25 Reasons Why an RN-to-BSN is Worth it!

Written By: Darby Faubion BSN, RN

Are you a registered nurse with an associate degree considering returning to school to earn a higher degree? Do you like the idea of advancing your career to higher levels or taking on leadership roles that interest you? If so, you may be interested in an RN-to-BSN program. Maybe you have heard of this program but find yourself asking, "Is an RN-to-BSN worth it?" As you continue reading this article, you will learn about RN-to-BSN programs, including finding information about the cost, the amount of time it takes to graduate, and the coursework students study. We will also address 25 reasons why an RN-to-BSN is worth it to help you decide whether this option is good for you.


An RN-to-BSN degree program is a nursing program designed for associate or diploma registered nurses to earn a Bachelor of Science in nursing. As a student in an RN-to-BSN program, you will be introduced to more advanced nursing concepts, such as healthcare informatics, leadership and management. RN-to-BSN programs allow students to broaden their scope of practice and lay a foundation for graduate studies. Additionally, if you are interested in pursuing a specialty certification, these programs help prepare you for that pursuit.


The amount of time it takes to complete an RN-to-BSN program varies. You may be able to transfer credit for previous coursework, which could decrease the amount of time it takes to complete your program. Some programs offer accelerated options and can be completed in as few as nine months. Another factor determining how long it will take to complete the program is whether you attend school part-time or full-time. Typically, students in RN-to-BSN programs graduate in one to two years. So, if you are looking for a nursing program where you can earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, an RN-to-BSN is worth it.

Be sure to talk with academic advisors at any school that interests you. Their job is to help you find a path to achieve your goals in an acceptable amount of time without leaving you overwhelmed or course burdened.


One of the most important factors influencing a person's decision to return to college is cost. RN-to-BSN programs can cost as little as $10,000 to more than $80,000. Each school determines its tuition rate. Some schools charge a per-credit rate, and others charge tuition based on a semester rate.

Factors including whether you receive credit for previous credits earned, if you pay in-state or out-of-state tuition, and the number of classes you need to satisfy the program requirement impact the overall cost. Also, some schools may have different tuition rates depending on your course delivery. For example, online programs often cost less than hybrid or in-person classes.

Keep in mind that many scholarships, loans, and grants are available for nursing students, which could help offset some of the expenses and make the decision to further your education easier.


Admission criteria for RN-to-BSN programs are determined by the school offering the program per guidelines established by the state nursing regulatory body. Although criteria may vary somewhat from one school or program to the next, the general admission requirements are similar. The following are common admission requirements prospective RN-to-BSN students must meet. Consider these requirements as you ponder whether an RN-to-BSN degree is worth it.

1. Possess an Associate Degree in Nursing from an accredited college or university:

One of the main criteria for entering an RN-to-BSN program is that you have already achieved the role of registered nurse by earning an associate degree in nursing.

2. Have an Active, Unrestricted License to Practice as a Registered Nurse:

Your license must be active, unencumbered and remain in good standing for the duration of the program.

3. Complete all prerequisite course requirements:

Because you already have an associate degree in nursing, you will likely have all (or most) of the required prerequisite and pre-nursing coursework completed. However, you must confirm the prerequisite requirements with an academic advisor, so you do not face delays with your admission process.

4. Meet the Minimum Grade Point Average:

One of the most important things admissions counselors and advisors consider is your cumulative grade point average. Most RN-to-BSN programs require applicants to have a minimum 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale for all post-secondary coursework. Some schools may admit applicants with lower GPAs, under certain circumstances. However, it is common for preference to be given to candidates with higher GPAs. If you feel like your college-level grade point average is lacking, you may consider taking a few classes to help improve your GPA before you apply.

5. Standardized Test Scores:

Although some colleges and universities do not require standardized tests, such as the ACT, SAT, or TEAS test (Test of Essential Academic Skills), others do. Be sure to discuss this requirement with an admissions counselor to be certain. Even if a school does not require any of these tests, if you have taken them and scored well, consider having your scores sent to the school anyway, as they may add some weight to your application.

6. Prepare an Admissions Essay:

Most nursing schools require applicants to prepare an essay, often referred to as a Personal Statement or Statement of Intent. Depending on the school, you may be asked to follow a particular format or answer specific questions. Your essay should address why you have chosen an RN-to-BSN program to reach your academic and professional goals. It should also state how you think the program at XYZ school can help you achieve those goals and what you feel you can contribute to the program and the nursing profession. Remember, admission to RN-to-BSN programs may be competitive. Ensure you include information that will make you stand out among the applicants.

7. Letters of Recommendation:

Most nursing schools ask applicants to submit two or three letters of recommendation along with their application packet. These letters should come from professional references, such as supervisors or employers, and/or academic references like former nursing instructors or preceptors. The letters of recommendation should convey the writer’s opinion about the likelihood of your success in an RN-to-BSN program, your professional character, and any other traits that would make you stand out.

Students in nursing programs participate in clinicals at various healthcare facilities. Therefore, in addition to the requirements for admission listed above, you should anticipate being required to submit to a criminal background check and drug test. Additionally, although some campuses do not require immunizations for on-campus attendance, clinical sites may. You should also prepare to show proof of current immunizations.


(The following are the 25 reasons that will convince you why an RN-to-BSN is worth it in 2023.)

Before committing to pursue any college degree program, take the time to consider the pros and cons and find a program that aligns with your personal and professional goals. The following are some advantages to consider and why I believe an RN-to-BSN degree is worth it.

REASON #1: Increased Income

One of the top reasons why an RN-to-BSN is worth it is the benefit of making more money. A 2020 National Nursing Workforce Survey revealed nurses with a BSN make more money than nurses with an associate degree. According to PayScale, baccalaureate-prepared nurses earn an average of $87,000 yearly, while nurses with an ADN make roughly $71,000.

REASON #2: Broader Scope of Practice

Baccalaureate-prepared nurses have increased knowledge and broader skillset, which means a broader scope of practice. Transitioning from an ADN to a BSN involves moving from a technical role to a more professional role. In addition to providing direct patient care, you may move into management or leadership roles when you earn a BSN. Some BSN nurses move into roles in education, research and public health.

REASON #3: Opportunities to Practice in More Diverse Settings

A decline in hospital admissions, shorter hospital stays, and consumer demand for alternative methods of healthcare delivery have led to changes in the type of care nurses provide and the settings where they provide it. For example, in recent years, more patients choose to seek care at urgent care clinics and outpatient care facilities instead of going to emergency rooms or inpatient hospitals. Instead of going to nursing homes or rehabilitation centers, many patients choose home health care services to meet their healthcare needs.

The diversity of healthcare facilities requires nurses with the knowledge and skillset to manage staff and ensure high-quality healthcare services, which baccalaureate-prepared nurses can do.

REASON #4: Many Employers Prefer BSN Nurses

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing cited a study by New York University that indicates bachelor's-prepared registered nurses are better equipped than associate-degree nurses in areas of quality and safety, evidence-based practice, project implementation, and data analysis. These professional qualities and abilities make BSN nurses attractive to potential employers, increasing their chances of landing sought-after jobs.

REASON #5: BSN Programs Lay the Foundation for Graduate Studies

One of the great things that makes RN-to-BSN degree is worth it is that these programs help nurses develop a foundation of nursing knowledge and skills that will be beneficial if you ever consider graduate studies. For example, if you want to be a nurse practitioner or nurse educator, you will need to pursue a master's or doctorate in nursing. Having a foundation in a BSN will help you transition more easily.

REASON #6: More Opportunities for Career Advancement

One of the top reasons why an RN-to-BSN is worth it is the opportunities for career advancement. Whether you want to earn a specialty certification, pursue a leadership role, or precept nursing students, earning a BSN is an excellent way to advance your career.

REASON #7: Improved Patient Outcomes

Many studies suggest that patient outcomes seem to improve when BSN-prepared nurses provide care. According to data cited by the American Association of Colleges of Nurses, simply increasing the proportion of baccalaureate-prepared nurses by 10% lowered the odds of patient mortality by nearly 11%.

REASON #8: More Opportunities to Train in Specialty Areas

One of the great things about getting a BSN is the opportunity to earn post-baccalaureate specialty certifications. There are various options for specialization, depending on the practice area or patient population that interests you most. For example, if you like working in surgery, you may consider a perioperative nursing certification. Nurses who enjoy learning about technology and desire to help promote healthcare delivery and positive patient outcomes may choose a specialization in nursing informatics.

REASON #9: More Comprehensive Education

Your associate degree nursing program taught you the basics of clinical care, which is an excellent and necessary foundation for any nursing practice. When you pursue an RN-to-BSN, your academic portfolio will grow to include coursework in more advanced critical thinking and decision-making, interdisciplinary communication and collaboration, and leadership skills.

REASON #10: Get Ahead of the Curve

Although it is not yet mandatory, there is a push for registered nurses to have minimum entry-level education of Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Some organizations even prefer a master's degree as the minimum entry level. If you want to be ahead of any changes in legislation regarding minimum degree levels, the RN-to-BSN is worth it.

REASON #11: You Can Pursue a Specialty Certification

Nurses with a BSN can pursue certification in a nursing specialty. Several nursing certifications are available such as Pediatric RN, Cardiology RN, or Quality Assurance and Improvement Coordinator. Registered nurses with a BSN are more likely to be offered more advanced leadership roles than registered nurses with associate degrees.

REASON #12: Better Chances of Long-Term Job Opportunities and Security

Associate and bachelor's degree registered nurses often have similar entry-level roles. However, the long-term job security of baccalaureate-prepared nurses seems to be more favorable. This is in part because of the more diverse roles BSN nurses can fill, just one more of the top reasons why an RN-to-BSN is worth it.

REASON #13: You Can Pursue Research

If you like studying different aspects of health and illness, a career as a nurse researcher may interest you. One of the first steps to becoming a nurse researcher is earning a Bachelor of Science in nursing. Although some research assignments or projects may require you to earn an advanced degree, the RN-to-BSN is worth it if you want to get started on the research path without jumping into a graduate nursing program.

REASON #14: Develop a Wider Range of Skills

While registered nurses with an associate degree have excellent hands-on skills and provide exceptional clinical care for patients, one of the benefits of earning a BSN is the advanced skills you learn. BSN graduates have opportunities to develop, sharpen, and hone advanced skills, including critical thinking and decision making, collaboration, and interprofessional and interpersonal communication. The range of skills you develop in these programs make RN-to-BSN programs worth it.

REASON #15: Higher Levels of Autonomy

One thing that makes an RN-to-BSN worth it is that you will have increased autonomy in your practice. As a baccalaureate-prepared nurse, you have the benefit of more freedom when making critical decisions regarding patient care. More autonomy means BSN nurses can fill supervisory positions and manage teams of nurses and unlicensed assistive personnel.

REASON #16: You Could Have a Bachelor's Degree in as Little as 12 to 24 Months!

One of the biggest reasons why an RN-to-BSN is worth it is, that with some programs, you could earn your Bachelor of Science degree in nursing in a year. Depending on the number of transferable credits you have going into the BSN program, some programs may take longer. However, even if it takes you two years to earn your BSN after your original RN degree, that is still an outstanding accomplishment! Just stay focused and keep your eyes on the prize.... your BSN degree.

REASON #17: RNs Often Get Into the BSN Program Without Being Wait-Listed

If you want to earn a higher degree without being put on a waiting list, an RN-to-BSN is worth it. Registered nurses with an associate degree in nursing have already completed general education and pre-nursing requirements, making it easier to secure a spot in a BSN program.

REASON #18: RN-to-BSN Programs Often Have More Flexible Study Plans

One thing that makes RN-to-BSN programs attractive to nurses considering a higher degree is the available formats of the programs. In most cases, it is probably safe to say your initial RN degree was delivered in an on-campus format. Because currently licensed RNs have some nursing education and clinical background, it makes it possible for colleges and universities to offer different options.

Many RN-to-BSN programs are offered in online or hybrid formats, which means you can have a little more control over your schedule and may continue working while you pursue your studies. For example, if you choose an online or hybrid format, you may have little or no on-campus requirements for didactic coursework. The flexibility of scheduling is one of the things that makes many students say an RN-to-BSN is worth it.

REASON #19: Expand Your Professional Network

Baccalaureate-prepared nurses can accept roles with more responsibility, such as leadership or management in nursing. These positions create opportunities to meet and collaborate with more interdisciplinary team members, which leads to a larger professional network. Expanding your professional network is beneficial because the more contacts you have, the more likely you will learn about continuing education and employment opportunities.

REASON #19: Highly Trained Nurses are in Demand

There are several reasons why nurses are in demand. One way you can ensure a spot in some of the most coveted nursing positions is to earn a higher degree, like the RN-to-BSN degree. Employers prefer to hire highly educated nurses who plan to work for them long-term. So, if this sounds like something you can see yourself doing, you may feel like an RN-to-BSN program is worth it.

REASON #20: You Want to Make a Difference in the Profession

BSN nurses work in various settings and roles. One of the great things about earning a bachelor's degree in nursing is the impact your role can have on patients, teams, and the profession. The higher degree level opens doors of opportunity for you to influence decisions regarding patient care and the way organizations work to provide nursing services.

REASON #21: Better Work Schedules

Another of the biggest reasons an RN-to-BSN is worth it is that baccalaureate-prepared nurses often have the privilege of working more set schedules. Although you may choose to work shift work, if you pursue a job in management or leadership, you could end up working typical office hours, Monday through Friday, with nights and holidays off.

REASON #22: You Want to Teach Nursing

Earning your BSN is an excellent way to move toward the nurse educator role. If you want to teach future nurses and help mold the future of the profession, an RN-to-BSN program is worth it!

REASON #23: You Want to Grow and Challenge Yourself Professionally

A common characteristic of many nurses is their desire to continue growing and learning. Many of us do not need challenges from others because we challenge ourselves. If you like the idea of growing and evolving into a stronger, more educated nurse, an RN-to-BSN degree could be the perfect way to take the next step in your career.

REASON #24: You Want to Provide Higher Quality of Care for Patients

Because RN-to-BSN programs help you hone your skills, the chances of you providing better patient care increase. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) reports that higher education in nursing is related to better quality care and improved outcomes for patients, organizations, and the profession.

REASON #25: You Have Always Wanted to Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing

If no other reason convinced you that an RN-to-BSN is worth it, the fact that you want to earn a BSN should be reason enough. When you put your dreams in front of you and work to see them come to fruition, you gain a sense of accomplishment and self-respect, which helps bolster your self-esteem. When you feel confident, you become a better nurse for your patients and a better member of the nursing care team.


Every person has specific goals and aspirations for their personal and professional lives. It is up to you to decide what aligns with your dreams and to pursue those things. As you ponder all the reasons that pursuing a BSN may be a good idea, it is also important to note reasons why an RN-to-BSN is not worth it.

REASON #1: You Do Not Want the Increased Responsibility

Some nurses are content with their current job and don’t want to “rock the boat,” so to speak. If you can imagine yourself in the same job with the same responsibilities years from now and feel happy about it, you may feel an RN-to-BSN is not worth it.

REASON #2: You Don’t See Yourself In Nursing Years from Now

One of the great things about choosing nursing as a career is you won't have to worry about finding a job. As long as there are sick people, the world will need nurses. However, you may be among the nursing workforce with different aspirations for your long-term career. If you consider where you want to be in five, ten, or twenty years and it does not involve nursing, I will wager that an RN-to-BSN is not worth it.

REASON #3: You Feel Pressured to Earn a BSN

Earning a Bachelor of Science in nursing is a great way to move your career up a notch. However, you should be sure the decision to do so is independent from any feelings of pressure to succeed or meet others’ expectations. It is important to remember this because if you begin this journey half-heartedly, you will set yourself up for failure.

REASON #4: You Do Not Desire a Leadership or Management Position

If you want to advance your career toward management or leadership, a BSN degree can help make that possible. Conversely, some nurses prefer to work as part of the direct-care team and offer support to leadership instead of being leaders. If this fits your idea of nursing, it is likely that pursuing an RN-to-BSN degree is not worth it.

REASON #5: You Have Other Priorities that You Prefer to Focus On

I always encourage prospective nursing students or nurses considering advancing their careers to prioritize things in their lives before jumping into any college program. If you have a family, children, or other responsibilities that require a lot of time and attention, it may be in your best interest to wait to pursue an RN-to-BSN degree. This is not to say it is impossible to create a healthy balance between current priorities and school. You must consider all aspects of your life and determine what is best for you.

REASON #6: You Do Not Have the Financial Resources and Don’t Want Student Loans

If you are considering going back to school, chances are you already know it can be expensive. There are several resources available to help offset the expense of earning your BSN, including federal grants and loans, personal loans, and scholarships. However, if you do not qualify for grants and do not receive scholarships, you must pay for the program yourself. Some nurses delay going back to school or dismiss the idea altogether because of a lack of resources and their aversion to getting into debt with student loans.

REASON #7: You Are Reaching Retirement Age

One reason some nurses feel getting an RN-to-BSN degree is not worth it is the fact that they are close to retirement. While it's never too late to learn new things and apply yourself, if you are close to retirement, you may prefer to continue working in your current role without the stress of returning to school.


BSN educated Registered nurses are in high demand now, even more than in years past, which makes getting your BSN an excellent option. The following are a few reasons why there is such a high demand for RN-to-BSN degree holders.

1. Demand for Highly Educated Nurses to Provide Care:

With an increase in the number of chronic and acute diseases and illnesses, the demand for nurses capable of using high levels of critical decision-making and clinical reasoning continues to increase, as well.

2. Increased Understanding and Use of Evidence-Based Practices in Nursing:

RN-to-BSN programs equip registered nurses with the knowledge necessary to understand and use evidence-based approaches to patient care. Evidence-based practice allows nurses to involve patients in their care plans and helps them educate patients and their loved ones about possible effects and risks associated with their care based on scientifically backed data.

3. BSN-Nurses Are Associated with Improved Patient Outcomes:

Evidence indicates in hospitals and other healthcare facilities where there is a higher number of baccalaureate-prepared nurses, patient outcomes are improved. The higher proportion of BSN nurses to ADN nurses is associated with lower rates of mortality, decreased hospital-acquired infections, and fewer safety events.


The average starting salary for RN-to-BSN graduates is $63,940 annually. This pay is equivalent to $30.74 per hour, $1,230 per week, or $5,330 per month.



The average salary for RN-to-BSN degree holders is $42.79 per hour, which equals $1,712 weekly, $7,420 monthly, or $89,000 annually.

(Source: Payscale.com)


When you graduate from an RN-to-BSN program, you will have more opportunities. The following are a few examples of the best jobs you can get after graduating.

1. Travel Nurse:

If you want to see the country (or the world), travel nursing could be an excellent choice for you. As a travel nurse, you can choose which assignments to accept or reject. You may negotiate contracts in geographical areas that interest you most. You may prefer to work with a specific patient population and can apply for contracts that cater to that specialty.

2. Informatics Nurse:

Informatics nurses use their knowledge of nursing and information technology to analyze data, evaluate and support healthcare technology to help improve patient and organizational outcomes.

3. Work in Critical Care:

Nurses who specialize in the care of critically ill patients are in high demand. Whether you prefer to work with adults, children, or specific health issues, there are several options for working in critical care after graduating from an RN-to-BSN program.


One of the top reasons why an RN-to-BSN is worth it is the potential for higher incomes. Even after you earn your BSN, there are a few things you can do to increase your income. Here are a few examples:

1. Consider Earning a Specialty Certification:

Specialty certification is a great way to strengthen your skills, enhance your resume and boost your paycheck. In some healthcare facilities, nurses with specialty certification are preferred over candidates without certification.

2. Apply for a Leadership Position:

Nurse leaders have more responsibility, and with that responsibility comes the benefit of earning more money.

3. Consider Working Nights, Weekends, or Per Diem Shifts:

Another way to boost your income quickly is to take on some extra shifts on the side. When you work prn or per diem shifts, you work in the place of nurses who called in sick or who are out for vacation or personal reasons. Per diem and prn shifts typically do not offer benefits. However, the hourly pay is higher, which makes it a good side hustle.


ADN-Registered nurses considering earning a higher degree often ask, “Is an RN-to-BSN worth it?” As a nurse who started as a Certified Nursing Assistant, worked my way up to being a Licensed Practical Nurse, then a registered nurse, I believe you can't go wrong when you choose to increase your knowledge base and broaden your clinical scope of practice. I encourage you to consider the 25 reasons why an RN-to-BSN is worth it featured in this article to make a decision that is best for you. Remember, the only limit to what you can achieve is the limit you put on yourself!


1. What Is The Best Age To Do An RN-to-BSN?

The majority of students in RN-to-BSN programs are in their mid 20’s to late 30’s. However, that is not to say there is a “best age” for pursuing your dream of becoming a nurse with a BSN. My belief is, if you want something bad enough, go for it!

2. How Hard Is It To Get Into An RN-to-BSN Program?

Although admission to some nursing schools is competitive, it is not as difficult to get into an RN-to-BSN program. The fact that you've already completed many credits for your associate degree and have some clinical experience makes you a good candidate for admission.

3. Do I Need Work Experience To Get Into An RN-to-BSN Program?

Some schools that offer RN-to-BSN programs may require applicants to have work experience, but not all schools do. Admission criteria are determined by each school in accordance with state and federal regulations. Therefore, it is always best to discuss specific requirements with an admissions counselor at any school that interests you.

4. What Is The Minimum GPA To Get Into An RN-to-BSN Program?

Like other admission requirements, the minimum GPA criteria may vary from one school to the next. Generally, admission to RN-to-BSN programs is contingent upon having a minimum grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 grading scale for all post-secondary coursework.

5. Can I Get Into An RN-to-BSN Program With A Low GPA?

There may be times when a nursing program extends an offer of admission to a student who has a GPA less than the average listed in the admission criteria. This is a rare occasion and limited to special conditions, usually for a probationary period. My suggestion would be to work to get your grade point average to at least the minimum required for your chosen school to increase your chances of being accepted.

6. Are Online RN-to-BSN Programs Worth It?

Anytime you earn a higher degree, you make yourself more marketable, have higher income earning potential, and chances for long-term job security. With that in mind, I believe it is safe to say an RN-to-BSN program is worth it.

7. Can RN-to-BSN Students Have a Life?

RN-to-BSN programs are a bit more flexible than other nursing programs, which makes it easier to maintain a “normal” schedule or routine. If you have work or family obligations, I suggest talking with your family, employer, and academic advisor about your schedule and the requirements for you to complete the program successfully. Working together, you should be able to create a healthy school/work/life balance and succeed in the program.

8. Do Students Fail In RN-to-BSN?

Yes, some students fail RN-to-BSN programs. It is important to understand that RN-to-BSN programs are like any other college program... they require work and dedication. If you manage your time and make studying a priority, you can increase your likelihood of success in the program.

9. Will I Ever Regret Getting An RN-to-BSN Degree?

Most registered nurses who choose this route to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing say an RN-to-BSN program is worth it. You have the benefit of making more money and opportunities for career advancement, which are just a few perks.

10. Will RN-to-BSN Graduates Be Paid Less In The Future?

There is nothing to suggest that RN-to-BSN graduates will be paid less in the future. In fact, with the nationwide shortage of nurses, it would be natural to assume that graduates may make more in the future, an incentive to draw bachelors-prepared nurses into the profession.

11. Are All RN-to-BSN Graduates Successful In Their Careers?

Unfortunately, not all RN-to-BSN graduates are successful in their careers. Lack of success can be attributed to several factors, including lack of desire to continue clinical care and poor ethic. Success is a mindset and something you can achieve with hard work and dedication.

12. Are RN-to-BSN Graduates Happy With Their Jobs?

According to a publication by Medscape, among more than 10,000 nurses surveyed, 94-96% report being satisfied with their jobs.

13. Can RN-to-BSN Degree Holders Become Rich?

The average annual income for RN-to-BSN degree holders is $89,000. Although it may take some time, with proper financial planning and management, it is possible for anyone to establish wealth.

14. What Are Some RN-to-BSN Degree Alternatives?

One of the great things about nursing and healthcare is there are countless opportunities to pursue your goals and find the perfect job. A few alternatives to RN-to-BSN degrees include medical assistant, health science degrees, respiratory therapy, and occupational therapy,

Darby Faubion BSN, RN
Darby Faubion is a nurse and Allied Health educator with over twenty years of experience. She has assisted in developing curriculum for nursing programs and has instructed students at both community college and university levels. Because of her love of nursing education, Darby became a test-taking strategist and NCLEX prep coach and assists nursing graduates across the United States who are preparing to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).