Best Online RN-to-BSN Programs


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Bridge Programs From RN-to-BSN

Online RN-to-BSN programs help registered nurses advance their careers. These bridge programs build off of the knowledge and skills gained during a nursing associate or diploma program, allowing students to graduate with a bachelor's degree in just two years.

RNs enjoy strong job prospects. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for nurses are projected to grow 6% between 2022 and 2032. These professionals made median annual salaries of $81,220, with the top 10% of earners making more than $129,400 a year.

Earning an RN-to-BSN online gives students the flexibility to balance their studies with professional and personal obligations. Online learning also allows students to attend the top RN-to-BSN programs in the country without relocating. This guide ranks the best online RN-to-BSN programs to help students find the right programs for their needs.

Featured Online RN-to-BSN Schools

What Is an RN-to-BSN Program?

Online RN-to-BSN programs allow students with a nursing associate degree or diploma to earn a bachelor's degree in 1-2 years of additional study. Students in these programs commonly possess several years of nursing experience. They frequently continue working while enrolled, and many programs accommodate working students through flexible learning formats and schedules.

RN-to-BSN students gain leadership and management skills, advanced research competencies, and knowledge of best practices and emerging trends in nursing.

Choosing an Online RN-to-BSN Program

When researching RN-to-BSN programs, students should consider factors like cost, transfer policies, and on-campus requirements. We cover several important considerations for prospective students below.

What Else Can I Expect From an Online RN-to-BSN Program?

Many RN-to-BSN programs offer electives and concentrations that allow students to specialize their knowledge and tailor the degree to their career goals. The following sections cover common courses and concentrations found in these programs and explore the importance of attending an accredited program.

Online RN-to-BSN Program Curriculum

Nursing Concentrations

Students earning an RN-to-BSN online can often pursue concentrations that allow them to specialize their skills. We cover several common nursing concentrations below.


Gerontology focuses on delivering care for elderly patients. Common class topics include coordinated care of the elderly, theoretical foundations of geriatric care, advanced health assessments for aging populations, and gerontology healthcare policy.


Orthopedic RNs provide care to patients with musculoskeletal diseases and injuries, including osteoporosis, arthritis, and fractured and broken bones. Topics include musculoskeletal specialty synthesis, clotting disorders, and orthopedics pain management.

Acute Care

Acute care nurses deliver emergency and ambulatory care to patients. Learners in these courses gain knowledge and skills in areas like health assessments and clinical diagnoses, psychological and physiological impacts, and short-term care management.

Primary Care

Primary care nurses deliver care to patients throughout the lifespan, focusing on overall patient health and wellness. They typically do not treat acute or emergency issues. Common courses include health promotion, clinical practice in ambulatory care, and perspectives on aging.


Pediatric nurses provide care to patients from birth through early adulthood. Common classes include pediatric pharmacology, acute and chronic pediatric care, and health promotion within pediatric patients.

How Long Does It Take to Complete an Online RN-to-BSN Program?

Most online RN-to-BSN programs take two years to complete, but students can often pursue accelerated or part-time options as well. Students with abundant personal and professional obligations may benefit from the lower course load of a part-time program, while learners seeking to complete the degree as quickly as possible benefit from accelerated programs.

An online RN-to-BSN program's delivery format can also impact the length of a degree. For example, programs with asynchronous courses allow students to access course materials and lectures on their own schedule, while synchronous programs require students to log in at specific times.

Accreditation for Online RN-to-BSN Programs

When researching prospective programs, students should look for accreditation status. Accreditation indicates that a school meets high standards with respect to faculty qualifications, academic rigor, and student learning outcomes. Only students at accredited schools qualify for federal financial aid, and many schools only accept degrees and credits from accredited institutions. Additionally, nurses need an accredited degree to qualify for professional credentials.

Schools may receive regional or national accreditation, with regional accreditation generally considered the more prestigious of the two. Programs within a school may also receive accreditation. For example, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing accredit nursing programs.

Students can verify a school's accreditation status through the Database of Postsecondary Institutions and Programs provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

Nursing Certifications

Certifications allow nurses to demonstrate specialized expertise and compete for advanced roles. We cover several common nursing certifications below.

Oncology Certified Nurse
Candidates for this credential need at least two years of RN experience, at least 2,000 hours of oncology nursing practice, and a minimum of 10 hours of oncology nursing continuing education. They must also pass a three-hour, 165-question exam.

Certified Emergency Nurse
Candidates for this credential need at least two years of relevant experience. They must also pass the certification exam, which comprises 175 peer-reviewed questions and must be taken at an approved Pearson Professional Center.

Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing Certification
Candidates need two years of full-time RN experience, 2,000 hours of psychiatric-mental health clinical practice, and 30 hours of psychiatric-mental health continuing education credits. They must also pass a three-hour, 150-question exam.

Critical Care Registered Nurse
RNs and APRNs with at least 1,750 hours of acute/critical care nursing practice can apply for this credential. Candidates can use the CCRN exam handbook to prepare for the qualifying exam.

Pediatric Nursing Certification
Candidates for this credential need at least two years of full-time RN experience, 2,000 hours of clinical pediatric nursing practice, and 30 continuing education credits in pediatric nursing. The exam comprises 50 questions and takes three hours to complete.

Nursing Careers

Graduates with a BSN qualify for a variety of fulfilling careers. We cover several common careers for graduates below; however, some positions may require additional education or certification.

Registered Nurses

Median Salary: $81,220 Projected Job Growth: 6%

Registered nurses work on the frontlines of patient care. They assess patient conditions, record medical histories, observe symptoms, and report their findings. They also complete care plans, collaborate with doctors, teach patients and families how to manage an illness or injury, and perform diagnostic tests. All RNs need at least a nursing diploma and a state license to practice.

Medical and Health Services Managers

Median Salary: $104,830 Projected Job Growth: 28%

These professionals work in healthcare administration. They oversee healthcare facilities or departments, which involves setting departmental goals, managing staff, overseeing budgets, and creating staff schedules. Medical and health services managers typically need at least a bachelor's degree. They do not need licensure unless they are working at a nursing home.

Nurse Practitioners

Median Salary: $125,900 Projected Job Growth: 38%

Nurse practitioners, also known as advanced practice registered nurses, provide advanced nursing services. They may diagnose health problems, analyze test results, prescribe medications and treatments, and conduct research. These professionals also often oversee staff. NPs need at least a master's degree and an active, unencumbered RN license.

The Best Online RN-to-BSN Programs

  1. University of Florida-Online

    Gainesville, FL



    Established in 1853, UF moved to its Gainesville location in 1906. Students pursuing medical careers benefit from the only U.S. university with six health-related colleges on one campus.

    The School of Nursing offers an online bachelor of science in nursing. Students analyze processes leading to health care policy change and prepare for leadership roles in wellness promotion, illness prevention, and high-quality treatment.

    Applicant requirements include an associate degree in nursing, 2.8 GPA, and active Florida RN license or eNLC.

  2. Florida International University

    Miami, FL



    Founded in 1965 as a public research institution, Miami-based FIU offers remote learning to 40,000 students annually.

    FIU offers an online bachelor of science in nursing program. Registered nurses help bolster their evidence-based practices and future marketability through four levels of study covering community and global health.

    Any of three yearly enrollments require a 2.75 GPA from an accredited ASN or diploma nursing program.

  3. Penn State World Campus

    University Park, PA



    Penn State, established in 1855, launched its world campus in 1998, accommodating 20,000 distance learners annually.

    The bachelor of science in nursing offers three optional specialized certificates: nursing management, nursing informatics, and nursing forensics. Students fulfill clinical requirements from home or through the accelerated RN-to-BSN format.

    Penn State requires all students to have an RN license.

  4. Southern New Hampshire University

    Manchester, NH

    Manchester-based SNHU is a private, non-profit institution established in 1932, specializing in distance learning with a primarily remote student body.

    The transfer-friendly bachelor of science in nursing (RN-to-BSN) program features a capstone with 90 hours of practicum experience. Students earn credit for an RN license and benefit from academic and career support.

    Requirements include an associate degree in nursing or an earned diploma with a minimum 2.5 GPA.

  5. University of Wisconsi – Stevens Point

    Stevens Point, WI



    A public institution founded in 1894, the UW-Stevens Point expanded in 2018 with campuses in Wausau and Marshfield.

    Through the School of Health Sciences and Wellness, registered nurses pursue a bachelor of science in nursing through an RN-to-BSN completion program. Students complete nine core classes and a capstone through a hybrid or online curriculum, enriching clinical and leadership expertise.

    Admission requirements include Wisconsin residency and state RN licensure. Applicants also need an associate or diploma degree from an accredited nursing program, with a cumulative 2.5 GPA.

  6. Northwestern State University of Louisiana

    Natchitoches, LA



    Established in 1884 as the Louisiana State Normal School, NSU introduced the state's first nursing degree program.

    NSU offers an online registered nurse to bachelor of science in nursing completion program. Distance learning extends to remote theory and clinical requirements.

    Tuition covers the required 30 hours of nursing coursework. Requirements for applicants include GRE and transcripts.

  7. University of Louisiana at Monroe

    Monroe, LA



    Founded in 1931 and previously known as Northeast Louisiana University, ULM is a public institution with 9,000 students annually.

    The ULM accelerated online RN-to-BSN program offers five eight-week courses, designed for completion in 14 months. A curriculum covering management, research, and public health culminates in an experiential capstone.

    Admission requirements include an active RN license, minimum 2.0 GPA from an accredited program, and official transcripts.

  8. The University of West Florida

    Pensacola, FL



    Part of the state university system since 1963, UWF sits on 1,600 acres just north of downtown Pensacola.

    An accelerated bachelor of science in nursing degree allows working nurses options for career advancement in just 12 months with leadership, ethics, and pharmacology principles. Distance learning covers the core curriculum, with clinical practice in students' local communities.

    Applicant requirements include an associate of science in nursing degree, an overall 2.75 GPA, home state RN license, the completion of STA 2023: Elements of Statistics with a grade 'C' or higher, and no more than 12 hours of non-major coursework outstanding.

  9. Nicholls State University

    Thibodaux, LA



    Nicholls averages just over 6,000 students annually, with 100% of nursing school graduates employed or in grad school.

    Nicholls Online offers working health care professionals an online bachelor of science in nursing degree, leadership-based curriculum. Graduates prepare for provider and manager roles with critical thinking skills, nursing informatics, and evidence-based patient-centered care.

    Admission requirements include completion of a state licensing board-approved and nationally accredited program and unencumbered Louisiana RN licensure. Students must maintain a minimum grade of C and 2.0 cumulative GPA in all required curriculum courses.

  10. University of North Dakota

    Grand Forks, ND



    Founded in 1883, UND provides the only school of medicine in the state.

    UND offers an online bachelor of science in nursing degree program, focusing on expanding comprehensive care practices, collaborating with interdisciplinary health teams, and promoting patient advocacy. Live online classes, combined with a library of lectures and course materials plus the opportunity to complete clinical hours where you live, facilitate completion in 1-2 years.

    Acceptance requires an associate degree and a current, unencumbered RN license.

Best Online Programs - RN to BSN

Online RN to BSN Programs Ranking Guidelines

We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Pursuing an RN-to-BSN

What Is an RN-to-BSN Program?

These bridge programs help RNs with a diploma or associate degree earn a bachelor's degree with two years of additional study.

What is the Difference Between RN vs. BSN?

RNs can receive licensure without earning a bachelor's degree, but a bachelor's degree typically gives RNs more career opportunities and higher earning potential.

How Long Are RN-to-BSN Programs?

RN-to-BSN programs typically take two years to complete, though some programs also offer accelerated timelines.

Do RN-to-BSN Programs Require Clinicals?

Many RN-to-BSN programs do not require clinicals, but they may require students to maintain employment as an RN while enrolled.

What Prerequisites Do I Need for an RN-to-BSN Program?

Applicants typically need an active, unencumbered RN license, an accredited nursing associate degree or diploma, and professional experience.

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