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Best Online RN to BSN Programs
2020 Online Nursing Degree Program Rankings

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Best Online Nursing Bachelors

It is hard to imagine the world of medicine without the contribution of nurses. Often times, after a traumatic medical procedure, the lasting memory a patient has is the stellar care provided by the nurse on duty. Now is an interesting moment in the world of nursing, as so many RNs are heading back to school to achieve their BSN in order to not only have more options in the field, but also to see an increase in their earning potential. In fact, holding a BSN can offer nurses the opportunity to have a leadership role in the field. Payscale lays out the pay discrepancy between an associate’s degree holding nurse and one who holds a bachelor’s. We’re looking at something like $68,000 per year versus a nurse with a bachelor’s degree’s $82,000. 

Online RN to BSN Degree Options

The options increase exponentially when a nurse achieves a bachelor’s degree. Not only do leadership roles become more of an option, but so do access to administrative roles. Many BSN holders opt to get off of their feet and into education or administration roles. Their options can include becoming clinical specialists, legal nurses, consultants, informatics nurse specialists, clinical research nurses, clinical nurse managers, and even nursing directors. Possible places for RN-to-BSN to work include: Long term care facilities, hospitals, and even schools. 

Pursuing an online RN to BSN program can be the best option for many nurses. Nurses that are already working in the field have busy schedules at work on top of all of their personal commitments. An online program offers the flexibility that allows them to do it all. Most of these programs don’t require ever stepping foot on campus, and the coursework can be completed from the comfort of your home and even at work.

How We Ranked the Best Online RN to BSN Nursing Programs

The College Consensus Top 25 Best Online RN to BSN Nursing Degrees ranking specifically looks at schools that are accredited regionally and reputable. We were interested in looking at three factors that we evenly weighted:

  • Cost (current IPEDS data)
  • Reputation (Niche data)
  • Success (Payscale data)

With these three elements in mind, our team looks at college programs according to their record of providing a return on investment. This is how we came up with this list of Online RN to BSN Nursing Programs that show the best combination of market reputation, educational quality, and rewarding income. We hope there is a program on this list that inspires you to take the next step.


University of Utah
Salt Lake City, UT

The online RN to BSN program at the University of Utah is one of the exceptional offerings through their College of Nursing. They also offer an optional Geriatric Nurse Leadership Specialty Track. The program is known as one of the most affordable programs of its kind, which per credit is $260. The program is made up of 30 credit hours. Participants can complete the program in 2 to 4 semesters and can be initiated during any semester, with multiple start dates. The online specialty track can only be started in the fall, and is made up of four semesters. The entire program can be adapted to your unique career goals, which may include geriatrics. The coursework is completely online. Students have access to a program director who can help them tailor the program to a personal path of interest. Completion of 45 clinical hours is required, including a 68 hour practicum– both of these can be done where the student is already employed. 

Affordability Score: 84.04
Reputation Score: 95.00
ROI Score: 60.00
Success Score: 75.00


Ohio State University-Main Campus
Columbus, OH

The College of Nursing at Ohio State University in Columbus offers one of the best rn to bsn online programs in the country. This program was designed for that moment in life when associate’s degree holding nurses are ready to take the next step in their lives. They have done everything to make this an easy option for professionals who are carving out time and resources to make this academic investment. The program is known for its affordability; they have even waived all textbook fees. The student to instructor ratio remains low, ensuring that students will have access to their faculty members for guidance. The coursework remains relevant, as they constantly infuse the curricula with current issues that impact the medical field. They offer three application deadlines and subsequent start dates. 

Affordability Score: 64.00
Reputation Score:100.00
ROI Score: 41.13
Success Score: 99.00


Indiana State University
Terre Haute, IN

Indiana State University offers one of the best online BSN programs, designed for RNs. One of the perks of this program is that they offer credit for the work you already do. The program was designed to open as many doors as possible for professionals in the nursing field. Students will be able to graduate and achieve leadership roles in the field, including as generalists, supervise a myriad of other staff and nurses, and collaborate on the development of and implementation of patient plans. Some of the required courses include: Comprehensive Health Assessment for Nursing Practice, Healthcare Informatics, Reflective Nursing Practice, and Professional Nursing Synthesis. Required support courses include: Pathophysiology and Advanced Expository Writing. Students will have the option to also choose an elective. The coursework is entirely online and can be completed from any location. The program is affordable, though there are some student fees that participants will be responsible for.

Affordability Score: 80.01
Reputation Score: 95.00
ROI Score: 47.30
Success Score: 89.00


Pennsylvania State University-World Campus
University Park, PA

The World Campus at Pennsylvania State University offers one of the best rn to bsn online programs. There are many perks related to this program, including the option to take classes at an accelerated pace. This allows students even more flexibility. Clinical requirements can be completed in places that are convenient to the student, including locations where they may already work. They also offer a number of additional certificates that students can achieve alongside their BSN, including Nursing Informatics, Nursing Forensics, and Nursing Management. Many of the courses in this program can be applied to graduate degrees down the line. Graduates in the program will now be in the running for some amazing leadership positions in the field,, including in the realms of: education, insurance, specialization sales, consulting, community and public health, social work and case management. All of the coursework is entirely online and can be completed any time of day and in the comfort of the student’s home. 

Affordability Score: 43.37
Reputation Score:100
ROI Score: 53.47
Success Score: 100.00


University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Amherst, MA

The University of Massachusetts at Amherst offers an Online RN to BSN program that can be a building block for expansive career options and also potential graduate study. Students will learn a myriad of skills that can be immediately applied to the work they are already doing. This includes applying and advocating for culturally relevant medical care for populations who are historically underserved. Another unique facet of the curriculum is a focus on creativity and inquiry as a problem solving and best practices methodology. Students will also learn how to integrate new technologies and enhance the practice of nursing with cutting edge science as a foundation. Students can either choose a Summer or Spring start date, and they can complete the program in as little as 12 months while still maintaining full-time employment. participants will have 24/7 access to the learning program for enhanced flexibility.  They will also have access to the institutions renowned research holdings library. 

Affordability Score: 57.00
Reputation Score: 86.00
ROI Score: 57.00
Success Score: 89.00


Arizona State University-Downtown Phoenix
Phoenix, AZ

Arizona State University offers an online RN to BSN program that stresses critical thinking as a best practice in the medical field. Students will learn to become better client advocates and exercise skills related to evidence-based care. The entire program can be achieved in as little as one year to fourteen months. The curriculum is delivered using many online delivery methods that take into account the different needs of adult learners. Each class can be completed in 7.5 weeks. There are 10 total classes that need to be completed to graduate. The entire program consists of 39 credit hours. Graduates of the program have gone on to become: chief nursing officers, pediatric nurses, labor and delivery nurses, acute care nurse practitioners, medical and health service managers, and are engaged in many other career paths in the field. Prospective students must actively be working as an RN in good standing. 

Affordability Score: 79.00
Reputation Score: 86.00
ROI Score: 46.00
Success Score: 75.00


University of Illinois at Chicago
Chicago, IL

The University of Illinois at Chicago offers one of the best online nursing programs that enables RNs to accomplish a BSN entirely online. They pride themselves on their graduation rate of 94 percent. Prospective students can start the program in the Fall, Spring, or Summer. There are very few requirements for admission, one being a free transcript evaluation, and a GPA of a 2.5 or above on previous academic coursework. The entire course of study consists of eight classes, including: Health Assessment and Communication, Caring and Professional Nursing, and Nursing Care of Populations. There are a few non-nursing requirements including English Composition one and two. Students work their way through the program with a cohort that will stick with them through the entire process. This helps with support and accountability. If the student remains enrolled consistently, they can complete the program in as little as 16 months. 

Affordability Score: 83.00
Reputation Score: 71.00
ROI Score: 63.00
Success Score: 63.00


University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, AR

The University of Arkansas offers an entirely online RN to BSN program that is responding to the call from the field for more nurses holding a bachelor’s degree. Many nurses go on this journey to advance their degree in order to increase their career options, and optimize their earning potential. RNs are often looking for ways to increase their skill sets and enhance their ability to provide culturally competent care to a variety of populations. Students can participate in this program on a full-time or part-time basis, depending on their life circumstances. There are no boundaries related to semesters in this program, meaning students can work at their own pace, and fit the coursework into their busy lives more easily. Most self-paced courses, however, are completed within 12 weeks time. Students are required to have a computer with access to a webcam and a microphone to participate in the program. 

Affordability Score: 72.00
Reputation Score: 96.00
ROI Score: 40.00
Success Score: 68.00


University of Central Florida
Orlando, FL

One of the best rn to bsn online programs can be found at The University of Central Florida. It is clear that more and more, nurses who hold a bachelor’s degree are in more demand. One of the reasons why is that studies show that BSN holding nurses are better prepared to work in the fast paced environments where nurses often spend their days. This program has no smoke screens about the fact that the curriculum is fast paced and challenging. Though because it is paired with the flexibility that the online format supports, it is a less daunting task to imagine. One of the interesting aspects about this particular program is that they allow students to be simultaneously enrolled in the associates program at the same time as the BSN program. Completion of the program requires students to finish 30 credit hours. Graduates of the program can have the opportunity to go into careers that include: ER Nurse, Nurse Leader, Nurse Trainer, RN Case Manager, and Nursing Consultant. 

Affordability Score: 71.00
Reputation Score: 71.00
ROI Score: 40.00
Success Score: 79.00


West Virginia University
Morgantown, WV

West Virginia University offers an online RN to BSN program through their comprehensive School of Nursing. This program is expressly designed to be completed within a three semester schedule, though this does not include general education requirements. If a student chooses to study on a part time basis, they can complete the same program in 6 months time. The program is designed to be flexible in support of busy career professionals with full lives to fit a program into. Graduates of the program have gone into careers that include: Clinical Nurse Specialist, Medical and Health Service Manager, Acute Care Nurse, and Nursing Professor. Prospective students must have completed an associates degree in nursing from an accredited institution. The minimum previous GPA accepted is 2.0. There are three application deadlines per year. 

Affordability Score: 86.00
Reputation Score:71.00
ROI Score: 42.00
Success Score: 61.00


Florida International University

Florida International University Online (FIU Online) offers one of the best rn to bsn online programs through the Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Sciences (NWCNHS). This program is known for fitting seamlessly into the lives of working registered nurses. The flexibility of the online format enables students to fit their coursework into their already busy lives. Students can choose to accomplish the program on a full time or part time basis, depending on how much time they have to dedicate to the coursework at once. The coursework ties into current issues in the medical field including innovations in health and wellness across cultures, leadership in the nursing field, and evidence based nursing practices. The entirety of the bachelor’s degree includes 120 credit hours, which is in addition to 60 credits that are transferable and lower division. Some of the courses that students will be required to take include: Adult Psychological Nursing, Childrearing and Childbearing, and Health Assessment and Promotion.  

Affordability Score: 79.00 
Reputation Score: 71.00
ROI Score: 42.00
Success Score: 61.00


Drexel University
Philadelphia, PA

Drexel University offers one of the best online nursing programs that is designed for RNs to achieve a BSN. Their curriculum is known to be one of the most innovative of its kind as it applies experiential learning to online evidence based coursework. This degree program can be completed in as little as one year. Up to 135 credit hours can be transferred to the program, out of the required 180 credits. Flexibility is a key factor that this program boasts, and students have the opportunity to take accelerated coursework if they so choose. There is a 3 year tuition lock, which means students can take three years to complete the program locked into their tuition rate. With a BSN, students can be in the running for careers such as: Critical Care/ ICU Nurse, Case Manager, Oncology Nurse, Hospice Nurse, and Labor and Delivery Nurse. There are no requirements for students to ever be on campus. 

Affordability Score: 0.00
Reputation Score: 71.00
ROI Score: 100
Success Score: 81.00


University of Alabama at Birmingham
Birmingham, AL

The University of Alabama at Birmingham offers an RN to BSN Program that is completely delivered online through their School of Nursing. Though the program is delivered online, and all of the coursework can be accomplished as such, students are required to attend an orientation in person. The coursework is made up of 30 credit hours that are upper division, and can be achieved in three to five semesters. Some of the classes students can take include: Systems Leadership for RNs, Nursing Elective, Professional Nursing Concepts for RNs, and Quality and Patient Safety for RNs. Students in this program are eligible to apply for the UAB School of Nursing and Honors Program if they have a minimum of a 3.4 and above. This program enables students to participate in extensive research which brings them into another division of research nursing. These students will graduate with “University Honors in Nursing.”

Affordability Score: 70.00
Reputation Score:86.00
ROI Score: 32.00
Success Score: 56.00


University of St Francis
Joliet, IL

The University of St. Francis (IN) offers one of best online BSN programs for RNs. The program can be completed in 12-24 months depending on the needs of the student. The program is training students to be leaders in the field of nursing. They will also be trained to be working with patients throughout the course of their lifespan. Students in the program will be placed in a leadership immersion practicum where they will be prepared to facilitate an evidence based project within a healthcare facility or organization. This will span the course of two semesters. Flexibility is the name of the game with this program. They have six start times throughout the year, and each course should be completed within eight weeks. Students leave the program with an enhanced ability to provide patient centered nursing care that is culturally sensitive and up-to-date. Catholic principles are also embedded into this course of study. 

Affordability Score: 64.00
Reputation Score: 57.00
ROI Score: 51.00 
Success Score: 69.00


Loyola University Chicago
Chicago, IL

The Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing at Loyola University Chicago offers an RN to BSN Completion Program online. This program can be fast tracked and even completed within three semesters if the student desires. In order to successfully complete the program, students must fulfill a total of 30 online credit hours. Classes are taught in 6-8 week sessions. If students are requiring additional credits, this program has some electives that students can choose from. Students can apply for admissions all year long. The only prerequisite for the program is that applicants hold a current RN license. Because the program is offered entirely online, there are no requirements for the student to ever step foot on campus. The program prides itself on being student centered and leadership oriented. The curriculum is interactive and builds on creative learning strategies that can be applied to the profession seamlessly. Graduates of the program report walking away feeling like they have a greater ability to promote health and wellness in communities while integrating research into evidence based practice. 

Affordability Score: 12.00 
Reputation Score: 71.00 
ROI Score: 62.00
Success Score: 89.00


University of Cincinnati-Main Campus
Cincinnati, OH

The University of Cincinnati College of Nursing offers an RN to BSN program that is delivered entirely online. There are only nine required courses in the entire program that each last seven weeks long. This is in addition to a 14 week capstone project. The flexibility of the program is something that is especially enticing. They offer six start dates throughout the year. Students can choose to take the program on a full or part time basis. A part-time schedule can be completed in three semesters, or for a less intensive program, five semesters. The full time program, however, can be accomplished in two semesters or nine months. The timelines listed above are not accounting for any prerequisites that the student might need to complete to fulfill the program. New applications are admitted to the program each semester. An active and unrestricted RN license is required to qualify for the program. 

Affordability Score: 58.00
Reputation Score: 71.00
ROI Score: 30.00 
Success Score: 75.00


University of Louisville
Louisville, KY

The University of Louisville offers an online RN to BSN program that is designed specifically for Registered Nurses to move up the ladder in their field while also increasing their earning potential. One of the focal points of the program is to increase the leadership skills for nurses, while also giving students a larger global scope to service a large array of populations. Students who participate in this program will achieve the appropriate skills to work internationally in the medical field. This specific program is known for its affordability and also flexibility. Students will acquire a range of critical thinking skills that can be applied to all facets of the medical industry. The coursework is delivered entirely online and consists of 8 week terms. The entire program includes 30 credits, and is tuition free. The accelerated program includes 11 courses, which is 31 credit hours that can be completed in 20 months. 

Affordability Score: 69.00
Reputation Score: 71.00
ROI Score: 32.00
Success Score: 57.00


Sam Houston State University
Huntsville, TX

The Sam Houston State University is considered one of the best rn to bsn online programs- and also one of the best nursing programs in the state of Texas. Prospective students must hold an unencumbered RN certificate in the state of Texas in order to qualify for the program. This program gives students the option of completing the coursework on a full time or part time basis. The flexibility of this degree path makes it possible for professionals who lead busy lives. Even though students can take classes in the comfort of their home and set a tailored schedule that works for them, they are still invited to request advising and support from the faculty on campus. Leadership skills are highly stressed in the coursework, providing students with the tools they need to achieve professional leadership positions upon graduation. There is a communications component to the curriculum that includes the choice of two English classes. 

Affordability Score: 81.00
Reputation Score: 57.00
ROI Score: 38.00
Success Score: 53.00


Goshen College
Goshen, IN

Through Continuing Education at Goshen College there is the offering of an online RN to BSN Program. This program was designed with the flexibility that allows students to continue working full time while also continuing to live busy lives. Students can also choose to participate in this program with a hybrid format, meaning some of the classes would take place  on campus. One of the well loved aspects of this program is that they use the cohort model. This means that students will move through the entire course of study in a group that stays the same. The entire program consists of 38 credit hours, and should be completed over an 18 month time period. Over half of the students that graduated from this program reported that they saw an increase in pay and a job promotion upon completing the program. There is one start date for the program and it is in the fall semester. 

Affordability Score: 66.00
Reputation Score: 57.00
ROI Score: 24.00
Success Score: 82.00


University of Missouri-St Louis
Saint Louis, MO

The College of Nursing at the University of Missouri at St Louis offers a high ranking RN to BSN program that can be completed entirely online. This program was designed to be both flexible and convenient as it accounts for the fact that their students will be working full time while completing the program. The entire course of study can be accomplished in five consecutive terms. There is an emphasis on liberal arts in this program, and therefore, relevant classes are embedded into the general education requirements. Nursing related classes explore topics such as: health assessment, nursing research and evidence based practice, leadership skills, and community based medical practice, and clinical activities. There are no application deadlines for this program. Students can apply within the bounds of their schedules, and they can start at the next available start date. It is recommended, however, that they submit their paperwork at least 4-6 weeks prior to the start date that they are aiming for. 

Affordability Score: 92.00
Reputation Score: 43.00
ROI Score: 33.00
Success Score: 60.00


American Public University System
Charles Town, WV

American Public University System is an exceptional online institution of higher learning with an emphasis on educating the nation’s military and public service communities. The online RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN) program at American Public University offers a respected, relevant, accessible, affordable, and student-focused online programs that prepares students for service and leadership in a diverse healthcare industry. Beyond the classroom APU brings higher learning into your home,  it’s program is for nurses seeking to earn an unencumbered license. APU strives to promote leadership skills while providing a strong foundation for graduate studies in Nursing. After completing this program there will be numerous opportunities available to the students. To qualify for acceptance into this degree program students must have at least an associates degree in nursing. APU is offering a month to month start date, the program cost is affordable and priced for the working student.   

Affordability Score: 84.00
Reputation Score: 14.00
ROI Score: 89.00
Success Score: 39.00


Maryville University of Saint Louis
Saint Louis, MO

Maryville University of St. Louis offers an RN to BSN program that can be completed entirely online. There are three start dates that students can choose from for added flexibility. On the note of flexibility, this program accounts for the fact that professional adult students are also going to be working full time and fulfilling their other life responsibilities while completing this program. They have designed the program with accelerated options to fit the needs of busy professionals. Upon completing of the program, students can qualify for positions such as: Director of Nursing, Registered Nurse Supervisor, Clinical Nurse Manager, and Nursing Manager. Students will be trained to broaden their scope as far as the healthcare settings where they are qualified to work go- this includes: research labs, community services, private practices, federal agencies, nursing homes, and home healthcare settings. There is no requirement to ever step foot on campus in this program. 

Affordability Score: 38.00
Reputation Score: 57.00
ROI Score: 48.00
Success Score: 82.00


Northern Arizona University
Flagstaff, AZ

NAU campus

Through the School of Nursing at Northern Arizona University there is a highly rated RN to BSN Program that builds on the skills that a nurse working in the field already has under their belts. One of the interesting aspects of this particular program is that they support students to begin the BSN program while they are midway through their associates degree program if the student desires. They pride themselves on their personalized learning platform, which is competency based. This allows students to not repeat coursework in subjects they already know, allows them to set their own pace, and they can complete their lessons on a timeline that they have created. This program offers the flexibility that allows students to work on their coursework whenever they can fit it into their schedule. There is the requirement of clinical projects, but they can be completed at locations that are convenient to the student. 

Affordability Score: 74.00
Reputation Score: 57.00
ROI Score: 30.00
Success Score: 56.00


Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania
Slippery Rock, PA

Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania offers an online RN to BSN program that was designed for nurses to accomplish while working full time. The flexible is delivered in 8 week sessions. The classes are accessible 24/7 program Critical thinking skills are highly stressed in this course of study as are the comprehensive skills of clinical decision making. Students will be given many opportunities for collaboration in this program. The goals include shifting a focus from an individual framework to be more community minded through the lens of healthcare delivery. Diversity needs in the field of health care is stressed in all facets of the program. Some of the classes include: healthcare and social media, medical and healthcare ethics, and healthcare informatics. Gradues of the program have gone on to pursue careers in: Acute care, travel nursing, nurse management, critical care, community health nursing, and behavioral health, among others. 

Affordability Score: 65.00
Reputation Score: 43.00
ROI Score: 31.00
Success Score: 74.00


Western Illinois University
Macomb, IL

Western Illinois University

Western Illinois University offers one of the best RN to BSN programs that is delivered entirely online. The program was designed for flexibility and accessibility to meet the needs of full time nurses who have a lot to juggle between their personal and professional lives. The program is tailored to the unique needs of each student. There is, however, some critical general education coursework that is required. Every community health course includes a practicum that is required. Students must complete 36 credit hours to accomplish the program in its entirety. The clinical practice aspects of the program are held at a variety of healthcare facilities in the Macomb metropolitan area. There are a variety of scholarships that students can apply for, all of which are outlined on their website. They all require letters of recommendation and submission by May 1. 

Affordability Score: 68.00
Reputation Score: 57.00
ROI Score: 35.00
Success Score: 51.00

Should I Choose an Online BSN Program?

A bachelor’s in nursing online might be the perfect fit for you if you are a busy adult professional who requires flexibility to take this next life step. Nursing bachelor online degrees offer some perks that you will not find in residential programs. Some of the benefits include: the option of self-pacing, the flexibility to complete coursework when your schedule allows, and also affordability. Many of these programs allow students to study on a part time or full time basis, depending on their personal needs and desires. The online learning platforms are all a little different, but one thing they have in common is the ability to access most of the coursework 24/7. Most of these programs do have a hands on component, but some of them can be completed while doing the work the student already gets paid for. 

How Do I Find the Best Online BSN?

There are many things to look for when considering a nursing program. One thing is for sure, accredited RN to BSN online programs are an important thing to look for. In order to advance in your career, it is crucial that your degree shows that you attended a school with the appropriate accreditations. As you can see from this list that we came up with many of the bachelor’s in nursing online programs have different focal points. Some have a religious aspect, some are meant to foster diversity and support cultural competence in the healthcare field, and others are driven by medical research. Obviously, some bring together all of these focal points and/ or other disciplines that you never considered. Think about some aspects that are important to you when accomplishing your education. Make sure you are accounting for your career and personal goals when finding the right course of study for you. It is never a bad idea to contact the program itself and to ask all of the questions you may have to ensure you have found the perfect fit before making the time and money investment. 

Can I Get a Specialization in an Online BSN Program?

There are many important specializations that you can focus on when searching for the program that is right for you. Some of these programs highlight the types of nurse that might benefit from their coursework. Maybe you want to focus on the NICU and pediatric intensive care, hospice nursing, or geriatrics. You will see that the specializations are there as you look at the different offerings. There are different nursing specialties in the demand, and even if you do not see what you are looking for in the program description of a school, that doesn’t mean that you can’t choose a focus for your clinical practice hours that line up with the specialization that interests you. We hope you have been brought to this ranking because you are ready for this next step in your life, and maybe today you discovered the keys to the door.