10 Best RN-to-BSN Online No Clinicals Programs For 2023

Written By: Darby Faubion BSN, RN

Are you a registered nurse thinking of moving up the career ladder by obtaining a BSN degree? Maybe the thought of pursuing a higher degree is trumped by worries about the amount of time it may take to complete another college program. What if I told you there are options for some registered nurses to achieve a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in a shorter amount of time by taking online classes and not having to meet clinical requirements? That’s right! There are online RN to BSN with no clinicals programs that could help you achieve your goal of earning a higher degree in much less time than a traditional RN to BSN program. If this sounds like something you would like to know more about, keep reading. In this article, I’ll share some of the best RN to BSN online no clinicals programs for 2023 with you. I will tell you some of the advantages and disadvantages of this type of program and share what to expect regarding coursework, cost, and time investment. Finally, I will answer some of the most frequently asked questions about online RN to BSN programs with no clinical requirements.

What Exactly Is The Purpose Of An RN-to-BSN No Clinicals Program?

The purpose of an RN to BSN no clinicals program is to provide registered nurses who wish to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree the opportunity to do so in a shorter amount of time by giving credit for information and clinical experiences the nurse has already experienced. The program allows RNs to pursue a higher degree of learning focused on developing reasoning and skills that are advanced from associate-level nursing competencies.

3 Advantages Of Online RN-to-BSN No Clinicals Programs

There are advantages and disadvantages related to every circumstance in life, including choosing the right RN to BSN program. Knowing how to weigh the pros and cons against one another so you can make a decision that is beneficial to you and that meets your professional and personal goals is vital for your success. A few advantages of RN to BSN online no clinicals programs include the following.

1. Convenience:

Most online nursing programs allow students to work at their own pace. Deciding when and where you study means that you have more flexibility with your schedule, so family life, work responsibilities, and other life priorities are not neglected. It is not uncommon for BSN programs to require students to complete up to one thousand clinical hours to be eligible for graduation. Enrolling in online RN to BSN programs without clinical requirements takes away the worry of figuring out where you will have to do clinical rotations, choosing preceptors for approval, or worrying about missing time at work to complete the requirements.

2. Save money!

Typically, online classes are much less expensive than traditional on-campus courses. Students save money on travel to and from school or clinicals and on additional fees such as student center access and parking. Although some schools charge out-of-state tuition, many do not. That could be another way to save money, depending on the school you choose to attend.

3. Save time!

Online RN to BSN with no clinicals programs can be completed in a shorter amount of time. The sooner you complete your BSN, the sooner you can use that credential to find the job you want that may not have been as readily available before completing the degree.

3 Disadvantages Of Online RN-to-BSN No Clinicals Programs

Although many people would argue that the advantages of online RN to BSN no clinicals programs outnumber the disadvantages, it is still a good idea to consider them both before enrolling in this type of program. A couple of things that may be bothersome or considered a disadvantage are listed below.

1. You may find it easier to procrastinate, which could cause you to perform poorly on assignments and tests.

While online learning is an excellent option for many people, it is crucial to be honest with yourself about how motivated you are and whether you are a "self-starter" or not. Since online programs often allow students to work at their own pace, it is not uncommon for students who lack the motivation to procrastinate when it comes to completing important lessons or assignments. Even if you choose one of the best RN to BSN online no clinicals programs, once you fall behind on one or two tasks, it becomes very easy to fall farther behind. With shorter completion times, falling behind in classes in these types of programs could make it almost impossible to catch up on work and finish on time.

2. Little or no interaction with faculty and peers:

Students often develop friendships and good rapport with their peers and with program faculty in traditional classroom settings. Being in a classroom with your instructors and other classmates offers the opportunity to get clarification on the content you may not understand or receive feedback on your performance. Unfortunately, students in RN to BSN online no clinicals programs do not experience that kind of personal interaction. Communication usually consists of emails, community or class forums, and whiteboard discussions. If you are the type of learner who likes to ask questions and may need a little extra help, this lack of constant interaction could make choosing an online education feel less advantageous.

3. Online RN to BSN programs that do not require clinicals are fast-paced.

Although there are some convenience and flexibility regarding when and where you study, some adult learners, especially those who may not be tech-savvy, often find it challenging to keep up. If you are considering pursuing your BSN and a shorter program with no clinicals sounds interesting to you, be honest with yourself about what your strengths and weaknesses are that may affect your ability to keep up to speed with the program schedule.

How Long Are RN-to-BSN Online No Clinicals Programs?

RN to BSN online no clinicals programs vary in length and take students from as little as nine months up to two years to complete.

Oklahoma City University-Kramer School of Nursing offers an online RN to BSN no clinicals program that can be completed in just two semesters. Norwich University’s program takes eighteen to twenty-four months, depending on whether a student is enrolled part-time or full-time. Students enrolled in the online RN to BSN program without clinicals at Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio, participate in an accelerated program that consists of nine, six-week courses.

How Much Do RN-to-BSN Online No Clinicals Programs Cost?

One of the most influential things in a person's decision of which college to attend is the cost of tuition. Because online RN to BSN programs without clinicals are typically completed in a shorter amount of time, especially since hours of clinical practicum are not an issue, they are often a cost-effective option. When comparing the cost of different programs, one important thing to find out is if the schools that interest you charge a different rate of in-state or out-of-state students. The difference in cost at the schools with varying tuition rates may be a determining factor in your final decision of which school to attend.

The online RN to BSN program with no clinical requirements at the University of Illinois at Chicago is a 30-credit hour course. Tuition is $475 per credit hour with additional library and IT fees of eighteen dollars per credit hour, averaging $493 per credit hour. This sum makes the program's cost at the university approximately $14,790 for students who complete the program on their first attempt.

Once enrolled at Nightingale College, which we have found offers one of the best online RN to BSN no clinicals programs, students are granted forty-eight-semester credits. These credits are given for core pre-licensure coursework associated with their current RN degree. Students are expected to complete another seventy-two credit hours at the cost of $400 per credit hour. Additionally, students pay a $125 remote proctoring fee per semester, a $200-course audit fee, and a one-time application fee of $125. This brings the average cost of the program to approximately $29,250.


Coursework for baccalaureate nursing programs may vary slightly from one school to another. However, most of the courses are similar. RN to BSN programs are designed to build upon the knowledge and skills you have already learned and developed as a registered nurse. If you are considering enrolling in one of the best online RN to BSN no clinicals programs, one important question to ask is how many credits the college or university accepts as transfer credits. Many schools that offer online RN to BSN programs also award a certain number of credits for RN licensure.

The RN to BSN online program offered at the University of Massachusetts-Boston requires students to earn 120 credit hours. The program allows students to transfer up to ninety credit hours, forty-two of which are awarded for possessing an active, unencumbered RN license. The other thirty credit hours must be completed at UMB. The courses students are required to take at the University of Massachusetts-Boston are six credit hours each and include the following.

• Professional Issues in Nursing
• Health Assessment and Promotion
• Nursing Research and Evidence-Based Practice
• Community Health Nursing for Registered Nurses
• Legal and Ethical Health Policy

After successfully completing coursework earning a total of one hundred twenty-three credits, students at Widener University in Chester, Pennsylvania, are eligible to graduate from its online RN to BSN no clinicals program. Credits are distributed using the following guidelines.

• General Education block credits (credits earned from Associate Degree): 60 credits
• RN Block credit: 33 credits
• Widener University RN to BSN Program: 30 credits

Classes required to earn the thirty credits required while enrolled at Widner include the following.

• Population Health and Genetics & Genomics for the RN (3 credits each)
• Population Health and Leadership & Management for the RN (6 credits each)
• Family Dynamics (3 credits)
• The Healthcare Environment: Technology & Health Policy (3 credits)
• Nursing Theory (3 credits)

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements for the best RN to BSN online no clinicals programs may vary somewhat, depending on the school of your choice. However, there are typical admission criteria that all schools offering an RN to BSN program require of applicants.

• Possess a current, unencumbered license to practice as a registered nurse
• Be a graduate of a state-approved diploma or associate degree program
• Provide two letters of professional reference
• Submit official copies of all post-secondary education transcripts

10 Important Questions To Ask While Applying For RN-To-BSN Online No Clinicals Programs

1. Does the school require a minimum grade point average from your associate degree education or cumulative post-secondary education?

For example, at Nebraska Methodist College, applicants must show proof of a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale for all post-secondary coursework they have completed.

2. Was the nursing program where you obtained your RN degree accredited?

Accreditation is a must when you are choosing a program. Being accredited is a process whereby a school meets strict guidelines and standards. Having achieved accreditation can give you the peace of mind that you will receive a quality education under the direction and supervision of staff with both classroom and clinical experience and that you will have access to the most up-to-date information. Norwich University offers one of the best online RN to BSN no clinicals programs we have found. At Norwich, applicants to their program must possess an associate degree in nursing from a nationally or regionally accredited institution and a nationally-accredited nursing program.

3. Does the online RN to BSN No clinicals program have the same admission requirements as other RN to BSN programs?

Most of the best RN to BSN online no clinicals programs have similar requirements for admission regarding the coursework you should have completed in your previous nursing program. However, there may be difference in minimum pre-BSN program requirements. Be sure to verify the courses that are mandatory prior to enrollment so you are prepared to begin the program without delay.

4. Will I have to participate in an admission interview?

Because of the popularity of online RN to BSN no clinicals programs, admissions committees often ask applicants to participate in an admission interview. This is nothing to be worried about or afraid of. Look at it as an opportunity to show them that you are the best candidate for their program.

5. Do applicants to RN to BSN programs have to have background checks:

Despite the fact that you will not be participating in clinical assignments, even the best online RN to BSN no clinicals programs require program applicants to submit to state and federal background checks. This gives the school assurance that they are accepting applicants who will be allowed to work in the field after completion. Also, graduating qualified applicants helps promote a good reputation for the school among healthcare facilities and clinicians.

6. Do I need to have a minimum amount of work experience as a registered nurse to be accepted into an online RN to BSN program with no clinicals?

Because online RN to BSN programs with no clinical requirements do not offer you the opportunity to learn clinical skills with an instructor or preceptor, most require clinical work experience as a licensed RN. The amount of licensed experience each school requires may vary, but typically, it is a minimum of one year.

7. Is there a waiting list for admission to the program?

Because there is a growing demand for baccalaureate-prepared nurses in the healthcare industry, RN to BSN online no clinicals programs, which give registered nurses the chance to earn a BSN in a shorter amount of time, are growing in popularity. Therefore, if you are in a hurry to get started, you will want to find a school where you can get enrolled as soon as possible. For example, at Oklahoma City University, all applicants who meet eligibility and admission criteria are accepted into the program without being put on a waitlist.

8. What is the school’s reputation for student success?

Just because you can enroll in an RN to BSN online no clinicals program and complete it in a year or less, that does not mean the program or school is the right choice for your long-term success. Ask questions about the school and the nursing programs it offers, not just the online RN to BSN no clinicals program. What is the pass rate of first-time NCLEX test-takers if the school also offers a pre-licensure nursing program? Asking this is important because if a school does not prepare associate-level nursing students well enough to pass their licensure exam, it is probably safe to say that you can expect the same level of education in the online RN to BSN program. Remember, although the programs are shorter, they still require dedication and completion of some serious coursework. It would be best to look for a school with a good reputation for providing the support and educational tools you need to succeed. For instance, Nightingale College has a one hundred percent admission rate, and seventy-five percent of students graduate. Of that seventy-five percent, the college has a ninety-one percent pass rate for first-time test-takers on the NCLEX-RN.

9. How often does the program admit new students?

Deciding to enroll in an RN to BSN program is a big step for your professional future. Planning to begin classes at a time that is best suited for you means you need to find a program that offers start times that are not disruptive to your current schedule. While some schools may only offer Fall or Spring admissions into programs, others have different schedules. Clarkson College and Nebraska Methodist College offer rolling admissions in Fall, Spring, and Summer.

10. Are program faculty easily accessible to students?

Online learning can be an excellent way for people who want to earn a higher degree to reach that goal without disrupting their already busy lives. However, as mentioned above, there may be times when you wish you could ask a question or get some clarification on something that was presented in class. Knowing you have access to your instructors can help ease your mind a bit as you navigate the world of independent learning that an online RN to BSN no clinicals program requires. The University of Illinois-Chicago has advisors that meet with students in-person to help them prepare for online classes and who facilitate communication between students and instructors throughout the program when needed.


(These Online RN-to-BSN programs do not require any clinical hours.)

1. University of Illinois at Chicago - Chicago, IL

2. University of Massachusetts Boston - Boston, MA

3. Oklahoma City University - Oklahoma City, OK

4. Widener University – Chester, PA

5. Clarkson College - Omaha, NE

6. Nebraska Methodist College - Omaha, NE

7. Norwich University - Northfield, VT

8. Franklin University - Columbus, OH

9. Missouri Baptist University - Saint Louis, MO

10. Nightingale College - Salt Lake City, UT


What Kind Of Career Opportunities Exist For Graduates Of This Program?

After graduating from one of the best RN to BSN online no clinicals programs, there are many career opportunities you may wish to pursue. Below are a few examples of jobs you may find as a BSN-prepared nurse.

Director of Nursing:

As a Director of Nursing, you will oversee the performance of the nursing team, which includes nursing assistants, licensed practical/vocational nurses, and registered nurses. DONs are responsible for managing departmental budgets and reports as well as implementing patient care services.

Community Agency Director:

In this position, you will plan and execute strategies targeted at producing high-quality outcomes related to disaster planning, community assessment, and population health.

Nursing Unit Manager:

Unit Managers are responsible for directing the nursing activities within a specific unit in a healthcare facility. For instance, as a nursing unit manager, you may work in a pediatric unit, emergency department, or intensive care unit, ensuring that the nursing staff's clinical practices reflect quality patient care.

Average Earnings For Graduates Of This Program

One of the benefits of earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree is the increased income opportunity. While sources vary somewhat when reporting income for BSN-prepared nurses, the average income is $39.20 per hour or $81,530 annually. On average, registered nurses with a BSN earn nearly $15,000 more each year than RNs with an associate degree in nursing.


Job Market For Graduates Of This Program

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for registered nurses are expected to increase by seven percent annually from 2019 to 2029, with an average of over 175,000 job openings for RN each year. Graduates from programs such as the best online RN to BSN no clinicals programs we have featured in this article are expected to have better job prospects than registered nurses with associate degrees or diplomas. It appears that healthcare facilities now favor BSN-prepared nurses because they have a proven ability to increase patient safety and to improve patient outcomes. These are a few reasons why both public and private healthcare organizations may favor hiring a BSN registered nurse.


After reviewing some of the best RN to BSN online no clinicals programs for 2023 and learning what it takes to be accepted and succeed in this program, you may think this is a great option for you. If you are, take the time to look a little closer at these programs and others like them. Then, when you feel the time is right, submit your application and pursue your dream. You have nothing to lose and a world of opportunity to gain!


Is an online RN to BSN program with no clinical requirements a good idea for all registered nurses?

There is no nursing program that is one hundred percent right or a good idea for all registered nurses. If you are a new RN, even if a school accepts you into a BSN program that does not require clinicals, you must decide if you feel comfortable enough with your clinical skills to take on the responsibilities that come with a BSN role. While many schools that offer this type of program require at least one year of clinical experience as a licensed registered nurse, some may not. It is then up to you to make a judgment call for yourself. Bear in mind, though, as a nurse, every decision we make can impact the health and well-being of those we are providing care for.

Are there financial aid opportunities for students enrolled in an online RN to BSN program that does not require clinicals?

Yes, there are financial aid opportunities for students enrolled in this program. As you are researching school options, be sure that you check out their financial aid web link or talk to a financial aid counselor and ask about available options. If you work for a hospital or large corporation, they may offer employer-sponsored scholarships or benefit programs to help you get your degree. Finally, anyone who plans to attend college should fill out a Free Application for Financial Student Assistance (FAFSA). By doing so, you can find out if you qualify for government-funded grants (which never have to be paid back) or loans (payments are often deferred until after completion of the program).

Are online RN to BSN programs with no clinicals easier than other nursing programs?

It is a matter of opinion which type of program is easiest to complete. Online RN to BSN programs, even without clinical requirements, can be quite rigorous. When you add the stress of having to keep up with deadlines for assignments and tests without the benefit of an instructor looking at you every day, it can become easy to fall behind. Being self-motivated, creating a schedule that works for you, and staying dedicated will help the process go a lot more smoothly.

After I graduate from an online RN to BSN program with no clinicals, do I have to take another licensure exam?

The NCLEX-RN is the national exam that all nurse graduates take after completing their pre-licensure program. The test is not designed to test associate and bachelor-level nursing graduates with different information. Although some colleges and universities and their nursing faculty have created what many consider legitimate arguments that test content should vary for the associate and bachelor-prepared nurses, at this time, graduates of both programs take the same exam. Therefore, once you have passed the NCLEX-RN and have become a licensed registered nurse, you will not have to retake the test after completing the RN to BSN course.

Darby Faubion BSN, RN
Darby Faubion is a nurse and Allied Health educator with over twenty years' experience. She has assisted in developing curriculum for nursing programs and has instructed students at both community college and university levels.