Are RN to BSN online nursing programs worth it?

Are RN to BSN online nursing programs worth it?

By Josephine Reid

“There are in fact legitimate universities do offer accredited programs online that are just as serious and rigorous as traditional classroom programs.  I have a friend who earned her ADN in a traditional school. Then, she did an RN to BSN degree program online at the same school I graduated from. My school offered both traditional classroom degrees, as well as the online RN to BSN.” “In my experience, as long as you have an RN license from your state, employers will hire you. I’ve seen people with ADN, online BSN, people from technical school programs, and those from very esteemed colleges–and they all were hired. And all of them are great nurses.  I’ve also seen people advance to management positions with all degree types as well.  So yes, as long as the online program is a serious program, by a serious university, and you get licensed–employers will probably respect your degree and consider you a viable job candidate.  I suspect this trend will continue as online degrees become more and more popular.”

Some of the top accredited online RN to BSN programs, and their pricing includes:


Florida International University offers an online RN to BSN program from the Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Sciences. The program is designed exclusively for licensed RNs and includes part-time and full-time options. Full-time students can complete the program in just three semesters of intensive study. Course titles comprising the major requirements for this RN to BSN online program include Professional Nursing Leadership: Concepts and Issues, Psychosocial Nursing, Nursing in Global Health Care Systems, and Care of Communities: Community Health. This particular program is more flexible than other online RN to BSN programs in that courses can be taken in any order.
Tuition per Credit Hour: $247


The RN to BSN online program from the University of Arkansas is offered through the university’s renowned Eleanor Mann School of Nursing. The 29-credit hour program can be completed online, and coursework is delivered asynchronously. Specific course titles include Nursing Informatics, Therapeutic and Interprofessional Communication, Introduction to Professional Nursing Concepts, and Pharmacology in Nursing. A project-based practicum is also required but can be completed locally. UA’s RN to BSN online program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
Tuition per Credit Hour: $246


Penn State University-World Campus offers an exceptional, CCNE-accredited online RN to BSN program. The curriculum for the program is a mix of general education classes and required major courses. Specific titles include Introduction to Nursing Research, Family and Community Health Concepts, Integrated Concepts in Nursing Practice, and Transition and the Professional Nursing Role. In addition to this core curriculum, students can also pursue specialized certifications in nursing management, nursing informatics, and nursing forensics. Penn State’s RN to BSN online students may be able to take some of their required courses in an accelerated, 7 ½ week format.
Tuition per Credit Hour: $555


Ohio State University offers a nationally recognized online RN to BSN program that emphasizes evidence-based practice. The curriculum is comprised of various baccalaureate nursing courses such as Evolving Concepts in Nursing Leadership and Management, Foundational and Contemporary Issues for RNs, Cultural Competence in Healthcare: the US and Global Contexts, and Concepts in Community Health Nursing. Both part-time and full-time tracks are available for prospective RN to BSN online students.
Tuition per Credit Hour: $387


The University of Oklahoma offers a “Career Mobility” Online RN to BSN from its Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing. Both full-time and part-time tracks are available to prospective students, and the full-time track enables students to complete their BSN in just nine months. Three different start dates per year are also available for added convenience. Course titles include Contemporary Professional Nursing, Leadership in Nursing Practice, Community-Focused Nursing, and Human Experience of Disability.
Tuition per Credit Hour: $316

A nursing education online is still going to entail most of the same steps as a traditional nursing education:
  1. Complete the minimum required nursing education—usually a certificate or diploma.
  2. Work at a healthcare facility under an RN to gain supervised clinical experience.
  3. Pass the national RN examination (NCLEX-RN exam).
More than one online nursing degree program can help you become an RN and prepare you to sit for the licensing exam.

RNs may follow one of three educational paths, i.e. earning a diploma or certificate from an approved nursing program, completing an associate degree in nursing (ADN), and earning a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing degree (BSN)

Many RNs launch their careers by earning nursing diplomas or certificates and becoming an LPN (licensed practical nurse). Once working, LPNs can go on to complete the coursework needed for an associate's degree to become an RN. Testing out of required courses can significantly speed up this process.

Some opt to complete an online associate nursing program before taking the nursing exam and beginning to work.

There are also many accredited online MSN nursing programs. The flexibility of earning a nursing master’s online allows nurses to complete their practical requirements in their home region or current workplace.

An online M.S. in Nursing degree can be earned in around two years.

Other reputable online nursing schools include:
Walden's Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN), where the completion of the program can be completed in as little as 18 months! Walden's Nursing program will accept up to 75% of required undergraduate credits and also offers a $3,000 grant to eligible students.

BSN: Capella University's online RN-to-BSN is a CCNE-accredited program that provides the flexibility you need to take your career to the next level without taking time away from work.

Purdue University Global delivers a fully personalized online experience that's tailored for working adults.

Choosing a program is an incredibly personal decision, and only you can properly evaluate whether a target school’s strengths match your educational needs.

I'm Josephine Reid and I work at headquarters in Los Angeles. I have a B.S. in Retail Merchandising and Business from the University of Wisconsin-Stout. I like to keep a beautiful balance of a creativity and business mindset.