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Best 15 Online RN to BSN Programs in 2021

April 10, 2021 | Staff Writers

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Most baccalaureate degree programs require candidates to complete 120 semester credits to graduate. However, to obtain a Registered Nurse’s license, a nursing student must only complete a diploma program or an Associate Degree of Nursing (ADN) program, which generally requires approximately 50 to 60 semesters credits to reach its conclusion.

If you hold a valid, unencumbered Registered Nurse license, the good news is that the earned credits from an ACEN or CCNE – accredited associated nursing degree program can be typically be applied towards the credit requirements of most campus-based and online RN to BSN programs.  Online RN to BSN programs are considered ‘completion – type’ programs that provide nursing professionals the opportunity to earn a BSN degree while working full-time.

As such, registered nursing professionals, who seek to earn a baccalaureate degree in nursing, will find they have the option of enrolling in one of the many quality online RN to BSN programs available. Further, they can complete the completion degree in approximately one to two, with the timing contingent on the student’s time availability and program options.

For some time, the nursing industry has been pushing for an industry-wide initiative that mandates that each registered nurse earn their BSN degree within a preset determined time after passing the NCLEX-RN national exam for the first time.

Further, according to BLS.gov, the average annual salary for those who hold a Registered Nursing License was $73,300 per year (or 35.24 per hour) during May 2019. However, RNs, earning at the top of the scale -who have met or exceeded standard licensing requirements – receive upwards of $111,220 per year (or $53.47 per hour) in compensation.

Depending on the exact program and unique curriculum approach, in general, the majority of campus-based and online RN-to-BSN programs typically take 1.5 to 2 years months to finish these nursing completion programs. Note, however, specific programs offer accelerated tracks, while others permit students to complete the degree on a part-time basis.

Best 15 Online RN to BSN Programs

1. Ohio State University (OSU – Columbus)

The College of Nursing (CON) at Ohio State University offers one of the only ACEN-accredited online RN to BSN programs in the nation with its RN (Registered Nurse) to BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) degree program. This online degree completion program in nursing from Ohio State University can be completed in three or four semester tracks; however, applicants must hold an accredited degree in nursing.

  • Total Program Tuition Fees – $ 13,268 (Ohio Residents)
  • NCLEX-RN 1st Time Pass Rate – 94% – average over the last ten years.
  • Accreditation – HLC  & ACEN

2. Texas Woman’s University (TWU – Denton)

Texas Woman’s University offers a BSN completion program for nursing professionals who already hold a valid Registered Nursing license that is unencumbered. Classes for these online RN to BSN programs are offered in seven-week sessions, with clinical requirements completed through capstone projects with a preceptor or group projects.

  • Total Program Tuition Fees – $ 13,842 (Texas Residents – 60 credits) – $15,642 (Oklahoma Residents).
  • NCLEX-RN 1st Time Pass Rate – 95.70% (2020)
  • Accreditation – SACSCOC & CCNE

3. Mount Carmel College of Nursing (MCCN – Ohio)

Mount Carmel College of Nursing (MCCN) offers one of Ohio’s best online RN to BSN programs that is recognized by several college ranking services. Applicants to MCCN’s RN to BSN completion program must hold an unencumbered Registered Nurse license to be approved for the program. Classes are offered in six-week sessions, and most students complete the degree in one to two years.

  • Total Program Tuition Fees – $ 14,188
  • NCLEX-RN 1st Time Pass Rate – 93.03% (2019 – 4th Quarter)
  • Accreditation – HLC  & CCNE

4. West Virginia University (WVU – Morgantown)

West Virginia University’s (WVU) School of Nursing (SON) offers an RN to BSN degree completion program with four start dates provided each year. Students must transfer in 50 semester credits of undifferentiated nursing semester credits. Part-time and full-time students enrolled in WVU’s online RN to BSN programs complete coursework in ethics and interventions, community health theories and safety, quality, and informatics, among others.

  • Total Program Tuition Fees – $ 14,252 (28 credit units – all students).
  • NCLEX-RN 1st Time Pass Rate – 96.70% (2019)
  • Accreditation – HLC  & CCNE

5. The University of Iowa (UI – Iowa City)

The University of Iowa’s College of Nursing offers an RN to BSN complete degree program that provides international practicum options in Africa. UI’s online RN to BSN programs offers students three programmatic tracks – 3, 4, or 5 semesters.

  • Total Program Tuition Fees – $ 14,528
  • NCLEX-RN 1st Time Pass Rate – 95.60% (2019)
  • Accreditation – HLC  & CCNE

6. Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU – New Haven)

Southern Connecticut State University offers an RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN) program that permits up to 90 eligible transfer credits from accredited higher learning institutions, although most students require 60 semester units to complete the program. Classes for SCSU’s online RN to BSN programs include advanced clinical concepts, evidence-based nursing practice, and leadership & management in contemporary nursing practice, among others.

  • Total Program Tuition Fees – $ 15,405 (Connecticut State Residents).
  • NCLEX-RN 1st Time Pass Rate – 95.00% (2019)
  • Accreditation –  NECHE & CCNE

7. California State University (CSU – San Marcos)

California State University offers the best accelerated online RN to BSN programs in California (according to registerednursing.org) with its RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program that can be completed 100% online. Students enrolled in this RN completion to BSN program from CSU can complete the baccalaureate degree in only fourteen months.

  • Total Program Tuition Fees – $ 16,650 (California Residents – 60 credits).
  • NCLEX-RN 1st Time Pass Rate – 97.66% (2020)
  • Accreditation – WASC & CCNE

8. The University of Arkansas (UA – Fayetteville)

The Mann Nursing School at the University of Arkansas offers an RN to Bachelor of Science degree (BSN) completion program that provides students a completion turnaround of only three semesters studying full-time. UA’s online RN to BSN programs require degree applicants to complete a minimum of 75 clinical hours to graduate.

  • Total Program Tuition Fees – $ 17,893 (Arkansas Residents – 60 credits).
  • NCLEX-RN 1st Time Pass Rate – 92.7% (2019)
  • Accreditation – HLC  & CCNE

9. Farmingdale State College (FSC – New York)

Farmingdale State College offers one of New York’s best online RN to BSN programs with its 60-credit completion program that is available 100% online. Classes for FSC’s online RN to BSN programs include health promotion and patient education, modes of inquiry, bioethics, and caring for populations in the community setting, among others.

  • Total Program Tuition Fees – $ 17,700 (New York State Residents)
  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate – 96.3%
  • Accreditation – MSCHE  & CCNE

10. Goshen College (GC – Indiana)

Goshen College offers one of Indiana’s best online RN to BSN programs through the college’s Institute of Medicine, as acknowledged by NursingProcess.org. Full-time students complete this completion degree program in about one year, with part-time students (one course is taken at a time) finishing in just under two years.

  • Total Program Tuition Fees – $ 18,400 (40 semester credits)
  • NCLEX-RN 1st Time Pass Rate – 96.20% (2019)
  • Accreditation – HLC  & CCNE

11. UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst’s College of Nursing offers one of the best online RN to BSN programs that can be completed in only twelve months for full-time students or two years studying part-time. Classes for UMass Amherst’s online BSN completion program include community health nursing, nursing care of families, and introduction to health informatics, among others.

  • Total Program Tuition Fees – $ 19,109
  • NCLEX-RN 1st Time Pass Rate – 87.80% (2019)
  • Accreditation – NECHE  & CCNE

12. Clemson University (CU – South Carolina)

Clemson University offers an RN to Bachelor of Science degree completion (RNBS Completion Track) program that can be completed in only one year, entirely online. Clemson University’s online RN to BSN programs requires degree candidates to complete classes in healthcare genetics, family nursing in the community, and issues in professionalism, among others.

  • Total Program Tuition Fees – $ 19,508
  • NCLEX-RN 1st Time Pass Rate – 97.67% (2019)
  • Accreditation – SACSCOC & CCNE

13. Radford University (RU (Main Campus) – Virginia)

Radford University’s Waldron Health & Human Services College offers a flexible RN to BSN degree completion program that requires applicants to already possess an RN license with an ADN degree or to be currently enrolled in an AAS nurse program with one year completed. Some students enrolled in Radford University’s online RN to BSN programs finish the degree in only three semesters.

  • Total Program Tuition Fees – $ 19,740 (Virginia Residents – 60 credits).
  • NCLEX-RN 1st Time Pass Rate – 97.60% (2019)
  • Accreditation – SACSCOC & CCNE

14. Mercer University (MU – Georgia)

The Georgia Baptist Nursing College at Mercer University offers a completion track for RNs who are wanting to earn their Bachelor of Science degree (BSN) while working full-time. Students enrolled in Mercer University’s online RN to BSN programs can complete the completion degree program in only three semesters if holding a full course load, which includes a minimum of 90 clinical hours.

  • Total Program Tuition Fees – $ 20,577
  • NCLEX-RN 1st Time Pass Rate – 92.90% (2019)
  • Accreditation – SACSCOC & CCNE

15. McNeese State University (MSU – Louisiana)

McNeese State University offers an RN to BSN completion degree program that is available 100% through MSU’s distance learning platform. Students graduating from MSU’s online RN to BSN programs find rewarding nursing careers as facility administrators, ICU nurses, or health promotion specialists, among others.

  • Total Program Tuition Fees – $ 22,000 (Louisiana Residents – 60 credits).
  • NCLEX-RN 1st Time Pass Rate – 98% (2020)
  • Accreditation – SACSCOC & CCNE

The Ranking Methodology Applied to These 15 Online RN to BSN Programs

The noted online RN to BSN programs listed above includes a cross-section of fifteen RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN) programs currently available in the online education marketplace. These online RN to BSN programs offered are available from state-funded and private institutions of higher education but are all regionally and programmatically accredited, as expected.

In developing this analysis, several relevant academic and financial factors were considered. First, the colleges and universities were ranked, with the most affordable online RN to BSN programs shown first. The tuition fees used in the analysis represent the latest available costs(2020/2021 or 2019/2020) as noted on the Federal Government’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) website or the website managed by each program or school.

The analysis also includes the first-time pass rate percentages of those nursing graduates who have passed the NCLEX-RN national examination – which is indicative of the school’s ability to prepare students for this national nursing license exam.

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Please contact BestValueSchools.org if you would like us to update the program/school data used in the above-noted analysis and final ranking.

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