10 Cheapest Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Programs | 2024

Unlocking a world of opportunities through a BSN degree is more affordable than you might think. Discover these 10 cheapest BSN programs available in 2024. Programs

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Pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree can be very rewarding due to the development of broader clinical skills, expanded career opportunities, and the ability to become a great leader and make informed decisions.

After completing this program, graduates can expect to work in any nursing and healthcare field, from public to community health, bedside nursing, and beyond. 

Wherever your nursing career may lead, most graduates share the desire to avoid significant debt upon graduation. To assist in this endeavor, we've compiled information on the costs associated with earning a BSN degree, along with a list of the 10 cheapest BSN programs in the country.

What Is a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)?

BSN programs equip students with patient care skills, nursing knowledge, leadership abilities, and critical thinking skills essential for their careers as registered nurses (RNs). RNs use this knowledge to provide hands-on care in hospital or community settings.

A BSN degree opens doors to various career paths beyond bedside nursing, including roles such as legal nurse consultant, public health nurse, psychiatric mental health nurse, health informatics specialist, occupational health nurse, nurse case manager, and school nurse. Specializations in areas like pediatrics, critical care, and oncology are also possible.

BSN programs offer flexible education options, including on-campus, hybrid, accelerated, and online formats to suit different lifestyles.

BSN Program Overview

To become a registered nurse (RN), students must obtain a degree, either an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). After completing either program, students can take the NCLEX-RN exam to earn their RN license.

While an ADN allows for RN licensure, a BSN offers greater opportunities due to its comprehensive curriculum that emphasizes research, leadership, and evidence-based practice, in addition to clinical skills.

Many healthcare institutions now require a BSN for nursing roles to meet accreditation and Joint Commission standards, making it important to choose an accredited BSN program.

A BSN program typically includes liberal arts, general education, and nursing-specific courses, providing a strong foundation in physical assessments, clinical judgment, and patient-centered care. This prepares graduates for a wide range of nursing roles.

Where Do BSN-Prepared Nurses Work?

Nurses with a BSN have a wide array of career options and can practice in various care settings, including:

  • Hospitals
  • Nursing Homes
  • Home Care Agencies
  • Physician Offices
  • Educational Services
  • Government Agencies
  • Schools
  • Community Centers
  • Hospices
  • Dialysis Centers
  • Telephonic and Virtual Care Settings

BSN Coursework

BSN programs focus on essential nursing courses, equipping students with the skills needed to tackle the diverse challenges in the nursing field. A typical BSN curriculum includes:

  • Advanced Health Assessment: Comprehensive patient evaluations.
  • Pharmacology and Nursing Math: Medication administration, pharmacological principles, and dosing calculations.
  • Advanced Nursing Practices: Complex nursing interventions and patient care techniques.
  • Adult Health Nursing: Care for adult patients with various health conditions.
  • Pediatric Nursing: Specialized care for infants, children, and adolescents.
  • Maternal and Neonatal Nursing: Care for mothers and newborns.
  • Mental Health Nursing: Study of psychiatric and mental health conditions.
  • Community and Public Health Nursing: Nursing practice in community settings and health promotion.
  • Nursing Research and Evidence-Based Practice: Research methods and evidence-based practices.
  • Leadership and Management in Nursing: Leadership skills and healthcare management.
  • Nursing Ethics and Legal Aspects: Ethical and legal issues in nursing practice.

These courses ensure BSN graduates have the critical knowledge and skills needed to excel in their nursing careers.

BSN Clinical Training 

Clinical training in BSN programs is essential for developing the comprehensive nursing skills required to succeed in advanced nursing roles. This training includes:

  • Acute/Critical Care Clinical: Hands-on exposure to complex patient care techniques and advanced nursing principles.
  • Specialized Nursing Clinical Rotations: Experience in various specialized nursing areas, such as:
    • Acute Care
    • Pediatric Care
    • Geriatric Care
    • Women's Health
  • Leadership and Management Clinical Experiences: Opportunities to shadow nurse leaders, participate in healthcare project management, and gain insights into healthcare administration.
  • Community Health Clinical Placements: Practical experience in public health settings, focusing on community health promotion and preventive care initiatives.
  • Simulation Labs: Practice navigating complex and critical scenarios within a controlled environment to hone clinical decision-making skills and refine hands-on competencies.

These clinical experiences, along with simulation lab sessions, prepare students with the competence and expertise needed to succeed in various nursing roles.

BSN Program Pathways

While all BSN programs have the same end goal, there are different avenues students can take to get there.

  1. Traditional BSN: A standard four-year bachelor's degree program.
  2. Accelerated BSN: Condenses the same educational content into a shorter period, typically 12-24 months.
  3. RN to BSN: Bridge programs designed for those with an associate degree in nursing, allowing them to advance their education without completing a full traditional BSN program.
  4. LPN to BSN: A pathway for licensed practical nurses (LPNs) to advance their careers by earning a BSN degree, bridging their practical nursing education with a comprehensive BSN curriculum, and expanding their scope of practice and career opportunities.
  5. BSN RN Programs for Non-Nursing Graduates: Tailored for individuals holding a bachelor's degree in a non-nursing field, offering a streamlined curriculum that focuses on essential nursing courses for a swift transition into the nursing profession.

BSN Prerequisites and Requirements

BSN program requirements can be rigorous to ensure that applicants and eventual students can handle the workload of nursing school. A list of required prerequisite courses or education levels will always be needed before admission to any program.

Students must usually complete these prerequisites within the past five years to be eligible. You may also need a minimum GPA on certain prerequisite classes for admission consideration. 

While the course requirements needed before application will vary from program to program, there are some standard courses that most programs will require. Some of the usual course requirements include:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Microbiology
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Lifespan growth and development
  • Nutrition
  • Psychology
  • Statistics
  • Growth and development

BSN Admission Requirements

In addition to the course prerequisites listed above, many programs have other admission requirements, including a minimum overall GPA, references, community service, and more. BSN admission requirements include:

  • Verification of a high school diploma or GED. BSN programs typically prefer a cumulative high school GPA of at least 2.75 or associate program work.
  • Prerequisite Courses: Specific coursework requirements vary by program, so consult your chosen program for precise prerequisites. Many programs will have a higher GPA expectation for their required healthcare-related courses.
  • Pre-Entrance Examination: Tests such as the TEAS (Test of Essential Academic Skills) or HESI (Health Education Systems, Inc.).
  • Criminal Background Check: Ensures patient safety and complies with healthcare regulations.
  • Drug Screening: Ensures a drug-free environment and adherence to healthcare standards.
  • Health Assessment: Validates that students meet the physical requirements essential for performing nursing duties.
  • Immunization Requirements: Ensures the safety of students and patients by preventing the spread of infectious diseases.
  • Additional Criteria: Some programs may also require volunteer work, submission of resumes, and provision of references to support the application.

The requirements vary depending on your starting point and chosen pathway. For instance, RN to BSN programs typically necessitate an associate degree in nursing, an RN license, and occasionally bedside experience as a registered nurse. It's essential to verify the specific requirements of the schools you intend to apply to.

Cheapest BSN Programs in 2024

Choosing the best school will look different for each applicant, as students' values will differ. Below, we've compiled the top 10 most affordable BSN programs available to students who require the most affordable education possible, in reconciliation with allnurses' methodology of considering NCLEX pass rates, graduation rates, student-faculty ratio, mode, duration, and admission rates of hundreds of the most prominent nursing schools in the United States.

1. University of North Carolina at Wilmington

The BSN program at UNCW stands out for its innovative teaching methods, which include the use of a state-of-the-art simulation learning center. This facility allows students to engage in realistic clinical scenarios, honing their skills in a controlled and supportive environment. Additionally, UNCW's unique FuseCR program integrates clinical research into the nursing curriculum, offering students exposure to the latest methodologies in healthcare research and treatment development.

RN to BSN Program Overview

  • Cost: Tuition is competitively priced at $6,299.10 for in-state residents and $25,884 for out-of-state students.
  • Duration: The program is structured to be completed in 12 months, providing an intensive and focused nursing education.
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

 UNCW RN to BSN Program Highlights

  • Student Organizations: UNCW encourages students to participate in a variety of organizations, helping them develop valuable skills and empowering them to become future leaders in the nursing field.
  • Nursing Honor Society: The program offers the opportunity to join an esteemed Nursing Honor Society, recognizing academic excellence and promoting leadership within the nursing profession.
  • Professional Organizations: Engagement with professional nursing organizations is encouraged, providing students with additional resources for networking, professional development, and staying current with industry standards and practices.

These features combine to make UNCW's BSN program a comprehensive and practical choice for students seeking a thorough education in nursing, well-equipped to meet the challenges of modern healthcare environments. Students without previous nursing education and experience have the opportunity to complete the BSN program through their traditional pathway, but this will take longer than 12 months to complete. 

2. The University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington is a leading institution in producing Baccalaureate-prepared nurses in Texas, offering various BSN pathways, including an accelerated RN-BSN program. This program is designed for affordability and speed, with a flexible online format that caters to the unique needs of online students.

RN to BSN Program Overview

  • Cost: The campus-based program costs $5,985 per semester (fall and Spring), while the accelerated online program is priced at $257 per semester credit hour.
  • Duration: 9 months.
  • Accreditation:  Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

 UTA BSN Program Highlights

  • Student Success Services: Starting from orientation and continuing until graduation, UTA offers services to help students transition into nursing school, manage stress, and succeed academically.
  • Peer Mentorship: The program includes peer mentorship from current nursing students who excel both academically and clinically, offering guidance and support.
  • Focused Support: Students have access to assistance in areas like study skills, time management, test-taking strategies, and preparation for the HESI comprehensive exam.
  • Specialized Courses: UTA offers a course titled 'Learning Professional Nursing and Life Skills (NURS 2232)' to assist students facing challenges in testing, time management, study habits, or professional behavior.
  • Resource Center: The Student Success Center, located in Pickard Hall, provides computers, a space for group study, and additional resources for current students.

3. University of Utah

The University of Utah, situated in Salt Lake City, offers a variety of Baccalaureate nursing programs, including an innovative online RN-BSN track and the SLCC RN-BS Express Pathway. This pathway is specifically designed for second-semester nursing students from Salt Lake Community College, providing a streamlined route to their BSN.

RN to BSN Program Overview

  • Cost: $9,000.00; $260 per credit hour for fully online programs
  • Duration: 12-24 months
  • Accreditation: CCNE

UoU's Accelerated BSN Program Highlights

  • Online Learning Flexibility: The online RN-BSN track provides the convenience of distance learning, ideal for working professionals and those requiring a flexible schedule.
  • Strong Clinical Focus: The programs emphasize hands-on clinical experience, preparing graduates for real-world nursing challenges.
  • Research Opportunities: Students have access to cutting-edge research, enhancing their learning experience and keeping them abreast of the latest developments in nursing science.
  • Experienced Faculty: The programs boast a team of experienced and dedicated faculty members who provide expert guidance and mentorship.
  • Comprehensive Curriculum: The curriculum covers a broad range of nursing topics, from foundational knowledge to specialized areas, ensuring a well-rounded educational experience.

These key features make the University of Utah's nursing programs not only academically rigorous but also practically oriented and student-focused, preparing graduates to become competent and compassionate nursing professionals.

4. Aspen University

Located in Phoenix, Arizona, Aspen University is distinguished for its comprehensive nursing education, offering both a traditional BSN program and a flexible online RN to BSN program. These programs are specifically tailored to meet the evolving needs of the nursing profession, combining rigorous academic standards with practical convenience. With a focus on flexibility, Aspen's online courses are ideal for full-time working students, providing an opportunity to balance professional responsibilities with advancing their nursing education. This approach ensures that Aspen's graduates are well-prepared to meet the challenges of modern healthcare with a robust foundation in nursing theory and practice.

RN To BSN Program Overview

  • Cost: $9,750
  • Duration: 12 months
  • Accreditation: CCNE

AU's BSN Program Highlights

  • Flexible Online Coursework: Courses are 100% online with no mandatory login times, allowing students to study at their own pace and schedule.
  • Comprehensive Curriculum: The curriculum covers a wide range of essential healthcare topics, from nursing research to healthcare policy, providing a well-rounded education.
  • Expert Faculty: Students learn from nurse educators with extensive experience, ensuring the education is practical and applicable to current nursing practice.
  • Networking Opportunities: Graduating from Aspen University means joining a community of over 7,000 BSN alumni who are impacting healthcare across the country.
  • Monthly Payment Plan: The program offers a flexible payment plan of $295 per month, making it financially accessible for working nurses.

Aspen University's RN to BSN program stands out for its affordability, flexibility, and comprehensive online education, making it an ideal choice for registered nurses looking to advance their careers while balancing professional and personal commitments.

5. Ohio University

Located in Athens, Ohio, Ohio University is renowned for its versatile range of nursing education pathways, including the online RN to BSN program. This program stands out for its combination of affordability and accelerated learning, enabling working nurses to rapidly advance their careers. Designed to fit the busy schedules of professionals, it offers a dynamic and supportive environment for students to achieve their nursing ambitions while continuing their employment.

RN To BSN Program Overview

  • Cost: $10,000
  • Duration: 12 months
  • Accreditation: CCNE 

OU's BSN Program Highlights 

  • Flexible Learning Format: The program offers five-week-long classes, allowing for a swift and efficient learning experience.
  • Multiple Start Dates: With eight start dates each year, the program provides timely opportunities for degree completion.
  • Transfer-friendly Curriculum: Students can transfer numerous credits from previous institutions with no expiration dates or limits on the number of units.
  • Tailored Study Plans: An individualized review of previous transcripts and coursework is available to determine applicable transfer credits.
  • Affordable and Convenient Payment Options: Ohio University offers cost-effective tuition and flexible payment options, making it an accessible choice for many students.
  • History of Nursing Education Excellence: Since 1974, Ohio University's School of Nursing has been a leader in nursing education, recognized for its quality and affordability.

These features, along with the program's cost-effectiveness, 12-month duration, and CCNE accreditation, position Ohio University's online RN to BSN program as a standout choice for nurses seeking to enhance their educational and professional development within a manageable time frame. Those who aspire to obtain a BSN degree but do not have an RN license can enter the traditional BSN program at OU. 

6. Mississippi University for Women

Located at Mississippi University for Women in Columbus, MS, the Vandergriff College of Nursing offers a well-rounded Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program. This program features two distinct tracks: a Generic Option for those pursuing a traditional 4-year nursing degree and an RN-to-BSN Advanced Placement Option. The RN-to-BSN track is particularly noteworthy for its combination of affordability and flexibility, accommodating both part-time and full-time students who are already registered nurses.

RN to BSN Program Overview

  • Cost: $10,000.00 flat rate
  • Duration: 18 months
  • Accreditation: CCNE

MUW's BSN Program Highlights

  • Flexible Learning Options: The BSN program is designed to accommodate diverse student needs with various scheduling options, ensuring accessibility for both traditional and non-traditional students.
  • Career Advancement Focus: The program is tailored to enhance career opportunities for graduates, preparing them for advanced roles in the nursing field.
  • Comprehensive Nursing Education: Students receive a broad-based education covering essential nursing topics and practices, suitable for a well-rounded nursing career.
  • Leadership in Nursing: Emphasis is placed on developing leadership skills, preparing graduates to lead in health promotion, and healthcare improvement across a range of settings.
  • Diverse Clinical Experiences: The program offers extensive hands-on clinical training in varied healthcare environments, equipping students with practical skills and real-world experience.

These program highlights demonstrate MUW's commitment to providing a high-quality, adaptable, and comprehensive nursing education through the Vandergriff College of Nursing.

7. University of New Mexico

At The University of New Mexico, located in Albuquerque, the College of Nursing offers an extensive Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program. This program is designed to cater to a wide range of aspiring nurses, offering a pre-licensure BSN program for first-time nursing students and an affordable RN-BSN online option for already licensed nurses.

RN to BSN Program Overview

  • Cost: $10,864.80
  • Duration: 20 months
  • Accreditation: CCNE

UNM's BSN Program Highlights

  • Scholarship and Grant Opportunities: The program offers a variety of scholarship and grant dollars, making it accessible and affordable.
  • State-of-the-Art Simulation Center: Students can practice in a low-risk environment using cutting-edge simulation technology.
  • Faculty Leadership: The program is led by faculty who are pioneers in research and practice, ensuring that students learn from the best in the field.
  • Embracing Diversity: Celebrating a diverse student population, the program offers an inclusive and enriching learning environment.
  • Focus on Research and Clinical Excellence: The program integrates research and clinical practice, equipping students with the skills needed to excel in a rapidly evolving healthcare landscape.
  • Comprehensive Curriculum: The BSN curriculum covers all aspects of modern nursing, from basic to advanced practices.
  • Community Engagement: Students have opportunities for community involvement, enhancing their learning experience and understanding of diverse patient populations.

With these comprehensive features, the University of New Mexico's BSN program stands as a prominent choice for individuals seeking a dynamic and inclusive nursing education.

8. Western Governors University

At Western Governors University, an online-focused institution, students have the unique opportunity to pursue a nursing degree with a flexible and efficient financial model. The program's structure allows students to maximize their learning by taking as many courses as possible within each six-month term. Additionally, the university offers the option to transfer up to 90 credits from accredited bachelor's or associate degree transcripts.

RN to BSN Program Overview 

  • Cost: $4,685 per six-month term
  • Duration: 24 months
  • Accreditation: CCNE 

WGU's BSN Program Highlights

  • Flexibility and Efficiency: The unique payment structure encourages students to progress quickly through their coursework.
  • Generous Credit Transfer: Up to 90 credits can be transferred, allowing students to build on previous academic achievements.
  • Comprehensive Learning Outcomes: Focus on safety, quality assurance, scholarship, innovation, personal and professional development, informatics and technology, leadership, ethical practice, professional communication, and compassionate holistic care.
  • Innovative Approach to Education: WGU's program is designed for agility in response to evolving care environments and emphasizes a systems-based approach to values-based care.
  • Personalized Leadership Practice: Students engage in self-reflection and lifelong learning activities to enhance their personal health, resilience, and well-being.

With its cost-effective pricing, transfer-friendly policies, and comprehensive curriculum focused on modern healthcare challenges, Western Governors University offers a distinctive and accessible path for aspiring nurses to achieve their BSN.

9. East Tennessee State University

Located in Johnson City, Tennessee, East Tennessee State University offers a comprehensive array of Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs through its well-respected nursing department. Catering to a diverse range of aspiring nurses, ETSU provides several BSN pathways, including traditional BSN, accelerated BSN, RN-BSN, LPN-BSN, and a dual degree program.

Fastest BSN Program's Overview

  • Cost: $10,110
  • Duration:
    • Accelerated BSN takes just 5 semesters to complete
    • The RN to BSN program duration varies, accommodating the schedules of working nurses, with all coursework offered 100% online except for one course requiring clinical hours.
  • Accreditation: CCNE

ETSU's BSN Program Highlights

  • High NCLEX-RN First-Attempt Pass Rates: ETSU graduates consistently achieve high pass rates on the NCLEX-RN, exemplifying the quality of the program.
  • Emphasis on Interprofessional Collaboration: The curriculum focuses on effective communication and collaboration with healthcare consumers and professional teams at all levels.
  • Evidence-Based Practice and Healthcare Quality: Students are trained in synthesizing data for decision-making and applying research to improve health outcomes.
  • Strong Focus on Safety and Quality: The program underscores the importance of safe healthcare practices and adheres to professional standards.
  • Comprehensive Curriculum: The program integrates knowledge from arts, sciences, and humanities to provide a well-rounded nursing education.
  • Technology and Informatics Integration: Students learn to use information systems and healthcare technology effectively in their nursing practice.
  • Leadership and Healthcare Policy Influence: The program prepares students to lead and influence healthcare policy, emphasizing quality, safety, and regulatory standards.

ETSU's nursing programs are tailored to produce well-prepared graduates ready to excel in various nursing roles, reflecting the institution's commitment to educational excellence and student success in the nursing profession.

10. Texas Tech University Health and Sciences Center

Located in Lubbock, Texas, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center offers an enriching and diverse Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program. Students at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center have the unique opportunity to travel to developing nations to provide healthcare. The university offers various BSN tracks, including an accelerated BSN, a second-degree BSN, and an RN-BSN online option, catering to a wide range of students with different educational backgrounds and career aspirations.

BSN Program Overview

  • Cost: Estimated $8,690.50 for an accelerated BSN; $5,170.50 for RN to BSN; $6,586.70 for traditional BSN
  • Duration: 2-3 semesters or 30 semester credit hours (RN to BSN)
  • Accreditation: CCNE 

TTU's BSN Program Highlights:

  • Global Health Opportunities: Students can gain valuable international experience by providing healthcare in developing nations.
  • Accelerated Learning Paths: Accelerated and second-degree BSN tracks offer fast-paced learning for quick entry or transition into the nursing field.
  • Flexible Online RN-BSN: The RN-BSN program provides complete online coursework for convenience and flexibility, ideal for working nurses.
  • Diverse Program Options: Multiple pathways to suit individual educational and career goals, from traditional to accelerated formats.
  • State-of-the-Art Facilities: The university boasts modern facilities and resources for optimal learning experiences.
  • Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Emphasis on working with other health care professionals, preparing students for collaborative care environments.
  • Focus on Practical Skills and Theoretical Knowledge: Combination of hands-on learning with comprehensive classroom education.

With its commitment to offering varied pathways and global health experiences, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center's BSN program stands out as a comprehensive and dynamic option for students pursuing a career in nursing.

BSN RN Program Costs 

Even the most affordable BSN programs entail various costs. Prospective students are encouraged to consider several factors that influence the overall financial commitment of a BSN RN program:

  • Tuition Fees: These can differ widely based on whether the institution is public or private and whether the student is in-state or out-of-state, with private and out-of-state students generally incurring higher tuition fees.
  • Books and Equipment Costs: Students should budget for several hundred to a few thousand dollars for textbooks, medical instruments, and other necessary items like uniforms.
  • Technology Fees: Online or hybrid programs may include additional costs for necessary software, digital tools, or online learning platforms.
  • Laboratory Charges: Certain classes might have associated lab fees to cover the use of special materials or equipment.
  • Assorted Charges: From admission application to graduation fees, miscellaneous fees can add up, including costs for clinical travel and administrative services.
  • Living Costs: For students not working while studying or those moving for the program, living expenses must be factored into financial planning.

Additional BSN Program Cost Considerations

  • Opportunity Costs: Working professionals may need to reduce their work hours, leading to lower earnings—an important indirect cost to consider.
  • Long-term Return on Investment: Evaluate the potential long-term benefits of different programs, such as enhanced networking opportunities, higher educational quality, and better job placement rates.
  • Personal Situations: Factors such as childcare responsibilities or maintaining employment during studies can affect the financial planning required for a program.
  • Accreditation and Reputation: Ensure the program is properly accredited and evaluate its reputation for future job prospects and earning potential.
  • Financial Aid and Scholarships: Explore available financial aid options, including scholarships, grants, and employer-sponsored tuition reimbursement programs.

Effective financial planning is essential for managing educational expenses. When evaluating BSN programs, thoroughly research and understand the complete cost of each program, as fees can vary significantly between nursing schools. 

Salary Expectations of a BSN in 2024

If you're thinking about pursuing a BSN, it's important to know that salaries in this field are influenced by several key factors. Your specialty, experience level, and the employer you choose can significantly impact your potential earnings. While some employers offer higher salaries to nurses with BSN degrees, many also provide substantial tuition reimbursement programs to support further education. Additionally, your salary can vary widely depending on your location, the type of healthcare facility where you work, and your level of experience. Keep these considerations in mind as you plan your educational and career journey in nursing.

To assist in your decision-making, we have detailed the variations in RN salaries as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Statistics (BLS).

RN Wage

  • Mean Hourly Wage: $45.42
  • Mean Annual Wage: $94,480.00

Top Paying States for RNs

  • California: $137,690.00
  • Hawaii: $119,710.00
  • Massachusetts: $113,440.00
  • Oregon: $111,030.00
  • Alaska: $109,210.00

In addition to bedside nursing, other nursing fields that can vary in salary include nursing informatics, public health nursing, nursing research, insurance industry jobs, working with pharmaceutical and medical supply companies, and more.

The top industries where nurses have the highest employment rates are as follows:

  • General Medical & Surgcal Hospitals (1,749,320) $96,830.00
  • Offices of Physcians (220,070) $83,110.00
  • Home Health Care (179,530) $87,430.00
  • Outpatient Care Centers (163,630) $102,640.00

The top three highest paying industries for registered nurses are:

  • Government (97,940) $114,860.00
  • Employment Services (130,890) $110,230.00
  • Pharmaceutical and Medicine Manufacturing (80) $108,640.00

Typically, there is a noticeable income gap between ADN-prepared and BSN-prepared RNs, with BSN RNs generally earning higher salaries. However, the BLS does not differentiate between these educational levels in its salary reports. Using data from ZipRecruiter, we can identify the salary differences between ADN RNs and BSN RNs.

Average ADN RN Salary:

  • Hourly Wage: $39.00
  • Annual Wage: $80,321.00

Average BSN RN Salary:

  • Hourly Wage: $46.00
  • Annual Wage: $96,546.00

U.S Cities with the highest BSN RN salaries are: 

  • San Mateo, CA: $121,673.00
  • Green River, WY: $188,365.00
  • Johnstonville, CA: $115,131.00
  • Richmond, CT: $113,883.00
  • Stamford, CT: $112,504.00

By understanding these factors and differences in nursing salaries, you can make informed decisions about your nursing education and career to maximize your earning potential. To further analyze the differences in nursing salaries, check out the allnurses Nursing Salary Guide.

BSN RN Career Outlook

In 2022, there were 3,172,500 nursing professionals in the U.S. The BLS projects a 6% increase in the nursing workforce by 2032, adding approximately 177,400 new positions and bringing the total to around 3,349,900 professionals. Moreover, it is anticipated that there will be about 193,100 job openings for registered nurses annually over the next decade.

This anticipated growth offers substantial opportunities for those entering the nursing field. Factors contributing to this trend include a current shortage of nurses, declining enrollments in nursing programs, and the expected retirement of a large segment of the nursing workforce over the next two decades. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for skilled nurses remains robust, driven by the healthcare requirements of an aging population.

Job competition varies by region, with some areas having a higher density of nurses than others. Certain regions may have a greater demand for nursing professionals. Each state has its own specific healthcare needs, making it a smart idea to research local healthcare demands when planning your nursing career.

Are the Cheapest BSN Programs Worth It?

Pursuing a BSN program is a significant step for advancing your nursing career. It enhances clinical skills, broadens healthcare knowledge, and improves salary prospects and leadership opportunities.

The growing preference for BSN-qualified nurses underscores the value of this degree. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), 28% of employers now require a BSN, and 72% prefer BSN-educated nurses. This makes obtaining a BSN a strategic choice for those looking to meet the demand for highly skilled nurses and enhance their career prospects.

While an associate degree in nursing provides a solid foundation, a bachelor's degree offers more specialized career paths. To help guide your decision, consider the following pros and cons.

Cheapest BSN Program Pros

  1. Cost-Effectiveness: Lower tuition fees reduce financial burden, minimizing debt and making education more accessible.
  2. Increased Accessibility: These programs attract a diverse range of students, promoting inclusivity in higher education.
  3. Opportunity for Career Advancement: Affordable programs provide the chance for career growth, leading to higher-paying positions and specialized roles.
  4. Flexibility: Especially online programs offer greater flexibility, helping students balance work, studies, and personal commitments.
  5. Broader Options for Further Education: Saving money on a BSN can free up funds for further education, such as a master's degree, without excessive debt.

Cheapest BSN Program Cons

  1. Perceived Quality: There may be a perception that less expensive programs are of lower quality, affecting student expectations and employer opinions.
  2. Resource Limitations: Affordable programs might have fewer resources, such as state-of-the-art facilities, cutting-edge technology, or a wide range of electives.
  3. Larger Class Sizes: To maintain affordability, some programs might have larger class sizes, impacting the level of individual attention and support.
  4. Limited Networking Opportunities: Fewer networking opportunities with peers and faculty can be a disadvantage in building professional connections.
  5. Potential for Fewer Clinical Placement Options: Affordable programs might have limited partnerships with healthcare facilities, offering fewer or less diverse clinical placements.

How to Choose a Nursing School

Reasons for choosing a nursing school will vary per student and their specific needs. Some students value the cost of education, while others may place greater emphasis on NCLEX pass rates, academic reputation, or other factors.

Although it will vary by individual, a survey by allnurses revealed the top 11 reasons nursing students chose their programs:

  1. Cost
  2. High NCLEX Pass Rate
  3. Location
  4. Academic Reputation
  5. Availability of Financial Aid and Scholarships
  6. Length of Time to Obtain Degree
  7. Flexibility of Schedule
  8. Curriculum
  9. Campus and Surroundings
  10. Nursing Clinicals Location
  11. Availability of Online Courses

Ultimately, prospective students should assess their needs and pick schools that are the best fit for them.

BSN Program Accreditation

When considering a nursing program, remembering the importance of attending an accredited BSN program is essential for multiple reasons: 

  • Upholding Educational Benchmarks: Accreditation confirms a BSN program's commitment to national educational benchmarks, ensuring superior curriculum, faculty expertise, available resources, and quality of clinical instruction.
  • Continuous Quality Review: Accredited BSN programs undergo consistent evaluations to maintain educational excellence and adapt to evolving standards.
  • NCLEX-RN Preparedness: Attending an accrediting BSN-RN program is more likely to prepare you to take the national licensure exam for RNs. 
  • Licensure Readiness: Completion of an accredited BSN is often essential for eligibility for state nursing licensure, signifying adherence to established professional norms.
  • Employment Prospects: Graduates from accredited programs are sought after by employers for their high-quality education, enhancing job prospects and mobility in the field, including roles like travel nursing.
  • Educational Progression: Credits from an accredited BSN are recognized by other educational institutions, aiding in further educational pursuits such as MSN or DNP programs.
  • Enhanced Professional Status: Graduating from an accredited program bolsters professional standing, reflecting an education that meets rigorous national nursing standards and a comprehensive learning journey.

Students enrolled in BSN programs accredited by entities like the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) are assured of a quality education that prepares them for the demands of the nursing profession.

BSN Programs Near Me

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

If you're not interested in a nursing program in these states, explore options near or far from home here: Nursing Programs Near Me

FAQ and Additional Readings

Q: Is nursing a good career?

Whether nursing is the right career choice depends on individual preferences, but it offers a dynamic and fulfilling path with something for everyone. Bedside nursing presents diverse opportunities in areas like the ER, ICU, med/surg, specialty fields, OB, pediatrics, mental health nursing, Pediatric ICU, OB critical care, NICU, burns, and more.

In addition to traditional roles, nursing spans various community positions, including school nursing, clinic nursing, and home health. Nurses also play integral roles in research, life flight, fixed-wing air transport, and even aboard cruise ships. The flexibility of nursing is evident as it extends to roles in big corporations and industrial plants. Ultimately, nursing proves to be a versatile and rewarding career with options to suit a wide array of interests.

Q: Is obtaining a BSN worth it?

Obtaining a BSN opens many doors for your future. Not only can you work as an RN, a great career in and of itself, but you can further your education to obtain a master's degree or beyond, opening up more career doors and opportunities.

Q: Is financial aid available for nursing students?

Almost all nursing degree programs offer some financial aid. You can contact the financial assistance office of the program or university you plan to attend to learn about your options.

Q: Are all programs full time or can I work during my program?

There are many different options when it comes to BSN programs. While many require you to be a full-time student, there are options for part-time programs and some online and distance learning. Again, this will vary significantly from program to program, so looking at all options before selecting a nursing program is essential.

Q: Can I obtain my BSN online?
For students just entering the nursing field or those with a license in practical nursing, in-person education and training is essential to learning the skills needed to be a nurse. For RNs with an ADN online RN to BSN programs with no clinicals are available, as clinical training may not be required or less rigorous as you already have your nursing license and experience with patients. 

Editorial Team / Admin
8 Articles   14 Posts
Specializes in Nursing student.

Hey, as a general rule how much can I expect to spend on tuition for an ADN to BSN program?