Best Online Nursing Bachelor's (BSN) Programs

By the OnlineU team | Updated 3/22/2021
Quick Facts
Accreditation: AANA, ACEN, ACEN, ACME, CCNE
Average Tuition: $25,135
Average Salary: $83,176

Collectively, there are more than 4 million nurses employed in hospitals, medical practices, and other healthcare facilities, and that number is expected to increase by 7% over the next decade. The nursing field is full of opportunities, and prospective students can choose among many levels of education, job responsibilities, and career options. As experts note, however, nurses who invest in furthering their education dramatically increase their salary potential. This page includes comprehensive lists of online nursing programs, all arranged by state so that aspiring nurses can discover the programs that best fit their needs. We also provide lists of the best online BSN schools and best online MSN schools based on value to assist students with their search for quality online nursing degrees. Students who are wondering which degree level is best for them will find answers in our section about bridge programs, accelerated programs, and traditional online nursing programs. Read on to learn more about the importance of finding an accredited online nursing program, and licensing requirements for nurses.

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Online BSN Programs with the Highest Return on Investment

2021 Best Online Colleges Offering Bachelors in Nursing Badge

All of these top online nursing programs have ROIs above the national average of $649,000, with ROIs ranging from $811,400 to $1,120,800. Our rankings emphasize real alumni outcomes, using alumni salary and debt to help to help prospective nursing students gauge whether a program is likely to be financially beneficial in the long run. Pacific College is ranked first, with an annual tuition of $9,735 and a 10-year ROI of $1,120,800.

ROI amounts are based on data reported by the U.S. Department of Education. Tuitions are manually researched in order to determine tuition amounts specific to online degrees. Read our methodology for more details.

RankSchool Annual Tuition Median Starting Salary Median Debt 10-year ROI
# 1 #1 Pacific College $9,735 $110,135 $10,500 $1,120,800
# 2 #2 Mercy College $12,875 $106,421 $25,000 $1,064,500
# 3 #3 California State University-Stanislaus $19,220 $99,096 $23,000 $991,500
# 4 #4 University of Providence $24,000 $96,691 $15,066 $976,700
# 5 #5 California State University-Dominguez Hills $12,870 $95,782 $18,175 $963,400
# 6 #6 Bay Path University $12,000 $94,408 $19,195 $948,000
# 7 #7 Molloy College $31,330 $93,232 $29,334 $923,300
# 8 #8 Farmingdale State College $16,980 $91,966 $19,500 $922,500
# 9 #9 Loma Linda University $12,765 $91,868 $25,000 $914,600
# 10 #10 SUNY Empire State College $10,943 $87,309 $19,980 $874,000
# 11 #11 California State University-San Marcos $10,329 $87,520 $23,142 $872,200
# 12 #12 University of Phoenix $10,500 $87,107 $22,917 $868,200
# 13 #13 Bay State College $16,620 $85,760 $16,473 $862,400
# 14 #14 Mount Saint Mary's University - CA $30,223 $86,424 $25,000 $858,600
# 15 #15 Governors State University $9,390 $82,440 $12,500 $833,200
# 16 #16 Dominican College of Blauvelt $21,120 $83,823 $24,000 $833,100
# 17 #17 National University $16,650 $84,653 $33,334 $830,000
# 18 #18 SUNY College of Technology at Delhi $8,480 $82,309 $16,765 $826,500
# 19 #19 Linfield University-Online and Continuing Education $10,500 $82,957 $24,647 $823,300
# 20 #20 Felician University $24,320 $82,855 $24,649 $822,300
# 21 #21 Kean University $10,445 $81,929 $17,970 $821,100
# 22 #22 Point Loma Nazarene University $14,500 $82,641 $25,000 $819,700
# 23 #23 California State University-Bakersfield $10,475 $80,964 $11,886 $818,700
# 24 #24 West Coast University $21,000 $83,166 $34,500 $813,200
# 25 #25 American Sentinel University $6,200 $80,809 $15,635 $812,500

Best Degrees in Nursing Rankings Details

#1

Pacific College

Costa Mesa (CA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $1,120,800
  • Median Salary: $110,135
  • Annual Tuition: $9,735
  • Median Debt: $10,500

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) program at Pacific College allows Registered Nurses (RN) to earn bachelor's degrees in nursing. Current RNs with an Associate's Degree in Nursing (ADN) can transfer up to 71 credits and finish the program in 18 months. In the 100% online BSN program, students gain a better understanding of the ethical, political, economic, and social... issues that affect patients and healthcare delivery. They also develop the skills to pursue careers as case managers, staff nurses, nurse managers, charge nurses, and more.

Pacific College students use Zoom and Moodle to meet with teachers and work through learning modules. Students can access loans, grants, and scholarships to offset the cost of their education. The school also offers special tuition assistance programs and experience-based credits to members of the military. After completing their degree, students can work with the Career Placement Department to find positions in several counties in California. In California, RNs with BSNs earn $18,000 more annually than RNs with ADNs, and nationally, the average salary for an RN with a BSN is $94,000 per year.

Students can apply online. If they need assistance, they can email the Director of Admissions or the Admissions Coordinator.

Cost per Credit: $295
School Type: For-Profit
Graduation Rate: 79%
Financial Aid Recipients: 39%
Accreditation: WSCUC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 55

#2

Mercy College

Dobbs Ferry (NY)
  • 10-Year ROI: $1,064,500
  • Median Salary: $106,421
  • Annual Tuition: $12,875
  • Median Debt: $25,000

In the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (R.N. to B.S.) degree completion program, students with an Associate's Degree in Nursing (ADN) can earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Completion time varies based on the number of transfer credits, but full-time students typically complete the program in one to two years, while part-time students should expect to take two to three... years. In this program, students study advanced nursing concepts such as transcultural nursing, health policy, leadership, and management. To graduate, students must complete 135 hours in a clinical setting in their area.

The school uses Blackboard to facilitate online learning, and students can access reading materials, lessons, emails, and more through this platform. Mercy College offers a range of financial aid options, and the school's admission counselors can help students find scholarships and grants from other organizations. Students can transfer up to 75 credits from a two-year institution and up to 90 credits from a four-year institution. Students who complete this program online qualify for lower per-credit costs than on-campus students.

Students can apply online, and once accepted, they are encouraged to contact the faculty of this program for assistance. Through the Personalized Achievement Contract (PAC), students received support from an advisor focused on their academic success and future career goals.

School Type: Non-Profit
Graduation Rate: 43%
Acceptance Rate: 79%
Financial Aid Recipients: 97%
Accreditation: MSCHE
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 508

#3

California State University-Stanislaus

Turlock (CA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $991,500
  • Median Salary: $99,096
  • Annual Tuition: $19,220
  • Median Debt: $23,000

California State University-Stanislaus (CSU-Stan) offers an online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) degree completion program. Interested applicants must be a licensed registered nurse in the state of California. Students take 26 credits in major requirements, including courses in nursing research, management, and community health nursing. To graduate, students must complete... a practicum in community health nursing or clinical experience. Courses are taught in ten-week terms, and the program can be completed in one year.

Online courses include lectures, assignments, readings, and direct communication between faculty and students. While most classes are online, students are required to meet on campus for the initial orientation. CSU-Stan offers 140 merit-based scholarships averaging $500 to full-time students.

Applicants must have completed at least 60 hours of transferable credit and earned an associate degree or diploma in nursing with at least a C-grade in each course. Online students have access to a student portal, an academic success center, counseling, library resources, and career services.

School Type: Non-Profit
Graduation Rate: 58%
Acceptance Rate: 77%
Financial Aid Recipients: 92%
Accreditation: WSCUC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 185

#4

University of Providence

Great Falls (MT)
  • 10-Year ROI: $976,700
  • Median Salary: $96,691
  • Annual Tuition: $24,000
  • Median Debt: $15,066

The University of Providence offers an online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) degree completion program for practicing RNs. Students will advance through the degree with peers in this 12-month, part-time cohort program. Students take courses in evidence-based practice, public health, nursing leadership and complete a nursing capstone to graduate. Accepted students must... attend an on-campus orientation.

Online coursework is delivered through various online tools, including Blackboard, Collaborative Ultra, and Moodle. Coursework is mostly asynchronous with some synchronous elements, such as mandatory video conferences every other week. This degree program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate on Nursing Education (CCNE). Nurses working for Providence St. Joeseph Health may be eligible for scholarships.

Interested candidates may apply for either a fall or spring cohort, with start dates in August and January. Applicants must complete an online application, submit official transcripts, complete a personal essay, and provide proof of their nursing credentials. Online students have access to academic, personal, and career counseling, tutoring services, and electronic library resources.

Cost per Credit: $800
School Type: Non-Profit
Graduation Rate: 44%
Acceptance Rate: 62%
Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
Accreditation: NWCCU
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 314

#5

California State University-Dominguez Hills

Carson (CA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $963,400
  • Median Salary: $95,782
  • Annual Tuition: $12,870
  • Median Debt: $18,175

Californa State University-Dominguez HIills (CSDUH) offers an online Bachelor of Science in Nursing - RN to BSN degree. This 23-unit program is intended for working registered nurses with an associate degree in nursing. To graduate, students must complete a health assessment course through Zoom, clinical hours at an approved site within the student's locality, and a graduate writing... exam. Students take courses in cultural diversity in healthcare, pathophysiology, health assessment, leadership, and nursing research.

Online learning at CSDUH is asynchronous, so students can access lectures, projects, and coursework when convenient. Various university grants and scholarships are offered to nursing students, including the Joyce Lee Harper Memorial Scholarship and the Ledesma Family Community Service Endowed Scholarship. Nursing students also have access to XI Theta and the Nursing Student Organization, which offers the opportunity to interact with instructors and alumni in the field.

Prospective students must submit an online application and required materials to apply. Once enrolled, distance students have access to resources, such as academic advising, job postings, a veteran center, and a women's center.

School Type: Non-Profit
Graduation Rate: 45%
Acceptance Rate: 54%
Financial Aid Recipients: 94%
Accreditation: WSCUC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 662

#6

Bay Path University

Longmeadow (MA) (and 1 other)
  • 10-Year ROI: $948,000
  • Median Salary: $94,408
  • Annual Tuition: $12,000
  • Median Debt: $19,195

Bay Path University’s online Bachelor of Science in Nursing online degree program is designed for licensed registered nurses looking to earn their bachelor's degree. Six-week courses can be completed full-time or part-time. Students begin the degree completion program with at least 30 credits for prior work experience. They can transfer up to 84 credits into the program, including... credit for volunteer experience or military service. Some classes are also offered in-person on Saturdays for local students who enjoy an in-person learning experience.

Asynchronous classes consist of case studies, real-work simulations, and traditional assignments. Bay Path University offers scholarships and grants to qualifying students. Military students receive a discount of $50 for every credit hour.

Interested students apply through the school's online application. With six different start dates throughout the year, students can usually begin classes within a few weeks of applying. Online resources and personal mentors are available to all online students.

Cost per Credit: $400
School Type: Non-Profit
Graduation Rate: 59%
Acceptance Rate: 63%
Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
Accreditation: NECHE
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 886

#7

Molloy College

Rockville Centre (NY)
  • 10-Year ROI: $923,300
  • Median Salary: $93,232
  • Annual Tuition: $31,330
  • Median Debt: $29,334

Molloy College offers an online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) degree completion program for individuals with an associate degree in the nursing field and a registered nurse license. The degree requires 128-credit hours, with 24 credits devoted to major coursework and a three-credit residency requirement. Major-related courses emphasize world health, leadership, and... research. Students interested in expediting their degree can take accelerated summer classes.

Online coursework is delivered through the Canvas learning management platform, and faculty are thoroughly trained in the technologies that support online learning. Classes are small, with a 10-to-1 student-faculty ratio. Up to 98 transfer credits can be applied toward the RN to BSN program. Academic credits can be awarded for prior coursework, standardized test scores, examinations, military experience, professional training, and a life experience portfolio.

Applicants must complete the online undergraduate transfer application to apply. Resources available to online students include tutoring services, a writing center, and 24/7 technical support.

School Type: Non-Profit
Graduation Rate: 75%
Acceptance Rate: 76%
Financial Aid Recipients: 99%
Average SAT Scores: 1060 - 1230
Accreditation: MSCHE
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 15

#8

Farmingdale State College

Farmingdale (NY)
  • 10-Year ROI: $922,500
  • Median Salary: $91,966
  • Annual Tuition: $16,980
  • Median Debt: $19,500

Farmingdale State College offers an online bachelor's in nursing degree completion for registered nurses seeking a bachelor's degree. The program requires 120 credit hours, including 60 credit hours in liberal arts and sciences and 60 credits in nursing courses. A minimum of 50 of those credits must be transferred into the program, including 30 credits in nursing and 20 credits... in other areas. The goal of the program is to prepare students to meet the healthcare needs of the region's diverse community.

Courses are asynchronous, and students use Blackboard to interact with peers, review coursework, and complete assignments. The Farmingdale College Foundation offers scholarships to all Farmingdale students; students can apply through the Accepted Student Portal. Residents of New York qualify for lower tuition rates. In the first quarter of 2020, the nursing program boasted a 100% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensing exam.

Applications must be completed through the State University of New York (SUNY) application portal, and supplemental information should be sent to the department office. All students in the RN to BSN completion program begin during the fall semester and the deadline to apply is January 15. The SUNY help desk is available seven days a week to assist students with any issues. Online students can also access LinkedIn Learning and interact with peers.

School Type: Non-Profit
Graduation Rate: 53%
Acceptance Rate: 59%
Financial Aid Recipients: 74%
Average SAT Scores: 1010 - 1160
Accreditation: MSCHE
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 263

#9

Loma Linda University

Loma Linda (CA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $914,600
  • Median Salary: $91,868
  • Annual Tuition: $12,765
  • Median Debt: $25,000

Loma Linda University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) degree completion program through its School of Nursing. The 53-credit degree program is designed for practicing RNs who want to further their careers by obtaining a bachelor’s degree. Students can choose to study either full-time or part-time; Full-time students can complete the degree in four quarters,... and part-time students can finish in six to nine quarters.

Online coursework is delivered through the Canvas learning management system, where students can participate in discussion boards and submit assignments, exams, and quizzes. Students can transfer up to 105 credits from a two-year college to meet the bachelor’s degree requirements. Students can apply for scholarships and awards after their first quarter in the program.

Students can enroll in the fall, winter, or spring semesters. To be considered for admission, students should submit an online application, official college transcripts, letters of recommendation, and proof of a current RN license.

School Type: Non-Profit
Accreditation: WSCUC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 137

#10

SUNY Empire State College

Saratoga Springs (NY)
  • 10-Year ROI: $874,000
  • Median Salary: $87,309
  • Annual Tuition: $10,943
  • Median Debt: $19,980

The Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program at SUNY Empire State College is a 124-credit program designed to prepare students for advancement in their nursing careers. Students study nursing theory and research, and graduates earn the credentials they need to enroll in a Master's of Science in Nursing Administration (MSN) program. Students can... study part-time or full-time, and the length of the program varies based on the number of transfer credits and course load.

SUNY Empire offers scholarship options for women, minority students, veterans, and members of the military. The Empire Opportunity Program offers special financial assistance and enhanced student support to residents of New York State. Students can transfer credits into this RN to BSN program, and they can also earn credits for life experience.

Students can apply online by the deadline for the academic term they want to start. The School of Nursing and Allied Health offers numerous support services to online students and assigns each student a mentor who works with them from registration to graduation.

Cost per Credit: $353
School Type: Non-Profit
Graduation Rate: 24%
Financial Aid Recipients: 94%
Accreditation: MSCHE
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 4,170

#11

California State University-San Marcos

San Marcos (CA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $872,200
  • Median Salary: $87,520
  • Annual Tuition: $10,329
  • Median Debt: $23,142

California State University-San Marcos (CSUSM) has a bachelor's of nursing accelerated online program for registered nurses seeking their bachelor's degree. The complete program consists of eight-week sessions (10-week summer sessions) and takes 14 months to complete. The program emphasizes real-world experience and cultural sensitivity as it prepares students to meet the evolving... needs of the nursing community.

CSUSM uses MediaSite and other online resources to support online classes. Students can take advantage of several scholarships through the university if they apply between October 1 and February 1. California students can use the Cal Grant for the program, and extra help is available for military personnel. The school limits cohorts to a maximum of 44 students to ensure each student receives personal attention.

Program start dates are four times a year: January 25, March 20, August 30, and October 23, 2021. The application deadlines are January 13, February 3, July 7, and September 1, 2021. Applications are completed through the California State University application site. Online students can take advantage of a mobile app, online library access, and tech support.

Cost per Credit: $313
School Type: Non-Profit
Graduation Rate: 55%
Acceptance Rate: 57%
Financial Aid Recipients: 82%
Average SAT Scores: 960 - 1140
Accreditation: WSCUC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 426

#12

University of Phoenix

Nationwide
  • 10-Year ROI: $868,200
  • Median Salary: $87,107
  • Annual Tuition: $10,500
  • Median Debt: $22,917

The RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program at the University of Phoenix allows Registered Nurses (RN) to earn a BS. This degree focuses on evidence-based holistic patient care, professional standards and conduct, health policies, patient care communication, and care coordination strategies. The BSN requires 120 total credits, and students can transfer in existing credits.... RNs with an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) receive 87 transfer credits and typically finish in 14 months. RNs without an ADN typically receive 40 transfer credits and complete the degree in 2.5 years. RNs with bachelor's degrees in other fields can take three BSN courses and then start a Master's of Science in Nursing (MSN) through the Nursing Bridge Program.

The University of Phoenix facilitates online learning through Blackboard Learn, which allows integrated synchronous collaboration. Students take one course at a time for five weeks (10 courses per year). In addition to accepting transfer credits, this program offers credit for life and work experiences. With a BSN, graduates have the opportunity to advance their careers in a field that is growing faster than average, and they can pursue careers as charge nurses, public health nurses, and directors of nursing.

The program has rolling admission, and applicants can apply at any time. The school has enrollment specialists available over the phone and tech support online.

Cost per Credit: $350
School Type: For-Profit
Graduation Rate: 14%
Financial Aid Recipients: 81%
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 73,536

#13

Bay State College

Boston (MA) (and 1 other)
  • 10-Year ROI: $862,400
  • Median Salary: $85,760
  • Annual Tuition: $16,620
  • Median Debt: $16,473

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at Bay State College allows registered nurses to earn their bachelor's degree online. Classes run for eight weeks, and students can complete the program in as little as three semesters. Students can transfer up to 60 credits for prior coursework or experience in nursing. The degree culminates in a clinical capstone.

Asynchronous classes... include discussion boards, videos, online lectures, quizzes, and writing assignments. Bay State prides itself on a flexible transfer policy that allows students to take advantage of as many transfer credits as possible. Students can apply for a variety of scholarships available to nursing students.

The school has rolling admissions; The spring semester starts January 11, 2021, and the fall semester starts August 11, 2021. Applications must be completed on the school's application portal. Bay State’s offers students a fully online community, including the ability to participate in eSports.

School Type: For-Profit
Graduation Rate: 32%
Acceptance Rate: 44%
Financial Aid Recipients: 97%
Accreditation: NEASC CTCI
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 103

#14

Mount Saint Mary's University - CA

Los Angeles (CA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $858,600
  • Median Salary: $86,424
  • Annual Tuition: $30,223
  • Median Debt: $25,000

Mount Saint Mary's University's Bachelor of Science in Nursing - RN to BSN program offers students the chance to study on-campus or 100% online. Registered Nurses (RNs) with an Associate's Degree in Nursing (ADN) can transfer credits into the program and earn a BSN in just three semesters. The program features a part-time schedule that is designed to support working nurses. During... the second or third semester, students need to complete a clinical component. There is also an accelerated BSN program for students who already have a bachelor's in another field.

Students complete coursework based on their schedule. Kaiser Permanente employees qualify for a 15% discount, and students can also apply for financial aid, grants, scholarships, and loans. Designed for students with current RN license, the direct-to-nursing option lets students solely focus on nursing classes. Students can take general courses through the pre-nursing option until they pass their NCLEX-RN and are ready to enter the RN to BSN program.

Students can apply online, and classes start twice a year during the fall and spring semesters. To learn about the program, students must attend an informational session and work with an admissions counselor.

School Type: Non-Profit
Graduation Rate: 62%
Acceptance Rate: 81%
Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
Average SAT Scores: 930 - 1130
Accreditation: WSCUC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 144

#15

Governors State University

University Park (IL)
  • 10-Year ROI: $833,200
  • Median Salary: $82,440
  • Annual Tuition: $9,390
  • Median Debt: $12,500

At Governors State University, the BS in Nursing (RN to BSN) online completion program is designed for students currently working as registered nurses. The program requires 120 total credit hours, including those transferred in for prior studies and work experience, and students can complete courses at their own pace (whether full or part-time). The program aims to prepare students... to be critical thinkers who make decisions based on a strong foundation of cultural sensitivity and evidence-based practice.

Online students use Blackboard to manage their coursework. Incoming students can apply for scholarships through the university, including AIM HIGH scholarships covering 25% to 100% of tuition. Governors State offers a unique Center for the Junior Year, an innovative center providing students with comprehensive counseling services.

Governors State has a dedicated application portal for completing applications. The application fee is waived for active-duty military and veterans. As students at Governors State University, online students can use on-campus resources and take advantage of virtual access to the tutoring and writing center, academic resource center, career services center, and more.

Cost per Credit: $313
School Type: Non-Profit
Acceptance Rate: 39%
Financial Aid Recipients: 96%
Average SAT Scores: 860 - 1045
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 432

#16

Dominican College of Blauvelt

Orangeburg (NY)
  • 10-Year ROI: $833,100
  • Median Salary: $83,823
  • Annual Tuition: $21,120
  • Median Debt: $24,000

Dominican College of Blauvelt offers a fully online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) degree completion program. The program is suitable for students with a diploma or associate degree in nursing and an active RN license.. Students must complete a minimum of 131 credits to graduate, which requires 25 credits of upper-division nursing courses. Each course runs for 8 or 16... weeks, and the degree can be completed in 12 months.

Online coursework is delivered asynchronously through the Canvas learning management platform. New students must complete a Student Orientation, Advising & Registration (SOAR) program to transition to Dominican College. Once accepted, students will be awarded 39 credits for their RN licensure. Students can transfer as many as 90 academic credits from a four-year institution or 70 academic credits from a two-year institution into the program.

To apply, students must have a valid RN license and a 2.7 GPA from previous academic programs. Online students have access to career counseling, academic advising, tutoring, and electronic library resources.

Cost per Credit: $640
School Type: Non-Profit
Graduation Rate: 43%
Acceptance Rate: 69%
Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
Average SAT Scores: 940 - 1120
Accreditation: MSCHE
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 47

#17

National University

La Jolla (CA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $830,000
  • Median Salary: $84,653
  • Annual Tuition: $16,650
  • Median Debt: $33,334

In the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) program at National University, Registered Nurses (RN) expand their nursing knowledge and gain the education they need to pursue more advanced careers in their field. While earning their BSN, students learn how to become highly-skilled, patient-centered nurses with enhanced professional, communication, and management skills. They... can also use the BSN to enter the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program or pursue a post-graduate APRM certificate. In this fully online program, students study full-time but only take one course every four-work period. The BSN requires 180 quarter units, but students can transfer in up to 135 credits. On average, students with transfer credits finish this program in 11 months.

National University uses the Payback learning platform to facilitate online discussion and real-time feedback. Students who have passed the NCLEX-RN exam can apply up to 31.5 quarter units to their degree. National University invests $30 million in new student scholarships, and students can also apply for loans and grants to offset tuition costs.

The school accepts applications year-round, and new classes start every month. National University offers students various resources, including a Help Desk to assist with web resources, a Student Academic Success Center, Student Concierge Services, and a Student Roadmap to guide students through their programs.

Cost per Credit: $370
School Type: Non-Profit
Graduation Rate: 36%
Accreditation: WSCUC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 3,130

#18

SUNY College of Technology at Delhi

Delhi (NY)
  • 10-Year ROI: $826,500
  • Median Salary: $82,309
  • Annual Tuition: $8,480
  • Median Debt: $16,765

In the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program at SUNY Delhi, Registered Nurses (RNs) have the opportunity to earn a BSN. The flexible RN to BSN program is designed for working nurses and is available 100% online, but students need to complete a practicum experience in their local area. Courses help students develop the critical thinking and practical skills they need to help... patients in challenging healthcare environments. To earn a BSN at SUNY Delhi, RNs must complete 43 nursing credits and 18 non-nursing credits, and all courses are seven weeks long.

To facilitate online learning, students use the Moodle platform to access reading materials, watch video lessons, engage in discussions, submit assignments, and ask questions. Students can apply for the TAP grant or the Excelsior Scholarship.

Students can apply online, and the school accepts applications on a rolling basis until programs are full. There are five start dates during the year. Various support services are available to online students, including BroncoConnect, Starfish Success, and CareTeam.

School Type: Non-Profit
Graduation Rate: 44%
Acceptance Rate: 62%
Financial Aid Recipients: 91%
Average SAT Scores: 920 - 1090
Accreditation: MSCHE
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 783

#19

Linfield University-Online and Continuing Education

McMinnville (OR)
  • 10-Year ROI: $823,300
  • Median Salary: $82,957
  • Annual Tuition: $10,500
  • Median Debt: $24,647

At Linfield University, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) program helps Registered Nurses (RNs) augment their credentials by earning a BSN. Designed for working nurses, the program is part-time and takes 15 months to complete. Courses focus on a range of nursing concepts and include specialized topics such as trauma-informed care, palliative care, and the evolution... of nursing through history. To complete their BSN, students must earn clinical hours through a service-based learning experience during their last course: Integrated Experiential Learning. They can choose to complete this requirement through Linfield's numerous international service-learning partners.

The school offers traditional financial aid options and the Paquet Scholarship, which is only available to students in this program or Linfield's Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN). There is also no expiration date for transfer credits, and students can also earn credits from their nursing experience.

To get into the BSN program, students can apply online. The school has two application deadlines, one for the spring semester and another for the summer semester. Courses start in January and May of every year. A free transcript review is available.

Cost per Credit: $525
School Type: Non-Profit
Accreditation: NWCCU
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 244

#20

Felician University

Lodi (NJ)
  • 10-Year ROI: $822,300
  • Median Salary: $82,855
  • Annual Tuition: $24,320
  • Median Debt: $24,649

Felician University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) fast-track degree completion program. The program is designed for students who hold an RN license and can be completed in 15 months. Forty-eight credits are required to graduate, including 27 credits in upper-division nursing courses and 21 credit hours in liberal arts. Classes run eight-week sessions,... and students earn six credits per session.

Online coursework is delivered through the Brightspace learning management platform. The program follows a cohort model so that students take classes with the same group of classmates. Students can transfer in credits to fulfill liberal arts and sciences requirements. This program's tuition rates are about 30% less than rates for other undergraduate programs at Felician University.

Applicants must submit an online application as well as all academic transcripts from prior undergraduate institutions. Students must hold a current RN license; those who hold an RN license outside of New Jersey will be considered for admission on a case-by-case basis. Students pursuing an RN license can be offered conditional acceptance.

Cost per Credit: $640
School Type: Non-Profit
Graduation Rate: 46%
Acceptance Rate: 79%
Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
Average SAT Scores: 920 - 1080
Accreditation: MSCHE
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 40

#21

Kean University

Union (NJ)
  • 10-Year ROI: $821,100
  • Median Salary: $81,929
  • Annual Tuition: $10,445
  • Median Debt: $17,970

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing - RN to BSN program at Kean University offers Registered Nurses (RN) the chance to enhance their career by earning a BSN. Students must have the RN credential to enroll in this 120-credit program. The curriculum covers nursing practices, population health, patient communication, healthcare policies, and management practices in clinical settings.... RNs typically complete this program within four semesters, and they can study completely online or through the school's hybrid online and in-person option.

Students can study anytime through the Blackboard platform, but they must meet due dates for projects and assignments. RNs automatically transfer credits into this program, and the school has an Office of Financial Aid that helps students obtain grants, scholarships, and loans. Kean University also offers discounts to veterans and members of the military. On average, RNs with a BSN earn $30,000 more per year than RNs without a BS. Graduates of this program have furthered their education at prestigious schools such as Johns Hopkins and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Kean University offers an online application as well as admissions counselors to help students with the admission process. Once accepted, students can access online support services.

School Type: Non-Profit
Graduation Rate: 49%
Acceptance Rate: 82%
Financial Aid Recipients: 90%
Average SAT Scores: 890 - 1080
Accreditation: MSCHE
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 380

#22

Point Loma Nazarene University

San Diego (CA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $819,700
  • Median Salary: $82,641
  • Annual Tuition: $14,500
  • Median Debt: $25,000

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) program at Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU) allows Registered Nurses to earn a BSN to enhance their career opportunities. Courses focus on diverse health systems, evidence-based practices, cultural influences in the workplace, and biblical perspectives of nursing. To earn their BSN, students must complete a total of 120 credits... in the program, consisting of 70 credits from the student's Associate's Degree in Nursing (ADN), 15 credits from passing the NCLEX-RN test, and the remaining credits from PLNU's online program. Completing the RN to BSN program at this Christian university typically takes about 15 months.

With a BSN, RNs are eligible for 37% more careers than RNs who only have an ADN, and these nurses also have significantly higher earning potential throughout their careers. Students who have already completed a baccalaureate degree in another area can enroll in this program and waive six units of course work.

Students can apply to Point Loma online, and there are three application deadlines for the spring, summer, and fall semesters. PNLU's holistic support services help adult students with coursework as well as their spiritual and professional goals.

Cost per Credit: $500
School Type: Non-Profit
Graduation Rate: 77%
Acceptance Rate: 76%
Financial Aid Recipients: 92%
Average SAT Scores: 1140 - 1300
Accreditation: WSCUC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 26

#23

California State University-Bakersfield

Bakersfield (CA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $818,700
  • Median Salary: $80,964
  • Annual Tuition: $10,475
  • Median Debt: $11,886

California State University at Bakersfield offers an online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN) program for registered nurses who want to further their careers with a bachelor’s degree. The Bakersfield program requires a total of 120 credit hours, including previous transfer credits earned from an associate degree. Classes run for 10-weeks, and the program can be completed in... one and a half years. Students are required to attend an in-person orientation, complete a 135-hour, on-site clinical in community health. Upper-division nursing courses may also need to be completed on-campus. Graduates will be eligible to apply for a Public Health Nurse Certificate (PHN).

Online courses follow an asynchronous format and are delivered through the Blackboard learning management system, where students can access lectures, readings, assignments, and communication tools. Students will progress through the program with the same cohort of peers. After completing the first term of the program, students with an RN license are eligible for 25 credits toward the NCLEX test.

New cohorts are admitted each fall semester. Students must have an associate degree in nursing from an accredited program and be an RN in California to apply. Once enrolled, students have access to tutoring services, a writing center, and an academic advising and resource center.

School Type: Non-Profit
Graduation Rate: 42%
Acceptance Rate: 61%
Financial Aid Recipients: 93%
Accreditation: WSCUC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 167

#24

West Coast University

Multiple Locations
  • 10-Year ROI: $813,200
  • Median Salary: $83,166
  • Annual Tuition: $21,000
  • Median Debt: $34,500

With the RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program at West Coast University, Registered Nurses (RNs) can earn a BSN in as few as 12 months. While completing the RN to BSN program, students learn about healthcare policy, evidence-based care, and quality improvement. Graduates have the ability to pursue advanced nursing degrees such as a Master's of Science in Nursing (MSN).... Students can choose between full-time learning options or schedules designed for working professionals, but they must complete 135 practice experience hours.

To complete their courses, online students use the Blackboard learning management system to access videos, assignments, discussions, and more. This degree prepares students for leadership roles in their nursing career, and nurses with a BSN earn more on average than RNs with an Associates Degree in Nursing (ADN). Students can transfer up to 84 credits to West Coast University. Those with military healthcare training may qualify for transfer credit. The Career Service Department helps students with professional and career development once they complete their degree.

Students can apply online, and classes start every eight weeks. The school offers Student Services, 24/7 technical support, and one-on-one support from a Student Success Advisor.

Cost per Credit: $525
School Type: For-Profit
Graduation Rate: 37%
Acceptance Rate: 95%
Financial Aid Recipients: 91%
Accreditation: WSCUC

#25

American Sentinel University

Aurora (CO)
  • 10-Year ROI: $812,500
  • Median Salary: $80,809
  • Annual Tuition: $6,200
  • Median Debt: $15,635

American Sentinel University's RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing program has two separate paths: traditional and accelerated. Both are degree completion programs for students who are registered nurses and want to advance their careers by obtaining a bachelor's degree. Each program requires students to complete 10 nursing courses and has rolling monthly start dates. The accelerated... program can be completed in eight months, while students in the traditional track can complete the program at their own pace.

Using Moodle as an online platform, courses include discussion posts and assignments as well as 3D virtual simulations. Students begin the program with 60 credit hours for work experience in nursing and can transfer up to 90 credits total. American Sentinel offers a 12-month or 24-month tuition freeze. 99% of students report being satisfied with the education they received.

Students can apply through the school's application portal. There is no application deadline since courses begin monthly. Student success advisors are available to assist students and an online hub provides links to online resources.

School Type: For-Profit
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,444

Which Nursing Degree Level Is Best for Me?

There are six primary types of online nursing programs: RN to BSN, RN to MSN, BSN to MSN, second degree BSN, second degree MSN, and DNP. Online nursing degrees are available at the certificate, undergraduate, and graduate level and combine information-based classes with on-site clinical experiences. Many online nursing programs may also be completed in an accelerated format. If you're not sure which degree is best for your career aspirations, please use the table below to see typical prerequisites and the average time to complete each degree, and to find links to more information.

Bridge Programs for Students who Already Have Nursing Credentials

Degree Type Typical Prerequisites Avg. Years to Complete
RN to BSN RN License 1-2 Years
RN to MSN RN License 2-3 Years

Acccelerated Programs for Students Who Already Have a 4-Year Degree

Degree Type Typical Prerequisites Avg. Years to Complete
Second Degree BSN Non-nursing Bachelor's Degree 1-3 Years
Second Degree MSN Non-nursing Master's Degree 2-3 Years
BSN to PhD/DNP BSN 3 Years

Traditional Online Nursing Programs

Degree Type Typical Prerequisites Avg. Years to Complete
Direct Entry Bachelor High School Diploma or GED 4 Years
ASN High School Diploma or GED 2 Years
MSN BSN 2 Years
Nurse Practitioner MSN 2 Years
DNP MSN 2 Years

Bridge Programs

Online nursing bridge programs are a unique category of online nursing degrees. These online programs can help nurses with lower credentials gain a higher degree in an accelerated time frame. They usually require one year of previous, professional work; however, some programs allow students to submit an essay on nursing topics in lieu of this experience. Bridge programs also generally require that nurses transfer in 60 credits of general education and nursing courses. Applicants are required to have completed foundational courses in physical sciences, math, social sciences, and humanities.

Accelerated Nursing Programs

For students who wish to enroll in a nursing degree program but have scheduling needs that aren't well suited to a traditional degree program, there are some flexible options, including accelerated and second degree programs.

Second degree programs in nursing are accelerated, specially designed degree programs for students who already have a bachelor's degree in a non-nursing area and want to enter the nursing profession. Because second degree programs are so accelerated, they are intensive and generally have high admissions standards. The previous academic records of applicants are taken into account; some require a particular GPA. Most second degree programs in nursing advise incoming students not to hold a job while completing the program, as the coursework and clinical practicums are very demanding.

Second Degree BSN

A second bachelor’s degree program in nursing typically takes one to three years to complete, depending on the student’s prerequisite coursework and the pacing of the degree (full-time or part-time). These programs still include the same number of nursing theory classes and clinical experiences as a traditional BSN, but because these courses are squeezed into a shorter time frame, students can expect intense course loads and a lot of academic work.

Second Degree MSN

Second degree MSN programs ensure that students don’t waste their time retaking courses they have already completed. Graduates of MSN programs are prepared for a variety of advanced roles, such as head nurse, or administrative roles, such as director or vice president of a healthcare organization. Clinical nurses can become advanced practice nurses (APRN), who practice nursing more independently and, in many cases, provide primary care.

Nursing Degrees by State

The Importance of an Accredited Online Nursing Degree

Accredited schools and programs are those that have undergone a thorough peer-review process and been found to meet the minimum standards associated with educational quality. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) plays a vital role in the accreditation of nursing education in the United States and is recognized by the US Department of Education. The accrediting body provides specialized accreditation for postsecondary nursing educational programs that award certificates, diplomas, undergraduate, or graduate degrees.

Accreditation is a vital aspect in nursing education, as it helps to promote accountability of nursing educational programs to various stakeholders, including the public, other academic institutions, students, employers, and the nursing profession as a whole. Most employers prefer to hire candidates who have completed accredited degree programs, as they are more likely to be trained with the relevant skills to perform well on the job. Schools that have received regional or national accreditation also qualify for funding support from federal and state agencies.

By selecting an accredited nursing program, you can expect to experience a quality educational experience as you prepare to provide direct patient care service. For students who are considering applying for other academic degrees, accreditation is also necessary for any credits you would like to transfer to another academic institution. Completion of an accredited nursing program will also help you meet eligibility requirements to take the national nursing license exam or to apply for specialized board certifications for nurses. To identify accredited nursing programs, visit the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or the US Department of Education.

Nursing Careers

Those who are thinking about becoming a nurse should consider a number of factors to determine the best career path. First, aspiring nurses should think about the time available to devote to their education. While entry-level nursing positions require completion of a one- or two-year college program, more advanced jobs tend to require degrees that can take four or more years to complete. Programs can take even longer if students choose to study part-time rather than full-time.

The cost of a nursing program is also an important factor, especially when compared to salary averages in the student’s desired field and geographic location. Prospective students might wonder about the kind of role the nurse plays in a work setting and what their duties and obligations are, so it is important to review and understand the responsibilities that come with each certification.

Some nursing jobs require long shifts during non-traditional hours, especially when working in a hospital or emergency care environment. Aspiring nurses who want a more traditional work schedule may choose a career path in a physician’s office. Each nursing option also opens the door to different specializations. Prospective nurses who want to pursue a particular area of focus should pick a program that allows them to reach their desired level of specialization.

Check out our guides to popular nursing jobs:

How Do I Get a Nursing License?

All nurses in the United States must pass a certification exam in order to obtain licensure. In order to be eligible to take the exam, students must have graduated from a CCNE-accredited nursing program. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) administers the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). The two types of examinations are the NCLEX-RN, which is for registered nurses, and NCLEX-PN, which is for practical nurses. These exams test the knowledge and skills required for practicing nursing in the United States.

The tests are designed to ensure that nursing professionals have the appropriate healthcare and professional knowledge before they begin working with patients and handling sensitive healthcare information. Students can find a detailed breakdown of what the NCLEX concentrates on, and to what extent, at the NCSBN. The tests focus on different skill sets and knowledge, ensuring that nurses are prepared to best serve their patients. They are divided into four basic "client needs" categories: safe and effective care environment, health promotion and maintenance, psychosocial integrity, and physiological integrity (NCSBN).

In addition to passing the appropriate NCLEX exam, state requirements set forth by each state’s board of nursing or regulatory body must also be met by each candidate in order to obtain licensure. Some states require licensed nurses to complete continuing education hours during each license renewal period to demonstrate their knowledge and update their skills. Check with your state's nursing board to learn more about their specific licensing requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions About Nursing Degrees

What are the requirements for renewing a nursing license?

Requirements for renewing a nursing license vary by state, but in most cases, nursing licenses need to be renewed once every two years. Some states set a specific deadline for renewal, such as the nurse's birthday. Almost every state requires nurses to complete a certain number of continuing education hours, called CEUs or "contact hours," in order to maintain their licenses. The number of contact hours required may vary depending on whether the nurse works full-time or part-time. Nurses who have allowed their licenses to lapse may have to pay a delinquency fee in addition to the renewal fee, and will also have to demonstrate completion of the continuing education requirement.

Do I have to get a separate nursing license for every state I want to practice in?

Approximately two-thirds of the states in the U.S. have entered into the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). This interstate agreement allows nurses who qualify for the multistate license to practice on-site nursing, telenursing, and nursing education in any of the states in the NLC without obtaining separate licenses for each state.

Our Editors

Nancy Lynn Swezey, BSN, RN, CNOR

Nancy Lynn Swezey, BSN, RN, CNOR is a coordinator for head and neck surgery for the Mount Sinai Health System in New York City. She graduated with her BSN from Columbia University and has worked in surgery ever since. She is now pursuing her MSN at CUNY Hunter Bellevue School of Nursing to be a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. Most of her lessons, however, come outside of the classroom and instead through practice. Nursing continues to be a field that challenges the individual to have courage, principle, a sense of humor, tact, and a constant spirit of service.

Elizabeth Binsfield, BA, RN

Elizabeth Binsfield BA, RN received her ADN over twenty years ago. She has clinical experience in medical-surgical acute care, hospice care, home health and wound care nursing. She has also worked in the fields of organ transplantation, healthcare insurance and care management. In addition to her nursing degree, she holds a BA in English and now combines her passions of healthcare and writing. She lives in central Virginia with her husband and a number of animals. Before entering the nursing field, she would have appreciated knowing just how much her nursing knowledge would influence every aspect of her life.

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