Why This Matters

  • 2024 NEEDS 1.09 MILLION MORE NURSES

    Simply put, out of all specialties the U.S. needs more trained RNs in the field. The nursing shortage is only one reason why this BSN requirement hasn’t been instituted earlier.

  • TWO STATES ALREADY REQUIRE BSN-IN-10

    New York now requires all RNs to earn a BSN in the next ten years. It’s not alone – New Jersey has a similar bill in the works, and other states are following suit to improve patient outcomes.

  • MORE BSNS MEANS 2+ LIVES PER 1000 SAVED

    Increasing the percentage of nurses with a BSN by 10 points on average leads to 2.12 fewer patient deaths. That number jumps to 7.47 fewer deaths per 1000 for patients with complications.

Our Research

RN to BSN degrees are also known as completion programs – they’ll give you credit for your nursing work experience and academic record when calculating how many credit hours you need to complete your bachelor’s degree. Every program has to make sure you meet two requirements: that you’ve taken at least 120 credit hours of classwork – a national standard to earn a bachelor’s degree – and that at least 30 of those credit hours is taken at the diploma-awarding school.

Beyond this, most online RN to BSN programs are on the same page: providing necessary coursework to help RNs meet upcoming educational requirements without interrupting your career. To find the best online RN to BSN, we looked for programs that were accredited by one of two Nursing Commissions, and didn’t have on-campus requirements. Then we took a closer at each program’s reputation and cost to calculate its Intelligent Score.

Our Intelligent Score ranks each school from 0 to 100. The highest scoring universities are highly-regarded for their RN to BSN programs and relatively wallet-friendly, making it easy to earn back the cost of your degree. (For a fuller behind-the-scenes look into our Intelligent Score, check our Our Ranking Methodology.)

  • 71 Universities and Colleges
  • 58 Hours of Research
  • 30 Top Picks

The Top 30 RN to BSN Online Degrees

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Our Ranking Methodology

To find the top 30 RN to BSN Online Degrees, we looked at eighty-seven universities and colleges. We only looked at non-profit programs accredited either by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). These nationally-recognized accreditations guarantee that each program provides rigorous training to help you further your nursing career. Then, we evaluated each program based on two factors:

Program Strength

First, we compared each program based on its rankings in top college evaluators. These organizations dig deep to find the best programs and create trusted assessments of each RN to BSN online degree. We created an algorithm to collect and analyze their multiple rankings into one score to easily compare each university. This ranking gave us an insight into whether a program was recognized and highly-regarded for its coursework.

Return on Investment

We also looked at how easy it would be to earn back the cost of your degree. Since the number of credit hours needed to complete a BSN depends on your academic history, we used the average number of credits each program requires you to take at its university – 33 – to estimate program cost.

On average, RNs earn $26,000 more with a BSN than with an associate’s degree, and the average cost of our RN to BSN online degrees was about $14,000. This means that you’ll be able to earn back the cost of your degree well within the first year after you graduate. The less expensive the school, the higher its ROI score. Only five schools required more than a year to cover the cost of their diploma, earning lower scores as a result.

This Gave Us Our Intelligent Score

Finally, we calculated the Intelligent Score for each university on our list. The top thirty schools featured on our list have the best reputations, and are recognized both for the rigorousness of their coursework and their economical tuition rates.

That said, if you’re craving more options beyond the top thirty, our shortlist of schools will give you the additional forty-one to consider. While these schools didn’t rank highly enough to be featured, they might be the right fit for you, depending on your preferences.

  • Appalachian University
  • Arkansas State University
  • Ashland University
  • Bellevue University
  • Briar Cliff University
  • Carson-Newman University
  • Dakota Wesleyan University
  • Duquesne University
  • East Tennessee State University
  • Eastern University
  • Ferris State University
  • Henderson State University
  • Iowa Wesleyan University
  • Jacksonville University
  • Kent State University
  • LaSalle University
  • Lewis-Clark State College
  • Lincoln Memorial University
  • Linfield College
  • Miami University Oxford Ohio
  • Northern Arizona University
  • Northern Michigan University
  • Ohio State University
  • Pace University
  • Quinnipiac University
  • Sacred Heart University
  • Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
  • Schreiner University
  • St. John Fisher College
  • State University of New York College of Technology at Canton
  • The University of Toledo
  • University of Arkansas Fort Smith
  • University of Cincinnati
  • University of Kansas Medical Center
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • University of Saint Mary
  • University of Texas Arlington
  • University of Wyoming
  • Utica College
  • Western Illinois University

This Degree Isn’t For Everyone

There’s no getting past the 120 credit hours required to earn a baccalaureate degree. If you’re a bit behind on credits, it might be worth your time to catch up before applying for an RN to BSN online degree. If you keep track of which credits will transfer to your future BSN program, you can save some cash by taking them at your local community college.

If a BSN is a just stepping stone for your longer career in nursing, you might try skipping it instead. Many universities offer RN to MSN programs, or RN-entry MSN degrees. These let you go straight into a master’s degree program without forcing you to spend a year or two earning your bachelor’s first.

What’s Next?

As you go through our list of the best RN to BSN online degrees, keep an eye on practicums and employment requirements. Not every program requires a practicum, and not every practicum lets you complete it through your hospital employer. Additionally, some programs require you to be employed as a registered nurse to apply, where others will accept graduates fresh out of an associate’s program.

Before applying, you’ll also want to double-check that your home state has authorized each program to teach nursing online. The schools on our list all accept students from the majority of states, but some states restrict what programs can be taught online – both for RN to BSN and other degrees. To find out whether you’ll be allowed to study at a given university, look for their state authorization page, inquire with their admissions director, or check with your local board of nursing.