25 Best Online 1-Year RN to BSN Programs For 2024

Written By: Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH

RN to BSN programs are popular with working nurses who pursued their basic nursing training through community colleges or hospital diploma programs and haven’t yet earned a baccalaureate degree in nursing. If you’re one of them, you know that a BSN is rapidly becoming a necessary qualification for any sort of advancement along the nursing track. You may not want to spend another few years getting that nursing bachelor’s degree, though.

1-year RN to BSN programs Online are a great option to fast-track your career in nursing.

Keep reading to find out all you need to know about the best online 1-year RN to BSN Programs for 2024.

What Exactly Is the Purpose of A 1-Year RN to BSN Program?

1-year RN to BSN online programs are designed to let working nurses compress several years of nursing education into approximately a single 12-month period. If you want to advance in your nursing career as quickly as possible, this could be the solution you’ve been looking for. RN to BSN in one-year programs may not be for everyone, though. In order to succeed at them, you need to be a self-starter with a firm grasp on efficient time management.

8 Benefits Of Online 1-Year RN to BSN Programs

Online 1-year RN to BSN programs can be intense, but they have many benefits as well.

1. You’ll save time:

This is the main advantage of 12-month RN to BSN online programs. They are designed to inculcate the information and the skills that will allow you to hit the ground running when you graduate from the program.

2. There’s less downtime:

Very often, the first few weeks of classes in a regular RN to BSN program are dedicated to reviewing information that students have been taught before. This is because students forget what they’ve been taught during semester breaks and summer vacations. When you’re in one of the 12-month RN to BSN programs online, though, there aren’t any breaks, so there’s no time for you to forget.

3. Your fellow learners will be serious students:

If you want your fellow classmates to be as committed to the learning experience as you are, this is the venue for you. Fast-track programs like these have rigorous admission requirements, so they don’t tend to attract partiers or procrastinators.

4. Your lecture notes will be at your fingertips:

One huge advantage of the distance learning model is that all documents are digitized. You won’t have to struggle to take notes during class because it’s likely the lecture will be instantly available as a transcript.

5. You may save money:

Reducing the number of your educational course requirements may be able to help you cut costs, depending upon tuition fees at your chosen school.

6. You’ll boost your career:

1-year online RN to BSN degree programs have a reputation for putting their graduates on the fast track in their subsequent careers.

7. BSN-prepared nurses earn higher salaries:

According to a 2019 Medscape report, nurses who hold bachelor’s degrees make significantly more money than their colleagues who only hold associate degrees.

8. Hospitals prefer to hire BSN-prepared nurses:

In a report published in 2010, the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) recommended that 80 percent of all working nurses should hold a BSN by the year 2020. Hospitals and other medical facilities are eager to comply with that NAM mandate.

How Much Do 1-Year RN to BSN Programs Online Cost?

RN to BSN in One-Year programs come with hefty price tags. Including course materials and fees, you can expect to pay anywhere between $10,000 to $80,000. Keep in mind that if you’d pursued a more traditional four-year program to earn your BSN, though, you’d almost certainly have ended up paying more.

Students who enroll in the 12-month RN to BSN program at Saint John Fisher College in Rochester, New York, will pay the standard undergraduate tuition of $17,170 per semester or $34,340 a year. Nevada state residents who pursue a 12-month RN to BSN program at Nevada State College in Henderson can expect to pay $7,650 while out-of-state residents can expect to pay $8,900.

Many 12-month online RN to BSN programs don’t impose a flat tuition fee per year, however, but instead charge per credit. Drexel University in Philadelphia, for example, usually charges $820 a credit but for the academic year 2020-2021 will be charging $574 per credit. Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio, charges $398 per credit and offers a significant discount to applicants in the military services.


Most 1-year RN to BSN programs online don’t use a semester system but instead divide the learning cycle into six-week or eight-week segments. Shorter learning cycles mean these schools are able to offer more starting dates. Typically, these programs accept students in January, May and September. You’ll study nursing leadership models, nursing research and critical issues in the nursing field as well as epidemiology and genetics. Many RN to BSN in One-Year programs require a capstone project as well in which you’ll be asked to apply the nursing theory you’ve learned to a specific healthcare issue.

One of the core classes offered in Grand Canyon University’s online 1-Year RN to BSN program explores “Ethical and Spiritual Decision Making in Health Care.” Georgia Southern University in Statesboro requires coursework in pharmacology and mental health. West Coast University in Irvine, California, pairs classes in Public Health with practicums in community health facilities. The University of North Carolina in Wilmington requires students to choose at least one three-credit elective from a list of classes that includes “Complementary and Alternative Therapies,” “Palliative & End-of-Life Care Across the Lifespan” and “Transcultural Health Care.”

Clinical Training

Clinical rotations are essential to the development of sound clinical judgement and critical thinking skills. Clinical rotation requirements vary from school to school, but the recommended ratio is three hours of practicum for every one hour of didactic learning. The best 1-Year RN to BSN programs online will work with you to find a clinical placement at a healthcare facility that’s close to where you live.

Depending upon the requirements of the state in which an RN is licensed, however, he or she may not need to complete a clinical rotation as part of an RN BSN program: The hours you put in at your RN job may satisfy this requirement. Additionally, if you’re able to work while you’re enrolled in the program, those shifts may count toward your clinical hours requirement.

Admission Requirements

Every year, large numbers of people apply to 1-Year RN to BSN online programs, though, only a limited number of spaces are available. Competition for admission into these programs can be fierce. Applicants need to have a current and unencumbered nursing license. Many schools also want professional nursing experience; the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, for example, requires a verification letter from a recent employer, documenting that the applicant has put in at least 1,000 practice hours within the last one to two years.

RN to BSN in 12-months programs tend to have a lengthy list of prerequisites. Typically, these prerequisites include subjects like microbiology, statistics, sociology, psychology, anatomy and physiology. Some schools like Marian University in Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin, will allow you to transfer up to 90 relevant credits so long as you received a grade of C or higher, and you’ve completed the class within the past five years.

Most schools require a cumulative 3.0 grade point average in all prerequisite classes, but both. Fitchburg State University in Massachusetts and the University of South Carolina in Aiken only require a 2.5 cumulative grade point average.

Though some schools still require applicants to sit for either the Health Education Systems Incorporated (HESI), Assessment Technologies Institute (ATI) or Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) exams, more and more 12-month online RN to BSN programs are doing away with that requirement.

How to Pay for Online 1-Year RN to BSN Programs?

Think of your 12-month online RN to BSN program as the equivalent of nursing boot camp. While your school probably won’t prohibit you from working while you’re enrolled, you may not have the time or energy to do so. Consequently, it’s very important to have your prospective financing sources lined up by the time you apply.

You may be eligible for needs-based federal loans and grants, depending upon the information you include in your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), so make sure you fill your FAFSA form out completely, and submit it before the deadline. Many states also use FAFSA information to award state financial aid.

Many schools also offer assistance to tuition-strapped students, either as merit- and needs-based scholarships, or in the form of loans. You may also be able to take out a loan with a private financial institution, though, the interest rates on these will probably be significantly higher than the interest rates on government-and school-backed loans.


(These 1-year RN to BSN Online Programs are ideal for ADN graduates who wish to earn their BSN in 12-months.)

1. Ohio State University - Columbus, OH

2. Drexel University - Philadelphia, PA

3. University of Alabama in Huntsville - Huntsville, AL

4. Georgia Southern University - Statesboro, GA

5. University of South Dakota - Vermillion, SD

6. University of Arkansas - Fayetteville, AK

7. University of North Carolina-Wilmington - Wilmington, NC

8. Pace University - Pleasantville, NY

9. University of Louisiana at Lafayette - Lafayette, LA

10. West Coast University - Irvine, CA

11. University of South Carolina-Aiken - Aiken, SC

12. Appalachian State University - Boone, NC

13. Saint John Fisher College - Rochester, NY

14. Cleveland State University - Cleveland, OH

15. Benedictine University - Lisle, IL

16. Fitchburg State University - Fitchburg, MA

17. Olivet Nazarene University - Bourbonnais, IL

18. Oklahoma Christian University - Oklahoma City, OK

19. Nevada State College - Henderson, NV

20. Marian University - Fond Du Lac, WI

21. Mississippi College - Clinton, MS

22. Saint Thomas University - Miami Gardens, FL

23. Franklin University - Columbus, OH

24. Illinois College - Jacksonville, IL

25. Nightingale College - Salt Lake City, UT


What Kind of Career Opportunities Exist After You Graduate?

The degree you earn from one of the best 1-Year RN to BSN programs online will be indistinguishable from any other nursing baccalaureate so long as you attend an accredited school. That means you’ll be qualified for employment in a variety of healthcare settings, including medical centers, hospitals, ambulatory care centers, clinics, assisted nursing facilities, visiting nurse agencies, schools and physicians’ offices.

Average Earnings

The salaries of BSN-prepared registered nurses have risen significantly within the past 10 years, and it’s likely they will continue to increase in the decade to come. Currently, the average hourly salary for RNs with baccalaureate nursing degrees is nearly $40 an hour, which translates to $6,790 a month or $81,530 annually.

Per Hour $39.20
Per Month$6,790
Per Year $81,530

Job Market

The job market for BSN-prepared RNs is significantly stronger than the market for RNs who only hold associate degrees or hospital diplomas. This is particularly true for new grads. In 2013, the American Association of Colleges of Nurses (AACN) found that 59 percent of new bachelor of science in nursing graduates had employment offers by the time they graduated and nearly 90 percent were employed six months after graduation. This same study reported that 79 percent of employers in the healthcare field have a marked preference for BSN-prepared nurses.

As a graduate of one of an online 1-year RN to BSN program, your degree will be indistinguishable from a four-year nursing baccalaureate degree. Every employment advantage that four-year BSNs have, you’ll have, too.


If you want a BSN, and you have the tenacity to stick with a very demanding program, then one of the best online 1-year RN to BSN programs could be exactly what you’re looking for. Earning your BSN online through one of the many online one-year RN to BSN programs may be more doable than you think and can benefit your career immeasurably.

Frequently Asked Questions Answered By Our Expert

Do I need to think about program accreditation?

It’s vitally important to check the accreditation status of any RN to BSN in 12-months online programs you’re considering. Many employers will not value a BSN that isn’t issued by a national accreditation agency, and your State Board of Nursing may not let you sit for the NCLEX-RN if your program isn’t accredited by a local accreditation agency based out of state. The primary accrediting agency for all online nursing schools is the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

Can I work while I’m enrolled in a one-year online RN to BSN program?

One-year online RN to BSN programs are set up to be flexible: You’ll be able to schedule your own time any way you wish. If you want to work while you’re taking classes, you’ll certainly be able to do so. Keep in mind, though, that it’s going to be tough completing the necessary coursework in a single year, and you may find it too challenging to hold down a fulltime job. If you want to work, consider switching to a part-time or per diem status.

Are general education requirements part of the one-year RN to BSN curriculum?

RN to BSN students must satisfy their school’s general education requirements, whether they’re in a one-year program or a two-year program. You can take many of those general education requirements before you start the one-year program, though, either online or at a nearby community college. When you’re thinking of applying to a school, check to see how many credits that school allows you to transfer.

Can I be accepted into a 12-month RN to BSN program if I haven’t yet taken my NCLEX exam?

In most instances, you cannot go directly from an associate degree program to a 12-month RN to BSN program without sitting for your NCLEX exam. A handful of schools will accept you provisionally, providing that you take the exam before classes begin.

How is a 1-year RN to BSN program different from a “bridge” program?

Many programs exist that enable RNs who don’t hold BSNs to earn their Master’s in Nursing Science (MSN) degrees. BSN-related coursework is a necessary part of that progression, of course, and “bridge” refers to that portion of the RN to MSN program that covers the material those nurses would have learned had they been awarded a BSN. Programs like this don’t typically award BSNs, however, so if you want a baccalaureate in nursing science, a 12-month RN to BSN is a better option.

Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH
Pattie Trumble is a nurse who worked in both California and New York for many years as an emergency room nurse. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and an Associate Degree in Nursing from the Samuel Merritt Hospital School of Nursing. After 10 years of providing direct care, she went back to school and earned concurrent Master’s degrees in both public policy and public health from the University of California, Berkeley. Thereafter, she worked for various public health agencies in California at both the community and state levels providing economic and legislative analysis.