The Best RN to BSN Programs in the Nation – 2020


If you are a registered nurse holding an associate degree in nursing, then completing your baccalaureate education will help expand career avenues and secure your future. RN to BSN programs help nurses to meet the requirements put in place by employers that aim to hire only the best nursing professionals who are trained in evidence-based practices that improve the quality of care provided to patients. Additionally, the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) initiative of ensuring that 80% of registered nurses across the country are educated at the baccalaureate level is being endorsed by most employers, thus leading to a growing demand for BSN educated nurses. What’s more, with a BSN degree, you can find doors opening-up in magnet hospitals and should you plan to pursue advanced nursing education, it provides for a robust foundation. On this page, you will find the nation’s best RN to BSN programs that are ranked region-wise (Northeast, Midwest , Southeast , Southwest and Western).

How Nursing Process Ranked the Best RN to BSN Programs?

With several schools offering RN to BSN programs across the nation, it can get rather daunting to make the right choice. To simplify your search, we have ranked the best programs in the nation, region-wise, based on three factors, which we believe are crucial to a successful educational experience. Among the three factors are academic quality, the nursing school’s overall reputation, and affordability.

As obvious as it is, academic quality is the most important factor in gauging a program’s success and seemingly so, it makes up for 50% of our ranking score. To measure a nursing school's academic quality, we have taken-into-account the acceptance rate, enrollment rate, graduation rate, and retention rate. To get a well-rounded picture of a nursing school’s reputation that comprises 30% of our total ranking score, we looked into both, inside and outside factors that tell us about a school’s reputation. While inside factors include faculty credentials, use of technology to enhance student learning, and student support services, an outside perspective was obtained by assessing college rankings & ratings and student reviews from well-known online publications such as US News, Niche, Grad Reports ad Rate My Professors. For the third and final factor, we took-into-account the affordability of a program which constitutes 20% of our total ranking score. This factor can greatly influence a student’s decision when considering a program. Lesser tuition helps you recover the cost of your education sooner and equates to a higher value on investment.

Nursingprocess.org has tried its best in bringing you a list of the best programs based on a well-devised ranking methodology. To ensure the data on which the rankings are based on is accurate, we gathered it from reliable sources such as the National Center for Education Statistics and official school websites. We do not promote or endorse any school; neither do we disregard schools that haven't made it to our list. We advise students to use our rankings as a starting point and make a final decision only after extensive research.

Has your school made it to our list? If you would like to edit your school’s information, you can let us know here.

The table below lists the three factors, based on which we have formulated our ranking methodology.

FactorWeightage
Academic Quality50%
Acceptance Rate25%
Enrollment Rate25%
Graduation Rate25%
Retention Rate25%
The Nursing School's Reputation30%
Affordability20%


5 Best RN to BSN Programs in The Northeast Region

After closely evaluating all the 147 accredited RN to BSN Programs in the Northeast Region (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont), we have come up with the following list of the 5 Best Programs.

1. Sacred Heart University - Fairfield, CT    Visit Program Page

Completing an online RN to BSN bridge course at Sacred Heart University will add the value of an advanced nursing credential to your profile without having to keep your present job on hold. The program aims at training you to be a healer, rather than just a nurse. This is achieved by completing its unique ‘Human Journey’ coursework that gives you a broader understanding of the human experience through liberal arts, philosophy, social sciences, and faith-based courses. Additionally, you will take evidence-based nursing courses to complete the total credits required to earn your degree. The program comes with six start dates and allows you to transfer up to 90 credits from your associate degree in nursing. With the flexibility it offers and the outstanding quality of faculty that is committed towards producing nurse healers, the college clearly has been an innovator since the time it has started training nurses in 1980.

2. Fitchburg State University - Fitchburg, MA    Visit Program Page

Fitchburg State University’s RN to BSN degree opens-up new doors of opportunities for registered nurses. The program is designed keeping the working nurse in mind and can be completed in an accelerated format within 12 months. The curriculum is grounded in evidence-based nursing practice and focuses on advocacy for the vulnerable population and social justice. You will also be trained to perform forensic health assessment that intervenes and prevents any kind of violence negatively affecting a patient’s health. Besides, you also complete courses in community-based nursing, genomics for nursing, healthcare policy and finance, and nursing in a global community, thereby laying a solid foundation for you to practice holistic nursing.

3. Bloomsburg University - Bloomsburg, PA    Visit Program Page

Addressing the need for registered nurses to attain a BSN degree, Bloomsburg University offers online nursing education that helps you reach this career goal. The program is open to registered nurses with an active license in Pennsylvania, for which they can earn up to 63 credits. Furthermore, ADN students from partner colleges can enter this program with guaranteed admission and a seamless transfer of credits. The curriculum, rooted in the art and science of nursing, is delivered by an accomplished faculty who are adept at online teaching. You gain the knowledge and skills required to play your role in nursing as an effective communicator, leader, manager, practitioner, and holistic caregiver. To earn your degree, you must complete at least 30 credits from Bloomsburg.

4. The College of New Jersey - Ewing, NJ    Visit Program Page

If you are keen on developing the skills and knowledge that can further your nursing career, then you can consider the RN to BSN course offered by The College of New Jersey. The program is offered in a face-to-face format at the college’s regional healthcare partners, facilitating you to attend classes at your most convenient location. Sessions are held mostly once a week in the evening, so you can continue working while pursuing this degree. Also, classes being held at state-of-the-art healthcare centers provide for a conducive learning environment and may even translate into an internship or employment opportunity. As an RN with an active New Jersey license, you can transfer up to 64 credits and cut short the number of credits required for graduation. Typically, to earn the BSN, you must complete 48 credits in courses, including professional practice across the lifespan, nursing care for the community, professional role development and electives in global health, and healthcare informatics.

5. Lehman College - Bronx, NY    Visit Program Page

The online RN to BSN degree offered by Lehman College can be completed at your own convenient pace as long as you finish it within five years. Education at the college is affordable and facilitated by a committed faculty that strives for excellence. The coursework helps you achieve your nursing goals of providing competent patient care to a diverse population of all age groups by honing your critical thinking, clinical reasoning, and communication skills. Depending on the number of credits you are eligible to transfer, a minimum of 37.5 credits must be completed at the college in nursing courses. Some of the courses that you take include foundations of nursing, ways of knowing nursing, professional nursing practice, clinical decision making, trends & issues in healthcare and nursing management.

5 Best RN to BSN Programs in The Midwest Region

After closely evaluating all the 184 accredited RN to BSN Programs in the Midwest Region (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin), we have come up with the following list of the 5 Best Programs.

1. Lewis University - Romeoville, IL    Visit Program Page

Lewis University’s RN to BSN program offers the required flexibility in terms of multiple cohorts and several classroom locations in the Chicago area. This makes it easier for you to start and pursue this degree at your convenience and at a campus close to home or your workplace. The college acknowledges your past nursing education and awards 12 credits towards your BSN courses. Small-sized classes and an experienced faculty ensure you are mentored to become a competent nurse. To be eligible for this program, you must hold an active RN license in Illinois. The coursework is focused on enhancing your critical thinking & clinical judgment skills and includes courses in evidence-based practice, concepts of professional nursing, health assessment, nursing leadership, healthcare informatics and promotion of healthy communities.

2. Goshen College - Goshen, IN    Visit Program Page

A Christian liberal arts college, Goshen has been offering quality education way back since the late 1800s. Its faith-based nursing education prepares compassionate nurses that actively serve the community. This RN to BSN program can be completed either on-campus, online or in a hybrid format. If you prefer face-to-face instructions, the college offers classes at a variety of locations, so you can choose the most suited one. Moreover, clinical experiences can be completed at your current workplace, saving you the hassle of an unnecessary commute. The program is designed for ADN graduates who are keen on taking their nursing career to the next level. It strengthens leadership and communication skills and prepares you for evidence-based nursing practice.

3. Clarke University - Dubuque, IA    Visit Program Page

If you are currently working full-time as a registered nurse and looking at earning a BSN degree, then Clarke University’s 100% online RN to BSN course can be considered. By allowing a generous transfer of up to 95 credits, the college allows you to complete the program much sooner and with lesser tuition costs. The nursing coursework takes you through care across the lifespan, theories, issues and roles in professional nursing, nursing research, community healthcare, and nursing leadership and management. Also, you will complete 135 clinical hours under a preceptor at a clinical site close to you. Upon graduation, you will be able to explore advanced nursing positions in a variety of healthcare settings and evidently so, 100% of the program graduates find suitable placements, soon after graduation.

4. Fort Hays State University - Hays, KS    Visit Program Page

If you are keen on advancing your nursing career, then earning the BSN credential is your most obvious next step. Fort Hays State University, online RN to BSN training builds up on your past working knowledge as a nurse and expands professional skills. To be eligible for this program, you must hold an encumbered RN license. This is necessary for the clinical experiences you will complete, as part of the curriculum. The program is offered thrice a year, in fall spring and summer and mainly focuses on building your leadership and critical thinking skills. Once enrolled, you will complete 10 nursing courses, with each course being eight weeks long. You can cut short the program duration by completing courses in nursing informatics and legal and ethical issues in health care before being accepted into the program.

5. Kent State University - Kent, OH    Visit Program Page

Kent State University is highly regarded for excellence in nursing education, little wonder that its nursing graduates are preferred by employers for being proficient in advance nursing skills. The online RN to BSN coursework is delivered by an accomplished faculty, most of whom hold a doctoral degree. With a rolling admission policy, you can enter the program at your convenience and complete it in 12 months. The curriculum is rooted in evidence-based nursing practice and includes courses in healthcare informatics, concepts and issues for professional nursing, health promotion, leadership and management in nursing, community nursing, restoration for patients and their families, and healthcare policy.

5 Best RN to BSN Programs in The Southeast Region

After closely evaluating all the 169 accredited RN to BSN Programs in the Southeast Region (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia), we have come up with the following list of the 5 Best Programs.

1. Eastern Kentucky University - Richmond, KY    Visit Program Page

Highly regarded for is nursing education, Eastern Kentucky University offers registered nurses an opportunity to advance their careers from the comfort of their home. This RN to BSN program is completely online and requires you to earn a minimum of only 29 credits to graduate. This is due to the generous transfer credits you earn for your past nursing knowledge. Depending on your life schedule, you can choose from the traditional or accelerated track. While with the traditional track, you complete one course every eight weeks, the accelerated requires you to complete two courses most of the eight-week terms. The curriculum prepares you for advanced positions in nursing through courses in health promotion, disease prevention, population health, and improvement of performance.

2. East Carolina University - Greenville, NC    Visit Program Page

A BSN is increasingly becoming a requirement for professional entry-level nursing. As a registered nurse, it makes sense that you secure your career by completing the online baccalaureate education that does not interfere with your current professional or personal obligations. East Carolina University’s RN to BSN program is delivered completely online and does not entail any campus or clinical site visits. However, as part of your coursework, you will engage in experiential learning that can be completed at your current workplace. By building up on your knowledge of nursing concepts & principles and liberal arts, natural & social sciences, you will be made proficient as a caregiver who applies critical reasoning and collaborates with members of a healthcare team to effectively improve the health outcome of patients across the lifespan.

3. Albany State University - Albany, GA    Visit Program Page

Nursing is a promising field with opportunities galore across the country, and obtaining a higher education is the only way to climb the career ladder faster. When you opt for the RN to BSN bridge program at Albany State University, you set a firm ground for advanced nursing positions or for a graduate degree. This online program can either be completed in two semesters on a full-time basis, or in four semesters if you opt for the part-time track. The college acknowledges your RN degree and awards up to 33 credits, which are held in escrow until you complete at least seven-semester credits in nursing courses. The nursing courses include nursing informatics, pathophysiology, issues in professional nursing, health assessment, nursing care and management of the aging, community nursing, nursing research, and nursing ethics and leadership.

4. Morehead State University - Morehead, KY    Visit Program Page

Morehead State University’s RN to BSN degree trains you with the knowledge, skills, and professional attitude that help take your nursing career to the next level. To begin with, you must possess an unrestricted RN license to be eligible for this program. The curriculum is delivered completely online, in an interactive web-based platform. The coursework starts with a course in transition to professional nursing practice and covers nursing pharmacology, population health, healthcare delivery systems, health assessment, evidence-based nursing practice, and leadership in nursing. Furthermore, you also complete two elective courses in improving healthcare for the elderly and solutions to solve issues of health disparities. Upon graduation, you will be able to provide advanced nursing care and improve healthcare for a diverse patient population.

5. Mississippi University for Women - Columbus, MS    Visit Program Page

Mississippi University for Women’s nursing education is aimed at developing enhanced critical thinking and leadership skills by delivering a curriculum that is a blend of liberal arts, behavioral and social science, and nursing courses. Post a BSN credential; you will be able to function as a professional nurse with advanced skills and become an agent of change in the constantly evolving nursing field. The RN to BSN bridge program is available as a hybrid and online option, offering you the best of distance and classroom learning. Professional nursing concepts, health assessment across the lifespan, community nursing, threats, and issues to global health, and evidence-based nursing practice are the nursing courses you will complete to earn your degree.

5 Best RN to BSN Programs in The Southwest Region

After closely evaluating all the 49 accredited RN to BSN Programs in the Southwest Region (Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas), we have come up with the following list of the 5 Best Programs.

1. University of Houston - Sugar Land Houston, TX    Visit Program Page

If you are a registered nurse looking at entering leadership and management positions in nursing, then the most feasible option would be to complete your BSN. The University of Houston allows you to earn this degree without keeping your current professional or personal responsibilities on hold. This program can be completed in as little as 12 months and is designed to teach you skills that matter in the real world. The coursework is a blend of biological sciences, social sciences, behavioral sciences, humanities, and nursing courses. Additionally, to help you apply the newly acquired nursing knowledge in a community health setting, the college assigns clinical sites for experiential learning. Besides, you will also complete a health assessment lab session and a capstone, for which a campus visit may be required.

2. Texas Woman's University - Denton, TX    Visit Program Page

Texas Woman’s University offers an online RN to BSN course that builds up on your past nursing degree and prepares you to become a competent caregiver. Being a licensed RN, you will earn 28 credits and enter directly into the upper-division coursework. In fact, you can also earn few credits for the upper-division courses by passing the challenge exams that test your nursing knowledge. This way, you will complete the program much sooner and with lesser tuition costs. The nursing coursework is a blend of theory and practical knowledge in nursing research, nursing assessment, informatics, nursing care of families and the aged, community nursing, and leadership & management in nursing. This program also offers a dual enrollment opportunity for students currently enrolled in an ADN program at partnering community colleges.

3. University of New Mexico - Albuquerque, NM    Visit Program Page

The University of New Mexico offers one of the few RN to BSN programs in the region with multiple start dates and a 100% online coursework, allowing you to start and complete the program at your own convenience. The program is rooted in evidence-based nursing practice and delivered by expert faculty who are committed to excellence in nursing. As a graduate of this program, you will turn out to be a lifelong learner, a culturally relevant nurse, and a valuable member of an interdisciplinary healthcare team who relentlessly works towards improving healthcare. To earn your degree, you must complete at least 30 credits in advanced nursing, research and evidence added nursing, community nursing, leadership and management in nursing. The coursework also covers fundamentals of human and molecular genetics across the lifespan, nursing care of the vulnerable population and issues in healthcare at a local, national, and global level.

4. West Texas A&M University - Canyon, TX    Visit Program Page

West Texas A & M University is known for affordable nursing education that produces competent and compassionate nurses. Additionally, tuition costs can be further reduced by earning a scholarship that is offered towards each RN to BSN course. The coursework combines courses in liberal arts and nursing that grow in complexity as you progress through it. The program is delivered online and can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis. The advanced nursing coursework enhances your understanding of the various aspects of effective healthcare delivery, be it cultural, social, economic, or political. This in-depth knowledge helps you comprehend the issues that affect patients and accordingly treat them in a holistic manner.

5. Texas A&M University College of Nursing - Bryan, TX    Visit Program Page

If you a licensed RN or currently pursuing your nursing associate degree from any of the partner colleges, then you are eligible to apply for Texas A&M University College of Nursing’s RN to BSN bridge tack. The program is offered completely online, and even clinical experiences can be completed in your own geographical location, allowing you to pursue this program from your area of residence. The only campus visit required is in the beginning, for a two-day new student conference. Depending on your life schedule, you can choose the pace and complete the program in either three, four, or five semesters. Graduation requires completing at least 30 credits in nursing courses, including informatics for RN, application of evidence-based practice, health promotion across the lifespan, nursing leadership and management, pharmacology in nursing, health assessment, community health, nursing care of the elderly and professional issues faced by RNs.

5 Best RN to BSN Programs in The Western Region

After closely evaluating all the 73 accredited RN to BSN Programs in the Western Region (Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming), we have come up with the following list of the 5 Best Programs.

1. California State University-San Marcos - San Marcos, CA    Visit Program Page

As a registered nurse, earning a BSN will secure your future and help you climb the career ladder. California State University-San Marcos designs its RN to BSN program keeping working nurses in mind. The entire coursework is offered online, so you can continue working while adding a BSN credential to your profile. The program builds upon your nursing associate and focuses on teaching you advanced nursing skills and knowledge to offer culturally relevant nursing care to a diverse patient population. The program is offered on a full-time basis and can be completed in just 14 months. With classes being offered in an eight-week term format, you will enjoy reasonable breaks in between, allowing you to juggle personal and professional responsibilities.

2. California State University-Chico - Chico, CA    Visit Program Page

With the nation facing an acute shortage of professionally trained nurses to meet the health needs of its population, taking the obvious next step into your nursing career makes sense as most employers these days prefer hiring BSN graduates. Baccalaureate education at California State University-Chico is affordable and facilitated by expert faculty who are leaders in their field. Moreover, the flexibility of online coursework allows you to pursue this RN to BSN degree even from remote locations. As a registered nurse with an active license, you can earn 20 credits for your past education and save on study time and costs. Apart from nursing informatics, nursing research, values and ethics in nursing, nursing leadership and management, and a practicum in community nursing, the coursework also includes courses in LGBT issues and world religion.

3. California State University-Channel Islands - Camarillo, CA    Visit Program Page

If you are in the first year of an ADN program at a community college, then you can concurrently obtain a BSN from California State University-Channel Islands. Furthermore, if you hold an active NCLEX-RN, you can enter this program and advance your education while earning up to 70 credits for your previous degree. This on-campus program offers classes in 16-week terms and takes around 12 months to complete. Alternatively, if you prefer a slower pace, you can opt for the part-time option. The curriculum integrates clinical experiences in public health, nursing leadership and management with didactic core courses that aim at making you adept in evidence-based nursing practice and function as an autonomous member of an interdisciplinary healthcare team.

4. Montana Tech - Butte, MT    Visit Program Page

Graduates of Montana Tech’s RN to BSN course, demonstrate enhanced communication, critical thinking, and clinical judgment skills, besides an attitude of compassion and professionalism. The college stresses on developing these vital traits that are the cornerstone of a successful nursing career. This is achieved through a well-designed curriculum that takes you through global health issues, nursing research, and evidence-based nursing knowledge, advanced health assessment, patient-centric nursing care, nursing informatics, family and community nursing, and leadership and management in nursing. Additionally, you must undergo a clinical practicum in leadership and management and community nursing to complete the total 48 credits required to earn your BSN.

5. University of Utah - Salt Lake City, UT    Visit Program Page

University of Utah’s RN to BSN education is offered online as two, three, and four-semester options, so you can opt for the one that suits your life schedule. Alternatively, if you are inclined towards nursing care of the elderly, you can choose to complete the RN to BS Geriatric Nursing leadership track that focuses on the care and management of elderly patients. Regardless of the option or track you choose, you will be taught by an expert faculty that strives towards producing evidence-based and service-oriented nurses. Clinical experiences are integrated into the curriculum, requiring you to complete 113 clinical hours partnering with a nurse leader. This can be done at your current place of employment, saving you the hassle of commute to a clinical site.



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