8 Best RN to BSN 9-Months Online Programs For 2023

Written By: Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH

RN to BSN in 9-months online programs are not for the faint of heart. If you enroll in one, you can expect to eat, drink, sleep and breathe nursing for three semesters straight with few if any breaks. Still, for the motivated RN who understands you have to work hard to reach your goals, fast-track programs like these provide a convenient way to access all those professional advantages a nursing baccalaureate has to offer. This article will tell you all you need to know about the best RN to BSN 9-months online programs for 2023.

What Exactly Is the Goal of An RN to BSN 9-Months Program?

Online RN to BSN in 9-months programs are designed to squeeze four years of nursing education into three short semesters. They provide a quick solution for RNs whose lack of a nursing baccalaureate is acting as a roadblock to the enjoyment of a more fulfilling career. In order to accomplish this, however, these programs are extremely rigorous. You can’t allow yourself to fall behind on your studies for a single moment because there will be absolutely no time to play catchup.

How Much Do Online RN to BSN In 9-Months Programs Cost?

Tuition and fees for RN to BSN 9-months online programs range between $6,000 and $41,000. Tuition does not cover the costs of any of the nursing prerequisites or general education classes you may need before you are able to begin a program.

State universities are significantly less expensive than private colleges and universities, but because of that, they’re harder to get into. State universities typically charge out-of-state students’ higher tuition even when those students are participating in online degree programs.

At the University of Texas in Arlington, you can expect to pay $8,995 for your RN to baccalaureate nursing degree, which works out to $504 a course or $168 per credit hour. Houston Baptist University, which is also in Texas, charges $12,555 but allows students flexible payment plans that let them pay tuition off in installments. Jacksonville State University in Florida charges a flat $9,450 while at Lewis-Clark State University in Idaho you’ll end up spending $9,097.


Students who have not completed all general education requirements can still be admitted into online RN to BSN in 9-months programs, but be aware that most schools will not award you your Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree without successful completion of those courses. It’s probably safest to get these out of the way before you start your program. Courses will only be eligible for transfer if they’ve been completed at a nationally or regionally accredited school, and the majority of schools will not give you credit for any course that was taken more than five years ago. Some schools will give you credits for your RN license and your associate degree or diploma.

Most 9-month RN to BSN degree programs don’t use the semester system; instead, courses are scheduled in five-week, six-week or eight-week segments. Many programs also include a capstone project during which students will apply what they’ve learned throughout the program to a real-life clinical challenge. A few schools require in-person campus visits for orientation and special clinical skills labs.

The curriculum in your 9-month RN to BSN program will likely concentrate on core nursing classes. The University of Texas at Arlington focuses on the professional transition RNs will be making after they graduate from the university’s program with classes like “Role Transition to Professional Nursing” and “Nursing Leadership & Management.” Lewis-Clark State College prepares BSN graduates who are ready to deal with the diversity they will find in their post-graduate workplaces with courses like “Transcultural Healthcare” and “Population Health Nursing.” The University of Cincinnati in Ohio offers a number of classes such as “Focus on Community” and “Health Issues of Vulnerable & Marginalized Populations” that groom nurses for careers within the public health sector.

Clinical Training

All 9-month RN to BSN programs online include a clinical component. The number of hours you’ll need to commit to practicums varies from school to school, but the basic rule of thumb is three hours of experiential learning for every one hour of didactic learning. If you are attending an online program based at a school that is far from where you live, your school will most likely allow you to arrange a clinical experience at a healthcare facility that’s close to where you live. Some schools will grant you credit for hours you work at a healthcare facility if you continue your employment while you’re enrolled in school.

Admission Requirements

Online RN to BSN in 9-months programs’ admission requirements vary from school to school, but all programs require an unencumbered RN license and a two-year degree from an accredited community college or hospital diploma program. Though most schools will accept out-of-state residents into their fast-track BSN programs, the University of Texas at Arlington only accepts inhabitants of the Lone Star State. Many schools require you to have maintained a 2.0 grade point average in any previous college-level studies, but the University Of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center requires a 2.5 grade point average while Colorado Technical University doesn’t have any grade point requirements at all. If you want to attend Jacksonville University in Florida, you’ll need to submit a statement of intent, a resume and letters of recommendation in addition to the other application materials.


1. University Of Cincinnati - Cincinnati, Ohio

2. University Of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center - Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

3. University Of Texas Arlington - Arlington, Texas

4. Jacksonville State University - Jacksonville, Florida

5. Lewis-Clark State College - Lewiston, Idaho

6. Colorado Technical University - Colorado Springs, Colorado

7. Webber University - Babson Park, Florida

8. Houston Baptist University - Houston, Texas



The best online RN to BSN in 9-months programs can shorten the nursing baccalaureate timeline dramatically. There’s a real push right now in healthcare facilities towards the preferential hire of BSN-prepared nurses: In a 2010 report, the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) lobbied hard to raise the number of nurses with nursing baccalaureates to 80 percent by the year 2020. A 9-month online RN to BSN is your gateway to a world of exciting professional opportunities.


Can I work while I’m enrolled in a 9-month RN to BSN online program?

9-month online RN to BSN programs don’t typically prohibit students from working while they’re enrolled. Keep in mind, however, that this is likely to be the most challenging and time-consuming academic program you’ve ever undertaken. Not only do you have to factor in the hours you spend in virtual classrooms but also the hours you will have to put in completing assignments and studying. If you want to work in what little time you have left over, go ahead—but remember: Always put your studies first.

How can I pay for a 9-month online RN to BSN program?

If your savings won’t stretch to cover your tuition, other options are available. Filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form will help determine whether you qualify for state or federal needs-based grants and loans. In addition to subsidized loans, you may be able to borrow what you need from a bank or a credit union although you should expect to pay higher interest rates. Some healthcare systems offer tuition reimbursement to nurses who earn their BSNs in these programs; check with your employer to see if this is an option for you.

Will potential employers look down on me if I pursue a 9-month RN to BSN program?

No. In an employer’s eyes, there is no difference between a nursing baccalaureate earned over four years at a campus location and one that’s earned online through a 9-month program.

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.