15 Best RN to BSN Programs | 2024

Discover the best RN to BSN programs available in 2024 and take your nursing career to the next level. Articles Programs

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While an associate degree or diploma qualifies RNs for entry-level positions, a BSN enhances their knowledge and skills for higher career entry, advancement, and salary.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics emphasizes increased employability of those with BSNs, particularly in hospital settings, additionally backed by a survey from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2022), which showed that 77% of employers strongly prefer nurses with a BSN, while 41% require a BSN for a new hire.

Considering that a BSN is statistically desirable for long-term growth, we've compiled a list of the best RN to BSN programs available below.

What Is an RN to BSN Program?

An RN to BSN Program is a registered nurse (RN) returning to school to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. This involves experienced RNs and new graduates with a diploma or an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN).

A BSN degree program augments the learning from a diploma or associate degree by having a more comprehensive education on social and physical sciences, nursing management, research, informatics, and public health. It enhances the BSN student's understanding of community health, healthcare management, leadership, and policy for a broader scope of practice.

These programs are mostly online, but some schools have on-campus classes offering practicum (clinical hours) to be completed in your local community. Clinical experiences of nurses can vary, but several programs require a capstone project by graduation.

RN to BSNs vary in cost, and many employers reimburse tuition for continued education, while several schools offer financial aid.

RN to BSN Prerequisites and Requirements

To apply for an RN to BSN program, there are specific requirements that the school of nursing needs for undergraduate admission, and these may vary per program. This often includes having a current, unrestricted RN license, an associate degree or diploma in nursing, a GPA of 2.0-3.0 or higher in prelicensure nursing courses, proof of health, up-to-date immunization documentation, and submitted official transcripts from the prelicensure nursing program.

RN to BSN programs include prerequisites for English Composition, Introduction to Nutrition, Psychology, Anatomy and Physiology I/II, Chemistry for Health Sciences, Child and Adolescent Development/Psychology, Statistics, and Microbiology.

Core Courses in RN to BSN Programs

  • Professional Nursing Practice
  • Family-Centered Health Promotion
  • Community and Public Health Nursing
  • Statistics for Health Professions
  • Introduction to Nursing Research
  • Ethical Nursing Practice
  • Nursing Leadership and Management
  • Trends and Issues in Today's Health Care
  • Professional Capstone and Practicum

Best RN to BSN Programs in 2024

The following schools have been selected based on allnurses' methodology of surveying our readers to understand what they value most, with the addition of NCLEX pass rates, graduation rates, student-faculty ratio, price, mode, duration, and admission rates of hundreds of the most prominent nursing schools in the United States.

1. Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University (GCU) is among the best online RN to BSN programs. It allows RNs to obtain their degree within six terms, offering five-week courses to accelerate completion within 14 months.

Theory classes are online, but clinical hours must be obtained in person within your community. GCU allows up to 90 credits to be transferred and offers a fast-track option to get your Master of Science in Nursing degree within two and a half years. The RN to BSN program is 120 credits total. 

  • Price: $340 per credit hour
  • Mode: Online
  • Duration: 14 months
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) Accredited: Yes
  • Admission Rate: 82%
  • Graduation Rate: 41%
  • Post-Graduation Employment Rate: 93%
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 21:1

2. Ohio University

Ohio University was awarded the eighth most affordable online RN to BSN program within the United States, allowing nursing students to complete their degrees for as little as $10,000.

Students applying must hold an active, unencumbered nursing license with an ADN or diploma in nursing, have a GPA of 2.0 or higher, and are residents in one of the following states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia or Washington, D.C.

  • Price: $10,000 for the program
  • Mode: Online
  • Duration: 12-24 months
  • CCNE Accredited: Yes
  • Admission Rate: 87%
  • Graduation Rate: 65%
  • Post-Graduation Employment Rate: 93%
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 17:1

3. Rasmussen University

Rasmussen University offers online education courses with assistance in finding in-person clinicals. They allow up to 134 credits to be transferred into their program requirements. Applicants must have a current, unencumbered RN license in the United States.

  • Price: $14,500 total
  • Mode: Online
  • Duration: 12-18 months full-time
  • CCNE Accredited: Yes
  • Admission Rate: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 35.8%
  • Post-Graduation Employment Rate: 99%
  • Student-Faculty Ratio:  11:1

4. Western Governors University

Western Governors University is for active, unencumbered RN-licensed students to complete their BSN as quickly as four terms. They charge tuition every six months, not per credit, creating a cost-effective option for the motivated nursing student. Their courses align with the 2021 AACN Essentials for Core Competencies for the professional nurse. Up to 90 credits can be transferrable into this program.

  • Price: $4,885 per term
  • Mode: Online
  • Duration: 12-24 months
  • CCNE Accredited: Yes
  • Admission Rate: 100% (if application and education requirements are met)
  • Graduation Rate: 89%
  • Post-Graduation Employment Rate: 78%
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 42:1

5. University of North Carolina, Pembroke

The RN to BSN program at the University of North Carolina, Pembroke, is designed for registered nurses seeking to advance their education and career prospects. Recognizing the foundational skills and knowledge that RNs already possess, this program offers a curriculum that builds upon prior learning and clinical experience.

  • Price: $4,247 per semester
  • Mode: Online
  • Duration: 12 months
  • CCNE Accredited: Yes
  • Admission Rate: 92%
  • Graduation Rate: 23%
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 15:1

6. Morehead State University

Morehead State University was ranked top 5 of the 169 accredited Southeast Region RN to BSN programs. Their online program accommodates the working registered nurse. This accredited institution has the admission requirements of having an active and unencumbered RN license.

  • Price: $4,620 per semester or $385 per credit hour
  • Mode: Online
  • Duration: 24 months
  • CCNE Accredited: Yes
  • Admission Rate: 77%
  • Graduation Rate: 23%
  • Post-Graduation Employment Rate: 100%

7. Montana Technological University

Montana Tech was ranked first in nursing programs in Montana in 2021 and 2023. They require registered nurses to have an active, unencumbered license and have already earned an ADN. Transferring of credits needs to be evaluated by the enrollment service office. For start dates in the fall, applications are due by April; for start dates in the Spring, applications are due by November.

  • Price: $525 per credit hour
  • Mode: Hybrid
  • Duration: 4 Terms
  • CCNE Accredited: Yes
  • Post-Graduation Employment Rate: 100%

8. Regis University

Regis University is for nursing students seeking personal and professional growth by obtaining their baccalaureate degree. Their program can be completed as quickly as 10 or 20 months. Students may opt to take web-based classrooms with a synchronous format or opt to complete it 100% online.

  • Price: $603 per credit hour
  • Mode: Online
  • Duration: 10-20 months (as few as five semesters)
  • CCNE Accredited: Yes

9. Maryville University of Saint Louis

Maryville University of Saint Louis is a 129-credit RN to BSN program allowing up to 40 transferrable credits. Their program prepares nurses of all skill levels for advanced career roles. They develop well-rounded nurses with critical thinking skills and healthcare leadership to improve their careers.

  • Price: $24,766 annual cost
  • Mode: Online
  • Duration: 3 Terms
  • CCNE Accredited: Yes
  • Admission Rate: 95%
  • Graduation Rate: 57%
  • Post-Graduation Employment Rate: 98%
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 13:1

10. Capella University

Capella University offers a Bachelor of Science program for registered nurses to advance their education online. They are an accredited school that offers a FlexPath program so students can complete their RN to BSN within nine months for under $10,000.

  • Price: $6,590-$13,180 (accelerated pace to typical pace) for the entire program
  • Mode: Online
  • Duration: 9 months
  • CCNE Accredited: Yes
  • Admission Rate: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 16%
  • Post Graduation Employment Rate: 82%
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 49:1

11. Drexel University

Drexel University provides nursing students with evidence-based practice to improve patient outcomes and excel in their nursing careers. Their general education includes technology-enhanced coursework to improve the curriculum that will enhance the RN's experience.

  • Price: $604 per credit
  • Mode: Online
  • Duration: 12-24 months
  • CCNE Accredited: Yes
  • Admission Rate: 77%
  • Graduation Rate: 68%
  • Post-Graduation Employment Rate: 90%
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 9:1

12. University of Texas Arlington

By offering multiple start dates throughout the year, the University of Texas at Arlington recognizes the diverse needs and timelines of aspiring nursing professionals. This flexibility not only accommodates various schedules but also enables students to embark on their educational journey at a time that aligns best with their personal and professional commitments.

  • Price: $8,995 (total)
  • Mode: Online
  • Duration: 9 months
  • CCNE Accredited: Yes
  • Admission Rate: 88%
  • Graduation Rate: 51%
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 24:1

13. California State University, Fullerton (CSUF)

CSUF's RN to BSN program consists of 24-semester units of nursing coursework that can be completed full-time or part-time, with options between campus-based learning and online. Applications are open in the fall (October 1 to November 30) and in the Spring (August 1 to August 31).

  • Price: $3,833 per semester for in-state students, $10,049 per semester for out-of-state students
  • Mode: Hybrid
  • Duration: 18 months
  • CCNE Accredited: Yes
  • Admission Rate: 38%
  • Graduation Rate: 69%
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 20:1

14. Bellevue College

Bellevue College's RN to BSN program is designed for licensed RNs with an ADN or diploma in nursing seeking to expand their knowledge and skills in evidence-based practice, community health, professional communication, leadership, and health information technology.

  • Price: $7,380
  • Mode: Hybrid
  • Duration: 12 months
  • CCNE Accredited: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 33%
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 14-1

15. University of Central Florida (UCF)

UCF's RN to BSN program can be completed fully online, however, not all electives and prerequisites may be offered online. The program consists of 62 total credits, with a curriculum focused on subjects such as Nursing Practice, Health Assessment, Nursing Care, and more.

  • Price: $212.28 per credit hour in-state, $748.98 out-of-state
  • Mode: Hybrid
  • Duration: 62 credits, full-time or part-time
  • CCNE Accredited: Yes
  • Admission Rate: 44%
  • Graduation Rate: 70%
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 31:1

Different Routes to Becoming a Nurse

There are two types of nurses; registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical/vocational nurses (LPNs/LVNs). LPNs/LVNs assist patients with basic needs, such as activities of daily living, administering medications, monitoring vital signs, and performing wound care.

RNs have an expanded scope of practice to identify and treat the disease process, including educating and counseling patients and families about healthcare management and administering medications that may be considered more high-risk.

The scope of practice varies with each license and can vary based on the state. LPNs/LVNs can obtain their diploma within one year at some schools, while RNs can complete their education within two to four years.

The three educational pathways for becoming a registered nurse are a diploma in nursing, an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). 

  • Diploma in Nursing: A diploma in nursing is a three-year program typically administered by hospitals. This degree is being phased out and replaced by an associate degree.
  • Associate Degree in Nursing: An ADN is a two- or three-year nursing degree offered by community colleges.
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: A BSN is a four-year university or senior college degree.

All graduated students from a nursing program must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN), which is a licensing exam to become a registered nurse. Passing the NCLEX is a requirement for employers.

Salary Expectations of a Registered Nurse in 2023

Salary expectations in 2024 are based on geography, experience level, education, type of nursing specialties, and the types of industry that the nurse works in.

According to the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the national mean annual wage for a registered nurse is $89,010, with the lowest 10th percentile making $61,250 and the 90th percentile making $129,400 annually. The highest employment levels were nurses in general medicine and surgical hospitals, making an annual $90,600. This location's typical hourly wage would be $43.56.

The highest salary states include:

  • California: $133,340
  • Hawaii: $113,220
  • Oregon: $106,610
  • Massachusetts: $104,150
  • Alaska: $103,310

Glassdoor salary for a registered nurse with a BSN is $120,136/year with a range of $92,000-$157,000 yearly. RNs with a BSN with 0-1 years of experience earn an average of $81K-$120K/year, whereas RNs with a BSN with 2-4 years of experience earn $97K-$147K/year. 

For registered nurses with only an associate degree, the average annual income in the United States is $88,638. 

RN to BSN Programs Near Me

Discover the best RN to BSN programs in the following states:

FAQ and Additional Readings

Should I pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing?

The United States' healthcare system is increasingly becoming more complex with increased chronic illnesses and policy and technology changes. A BSN will better equip you for these complexities, increase your employability and salary, and is undoubtedly worth it. 

May I work while I earn my BSN?

Many programs are designed for the working nurse and have options such as online courses or evening classes (GCU). Most schools will provide part-time and full-time options for their nursing students. This allows for flexibility and provides convenience to further your education.

May I start the RN to BSN program without being licensed?

To apply to an RN to BSN program, you must hold an active, unrestricted registered nurse license in your state and pass your NCLEX-RN boards.

Do I get to transfer credits from my prior nursing degree?

Many schools will grant transferrable credits that apply to their program, but they usually have a maximum number of credits that can be transferred.

Do I need to be employed as a registered nurse to apply to schools?

Not necessarily; the school likely only needs you to have an active RN license before enrolling in their program.

What is the workload like for an RN-BSN program?

Although the workload will vary by program, many students find the time to work full-time and complete their RN to BSN program. Many courses will require discussion boards, written papers, and projects.

One qualitative study analyzed students' perceptions of the RN to BSN program and found four common themes: workload, flexibility, coursework, and support. Some felt the workload to be just as stressful as nursing school, while others expected the workload to be heavier and busier.

Several students in this study appreciated the flexibility of an online RN to BSN program to accommodate their work and life schedules. They found that the coursework included nursing theory, research, management, and population health across the lifespan to create health promotion and leadership roles within our healthcare systems. Nursing students can be out-of-state from school and still be learners in their online courses.

The study also found that students wanted more faculty support when asking questions. They felt they wanted more immediate responses to questions about assignments and exams.

AD DISCLOSURE: This page may contain affiliate links. These links are designed for allnurses to generate revenue at no cost to you. The websites you visit are operated by third parties and have no influence in our recommendations, which are grounded in research.


Michelle Flanagan has 11 years experience as a MSN, NP and specializes in Nurse Practitioner.

2 Articles   3 Posts


15 Posts

Thank you for sharing I am currently in an ADN program but I was currently looking at how I might obtain my bachelor's degree!

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