BSN Degree – Bachelor of Science in Nursing Programs

A bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) is an undergraduate nursing degree. BSN programs are designed for registered nurses (RNs) with diplomas or two-year degrees who want to earn a four-year degree. While RNs with two-year degrees and US military veterans can enjoy fulfilling careers, there is a growing demand for RNs with BSN or master of science in nursing (MSN) degrees. 

As the healthcare system continues to evolve, RNs with ADN degrees may find themselves at a disadvantage in the job market. Hospitals and other healthcare facilities are increasingly looking for nurses with BSN degrees, so those with two-year ADN degrees should consider enrolling in a BSN program to stay competitive, maximize their earnings, and access more job opportunities. BSN degrees require one to three years of study and can be completed through an online university program or at a traditional college campus. 

There are many reasons to pursue a BSN degree. A growing body of research shows higher levels of education correlate with better outcomes for patients, providers, and nursing professionals. For example, research indicates that RNs with BSN degrees are significantly better prepared in areas related to quality and safety, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). In fact, the AACN reports that a 10 percent increase in hiring BSN-prepared nurses lowers patient mortality rates by 10.9 percent. Furthermore, Magnet healthcare organizations and hospitals enjoy lower nurse dissatisfaction, nurse burnout, and nursing turnover, resulting in higher RN job satisfaction.

For these reasons, nursing is one of many fast-growing healthcare occupations. The demand for registered nurses is expected to grow slightly faster than the national average at 6 percent from 2021 to 2031, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This growth is due to an aging population and the need for access to healthcare services. This equates to 195,400 new positions in the coming decade, paying median annual salaries well above the national average of $77,600. 

There are many accredited on-campus and online BSN degrees available for those with nursing and non-nursing educational and professional backgrounds. Online programs offer flexibility and convenience that traditional classroom-based programs cannot match. Online BSN students can study anytime and wherever. Unlike traditional on-campus programs, online programs do not require students to relocate to a new city. 

This guide provides comprehensive information for those earning a BSN degree to explore educational options. Read on to learn about different types of programs, what accreditation and admission requirements are necessary for a BSN program, how many clinical supervision hours are required, and explore 10 online accredited BSN programs. Plus, find out about various career paths available to BSN graduates.

What is a BSN?

Bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree programs prepare nurses for primary care, research, and leadership careers. BSN degrees offer nurses the opportunity to develop the critical thinking and problem-solving skills necessary to provide safe, effective care to patients. BSN graduates are prepared to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing healthcare landscape and play a vital role in improving the health of individuals, families, and communities. 

There are BSN programs that fit all levels of education and experience levels: 

  • LVN-to-BSN: for nurses with vocational diplomas who want to earn an associate’s degree and a bachelor’s degree.
  • RN-to-BSN: for nurses with associate’s degrees in nursing (ADNs) who want to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
  • Accelerated BSN programs: for military veterans and bachelor’s degree-holders in non-nursing fields who want to change careers. 

Earning a BSN degree opens many doors in a nursing career, and most hospitals prefer to hire RNs with a BSN degree. Nurses with BSN degrees work in various settings, including hospitals, clinics, and doctor’s offices. With a BSN degree, one can provide care for patients of all ages. Some nurses with BSN degrees are prepared to take on entry-level leadership roles. In addition, BSN graduates are prepared to pursue graduate studies in nursing, such as MSN or DNP degrees, or related fields, such as healthcare administration.

Types of BSN Degree Programs 

Nurses can enter or advance their credentials in a challenging and rewarding job market with a BSN degree. In general, there are three types of BSN programs: 

LVN-to-BSN Degree Programs

These programs are for licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) who have active nursing licenses and diplomas and want to earn a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN). LVN-to-BSN programs typically require one to two years of full-time study. 

ADN-to-BSN or RN-to-BSN Degree Programs

These programs are for registered nurses (RNs) with associate’s degrees in nursing (ADNs) or previous military nurse training who want to earn a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN). Known as ADN-to-BSN and RN-to-BSN programs, students can complete these programs in one to 2.5 years of full- or part-time study. 

Accelerated BSN Degree Programs

Accelerated programs in nursing confer a bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN) and are designed for holders of non-nursing bachelor’s degrees. Students can complete these types of programs in 16 to 24 months.

BSN Program & School Accreditation

Accreditation assesses educational quality control set forth by professional and government organizations. There are two types of accreditation: programmatic and institutional. 

Programmatic accreditation evaluates an educational program to ensure that it fulfills rigorous standards. For example, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) assesses baccalaureate and master’s level nursing programs. In contrast, the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) accredits associate’s, bachelor’s, and doctoral degrees. To be eligible to take the NCLEX examination, which is required in all 50 states for nurses to work legally, nursing students must graduate from a CCNE- or ACEN-accredited program.

On the other hand, the accreditation of an entire college or university is called institutional accreditation. This sort of accreditation differs from university accreditation, which evaluates entire institutions rather than, for example, professional nursing schools. For example, the US Department of Education has a Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) that recognizes seven regional institutional accrediting bodies.

Lastly, it’s critical to check the state authorization, known as the NC-SARA status, when looking into online programs. Students seeking degrees that prepare for jobs requiring licensing at the state level, such as nursing, must ensure their educational institution meets state-level licensure requirements before enrolling in a BSN degree program.

Typical Admissions Requirements for BSN Degrees

Requirements for earning a BSN degree vary, but the following are some of the most frequently requested documents, minimal job experience, and educational requirements:

  • A grade of “C” or better in science and math courses
  • An overall 2.5 cumulative GPA
  • An overall 2.75 GPA in required science courses such as biology and chemistry
  • Completed application and fees
  • Completion of all core and prerequisite coursework (general education and nursing prerequisites)
  • Letters of recommendation
  • TOEFL or IELTS scores (for non-native English-speaking applicants)
  • Unrestricted registered nurse (RN) license (for LVN-to-BSN and RN-to-BSN programs)

Supervised Hour Requirements for BSN Degrees

Many BSN programs also require certain clinical hours, which students may fulfill through on-campus laboratory and clinical courses or off-campus healthcare facilities. Students enrolled in online BSN programs may also be able to complete their clinical requirements at local hospitals or clinics. Each BSN program has different requirements for the number of clinical hours needed. 

BSN students must complete a minimum of 500 supervised clinical hours to graduate. Online BSN students can fulfill some of their clinical requirements through simulations and other hands-on learning experiences offered by their school or nearby healthcare facilities. 

Featured Online BSN Degrees

Students who wish to pursue a graduate degree while working full- or part-time can enroll in an online BSN program. Here is a list of 10 accredited BSN programs that admit students with nursing degrees at the associate’s and bachelor’s degree levels, including those with non-nursing bachelor’s degrees.

LVN-to-BSN Degree Programs

Kent State University 

The LPN-to-BSN program at Kent State University is a highly flexible BSN bridge program that has been designed to meet the unique demands of licensed practical nurses (LPNs), physical therapy assistants, occupational therapy assistants, respiratory therapists, paramedics, field/combat medics, and emergency medical technicians (EMTs). 

Recognizing that many allied health professionals often have the same desire as LPNs to become BSN-prepared registered nurses (RNs), the program was recently revised and expanded, making Kent State’s LPN-to-BSN program one of only a handful of bridge programs in the nation that are open to paramedics, medics, and EMTs. 

  • Location: Kent, OH
  • Duration: Two years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) 
  • Tuition: $12,000 per year

Walden University

Walden University’s RN-to-BSN completion program is an excellent way for registered nurses to further their education and career. The 181-quarter-credit BSN program is offered online and allows students to progress at their own pace without setting weekly deadlines. The competency-based BSN online format will enable students to focus on developing skills to be successful in a role as a nurse leader, community health nurse, or health promotion nurse. 

Once enrolled in the BSN program, students will be prepared to take on the challenges of the nursing profession with confidence. To be eligible, students must have a current RN license and a diploma or an associate’s degree in nursing. 

  • Location: Minneapolis, MN
  • Duration: 10 to 24 months
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)  
  • Tuition: $18,318 total

ADN-to-BSN or RN-to-BSN Degree Programs

Schreiner University 

Schreiner University offers an ADN-to-BSN degree that students can complete online in as little as one year. The coursework is interwoven with ethical principles and provides students with the skills needed to advance their careers and meet the changing needs of the nursing profession. The program is built for success, offering students the flexibility to maintain their nursing career while earning an accredited BSN degree. 

In addition to required coursework, students can choose from several elective nursing courses and receive credit for certifications already earned. With a Schreiner BSN degree, nurses are prepared to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing healthcare landscape and provide the best possible care for their patients.

  • Location: Kerrville, TX
  • Duration: One year
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) 
  • Tuition: $8,000 total

Western Governors University 

The ADN-to-BSN program at Western Governors University is designed for registered nurses who want to earn their BSN degree. The program has ten prerequisite courses that must be completed before students are eligible for admission. Students can complete these courses at any accredited college or university. An official transfer evaluation from the transcripts department will verify the completion of the ten prerequisite courses. 

Once admitted, students will complete 120 credits, including general education, nursing core, and clinical requirements. Students can complete this program in as little as three years of full-time study.

  • Location: Campuses across the US
  • Duration: 2.5 years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) 
  • Tuition: $7,616 per six months

Southern New Hampshire University 

The online bachelor of science in nursing (RN to BSN) program at Southern New Hampshire University is designed for working nurses who need the flexibility that an online platform can offer. The RN to BSN program can be completed in as little as 15 months, making it possible for working nurses with unencumbered RN licenses to advance their careers without interrupting their busy lives. Once admitted, students can transfer up to 45 credits. Application fees and SAT/ACT scores are not required for admission. 

  • Location: Manchester, NH
  • Duration: One year
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)  
  • Tuition: $320 per credit 

Drexel University 

Drexel University’s RN-to-BSN accredited online program focuses on evidence-based and experiential learning. With easy-to-use, technology-enhanced coursework designed to move beyond lectures and note-taking, the curriculum focuses on the action-based, practical, in-depth clinical skills needed every day to improve patient outcomes. 

In addition, Drexel University allows students to transfer up to 135 of the required 180 quarter-credits to graduate. With a BSN degree from Drexel University, nurses are prepared for leadership roles, graduate studies, and a range of exciting nursing careers.

  • Location: Philadelphia, PA
  • Duration: 12 months
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)   
  • Tuition: $604 per credit 

Accelerated BSN Degree Programs

Mass General Brigham (MGH) Institute of Health Professions 

The accelerated bachelor of science in nursing program from MGH Institute prepares nurses for excellence by teaching all the skills needed for patient care and advancement within the RN profession. Students learn what it takes to be a nurse during the 16-month course to be fully prepared for a nursing career. Graduates from this program boast a 94 percent NCLEX pass rate. The direct entry programs are approved by the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing.

  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Duration: 16 months
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $80,300 total

Xavier University

Xavier University’s accelerated BSN program is the perfect way to transition into nursing. The 16-month program is designed for students who have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree and meet the admission requirements. The program is offered at three locations in Ohio (Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus) and has three start dates per year. 

The curriculum for the accelerated BSN program includes 63 credits of online and on-site coursework. The program is fast-paced and designed to be completed in four full-time semesters. 

  • Location: Cincinnati, OH
  • Duration: 16 months
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)   
  • Tuition: $56,700 total

Liberty University 

Liberty University’s accelerated BSN program is the perfect pathway for those students who already have a bachelor’s degree in another field or have served in the US military. In the accelerated program, all general education courses are completed before entering into a one-year intensive curriculum to achieve the BSN core competencies. 

In addition, this program emphasizes Christian values as they relate to providing nursing care for individuals, families, and groups in communities. Applicants to the accelerated BSN program must be US military veterans or seeking a second bachelor’s degree.

  • Location: Lynchburg, VA
  • Duration: Two years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)  
  • Tuition: $330 per credit 

Herzing University 

Herzing University’s BSN program is designed for non-nurses who want to pursue a career in nursing. The 120-credit program can be completed online, with all didactic courses asynchronous. This allows students to complete the program at their own pace. 

In addition, there is flexibility throughout the program to complete general education or core nursing courses. The practicum instructor and peer collaboration requirements will be done via distance learning, which offers flexible scheduling for the synchronous course elements. Herzing University’s BSN program is available in Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

  • Location: Milwaukee, WI
  • Duration: Three years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) 
  • Tuition: $695 per credit

Jobs for BSN Graduates

With a BSN degree, graduates may pursue a variety of general and specific nursing professions. BSN graduates can also go on to get a PhD in nursing or earn a direct entry BSN-to-MSN program, BSN-to-DNP, or a PhD in nursing.

Here are three possible jobs for RNs with BSN degrees.

Become a Staff Nurse

Staff nurses provide direct patient care, including taking vital signs, administering medication, and providing wound care. In addition, staff nurses work with the patient’s family to ensure that they understand the care plan and can support the patient. Working environments for staff nurses include ambulatory services, doctor’s offices, home health services, and outpatient centers. Staff nurses who work in home health travel to patients’ residences, while public health staff nurses could go to community gathering spots, educational institutions, and other sites. Some nurses opt to become travel nurses, traveling within the US and worldwide to care for patients in areas that are short on medical staffing.

According to the BLS (2022), the most common work environment for staff nurses was hospitals, which employed 60 percent of RNs. The median annual salary for staff nurses was $77,600. 

Become a Charge Nurse

A charge nurse is a registered nurse responsible for supervising other nurses and patient care on a specific shift. A charge nurse may also be referred to as a shift leader or head nurse. The charge nurse ensures that all nurses on their shift follow hospital policies and procedures and provide high-quality patient care. They may also mediate conflicts between nurses, patients, and families. In some cases, the charge nurse may also be responsible for ensuring that the nursing staff is adequately staffed for the shift. Charge nurses are essential in ensuring patients receive the best possible care in the hospital.

According to (2022), the average annual salary for charge nurses was $76,816. Charge nurses with 20 or more years of experience tend to earn higher salaries, as do those working in clinics such as post-anesthesia and pediatric intensive care. 

Become an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Nurse

ICU nurses are some of the most highly skilled and dedicated medical professionals in the healthcare industry. Providing care for critically ill or injured patients requires much knowledge and experience. ICU nurses work closely with other healthcare team members to provide the best possible care for their patients. They are often responsible for monitoring vital signs, administering medication, and performing other tasks to ensure their patients receive the best care. 

ICU nurses must be able to work quickly and efficiently under pressure, as their patients’ lives often depend on their actions. Some ICU nurses are trained to provide critical care during helicopter rescue missions. This vital job is physically and mentally challenging yet rewarding. ICU nurses ensure that patients and their families receive the best care when they are most vulnerable.

According to (2022), ICU nurses earned average annual salaries of $73,927. The highest-paid ICU nurses earned higher salaries with five to twenty years of experience. 

Rachel Drummond, MEd

Rachel Drummond, MEd


At, Rachel Drummond has applied her extensive experience in education and mindfulness to elucidate the importance of self-care for nursing students since 2022. Through her writings, she underscores the role of mental and physical well-being in fostering resilient and compassionate healthcare professionals.

Rachel is a writer, educator, and coach from Oregon. She has a master’s degree in education (MEd) and has over 15 years of experience teaching English, public speaking, and mindfulness to international audiences in the United States, Japan, and Spain. She writes about the mind-body benefits of contemplative movement practices like yoga on her blog, inviting people to prioritize their unique version of well-being and empowering everyone to live healthier and more balanced lives.