The BSN degree is the most sought-after degree for any nursing specialty. Individuals who obtain a BSN will have an advantage over those who earn an RN through nursing diplomas or associate’s degrees, as the BSN can provide a nurse with a fast track to supervisory roles and higher salaries.

Prerequisites for Earning a BSN

Students may enter BSN programs either as LPNs, LVNs, RNs, or straight from high school. Some institutions may look favorably upon students who enter with previous experience, as those students may show more of an interest in the nursing field. High school students who have volunteered in nursing situations, for instance, may include this experience in their college statement or resume for entrance. Students who have already obtained a nursing license or registered nurse degree or diploma may take advantage of programs that offer a fast-track BSN based upon credits allowed for previous education and experience. Programs also are available that accept graduates from non-nursing backgrounds. Each school has its specific requirements, so make sure to check with those schools before applying.

How to Get a BSN

Many colleges and universities now offer a RN-to-BSN degrees through both online and on-campus programs. These programs usually are designed with the working professional in mind, and they provide credit for nursing skills acquired through previous schooling or work experiences. The major hallmarks of these programs include flexible hours and the ability to complete the BSN within two to three years on a part-time basis. An option to obtain a BSN also is available for those who have an LPN or LVN in various LPN-to-BSN programs.

For those who are entering a nursing education program as freshmen, you will find many colleges and universities that offer four-year BSN programs. Usually, the first two years are spent completing general education requirements, and the final two years are focused on nursing courses, nursing specialties and even training in the field in clinical environments on nursing courses.

For those individuals who have a bachelor’s degree in a subject other than nursing, never fear — a second degree BSN is possible, as credit is given for having completed basic education requirements in many cases. In this instance, many students can complete their BSN within two years. A variation of this program is the accelerated BSN, which allows students to complete course requirements within 12 to 20 months. For these options, a minimum GPA of 3.0 is the key to open this door.

Online Bachelor Degrees in Nursing

  • Chamberlain College of Nursing: RN to BSN
  • Colorado Technical University: RN to BSN
  • Drexel University: RN to BSN
  • Florida Hospital College of Health Sciences: RN to BSN
  • Indiana State University: LPN to BSN
  • Kaplan University: RN to BSN
  • Liberty University: RN to BSN
  • South University: RN to BSN
  • University of Phoenix: RN to BSN
  • Walden University: BSN

Careers Available After Obtaining a BSN

The BSN degree is considered a standard requirement for registered nurses who seek broader professional responsibilities and career opportunities. By taking education to the next level, registered nurses (RNs) and new students can open doors to career advancement, no matter the nursing specialty. The BSN degree provides skills in leadership and stature in working environments, and it also offers the educational requirements needed to pursue graduate studies in nursing. Graduates with a BSN are able to offer real-world experience as well as educational knowledge to careers in nursing, nursing management and hospital administration.

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Top 10 Online Nursing Schools

University of Phoenix
University of Phoenix — BSN, MSN, and Certificate. The University of Phoenix is the nation's largest online university and currently offers several nursing programs at three different degree levels, based on previous nursing education and experience.

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Kaplan University
Kaplan University — Bachelor's, and Master's Nursing Degrees. Kaplan's School of Nursing offers specializations for nurse administrators and nurse educators.

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Grand Canyon University
Grand Canyon University — BS in Nursing (BSN) and MBA/MS in Nursing. Grand Canyon University offers a unique MBA/MS in nursing degree program that teaches students about the business aspect of healthcare, specifically nursing healthcare. Current nurses who want more business experience will find this may be an ideal fit.

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Liberty University
Liberty University — RN to BSN Degree and MSN Degree. The Department of Nursing at Liberty prepares students for baccalaureate level nursing, putting strong emphasis on Christian ethical standards and viewing nursing as a ministry of caring.

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Walden University
Walden University — M.S. in Nursing (RN Track), M.S in Nursing (BSN Track). Walden offers a wide variety of nursing degrees and certificates that are all accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

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