RN to BSN Nursing Programs

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Working as a registered nurse (RN) is a rewarding career with a bright future. If you love your job taking care of patients, then you’re in the right place. But if you want more professional opportunities, would like to advance your education, or need a higher salary, consider getting a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN).

According to the HRSA, the demand for nurses will remain constant until 2020, as the demand will outweigh the supply. This indicates a need for more bachelor’s level RNs within the next few years. The demand for nursing professionals is affected by a number of different causes, including influx of new residents throughout the U.S. as well as general population growth from within.

Online RN to BSN Degree Programs

What once could be obtained with two years of school now requires four years at minimum, making the choice to return to school a popular choice for associate’s level nurses. RN to BSN programs provide an outlet for current associate’s level nurses to gain a higher degree.

RN to BSN programs are designed to give current nurses relevant information pertaining to nursing, which nurtures a better nursing professional overall. Determining if these programs are fitting can be a daunting task, but the decision to return to school does not have to be a hard one. Any nursing professional that is looking for more knowledge and more opportunity is a great fit for these programs.

Featured Online RN to BSN Programs Accepting Applicants

CCNE Accredited. UT Arlington has the largest nursing program in Texas, and over 4,000 of the 6,630 nursing students are in the online RN to BSN program. Affordable program that can be completed in 13 months.

CCNE Accredited. Accelerated courses with degree completion in as few as 12 months.


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Why Get an RN to BSN?

In recent years, the increase in interest in higher degrees has changed the way that people engage in university programs. The importance of higher degrees translates to a better career overall and provides a more financially stable lifestyle for those in the programs.

In the medical field, the need for educated professionals is constantly on the rise. Since educational standards have changed for nurses entering the field, many currently working in the field are finding it necessary to pursue a higher degree program. A further education sets the foundation for a long and successful career. Continuing education is a must-have for those interested in keeping a career that provides for a lifetime. Nurses are no exception to this rule. As nursing professionals, individuals are constantly faced with an increasing number of graduates with higher degrees.

Who Should Enroll in an RN to BSN Program?

Since the RN to BSN programs are designed for current nursing professionals, nurses with an associate’s degree in nursing are the most preferred candidates for them. These programs were created to be flexible according to a professional schedule and provide further knowledge in the scientific field of nursing.

The changes in the educational requirements for nurses opened the doors for universities to provide programs that build upon the knowledge that registered nurses already have, rather than requiring them to redo or re-enroll into the same lengthy program.

The Online RN to BSN Model

As a nurse currently working in the field, it can be difficult to find time to take college courses. A nurse’s schedule is one of the most hectic throughout the field, making extra responsibilities even more difficult to maintain. However, RN to BSN programs provide vast availability of day and night classes, making the decision to take part in the program fitting for any busy lifestyle.

The medical field is one that is constantly undergoing changes. Technology provides for more discoveries and more techniques throughout the field, making continuing education a wise choice for anyone throughout. RN to BSN programs are one of the most popular choices for nursing professionals, as it gives nurses a more prominent degree standing all while providing for a more comfortable way of life.

Typical Classes You Should Expect to Take

Nurses have existing education in the general studies required for most bachelor’s programs. Most introductory courses in nursing provide knowledge in general fields such as biology, chemistry, and communication. At the associate level, nurses have the basic practicing knowledge that sets the foundation for an able professional. These programs are designed to give learners the experience needed at staff level in a variety of relevant fields.

Using lab experience and course instruction, educators give lessons pertaining to nursing science as well as practical experience. In RN to BSN programs, the curriculum is designed to build on that existing knowledge to mold a more precise educated nurse. While in the RN to BSN program, individuals will engage in courses such as Clinical Care Across the Lifespan, Complex Health Alterations, and Advanced Clinical Practice. These courses provide scientifically proven information that allows for nurses to provide only the best care to patients in medical facilities.

Typical Length of an RN to BSN Program

Most RN to BSN programs are around two years in total length, making the journey to a higher degree a short one for professionals currently working in the field. RN to BSN programs can also be attended in an on-line setting, which provides internet assisted instruction for those with busy schedules. These courses are just as informative, yet more flexible, than traditional learning programs.

Continuing Education Beyond the BSN to an MSN

For those considering a more advanced degree, work availability is a huge factor in determining if the time is really worth the hard work that will go into furthering an education. Whether or not a degree will pay off is a huge determinant in making the overall decision to go back to college. Nurses at the associate’s degree level are finding that more employers are changing their requirements for hiring nurses.

In accordance to current educational standards, employers are changing their qualifications to specifically ask for higher level degree holders. A lot of medical facilities require that nurses have a bachelor’s degree at the minimum. Most of these facilities provide supportive services that will assist current professionals in obtaining a higher degree, which includes enrollment in RN to BSN programs. For those working in comfortable careers, the need for advancement may not seem like a necessity, but with the change in times, the requirements for currently employed RNs could change as well.

Career Opportunities for Nurses with a BSN

RN to BSN programs provide existing registered nurses with an educational opportunity that can truly change their quality of life. It can be discouraging to realize that all of the hard work that went into an original nursing program is no longer accepted by current educational standards. RN to BSN programs are a highly effective means of getting a degree that can pay off throughout a lifetime.

The rigorous training and in-depth education received throughout the duration of these programs will provide for well-rounded professionals that are fit to work in many different settings. Patient care and nursing science are the main topics found within the RN to BSN program, adding to the existing experience that registered nurses have obtained.

Registered nurses are constantly in demand, making this a career choice that will be profitable and well-maintaining for years to come. These programs give professionals everything needed to be the most knowledgeable professional available. In just a couple of years, associate level nurses can advance their degree and begin searching for careers that are fitting for their higher degree programs. Higher degrees open up better career opportunities as well as better wages.

What a Nurse with a BSN Does

For many years, nurses have been the center of the medical field. Providing direct assistance to doctors, they are the heart of the personal care received in medical facilities. Nursing is a very complex career that includes administering tests, communicating with patients, and implementing emergency care. Without nurses, many medical facilities would not be able to function with the high rate of patient intake.

In a profession that is so demanding on its staff, individuals are finding that continuing education is a necessity when new techniques are released. This field is one of constant learning, adding to the importance of higher degree programs. There are a number of different training programs that nurses are required to take part in, most of which are covered within RN to BSN programs. Without the information learned within these programs, nurses may not be up to date in the latest trends in nursing.

Typical Workplace Settings for RNs

Nurses are found in a variety of different settings. From some of the largest hospitals in the country to very small businesses, nurses are around every corner. Having a higher degree will provide even more opportunity for employment throughout the medical field. Specialty nurses in athletics, education, and research are needed to provide care in many diverse settings.

Implementation of therapeutic techniques are effective in athletic settings, maintaining current physiological health for athletes. In a school setting, nurses oversee student health and provide care to students with illnesses and injuries. Nurses are needed to provide care to athletes in education and professional sports.

In private settings, nurses can provide care to individuals suffering from cancer, respiratory diseases, or even those recovering from surgery. A nurse is an important part of any medical facility, providing much needed care to patients. Employers are looking for qualified professionals with the most prestigious degree. Having an associate’s degree is not always enough to provide the most representative proof of experience and education.

Most In Demand Regions of the US for Nurses

Different regions of the United States provide different positive attributes to those in the nursing field. Choosing a university can be completed by researching programs, accreditation, and reputation. Different universities may be more flexible in scheduling, which could also contribute to a nurse’s choice. Researching the different aspects of each RN to BSN program can be a wise choice for those interested in getting back into a degree program.

However, choosing a place to settle into a career can be a little more complicated. After completing an RN to BSN program, nurses typically try to find an area that is in need of qualified professionals. Due to supply and demand, some states are more providing for registered nurses than others. For those searching for career opportunity in the northeastern United States, states such as Maine and Rhode Island have an existing demand for nurses. This makes it more likely that bachelor’s level registered nurses will find a position quickly. Other states such as Georgia and Arizona have a large demand for nurses, making the states reliable places to find a career.

Featured Online RN to BSN Programs Accepting Applicants

CCNE Accredited. UT Arlington has the largest nursing program in Texas, and over 4,000 of the 6,630 nursing students are in the online RN to BSN program. Affordable program that can be completed in 13 months.

CCNE Accredited. Accelerated courses with degree completion in as few as 12 months.


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The ability to earn as a registered nurses varies on location. The nursing field has always been a well-providing choice for those interested in the medical field, making salary influence a big part of a nurse’s decision to get back into school. Wage rates for registered nurses can vary widely depending on what region of the United States is considered. Conducting research into the preferred working area can prove to be financially beneficial for those exiting the RN to BSN program.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the overall average income for bachelor’s level nurses in the United States is $66,640 per year. BLS reports show higher averages in California, at $98,400, and Massachusetts, at $85,770. Mean wages are affected by different factors such as cost of living and demand for nurses. Regardless of which region of the U.S. is chosen for a degree programs, there are career opportunities available at a high rate. As more and more nurses leave the field into retirement, the need for nurses will continue to grow. For those currently in the field that are searching for a more profitable career choice, furthering a degree in nursing is an excellent choice.

Nursing and the Emergence of Technology in the Industry

As the nation progresses in technology and innovation, the medical field will only grow to be a more providing field for professionals. The nursing field is an extremely important part of healthcare. Individuals of all backgrounds rely on nurses to provide direct care in their time of need. In their most vulnerable situations, patients trust that nurses will give them reliable, trustworthy information and provide them with the most highly-regarded care.

It takes a truly qualified professional to be an effective nurse. For those with the drive to succeed and the desire to help people, a career in nursing is the perfect fit. Since the requirements have changed so dramatically in recent years, nurses are having to work harder to provide the appropriate credentials for employment all across the country.

Hospitals are requiring higher degrees for initial hire and nurses currently working are being pushed back into school. Nurses that have the drive to be the very best in their field are entering into RN to BSN programs in order to better their careers and their lives overall. The decision to pursue a higher degree is one that will direct affect quality of life and financial security. There are programs available throughout each state to help current nurses get the education they deserve.

Getting a BSN if you already have a RN

A BSN can open many doors in the nursing profession. You can work in hospitals, as 60 percent of RNs do, or you can work in almost any other area of healthcare that has a need for nursing skills or expertise. Nurses with BSNs also hold education or management positions, work as consultants, or use their specialized knowledge to work in a private business or the public sector. Having your degree is the first step toward furthering your education—such as earning an MSN, Ph.D., DNP, or entering advanced practice as a nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, nurse midwife, or nurse anesthetist.

RN to BSN programs can be found at four-year colleges or universities. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), 633 programs are available in the U.S. and they are growing in popularity in response to demand.

These programs can be one to two years in duration, depending upon the individual institution’s requirements. More than 400 programs have at least a partial online component, and some offer family- or work-friendly schedules such as weekend or evening classes.

The most common admission requirements are having an RN license, and having a certain amount (approximately 60 to 80) of qualifying transfer credits from your previous training program. Your GPA is considered, as is your work experience.

Some colleges may also require you to complete non-nursing classes that are required for a bachelor’s degree such as English, sociology, or history. The program’s nursing classes focus on topics such as critical thinking, leadership, ethics, and social/cultural issues in healthcare. Aside from core content, you also may need to complete an independent project or research paper.

The biggest advantage of RN to BSN programs? Depending on your work experience, you may be able to waive clinical classes and graduate quickly.

Getting Your RN to BSN: Challenges and Choice

Written by Kelli Dunham, RN, BSN

Kelli is an RN with 15 years of clinical nursing experience and the author of 4 health/health professions related books, including the American Journal of Nursing Nursing Book of the Year, How to Survive and Maybe Even Love Nursing School (FA Davis, 2008, 3rd edition).

The biggest concerns for most nurses considering an RN to BSN program are cost-related: not just the financial cost, but the amount of time it takes to get an advanced degree and the costs to one’s personal commitments to family and community.

There’s no question that these these can be real challenges, especially for the working nurse. But by considering the many options within the RN to BSN path, and finding the best fit for your personal situation, an RN to BSN program can be surprisingly manageable.

Calculating Cost: Financially

If you’re considering an RN to BSN program, there’s a good chance money is part of the equation, especially if you’re in a geographical area where pressure is on for nurses to be bachelor’s prepared at all practice levels.

Donna Luongo, a Pennsylvania nurse and recent RN to BSN grad explained her choice to return to school shortly after graduating with her associate’s degree: “Every med/surg hospital in my area is magnet so it is virtually impossible to get a job without BSN.”

The nursing workplace is often the driving force for the RN to BSN quest, and it’s also the first place to consider turning for financial help. If you’re already working as an RN, your facility may offer some kind of money for school, whether it’s a standard tuition reimbursement plan or a workplace based scholarship.

Before you use the workplace reimbursement, it’s important to check exactly what strings are attached to make sure using the benefit will actually benefit you. For example, if you’re working in long term care and your facility offers a $2000 a year tuition reimbursement but requires a two year working commitment after you graduate, this might not be a bargain.

If tuition assistance isn’t available from your current employer sometimes a simple lateral move might provide substantial financial help in getting your BSN. For example, if you’re a primary care nurse in an office practice, you might be able to change to a university based office practice and benefit from higher rates of tuition reimbursement or even, in some cases, tuition remission.

Additionally, workplace-based aid is certainly not the only help you can get financially for an RN to BSN program. If you don’t already have a bachelor’s degree in another field, you will still be eligible for federal financial aid for undergraduates.

Finally, before you commit to a program, make sure you calculate any relative hidden costs. For example, a program at a university closer to your home or workplace might be more expensive than another program the next town over, but the commuting costs might offset the difference.

Calculating the Cost: Time

If you’re employed as a nurse either full or part-time you may well be coming home exhausted and wonder “how could I possibly add school to my schedule?”

Fortunately, RN to BSN programs are created specifically for working professionals, so if you look hard enough, there’s a good chance you can find a way to fit school into your schedule.

If you’re worried about overall time spent working on a program, make sure to investigate programs that offer credits (either by testing or portfolio) for life experience and continuing education. If you graduated with your associate’s degree in the last few years, check to see if there are any university programs that have matriculation agreements with the college that offered your original degree. This will save you time in completing added pre requisite courses.

More and more programs are offering online options for classes, and these can be great time-savers because it shrinks your commuting to class time to the few minutes it takes your laptop to boot up. Realistically consider your computer skills before you choose a mostly on-line program. If you’re not actually comfortable using all the technology that’s required it may cost you more time than you were hoping and may be a source of frustration as well.

Calculating the Cost: Juggling Family and Community Commitments

The growth in online education has been a huge gift to busy nurses on the RN to BSN path. Jennifer Little, a recent RN to BSN grad, said that “the factor that weighed the most heavily in my program choice was West Chester University offered a new on-line program, which required me to go onto campus for class only three times in a semester. I liked this feature because I have two small children at home.”

Not all online programs are created equal, and some are more flexible than others. Keep in mind that even if you aren’t required to physically be in class at certain times, you may be required to be cyber-present in a specific time frame to participate in, for example, class video discussions. You’ll have to assess how each program’s requirements fits with your responsibilities.

Even if online or partially online programs don’t work for you or you can’t find one you like, there are options to make the work/school/family juggling act more manageable. For example, some universities offer classes at the workplace, often timed to shift changes. While it might be overwhelming to think of attending a lecture on nursing theory as you leave your 7 pm- 7 am shift, the extra coffee you consume might be worth it if you get to have dinner with your kids.

LPN vs. RN vs. BSN

Written by Meaghan O’Keeffe, RN, BSN

Pursuing a degree while already shouldering work and life responsibilities is a major decision not to be taken lightly. Raising children, caring for aging parents, mortgages, and a slipping economy all present challenges when thinking about going back to school.

When you decide to go back for your BSN, and even throughout the process, you’re inevitably going to ask yourself the question: “Is it worth it?”

Keep this post in your textbooks, tape it to your bathroom mirror, and display it on your refrigerator. Because the answer is unequivocally and resoundingly, “YES.” And here’s why:

Greater scope of practice
RNs enjoy a greater level of autonomy than LPNs. Although the scope of practice varies from state to state, many LPNs are not able to give medications, provide treatments, or triage medical situations. You already have the-on-the-job knowledge, but having those letters—R—N—after your name enables you to practice nursing to the extent you always dreamed of.

More job opportunities
It can be difficult to find jobs in most acute care settings with an LPN license. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, there were approximately 2.7 million RN jobs in 2010, compared with only 700,000 LPN positions. A growing number of hospitals, particularly those with Magnet status or those who are pursuing Magnet status, show preference for hiring BSN educated nurses. When it comes to upward mobility within a facility, like getting a promotion, a nurse with a Baccalaureate degree is more likely to be considered a competitive candidate.

Better Patient Care
Some studies indicate that BSN prepared nurses have better patient outcomes, although critics say there are other factors not accounted for such as prior qualifications and degree of experience. These studies aside, the increasingly complex healthcare landscape requires nurses to have well-developed analytical skills and an ability to coordinate complex patient care. A Bachelors degree education can prepare a nurse for the greater demands being placed on nurses today, with a focus on critical thinking and evidence-based practice.

Better pay
RNs with their BSN make an average of $25,000 more a year than LPNs. With the cost of a 4-year degree averaging around $10,000-12,000 per year, you’ll still win out from a financial standpoint. When times get tough, keep your eyes on the prize—it will pay off in the end.

Getting Your BSN Means You Are Helping To Shape The Nursing Profession
In 2010, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in partnership with the Institute of Medicine wrote a manifesto of sorts, a call to arms for the nursing profession. In this tumultuous healthcare age, with a nursing shortage looming and a need for leaders in the field, there is a push for nurses to obtain a Baccalaureate degree to level the healthcare playing field. Just deciding to go back to school is a major personal accomplishment for some. Completing a degree is monumental. But consider this: Your personal accomplishment is also a great achievement for the nursing profession as a whole.

List of Featured Online RN to BSN Programs

The following programs are entirely online and are currently accepting applicants.

CCNE Accredited. UT Arlington has the largest nursing program in Texas, and over 4,000 of the 6,630 nursing students are in the online RN to BSN program. Affordable program that can be completed in 13 months.


CCNE Accredited. Accelerated courses with degree completion in as few as 12 months.



RN-to-BSN online program incorporates the standards established by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and is accredited by The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Course schedule provides you the opportunity to combine campus and online classes for the RN to BSN degree completion program, or take online classes only.