RN to BSN: A Program Designed for Working Nurses
As you know, nursing is an amazing profession to become a part of, and just about anyone can find something to love about it. Whether you want to learn more about the human body or you just want to help other people, you could do well working as a nurse. There are many nursing schools in America that provide the exact training you need to get to work.
We know it’s a difficult process and it can be very time-consuming and stressful. We make it easier to apply by providing a list of schools that meet your needs. We have done the research so you don’t have to.
The online RN to BSN programs that we feature will help enhance your career, boost your salary, and increase your job security.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Registered Nursing is the top occupation in terms of the largest job growth from 2008 – 2018. Analysts project that more than 581,500 new RN jobs will be created through 2018.
Top RN to BSN Programs in America
With the number of online BSN programs, it may be tough to choose just one to enroll in. Before you get overwhelmed with your options, check out the programs we have below. These are the top programs in the country, guaranteed to help you succeed. You could be advancing your career in no time.
Capella University’s program is 180 credit hours total, and it provides all of the training necessary to expand on your associate’s degree and further your career. The school is accredited by the CCNE and it adheres to the standards set by the AACN. Capella also features an RN/BSN/MSN program that will allow you to have a Master of Science in Nursing in just a little over 3 years. If your ultimate goal is to be a nurse practitioner, nurse educator, nurse manager, or other advanced practice nurse, this program could save you thousands of dollars on your education.
2. Grand Canyon University
Grand Canyon University offers a program that is accredited by the CCNE. The courses are all available online, but GCU also has a campus in Arizona you may attend. You can complete your RN-BSN degree in as little as 12-16 months, when you bring in your RN credits. Many of the students who pass through this program end up working as a nurse manager, division nurse leader, charge nurse, unit supervisor, director of nursing for a facility, or patient educator. GCU is prepared to bring your professional dreams to life.
3. American Sentinel University
American Sentinel University offers a fantastic RN BSN program online that is accredited by the CCNE. ASU is considered one of the most affordable universities in the country, with the average program costing $12,000 – $24,000 total, depending on the number of transfer credits you bring in. Registered nurses with current RN licenses are automatically awarded 60 credit hours towards their education, which drastically reduces the amount of time you must spend in school. This program is available entirely online, and it offers total flexibility to fit your busy life.
4. Colorado Christian University
Colorado Christian University offers a fast-paced RN-BSN program that only takes 120 credit hours to complete. Students may transfer up to 83 credit hours from naturally accredited colleges or universities, which could significantly speed up your degree program. As the school name implies, this university is founded on the Christian faith and does incorporate elements of theology in nursing education. The school is accredited by the CCNE, and many students complete their nursing courses in less than one year.
5. Colorado Technical University
Colorado Technical University offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program online that is perfect for current registered nurses. The program is 180 credit hours in total and it costs about $58,500 in tuition and fees. Many students enrolled in the program get scholarships and federal grants to cover their costs. 96.72% of students complete their RN to BSN at CTU in less than 48 months, and 86% report being satisfied with the program after graduating.
6. Graceland University
Graceland University has been around since 1895, providing a variety of degree programs for students in Iowa. The school has now expended to offer degree programs online, like the RN to BSN program. With this degree, you can transfer up to 28 credit hours from your ADN to reduce the amount of time you spend in school. The program is only 56 credit hours in total, so you could complete your BSN in no time. If you would prefer going to school on campus instead of online, Graceland University has two campuses to choose from.
7. King University
King University offers an RN to BSN program that is available online and on campus. The program is 124 semester hours in total, but up to 76 of them can come from transfer credits. According to King University, the average tuition rate for this program is $12,960, and the average annual cost is $18,942 after living expenses, books, fees, and other costs. KU offers a variety of scholarship programs for aspiring nurses to help them pay for their education.
8. Liberty University Online
Liberty University’s RN to BSN program is accredited by the CCNE. In order to enroll in it, you must have an active RN license in your state of residence, and you must have an associate’s degree or diploma from a school accredited by the NLN. Most students at LU are able to get through their degrees in under two years, and many of them go on to pursue a master of science in nursing after graduating. No matter what your professional goals are, you could benefit from this program.
9. University of Texas – Arlington
The University of Texas at Arlington offers a program for students on campus and online. The program allows students to transfer up to 28 credit hours in courses that satisfy FOSC guidelines, as well an additional 28 credit hours from their associate’s degree or diploma. The online program takes 13 months to complete and consists mostly of 5 week courses. Students can choose to go to school part time or full time, giving them the ability to continue working while going to school.
10. Western Governors University
The RN to BSN program at Western Governors University is 120 credit hours in total, but most students are able to transfer in at least 50 competency units through their associate’s degree programs. The classes for this program are entirely online, but students are required to complete a minimum of 90 mentor-guided clinical hours in order to graduate from it. This can be done locally. The school is accredited by the CCNE and regional accreditation boards, and it offers a flexible transfer credit program. Most students are able to complete it in under 18 months.
What Everybody Ought to Know About Nurses?
Nurses are responsible for a wide variety of tasks in the medical field. Some of the most common job duties of a nurse include:
- Administering medications
- Checking vital signs
- Working closely with doctors in exams, surgeries, etc.
- Recording patient symptoms, medical histories, and more
- Cleaning bed bans and helping patients to the restroom
- Performing sponge baths
- Monitoring a patient’s medical condition
- Answering questions about a patient’s condition
- Comforting families in times of trauma
- Changing bed sheets and clothes
- Making patients feel comfortable, even in scary situations
As you can see, a nurse has to act as a counselor, a medical adviser, a supervisor, and a record keeper all at the same time. If you can multi-task and still keep a smile on your face, you could do well in this profession.
How to Become a Nurse
If you want to become a nurse, you will need to get an education. You may be able to work as a medical assistant with little training, but most employers will want to see that you have already gone through school. You will need to choose a degree program that fits your desired nursing job. Then all you have to do is pay attention in your classes.
After you get out of school, you will need to take an exam through your state to earn your nursing license. This is much like any other professional license in the sense that it proves what your skills are as a nurse. The tests for nursing licenses vary by state, so you will need to contact your state board of nursing to learn exactly what to expect in your exam.
Beyond your nursing license, you can also take exams for specific skills as a nurse. This will help you earn certifications, like a CPR certification or a mental health nurse practitioner certification. There are dozens of certifications that you might earn based on the sector of nursing you work in. Those that best fit your career will improve your chances of finding a job.
Typical Nursing Degrees and Timeframes
There are several levels of nursing degrees that you can decide to get into. The longer these degrees take, the more money you are likely to earn. Most people aiming to work as registered nurses will pursue an associate’s degree or bachelor’s. Those wanting to become a nurse practitioner will work toward a master’s degree or doctorate, depending on what is required for their state. Here is an overview of the most common nursing degrees available, along with an approximate timeframe for completion:
- Diploma of Nursing (DN): 1 year
- Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN): 2 years
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN): 4 years
- Master of Science in Nursing (MSN): 6 years
- Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP): 8+ years
Common Classes for Nursing Schools
Every nursing degree is a little different when it comes to the classes you have to take. For instance, a doctorate in nursing will obviously require a more specialized set of classes than a basic diploma would. Some common subjects you may come across in your training include:
- Medical Terminology
- Health Sciences
The longer you spend in school, the more specialized these classes may become. They should all work together to give you the skills you need to start working.
Popular Nursing Jobs
There are so many nursing jobs to choose from that you may find yourself wondering which one is right for you. Some nurses start off with a generic degree so they can explore different sectors of the medical field. Once they narrow down which one they like the best, they go back to school to specialize in it. Some of the most popular nursing jobs in the modern world include:
- Registered Nurse (RN)
- Nurse Practitioner (NP)
- Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN)
- Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
- Nurse Midwife
- Nurse Anesthetist
- Nurse Educator
- Nursing Assistant
- Home Health Aide
Think about what you want to do as a nurse and find a career that best suits those goals. If you decide to do something else in the future, there are a number of nursing schools around to help you do that.
Average Salaries for Nurses
There is a big difference in pay rates between entry level nursing jobs and upper level nursing jobs. If you are willing to put in the work to earn a master’s or doctorate, you could earn three times as much as you would with an associate’s degree. Here are some average nursing salaries to consider, courtesy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
- Nursing Assistant: $26,020 per year
- Licensed Practical Nurse: $42,910 per year
- Registered Nurse: $68,910 per year
- Nurse Practitioner: $95,070 per year
Note that you can work as an entry-level nurse while you go through school, if you want job experience and a chance at better pay. You may simply need to explore nursing schools online to find a program that can work around your busy schedule.
Would You Make a Good Nurse?
Almost anyone can find work as a nurse, but it takes a special type of person to do particularly well in this career. Qualities of a good nurse include:
- The ability to multi-task
- The composure to respond calmly in emergencies
- The mindset to learn a new skill quickly
- The ability to adapt to unfamiliar environments
- The passion to help others in need
- The compassion to comfort families and patients alike
- The stomach to get through the not-so-clean side of the medical field
- The drive to work no matter what life is like in the outside world
- The commitment to focus on an education early on
If those qualities describe who you are as a person, you could make a great nurse. All you have to do is make it through college, and you could be on your way to work in no time.
Here’s a quick way to Find the Best Nursing Schools
With the number of nursing schools to choose from these days, you may have a hard time finding the perfect one for you. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What kind of nurse do I want to be when I graduate?
- What kind of degree do I need to become the nurse I want to be?
- Does my school of choice offer the degree I need?
- Is the degree program accredited?
- Does the school have classes online or on campus?
- How much money will I need in financial aid to complete my degree at this school?
- Will this school help me find work after college?
- If I change my mind about nursing, are there other degrees here I can see myself getting?
The answers to those questions will ultimately decide your fate as a nurse. Figure out what you want out of this career, and then find a college that will help you get that. We are here to help you every step of the way.