Best Online Nursing Bachelor's (BSN) Programs

By the OnlineU team | Updated 8/24/2021
Quick Facts
Accreditation: AANA, ACEN, ACEN, ACME, CCNE
Average Tuition: $25,096
Average Salary: $83,176

Collectively, there are more than 4 million nurses employed in hospitals, medical practices, and other healthcare facilities. The nursing field is full of opportunities, and prospective students can choose among many levels of education to help them achieve their career goals and increase their salary potential. We've ranked the best online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs by their return on investment to assist students in their search for quality online degrees. We also provide comprehensive lists of online nursing programs by state, so aspiring nurses can discover programs that best fit their needs. After completing their bachelor's program, graduates may also be interested in learning about online Master's in Nursing (MSN) programs.

On this page, we've included an overview of online nursing degrees. Students can find information about degree levels in our section about bridge programs, accelerated programs, and traditional online nursing programs. We've also provided information about accredited online nursing programs, the cost of an online degree, 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

Overview of Online Nursing Bachelor's Degrees

Nursing is one of the most popular majors, and hundreds of schools now offer nursing degree programs virtually. Students complete much of their coursework online and then engage in on-site clinical practice activities at an approved healthcare facility near their home.

Programs in nursing are popular in part because they lead to careers in a high-growth occupation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that over the next 10 years, 221,900 new registered nurse (RN) jobs will emerge, and an additional 65,700 new practical nurse jobs will emerge. All of these jobs require a nursing degree, and these degrees need to be earned through accredited institutions or nursing programs either on campus or online.

There are several levels of undergraduate nursing degrees—all of which prepare students to pass the RN certification exam and to obtain a license to practice nursing, so the best type of nursing degree depends on an individual's personal goals. Those who are eager to enter the workforce may want to consider becoming a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or licensed vocational nurse (LVN). Students can enter these careers with only a nursing certificate or diploma, which typically take one year to achieve.

For those who want to become RNs—taking on more responsibility and earning higher salaries—a two-year associate degree in nursing may be a better choice. Generally speaking, a nurse's earnings increase with their level of education, so a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) may be the best option for some. The most common online nursing programs are RN-to-BSN programs for RNs who have earned either a certificate or an associate degree and now want to complete a bachelor's degree in nursing. However, there are also online BSN programs for students who are not yet RNs and have no previous nursing education. We dive into more detail about nursing degree levels below.


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

Accelerated 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


How Long Will It Take To Earn My Degree?

BSN programs are designed to be completed in four years of full-time study and with the completion of 120 credit hours, though many students take longer to earn their degree.

One factor that can change the length of a program is whether a student comes in with previous credits. Many nurses earn a nursing certificate or associate degree before completing an RN-to-BSN program. The number of credit hours required in these programs varies based on the student's previous education and number of prerequisite courses, but most students can complete these programs in one to two years. Some students also earn bachelor's degrees in another field before enrolling in an accelerated BSN program. Again, depending on the student's previous education and the number of prerequisites in a program, accelerated programs may be completed in two to three years.


The Importance of an Accredited Online Nursing Degree

Before enrollment in any BSN program, prospective students should confirm that the program has been accredited by one of the two accrediting bodies for nursing programs: the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). To become accredited, a nursing program must voluntarily go through a comprehensive evaluation process by one of these outside agencies and pass a rigorous review process. Accreditation ensures that the program's curriculum, faculty, and learning outcomes meet state and national standards.

Perhaps most important, graduation from an accredited program is a requirement of many state nursing boards to obtain nursing licensure.

Attending an accredited program also offers a number of significant benefits. It helps students meet eligibility requirements for federal financial aid and for transferring credits among other accredited institutions. It can help students feel confident that they are investing their time and money in a credible degree program that meets high academic standards. Perhaps most important, graduation from an accredited program is a requirement of many state nursing boards to obtain nursing licensure.

To identify accredited nursing programs, students can visit the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or the US Department of Education.

What Is the Best Accreditation for Online Nursing Schools?

The CCNE provides accreditation primarily for traditional bachelor’s and master’s nursing programs, whereas the ACEN provides accreditation for a broader range of nursing programs that includes online programs. Either type of accreditation will be accepted by state nursing licensing boards, but most online nursing programs are accredited by the ACEN.


Common Courses

BSN programs prepare students for professional nursing practice. Coursework helps students develop skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, research, education, and leadership. Some classes will involve hands-on, experiential learning activities, and most BSN programs require a nursing practicum in which students work in a supervised healthcare setting to gain a required number of clinical practice hours. Some of the most common courses include:

  • Community Health: In this course, students learn how to care for individuals, families, groups, and high-risk populations in community health settings. They learn to care for patients of all ages by recognizing physical, psychological, social, and cultural needs in order to provide interventions as needed. The course often requires hands-on application of concepts as students work in various community health environments.
  • Evidence-based Practice: This course provides nursing students with a systematic process for using current evidence and data to make decisions about patient care. Students learn how to research health literature, identify relevant qualitative and quantitative data, and analyze this information to make informed decisions.
  • Health Assessment, Education, and Promotion: Students transition to a higher level of nursing practice in this course where they will learn to conduct a comprehensive physical examination, including collecting, organizing, interpreting, and recording patient data. They also explore the role of nurses as educators by learning to use health education and promotion strategies and to overcome patients' barriers to change.
  • Health Informatics: A course in health informatics introduces students to the latest information technology used in nursing practice. Students will use these tools to communicate data and other knowledge to inform patients and work with them to manage their care.
  • Nursing Leadership: Often taught through clinical experiences, students deepen their understanding of the nurse's role as a leader, manager, and agent of change. Opportunities for practical experience help students develop their communication, problem solving, and critical thinking skills. Ethical issues related to patient care may be addressed in this course.

Applying to an Online Nursing Program - Three Paths

Applying to an online program is a similar process as applying to a campus program. There are three paths to earning a BSN, and each involves a different set of admission requirements:

1. Bridge Programs: For students who have already earned a nursing degree from a certificate or associate program, have passed the RN exam, and have worked as a nurse in a professional healthcare setting, the RN-to-BSN path is the most popular. However, there are also LPN-to-BSN bridge programs available.

In addition to a degree in nursing, admission criteria to a bridge program often include a GPA of 2.5 or higher, an unrestricted current RN license, and the completion of several prerequisite courses. These are typically science and humanities courses, such as chemistry, biology, and business or technical writing.

When submitting an application to a bridge program, prospective students are usually required to submit transcripts of their previous education and possibly one or more letters of recommendation, an essay, and other documentation. Some students may be able to transfer in some of the required credits or test out of certain required courses, depending on the school's policies.

2. Traditional, Four-Year Degree Programs: For students who have no prior nursing education or experience, a four-year degree may be a good start. Admission requirements are comparable to those of other majors. Applicants are usually required to have a GPA of 2.5 or higher, and are often required to take one or more of the standardized college entrance exams to be accepted.

In addition to submitting an application form, prospective students are usually required to submit transcripts of their previous education and may be asked to submit letters of recommendation, essays, and other documentation. Students who have completed some college coursework or who have other types of training or work experience may be able to transfer some of the required credits or test out of certain courses, depending on the school's transfer credit policies.

3. Accelerated BSN Programs: These programs are for students who have earned bachelor's degrees in non-nursing fields, and are often 18-month or two-year programs. Applicants who have already completed numerous science and humanities courses (for example, microbiology, anatomy, psychology, and sociology) while earning their first degrees may be able to begin this program immediately, often starting as a junior. If not, they may need to complete a number of prerequisites for the remainder of the program.

Applicants are usually required to have maintained a GPA of 2.5 or higher while earning their first degree, and may be asked to submit transcripts of their previous education, recommendation letters, essays, and other documentation along with their application.


Cost of an Online BSN Degree


The median annual tuition for an online bachelor's degree in nursing is $12,601, according to our analysis of 360 schools. The lowest annual tuition in this sample is $3,204, and the highest is $47,806.

Future nurses who opt to earn their BSN online may realize some savings while earning their degrees. Although all students pay charges that vary by institution, such as books and supplies, online students usually don't need to pay for room and board or other campus-based fees. At some schools, virtual learners pay the same lower tuition rate as in-state students. Additionally, online nursing students may need to pay for transportation to the healthcare facilities where they gain clinical experience, although these costs are usually minimal as the chosen facilities are generally near students' homes.

To practice nursing, graduates must have a license, and there are several fees involved in obtaining and maintaining a nursing license. Application fees vary widely by state, and the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) certification exam fee is $200. Licensed nurses must also pay a renewal fee periodically, usually every two years.

In addition to the up-front cost of a nursing degree through tuition and related fees, students should consider the payoff after finishing their program. To help with this, we've provided the average debt of a nursing student, the median starting salary, and the 10-year return on investment in the rankings list above.

Financial Aid

Nursing students enrolled in accredited, online degree programs may be eligible for financial aid. To determine eligibility, students should submit a Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA). Representatives of both the federal government and the schools then review the applications, and applicants are notified about the type and amount of financial aid being offered. If there are any questions about financial aid offers, applicants should contact the financial aid representatives at the college(s) they have applied to.

The best types of financial aid to receive are scholarships and grants, which may be awarded by the federal or state government or directly by colleges for the students they've accepted. Unlike student loans, grant and scholarship money does not have to be repaid. Applicants should thoroughly review the terms of a student loan before accepting one. Federal or state student loans are generally preferred over private loans because they often have lower interest rates and more flexible repayment plans.

There are also numerous private nursing and healthcare scholarships available. These require separate applications from the FAFSA, but obtaining additional funding can be well worth the time and effort to apply. Some of these nursing scholarship opportunities include:

AfterCollege/AACN $10,000 Scholarship Fund: Awards of $2,500 each are given out quarterly, with special consideration for those enrolled in RN-to-BSN or accelerated programs.

Barbara Rhomberg Excellence in Nursing Scholarship: This $1,000 scholarship is open to nontraditional students who are returning to college to pursue an undergraduate degree in nursing.

Caroline E. Holt Nursing Scholarship: Each year, three nursing students are selected to receive a $2,500, non-renewable scholarship from the Daughters of the American Revolution philanthropic organization.

National Black Nurses Association Scholarship Program: A student membership in NBNA opens a wide array of benefits and scholarship opportunities from $1,000 up to $90,000 for nursing students of color in a BSN program.


Careers for Online Nursing Alumni

Students may wonder whether a bachelor's degree in nursing is enough to set them up for a career in the field. Individuals can become registered nurses with a nursing certificate, associate degree, or bachelor's degree. All of these programs prepare students to pass the NCLEX certification exam and to obtain a license to practice nursing.

As of 2018, there were approximately four million jobs in five major nursing occupations, and this number is expected to grow much faster than average through 2029. Additional information on various nursing careers is available from the Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the BLS.

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 prefer a career 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. Some possibilities include:

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN)
Median Annual Salary: $48,820
LPNs and LVNs are employed in all healthcare settings, often assisting doctors and RNs with tasks such as dressing changes and administering medications. LPN and LVN programs, which are typically one-year certificate programs, can be found at community colleges and vocational schools. The BLS reports that the median annual wage for LPNs and LVNs is $48,820, and the number of job openings is expected to increase by 9% through 2029.
Pediatric Nurse
Median Annual Salary: $75,330
Pediatric nurses work with children, performing such healthcare tasks as providing routine check-ups, administering medications and immunizations, and conducting screenings for developmental conditions. Many states require pediatric nurses to have earned a BSN, and some require them to obtain special certification in addition to their nursing licenses. Pediatric nurses are RNs, which the BLS reports as earning a median annual income of $75,330.
Geriatric Nurse
Median Annual Salary: $75,330
Geriatric nurses specialize in working with older adults. They perform assessments, administer medications, and prepare and update nursing plans for their patients, among other tasks. Similar to pediatric nurses, RNs can become geriatric nurses with only an associate degree, but some states require a BSN and possibly additional certification. Also similar to pediatric nurses, the median annual income for geriatric nurses is $75,330.
Family Nurse Practitioner
Median Annual Salary:$117,670
RNs who earn master's degrees in nursing may be interested in becoming family nurse practitioners. These advanced nursing specialists are considered primary care providers, assessing patients' health and determining treatment. Due to an increased focus on preventive medical care, the BLS projects job opportunities for family nurse practitioners to increase by 45% over the next decade. The median annual salary for this specialty is $117,670.

We've put together guides to popular nursing jobs, which you can explore for more information:


Is an Online Bachelor's in Nursing Degree Worth It?

A bachelor's degree in nursing can open up many career opportunities. However, there are some specific advantages and disadvantages students may want to explore when deciding whether to pursue a BSN, particularly through distance learning:

Potential Benefits

  • This degree has the potential to pay off in terms of salary. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for RNs with bachelor's degrees is $75,330, as compared to licensed nurses with associate degrees who earn a median annual salary of $48,820.
  • Nursing is a high growth field, and the BLS predicts that more than 287,000 new jobs for registered and practical nurses will emerge over the next 10 years.
  • Earning a BSN online allows students to choose from a broader range of schools without moving to a new location, to complete coursework on their own schedules, and to fulfill requirements for clinical hours at healthcare facilities close to home.
Median Annual Salary by Education Level
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Potential Drawbacks

  • A BSN requires two additional years of education beyond an associate degree, which means a higher cost for the degree and more time out of the workforce are required.
  • As with other distance learning programs, some online nursing students may feel somewhat disconnected from their peers, and they may not always reap the rewards of sharing information and experiences with classmates that often occurs within the classroom.

Ultimately, the true value of an online bachelor's in nursing depends on each individual's personal circumstances, resources, and goals.


Licensure

How Do I Get a Nursing License?

To legally practice as a nurse, all nursing candidates in the U.S. must first graduate from an accredited nursing program. They must then apply for an RN nursing license from their state nursing board, which requires passing an extensive certification exam called the National Council Licensure Examination.

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) administers the NCLEX. There are two types of examinations—the NCLEX-RN, which is for registered nurses, and the NCLEX-PN, which is for practical nurses. 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. Nursing students can find more details about the contents of the exams on the NCSBN website.

In addition to passing the appropriate NCLEX exam, nursing candidates must meet their state’s board of nursing requirements to obtain licensure.

In addition to passing the appropriate NCLEX exam, nursing candidates must meet their state’s board of nursing requirements to obtain licensure. Some states also require licensed nurses to complete continuing education hours during each license renewal period to demonstrate their knowledge and update their skills. Students can check with their state board to learn more about their specific licensing requirements.

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 documented 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. However, nurses can request to have their licenses put on inactive status if they expect to take an extended period of time off work. When returning to work, they can change the status back to active without paying a penalty.

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. 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.

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