Best Online BSN Degrees

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The field of nursing boasts a wide variety of lucrative, exciting, and rewarding career paths.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 15% growth rate (must faster than average) for registered nurses between 2016 and 2026. To get your registered nurse (RN) license, you need at minimum an associate degree or diploma in nursing. However, more and more employers prefer to hire RNs with a bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN). Earning your BSN can increase the number and type of nursing positions you qualify for, and can also improve your salary potential. BSN nurses usually receive greater opportunities for responsibility at work, specialize in a particular area of nursing, and can move into management and supervisory positions. This page explores some of the top online nursing programs to help prospective nursing students find the right place to pursue their BSN.

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Top 10 Best Online BSN Degrees

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What Is the Best Online Bachelor’s in Nursing Degree Program?

Below are the fifty Best Online Bachelor’s in Nursing degree programs in the country. Here at College Choice we’ve collated and compared the academic reputation, student satisfaction, affordability, and average annual salary of early career nurses from online BSN programs across the country to create a definitive ranking of the nation’s fifty best.

We first chose programs with the most renowned academic reputation and from those pared the list down to those with high retention rates (a reflection of student satisfaction) added those with the most economical accessibility, and finally we included the averages of early career salaries (care of PayScale) to arrive at a list marked by thorough research and extensive data aggregation.

Our figures come from the university and colleges’ websites as well as nationally recognized U.S. News & World Report and The National Center for Education Statistics.

Rankings

See our rankings methodology page.

Best Online BSN Degrees

  1. The University of Texas at Tyler
    Location

    Tyler, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    This Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing degree at the University of Texas at Tyler can take as few as twelve months to complete, though students are allowed to take as long as they like to finish the degree; graduation dates are flexible. UT Tyler requires its students to already have an associate’s degree in nursing in place before admission, but then students are able to do the coursework fully online, with clinical experiences taking place in the students’ local communities. At UT Tyler you can anticipate foundational classes in pathophysiology, leadership, and health assessment, then upper-level classes in community nursing, professional issues, gerontology, and more.

    This BSN degree is fully accredited by the Texas Board of Nursing as well as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The University of Texas at Tyler as a whole is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. UT at Tyler is a mid-size school with approximately 8,000 undergraduates. It is a public institution and a member of the greater University of Texas System. Life at Tyler is marked by an active student body involved in organizations, athletics, Greek life, and student government.

  2. University of South Carolina
    Location

    Columbia, SC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The online BSN from the University of South Carolina strives to provide three objectives to its students: to cultivate leadership, critical thinking skills, and professionalism; to master the skills needed to provide nursing services in an array of settings; and to gain a comprehensive, interdisciplinary foundation in nursing education. This program is for those who already have an associate’s degree in nursing and it takes only twelve months to complete, if classes are taken full-time. In addition to its competitive credit hour tuition rates and its high average annual salary of its recent graduates, the University of South Carolina’s online programs are rated as the best in the country by U.S. News & World Report.

    The flagship institution of the University of South Carolina System, the University of South Carolina is a large school with nearly 400 different programs of study. It is a top-ranked school, listed as among the 100 best nationally by ARWU, U.S. News & World Report, and Washington Monthly. Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the University of South Carolina’s nursing school is also specifically accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing.

  3. University of Illinois at Chicago
    Location

    Chicago, IL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    This 100 percent online Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing degree from the renowned University of Illinois in Chicago (UIC) pairs its students with nationally recognized leaders in healthcare. Specifically designed for RNs looking to complete their undergraduate degree, this program covers health assessment and communication, research and statistics, leadership and management in healthcare, care of populations, and nursing informatics. Students in the UIC College of Nursing’s online program have the advantage, not only of learning from a distance, from wherever they choose, but they learn from the same renowned faculty who teaches the on-campus classes, making this online degree nearly identical to the “traditional” degree.

    Graduates with a BSN degree from the University of Illinois Chicago make, on average, $53,000 annually in the early years of their career. UIC is further noted for its research contributions and for being consistently ranked among the top national universities, by U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, Washington Monthly, Times Higher Education, and more. UIC is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and the nursing school is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

  4. University of Cincinnati
    Location

    Cincinnati, OH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The College of Nursing at the University of Cincinnati is not only ranked among the top 10 percent of nursing schools in the country, it has a long history and legacy, going all the way back to its founding in 1889. Their online RN to BSN degree can be completed in as little as nine months, but students can adjust the academic plan of this flexible program to better align with work-life events. Unique to the University of Cincinnati’s online nursing program is its emphasis on mentorship, connecting students with one advisor whom they will work closely with throughout the program. Furthermore, Cincinnati stresses the important role of leadership, as seen by the character of the curriculum. Though this is a completion degree, students are eligible for admission even if they have not completed all the required general education courses. And, as a student, you should be prepared to line up a community or population-focused project to complete the degree.

    The University of Cincinnati is a large, public research university with many nationally ranked departments, including nursing, education, pediatrics, pharmacy, environmental science, medicine, criminal justice, and neurology, among others. It is accredited by the North Central Association and the College of Nursing is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

  5. West Texas A&M University
    Location

    Canyon, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    By getting your online Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing degree through West Texas A&M University’s school of nursing you are offered the opportunity to advance into management positions, to earn more money, to work in more diverse environments (such as risk management or quality assurance), and to earn a Master of Science in Nursing, if you so choose. Courses at West Texas cover everything from research to cultural competence, ethics, and pharmacotherapeutics. West Texas’ tuition rates are already competitive, but they offer additional special tuition rebates to those who qualify, making this both an affordable and convenient option for registered nurses looking to earn an online BSN.

    A mid-sized, public university located in Canyon, Texas, West Texas A&M University has approximately 8,000 undergraduates and is known for its research initiatives, especially in environmental health and safety, occupational health, energy, and computer information systems. West Texas is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Its nursing school is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

  6. The University of Alabama
    Location

    Tuscaloosa, AL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    At the University of Alabama’s online college you can earn a degree in nursing that can be fully achieved from a distance. UA offers two options for those students who are already registered nurses but looking to advance their careers: the RN to BSN track or the RN to BSN/MSN track. The former consists of twenty-five credits that can be taken either full or part-time and includes courses covering community health, client systems, informatics, leadership and management, and role transition in baccalaureate nursing. The latter is an accelerated degree program for students who plan to study full-time, complete all fifty credit hours, and graduate with a masters in nursing with a concentration in either clinical nurse leadership or case management.

    Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the University of Alabama is ranked among the top fifty best public universities in the country, by U.S. News & World Report. A larger school, with over 30,000 undergraduates and grad students, UA is comprised of over a dozen colleges and schools, including its Capstone College of Nursing, accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

  7. Ohio State University
    Location

    Columbus, OH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    As an Ohio State University online nursing student you will take classes on community health, leadership and management, professional issues in contemporary nursing, and a practicum that applies the learned leadership and management skills to a hands-on experience. Graduates from the OSU online RN to BSN program go on to work in a diverse array of healthcare settings; and many students choose to earn a master of science in nursing degree, having been fully prepared by the OSU nursing program and its elite board of faculty members, who are leading practicing clinicians, physicians, and nurses. This nursing degree is 100 percent online and requires no visits to the Columbus campus.

    Located in Columbus, Ohio, Ohio State University is a huge school of nearly 60,000 students (though there are over 100,000 if you include all campus locations). Known for its business, science, medicine, education, and politics departments, OSU is nationally and globally ranked by Forbes, ARWU, U.S. News & World Report, Washington Monthly, and more. OSU is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, and its College of Nursing is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing.

  8. University of Florida
    Location

    Gainesville, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Florida’s online RN to BSN degree is specifically designed for working adults who are eager to go back and finish their undergraduate degree. This program emphasizes flexibility and leadership while preparing students to apply information management and technology to healthcare practice; to analyze, implement, and alter healthcare policies; and to efficiently strategize wellness promotion and illness prevention. As a UF online student in nursing you will take classes in pathophysiology and pharmacology, genetics and genomics, finances in regulatory environments, principles of leadership, health assessment, and public health, the last two requiring clinical experience in your local community.

    The University of Florida, based in Gainesville, is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and is known for having one of the best online colleges in the country. The university is highly active in research projects that span from sustainability initiatives to major contributions to health and medicine. In fact, the university is home to many important health clinics and research centers, including its UF Health Cancer Center. The College of Nursing at UF is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

  9. Pennsylvania State University-World Campus
    Location

    State College, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Not only does Pennsylvania State University offer an online BSN program, they offer an accelerated degree program that allows students to combine online classes with on-campus coursework, expediting that graduation date. This program is consistently recognized as one of the best online nursing programs in the country, and it uniquely offers its students the opportunity to earn a specialized certificate in nursing management, nursing informatics, or nursing forensics.

    In addition to clinical work, graduates from this program have gone on to work in education, research, consulting, community and public health centers, social work, pharmaceutical sales, and insurance. Though this degree is 100 percent online, four courses require clinical hours: health assessment (45 clinical hours required), family and community health concepts (45 clinical hours required), health concepts for adults with complex health care needs (45 clinical hours required), and integrated concepts in nursing practice (90 clinical hours required).

    Penn State is a globally renowned university, earning a spot on the best national and global universities rankings from Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, Washington Monthly, QS World University Rankings, and more. It is also one of the largest universities in the country with over 100,000 students. Penn State is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and the College of Nursing is accredited by the Commission for Education in Nursing.

  10. Arizona State University-Tempe
    Location

    Tempe, AZ

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Innovation in nursing, the synthesis of professional nursing, the art of nursing, health promotion across the lifespan, nursing theory, and writing for health care management are just some of the unique courses offered by Arizona State University’s online nursing program. ASU also sets itself apart from some of the other programs on our list in that it pairs students with an enrollment coach, students learn through a variety of online instructional delivery methods, and the curriculum is designed to present a holistic, populations-based education. Students tend to complete this degree in fifteen to eighteen months, and they graduate prepared to be critical thinkers, client advocates, and effective communicators.

    With nearly 15,000 online students, Arizona State University boasts a huge distance learning program that has been in place for many years. Distance learners are privileged to learn from the same renowned faculty as “traditional” students, and they have access to the research centers and initiatives that make ASU a top-ranked university. ASU is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, and their College of Nursing and Health Innovation is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

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