Best Online Nursing Degrees

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Are you ready to find your fit?

You can learn how to help people recover from injury and illness with a bachelor of science in nursing.

Do you have a compassionate soul and a keen eye for detail? If so, a bachelor’s in nursing might be a good choice for you. Registered nurses spend their time helping people recover from injury and illness, spending close time with each patient to better understand how appropriate care can be provided. As a registered nurse, you must have extensive medical knowledge as well as developed interpersonal skills to better serve your patients.

Top 10 Best Online Nursing Degrees

Rank School Location
1 University of Florida Gainesville, FL
2 George Washington University Washington, DC
3 Allen College Waterloo, IA
4 University of South Florida-Main Campus Tampa, FL
5 Texas A & M University-College Station College Station, TX
6 University of Massachusetts-Amherst Amherst, MA
7 Clemson University Clemson, SC
8 George Mason University Fairfax, VA
9 University of Wisconsin-Madison Madison, WI
10 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL
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What kind of nursing degree should you get?

Aspiring registered nurses can take one of three pathways to achieve their career goals. You can pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, an Associate’s degree in Nursing, or a diploma from an approved nursing program. Whichever option you choose, you will eventually need to obtain licensure at the national level.

To become a nurse, you generally need a minimum of an associate’s degree or a diploma in nursing. That being said, more employers prefer to hire registered nurses who have a bachelor of science in nursing. This kind of degree enhances your competitiveness in an increasingly competitive job market, and also increases the number of jobs for which you can apply. An online degree will be offered in a flexible setting, allowing you to earn a degree even if you are already working as a nurse.

Still not convinced that nursing is the right choice for you – or want to explore all the other great colleges the online platform has to offer? Make sure you check out our ranking of the Best Online Colleges.

How much money do people make with a nursing degree?

Nurses earn high average starting salaries. The median wage for registered nurses is around $70,000. Generally, nurses who work in a government setting earn the highest starting salaries, while those who work in state, local, and private hospitals follow closely behind.

The best part about earning your bachelor’s in nursing is that you have a high likelihood of finding a job immediately after graduation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a much higher than average growth rate for nurses between 2016 and 2026 – a rate that is well over 15 percent.

What can you do with a degree in nursing?

A degree in nursing will prepare you to enter into a number of positions in the medical field. You may be able to specialize in a certain area of nursing, and you’ll also be given more responsibility in a hospital setting than you would with only an associate’s degree. You can move into a supervisory position and become a leader among your peers as well.

As a nurse, you will be required to provide and coordinate patient care, as well as educate your patients about their health. You will need to take detailed records of your patients’ symptoms and medical histories, and to administer medicines and treatments. There are many possibilities for nurses beyond basic medical care, meaning you can become a specialized nurse who works in a specific area of practice, like addiction, critical care, genetics, or rehabilitation.

What are the requirements for a degree in nursing?

In all nursing programs, regardless of which kind you pursue, you will take courses in anatomy, microbiology, chemistry, nutrition, social and behavioral sciences, and anatomy. You will likely also be required to take a core set of liberal arts courses. Most programs will take a minimum of two or three years to complete. Just about all programs will require some kind of supervised clinical experiences.

Keep in mind that while you can often obtain a nursing position with a diploma or associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree in nursing will allow you to pursue an administrative position as well as a role in research or teaching. A nursing degree will prepare you to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination, as well as to pursue additional certifications in areas like ambulatory care or pediatrics.

What are the best nursing degrees?

Best Nursing Degrees Badge

Look for a nursing degree that is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. These governing bodies help to ensure that a nursing program enables students to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination, which is essential for obtaining work as a nurse no matter where you live.

You should also look for a program that offers high return on investment. Find a degree that works with your specific schedule and career goals, allowing you to earn your education in the most accommodating setting for your needs. A good online program will be affordable and high quality, allowing you to earn your nursing degree without requiring you to change locations.

Rankings

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. University of Florida
    Location

    Gainesville, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview:

    Located in Gainesville, Florida, the University of Florida is known for having one of the most vibrant and successful online campuses in the country. As an active participant and contributor to research in health and medicine, the school is the home to many important clinics and research centers. The University of Florida Health Cancer Center is one of the most distinguished in the country. The College of Nursing is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and offers a superb RN to BSN program to online learners.

    Program Features:

    The online RN to BSN degree at the University of Florida is designed for working adults who want to go back and complete their undergraduate degrees. It emphasizes leadership in the healthcare field, enabling students to promote wellness and prevent illness. In addition to a final supervised clinical experience in your hometown, you will be required to take classes such as:

    • Pathophysiology
    • Principles of Leadership
    • Genetics
    • Finances in Regulatory Environments
    • Health Assessment

    Notables:

    This degree is offered in a flexible, affordable setting, allowing students to receive the analytical and management skills they need to succeed in any endeavor. This degree can be completed entirely online and is approved by the Florida Board of Nursing along with being fully accredited. Through this program, you can receive a basic Bachelor of Science in Nursing or go on to pursue additional certifications to work in areas like hospice, pediatrics, home care, or more.

  2. George Washington University
    Location

    Washington, DC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview:

    George Washington University, located in Washington, D.C., offers an RN to BSN completion program that allows for part-time completion of a degree in just four semesters. This university is located in an ideal setting, and although it is a private school, it is highly research-driven. The university is home to multiple research centers and institutes, such as the McCormick Genomic and Proteomic Center and the Cancer Institute. Ranked as one of the best schools by U.S. News & World Report, its online campus is a fantastic avenue through which to earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.

    Program Features:

    Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, this degree requires 21 credits of online study. Although it requires a professional portfolio and extensive online coursework, it does not require a practical experience. The degree emphasizes nursing skills and knowledge in basic areas such as:

    • Population Health
    • Public Health Nursing
    • Medical Informatics
    • Leadership Coaching in Nursing
    • Health Economics and Finance

    Notables:

    Interestingly, George Washington’s nursing school offers fixed-rate tuition for all programs. This means that your tuition won’t go up while you are still enrolled at school. Furthermore, the university partners with George Washington Hospital, allowing students a fast-track to job opportunities and related scholarships if they so choose. George Washington also hosts the Nursing Scholars program, which allows for full tuition reimbursement in exchange for a service commitment.

  3. Allen College
    Location

    Waterloo, IA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview:

    Allen College is located in Waterloo, Iowa, and is a private institution that is dedicated solely to healthcare education. The school is a leader in the field, attracting distinguished faculty members and providing students with exceptional opportunities for employment upon graduation. The RN to BSN program is a degree completion program designed specifically for RNs residing in the state of Iowa, but can meet requirements for students studying in other states as well.

    Program Features:

    Allen is unique in that it provides 40 hours of prior learning credit for RN licensure, making it easier than ever for students to earn their degrees. The curriculum spans 124 credit hours, building on general education in the liberal arts before moving on to provide specific professional training in areas like healthcare communications and community health nursing. A leadership-focused program, the degree requires coursework in topics like:

    • Evidence Based Practice and Nursing Research
    • Health Policy, Law, and Ethics
    • Community and Public Health Nursing
    • Nursing Informatics

    Notables:

    Despite being a private college, Allen offers several options to make a bachelor of science more affordable for its students. The RN-BSN program offers an automatic 25 percent tuition scholarship, with other possible discounts available. Tuition starts at just $629 per credit hour, an affordable rate in itself. With a student-to-faculty ratio of just 15:1 and strong clinical components at the heart of this program, its overall value and quality cannot be emphasized enough.

  4. University of South Florida-Main Campus
    Location

    Tampa, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview:

    A public institution founded in 1956, the University of South Florida is a research institution with multiple campuses throughout the state. The online campus offers dozens of programs to make earning a degree just a little bit easier. The RN to Bachelor’s program at the University of South Florida allows students with an Associate Science of nursing and an RN license to receive a Bachelor of Science with just 30 credit hours of coursework. A fully online program, the degree can be completed in five part-time semesters or three full-time semester, along with a strong experiential component.

    Program Features:

    The Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of South Florida is designed for the modern registered nurse, allowing practicing nurses the ability to build degrees that specifically meet their individual career goals. The program focuses on leadership and management, patient education, and clinical excellence. Required courses include high-quality studies in areas such as:

    • Information Technology Skills for Nurses
    • Nursing as a Profession
    • Educational Role of the Nurse in Healthcare
    • Foundations of Nursing Healthcare Leadership and Management
    • Population Health

    Notables:

    The University of South Florida is one of only four public universities in Florida categorized as being in the top tier of research universities – an accolade gained by only 2.3 percent of all universities. The school offers a dynamic learning environment that emphasizes collaboration, community engagement, and research. Ranked as one of the Best Value Schools by U.S. News & World Report, the school has a high student freshman rate (which is indicative of student satisfaction and institutional support) of 89 percent.

  5. Texas A & M University-College Station
    Location

    College Station, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview:

    This school offers an exceptional online RN to BSN program that can be completed entirely online. It is designed for working nurses who already have RN licensure through approved pathways. Texas A&M is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, and the nursing college is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

    Program Features:

    This degree can be completed in a single year, eighteen months, or two-years of core coursework. Each pathway selected requires 30 credit hours of study that build on crucial nursing concepts. Candidates also gain training in professional dimensions and learn how to make evidence-based decisions and incorporate themes like nursing informatics and pharmacology in their daily work. All distance learners will complete supervised practicums at local healthcare facilities, in addition to classes on topics such as:

    • Nursing Dimensions and Informatics for the RN
    • Health Promotion Across the Lifespan for the RN
    • Leadership and Management for the RN
    • Pathophysiology and Pharmacology for the RN
    • Application of Evidence-Based Practice for the RN

    Notables:

    The College of Nursing at Texas A&M was designed to address the critical nursing shortage in the state of Texas, and as a result fosters social responsibility in its students. Numerous community service and leadership opportunities are available to students, as are research innovations that help students make the most of their studies. All of these components add up to an education that is based on initiating best practices through relevant clinical research.

  6. University of Massachusetts-Amherst
    Location

    Amherst, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview:

    A public university founded in 1863, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst is the flagship university in the University of Massachusetts network. With over 90 majors to choose from, as well as the ability to design your own major, the school offers flexible courses to suit any budget or career goal. This highly diverse university has students attending from 50 states and over 75 countries, allowing for diverse discussions and convenient online course delivery. The school offers a competitive online Bachelor of Science in Nursing, combining theoretical coursework with experiential, hands-on learning.

    Program Features:

    This degree requires 120 credit hours, 60 of which must be completed before beginning the program. Students who already have RN licensure may receive up to 30 credits in exchange. This program can be earned remotely, allowing students to complete their studies while continuing to care for patients and to meet their other life commitments. A capstone project is required, as is coursework in topics such as:

    • Nursing Care of Families
    • Professional Role in Nursing
    • Cultural Diversity in Health and Illness
    • Writing in Nursing Ethics
    • Community Health Nursing

    Notables:

    This program is unique in that it can be started in either the spring or summer, and finished in just a single year. Online learners are given access to the same opportunities as on-campus learners, such as a graduation ceremony and other celebratory activities. All online students receive the same access to course materials and close faculty attention while they are enrolled, benefiting from university resources like library and research holdings. Online tuition and on-campus tuition are the same. As a result, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst is ranked one of the country’s Best Value Schools as well as one of the Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News & World Report.

  7. Clemson University
    Location

    Clemson, SC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview:

    Located in Clemson, South Carolina, Clemson University is a large public institution that was founded in 1889. A land-grant institution that engages in high-quality research to benefit the public, the school has a large enrollment of nearly 20,000 students. Clemson offers an exceptional online accelerated RN to BSN completion program, allowing candidates who already possess licensure as an RN to earn a BSN in just a single year. Requiring no clinical experiences, the program does include a two-day on-campus orientation. The program can be completed on either a full- or part-time basis, with all classes delivered asynchronously.

    Program Features:

    This degree includes 32-credit hours of professional skills development. It focuses on transitioning the RN to the role of the more advanced and highly educated nurse, expanding each student’s knowledge base in core nursing topics. Students will take extensive coursework in topics related to management, nursing research, and communication, with core courses including areas such as:

    • Advanced Pathophysiology
    • Health Assessments
    • Healthcare Genetics
    • Community Nursing

    Notables:

    Clemson is exemplary in that it boasts a student graduation rate of nearly 100 percent after three months. As a designated National League for Nursing Center of Excellence in Nursing Education, the quality of this program cannot be surpassed. The program offers entry in both the fall and spring semesters, and allows most students to complete their studies in less than twelve months. The school has significant relationships with local technical colleges and hospitals, making it easier for students to transition no matter what stage they may be at in their careers.

  8. George Mason University
    Location

    Fairfax, VA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview:

    Located in Fairfax, VA, George Mason University is a public university that was founded in 1972. The school offers a highly-praised program in nursing that is designed for candidates who seek value and academic rigor in their studies. It is designed to meet the needs of busy working professionals, and is offered entirely online in seven-week chunks. It is set up to allow for graduation within just two semesters, including 30 nursing major credits.

    Program Features:

    While this program does include a strong general education core, students generally are able to satisfy these credits by transferring in work from their associate degree programs. Most students can complete their studies in as little as two semesters consisting of ten courses total. The program requires 12 total credit hours. Prerequisites include studies in topics like Microbiology and Statistics, while core courses are project-based and are in topics such as:

    • Epidemiology
    • Nursing Informatics
    • Vulnerable Populations

    Notables:

    The faculty and staff at George Mason are highly involved and dedicated to student success. Each student is given access to a career advisor who can help him or her find a position in a hospital, school, or nursing home. Ranked as a Best Value School and a top National University by U.S. News & World Report, George Mason’s value and quality cannot be surpassed. The school boasts global distinction in a range of academic fields, as well as faculty who have received some of academia’s highest honors. Students have unrivaled internships and research opportunities, securing positions at some of the top hospitals in the country.

  9. University of Wisconsin-Madison
    Location

    Madison, WI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview:

    The University of Wisconsin-Madison is a large urban college with a vibrant online campus. The school has a commitment to public service, building upon the idea that all education should enhance others’ lives outside of the classroom as well as inside it. The University of Wisconsin-Madison offers a BSN@Home program that is a top choice for candidates who have already received an associate degree or nursing diploma with at least a 2.5 cumulative GPA, making it an ideal choice for nurses who want to continue working full time while they learn how to better serve others.

    Program Features:

    This degree is designed for registered nurses who wish to continue working full-time while pursuing their educational goals. Graduation requires 124 credits, with most students completing their studies in two or two and a half years. Transfer credits are frequently accepted, with courses beginning in both the fall and spring semesters. Required classes include topics such as:

    • Chronic Care Management
    • Gerontology
    • Pathophysiology
    • Clinical Pharmacology
    • Health Technology

    Notables:

    This program is unique in that tuition is the same for all students regardless of where they live – residency in Wisconsin is not required. In addition, the School of Nursing awards over $400,000 per year in scholarships to students with exemplary academic performance and significant financial need. Classes are taught by world-class faculty members, who use their skills and research to improve the communities around them. Due in part to a high freshman retention rate (well over 95 percent and an indicator of student satisfaction), the school is ranked as one of the Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News & World Report.

  10. University of Central Florida
    Location

    Orlando, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview:

    The University of Central Florida offers a stand-alone Bachelor of Science fully online, as well as a degree completion program. This degree is designed for practicing registered nurses from a variety of educational backgrounds. It can be completed without any time spent on the University of Central Florida’s campus, and can be finished in just three semesters of full-time study. For students preferring to study at a slower pace, ten semesters are allowed if necessary.

    Program Features:

    This program is unique in that it allows for an additional degree certificate in Aging Studies, as well as the completion of four related minors. The curriculum includes courses that help students make the transition from RN to BSN, emphasizing public health and health care policy as well as key leadership skills. Prior learning credit evaluations are available, helping students expedite their pathway to graduation. The stand-alone degree program requires 56 total credit hours, with core classes covering topics such as:

    • Psychiatric Mental Health nursing
    • Nursing Care of the Adult
    • Health Promotion Across the Lifespan

    Notables:

    The University of Central Florida is located in Orlando and includes over a dozen colleges and schools. It is the home of several nationally ranked departments – among them the nursing department. The school has made significant research advancements in a number of fields, and is one of the most highly regarded programs of its kind. Distance learners are eligible for discounted tuition rates and fee waivers, along with privately endowed scholarships, making it easier than ever to earn one of these nationally-recognized degrees.

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