour; out-of-state $450 per credit hour (Total $56,693)||Fall, Spring and Summer||CCNE|
|Lamar University||Beaumont, Texas||13 months||$23,541||NLNAC|
|Liberty University||Lynchburg, Virginia||120 credit hours with at least 30 from Liberty University courses||$325 per credit hour (Total cost = $39,000)||CCNE|
|Middle Tennessee State University||Murfreesboro, Tennessee||120 units||$268 up to 12 units; $54 for every unit over 12 (Total cost = $26,800)||Summer, Spring or Fall||CCNE|
|University of Massachusetts Amherst||Amherst, Massachusetts||12 or 24 months||$15,300||CCNE|
|University of Wyoming||Laramie, Wyoming||12 months; Transfer credits can reduce this time||In-state $148 per credit hour;
Out-of-state $192 (Total = $9520)
|Spring and Fall||CCNE|
|Walden University||Minneapolis, Minnesota||180 credit hours||$290 per credit hour + $110 technology fee per quarter (Average total cost = $26,869)||CCNE|
|Western Carolina University||Cullowhee, North Carolina||32 hours within 24 months||In-state $5,040||January and August||CCNE|
|Western Governors University||Salt Lake City, Utah||18 months (3 terms)||$3395 per 6 month term (Total =$10,185)||CCNE|
|West Texas A&M University||Canyon, Texas||12 months||$9,000||Spring, Summer or Fall||CCNE|