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The Best Online RN to BSN Programs

online-rn-to-bsnEarning a Bachelor of Nursing (BSN) degree is an excellent way for registered nurses to open more doors and join the trend in re-tooling for the shift from hospital-centered to community-centered practice. Obtaining a BSN is also good for job opportunities in leadership, increasing marketability, improving earning potential, as well as simply finding personal enrichment in further education.

Featured Online RN To BSN Programs

There’s no doubt that obtaining a new degree can be tough. Family and workplace obligations can make attending classes in a traditional setting impossible. Luckily, more and more universities are offering nurses the convenient and flexible option of pursuing the BSN degree online.

With more online RN to BSN programs than ever, we decided to overhaul our rankings for 2015. As RN to BSN programs are generally taken with RN’s already into their career, we’ve weighted flexibility in delivery options highly. And of course, affordability and quality of academics are both very important. Check out our methodology and rankings below!

Methodology For Ranking The Best Online RN To BSN Programs:

  • Affordability (.3): the estimated average cost of the program after RN or Associate’s degree credits are transferred.
  • Academic Quality of Parent Institution (.3): the ranking of the program’s parent institution according to US News.
  • Flexibility (.3): Whether the program is fully online, and the number of tracks through which the program can be completed.

1. University of Massachusetts – Amherst

1. UMassUMass Amherst offers an RN to BSN track that can be completed entirely online. One and two-year plans of study are available for this program that directly mirror the UMass face-to-face track. Estimated tuition for the program is $15,300, making it the 11th most affordable program in our rankings, but the slightly higher price tag is worth consideration as UMass Amherst is the highest ranked institution in our rankings, ranked as the 76th best national university by US News.

Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

2. Western Carolina University

2. Western CarolinaWestern Carolina University’s online RN to BSN program is the most affordable program among those we surveyed, with in-state tuition of $5,040 for the entire program. Western Carolina University is the 37th ranked regional university in the South according to US News. The program begins twice a year: in January and again in August. Additionally, a track that allows for up to 8 hours of graduate-level MSN work to be applied towards the completion of a BSN is available through Western Carolina University’s RN to MSN early-entry option.

Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

3. University of Cincinnati College of Nursing

3. UC NursingThe University of Cincinnati College of Nursing offers a fully online RN to BSN program that can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis. For those choosing the part-time track, the program may be completed in 12 to 18 months depending on credit hours taken. The University of Cincinnati is currently the 129th ranked national university by US News, with the RN to BSN program coming in as the 15th most affordable program surveyed (with an estimated average cost of $17,784).

Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

4. University of Wyoming

4. University of WyomingThe University of Wyoming offers a fully online RN to BSN that is the fourth most affordable on our list, with an estimated average program cost of $9,520. The University of Wyoming is currently the 161st ranked national university according to US News. Unlike a number of other programs, no clinical time is required for the UW RN/BSN Completion Program. This enables all major nursing courses to be completed in one calendar year (subject to course availability).

Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

5. Ohio University

5. Ohio UniversityOhio University’s fully online RN to BSN program is designed for working RN’s with flexibility in mind. There are eight program start dates yearly, with classes lasting for 5 weeks each. This allows both full and part-time RN’s the ability to work while also completing the program at a reasonable pace. The estimated total cost of the program is $15,214, making the program the 10th most affordable in our rankings. Currently Ohio University is the 129th ranked national university according to US News.

Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

6. West Texas A&M University

6. Western Texas AMWest Texas A&M University’s RN to BSN program can be completed entirely online in as little as a year, with new knowledge demonstrated through practicum experiences throughout the program. Coursework can be started three times yearly–spring, summer or fall– and courses stand alone, allowing for multiple paths through the curriculum. The program is the third most affordable in our rankings, coming in at an estimated total cost of $9,000. West Texas A&M University is currently the 80th ranked regional university in the West according to US News.

Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

7. Old Dominion University

19. Old DominionOld Dominion University offers a fully online RN to BSN degree completion program that’s the fifth most affordable program we surveyed, with average tuition estimated at $11,953.50 for the entire program. Currently Old Dominion University is ranked but not placed in the national university category by US News. Through a number of partner community colleges (some also entirely online), potential students can participate in +ODU, a program that guarantees acceptance in Old Dominion’s Rn to BSN program upon student completion of an associate’s program.

Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

8. SUNY Delhi School of Nursing

5. SUNYThe State University of New York at Delhi offers a flexible RN to BSN program entirely online including both part-time and full-time options. Students may begin the program in the fall, spring, or summer semesters, and the program is relatively affordable, ranking the 12th cheapest program we surveyed at an estimated $16,090.94 for the entire program. Currently SUNY Delhi is ranked the 33 best regional university in the North by US News. Three practicum courses are required for students, but may be completed at hospitals or agencies close to students’ hometowns.

Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing

9. Fort Hays State University

8. Fort Hays State UniversityFort Hays State University offers a fully online RN to BSN program that is supremely flexible, allowing students to start in the spring, summer, or fall, take as many or as few classes as they would like, and even sit out for a semester or two as needed. Fort Hays State University is also an incredible buy– as the second most affordable program we surveyed– with an estimated cost of $5,595 for the entire program. Currently Fort Hays State University is is a ranked but not placed regional university in the midwest according to US News rankings.

Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

10. Western Kentucky University School of Nursing

WKU_Tall_2cWestern Kentucky University offers an online RN to BSN program with only limited on-campus meetings required. The program has part-time and full-time cohorts, allows students to challenge three nursing courses (9 hours), and allows for flexible clinical course scheduling. Western Kentucky University is currently the 31st ranked regional university in the south according to US News. The estimated cost of attendance for the RN to BSN program is $16,668, making the program the 13th most affordable program we surveyed.

Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

11. East Carolina University

11. East CarolinaEast Carolina University offers a fully online RN to BSN program that is the 8th most affordable surveyed, with an estimated total program cost of $13,398. According to US News, East Carolina University is a ranked not placed national university. For a structured yet accelerated experience, courses are presented in a blocked format of 5 and 1/2 weeks per course in the summer, and 7 in the fall and spring semester, so that multiple course loads may be completed in a semester, and students will only have to focus on one to two courses at a time. Both transfer credits and prior work experience can shorten degree times.

Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

12. California State University – Dominguez Hills

12. Cal State DominguezCalifornia State University Dominguez Hills offers an online RN to BSN that only requires a few in-person clinical hours (that may be completed at appropriate agencies in the student’s community). The estimated program cost at Cal State Dominguez Hills is $12,268, or the 6th most affordable on our list. Though courses are completed on a semester-by-semester basis, students have the flexibility of accessing courses at the time and place most conventient for them. Currently California State University Dominguez Hills is a ranked not placed regional University (in the west), according to US News.

Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

13. Texas Tech University

13. Texas TechTexas Tech University offers a fully online RN to BSN program that can be completed in as few as 2-3 semesters after prerequisite courses. A number of articulation agreements between Texas Community Colleges and Texas Tech make this accelerated path fairly common, though out-of-state students with the proper prerequisites can complete the program in the same amount of time. The estimated total cost of attendance for the program is $20,529, making the program the 17th most affordable program surveyed. Currently Texas Tech University is the 156th ranked national university according to US News.

Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

14. Drexel University

14. DrexelDrexel University offers an online RN to BSN program which allows the transfer of all general electives (up to 135 of 180 required quarter credits). Currently Drexel is the second highest ranked school surveyed in our rankings according to US News, as the 95th ranked national university. Current estimated total cost of attendance is $27,540 making the program the 25th most affordable that we surveyed.

Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

15. Kent State University

15. Kent StateKent State University offers an online BN to RSN program that can be completed in as little as 12 months with the proper prerequisites. Estimated total cost of attendence is $56,693, making the program the 30th most affordable of the programs surveyed for our rankings. Currently Kent State University is the 194th ranked National University according to US News.

Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

16. Ball State University

16. Ball StateBall State University’s RN to BSN program is online and centered on the shift in today’s health care landscape from hospital-centered care to community-based primary health care. Classes are flexibe with no specific log-in times, and part time or full time options are available, with a six-semeester and three-semester option. The estimated total cost of attendance is $23,098.50. Currently Ball State University is the 173rd ranked national university according to US News.

Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

17. Northwestern State University of Louisiana

17. Northwestern LouisianaNorthwestern State University of Louisiana offers an online RN to BSN program that allows for automatic transfer of 31 lower level nursing course credits from graduates of National League of Nursing accredited programs. The current estimated total cost of attendence at NSU is $12,679.50, making the program the 7th most affordable of those surveyed for our rankings. NSU is currently the 87th ranked southern regional school according to US News.

Accreditation: Commission on Collediate Nursing Education

18. Lamar University

18. LamarLamar University offers a fully online RN to BSN program that can be completed in as little as 13 months, and uses practicum projects in the place of clinical experience. Classes are taken in 8-week blocks, and may be taken at a full time or part time pace. Currently the estimated total cost of attendence for the program is $23,541, making the prograam the 23rd most affordable of those surveyed. Lamar University is a ranked not placed national university according to US News.

Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing

19. University of Southern Indiana

19. Southern IndianaThe University of Southern Indiana offers an flexible online RN to BSN program that allows for the transfer of up to 96 of 120 credit hours required for the completion of the program. The estimated total program cost is currently $22,613, or the 20th most affordable program of those surveyed. The University of Southern Indiana is a ranked not placed midwestern regional university accordin to US News.

Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

20. Upper Iowa University

20. Upper IowaUpper Iowa University offers both a hybrid and fully-online RN to BSN program that is not self-paced, though may be taken as full-time or part-time programs. Classes start every eight weeks, with new terms starting at the same increments, for a total of six terms per year. The total estimated cost of attendance is currently $42,525, making the program the 28th most affordable of those surveyed. Upper Iowa University if the 109th ranked regional university in the midwest according to US News.

Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education