What’s the Best Online BSN Program?

If you want to earn a higher salary as a nurse, one of your options is to get your Bachelor of Science in Nursing, or BSN. These programs are now available online through a number of schools, which means that there are flexible options for nurses who plan to continue working while advancing their education. Not all BSN programs are created equally, however. Before you send your check for tuition, do a little comparing to ensure that you’re entering the best online BSN program available for you. Here are some common characteristics of top BSN programs:

Accreditation

First and foremost, you need to attend a college that is accredited. Although some programs are legitimate forms of education even though they haven’t been accredited, when you’re going to school online, accreditation can protect you from diploma mills, which essentially give anyone and everyone a degree in exchange for money. In addition, accreditation can also help you avoid scams, where website owners take your “tuition” money, but never actually provide you with an education.

In the field of nursing, accreditation is also important because it’s required to work in your field. To be licensed as a nurse, you need to show that you have had the proper education. Without an accredited program, your degree is worthless, no matter how hard you worked to get it, and you also may not qualify for scholarships and grants. Essentially, what accreditation means is that your school went through the necessary steps in order to prove that the education they are providing to students is legitimate and will properly prepare them for their future careers. This accreditation also has to be renewed after a set number of years to ensure that they are still meeting all standards of education.

Exam Preparation

In order to work as a nurse, you need to pass licensing tests in your state. While these vary slightly from state to state, if you do well in school, you should be prepared for the exam. The best online BSN programs will additionally include help for students who want extra study materials. They’ll also have student resources available for those who want to take practice tests or learn valuable exam taking and studying techniques. You can’t work without a license, so it is important that your program helps you prepare to take the test.

Hands-On Learning

With a BSN degree, you can’t do all of your learning online, simply because of the nature of your job. Along with your coursework, your online school will also partner with a facility in your area so you can complete a monitored residency program. Your classroom learning should be as hands-on as possible as well, though, even if you are online instead of in a classroom. The best programs will have chat rooms for students and professors to interact, virtual learning tools, and other hands-on resources to help you learn.

Flexibility

Every student is different when it comes to scheduling needs for advanced degrees. As a nurse, you may continue working as you get your BSN, so it is important to find a degree program that works for you. Some online degrees require you to be “in class” at specific times, just like you’ll find with traditional schools, and these programs are great for students who want structure. However, there are also programs available where you work very independently, and these schools are great for students who have varying schedules week to week. No two online BSN programs are the same, so take some time to compare them all before you choose one.

Featured Online BSN Programs and Schools

For LPNs or RNs looking to make more of a contribution in their nursing professions, obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN) is a good step in the right direction. Below you'll find online schools schools that offer programs to help you achieve your nursing goals.

Kaplan University — If you're an RN looking for more responsibilities (and a larger paycheck), the RN to BSN completion degree program from Kaplan is an ideal choice. The online coursework includes studies in ethics, health care policies, health promotion, and much more.

Chamberlain College of Nursing — Chamberlain offers a fast-track RN to BSN program that allows registered nurses to earn their bachelor's in nursing entirely online within three semesters. Actively licensed RNs can often times transfer more than 80 credit hours toward the program.

Florida Hospital College of Health Sciences — With graduates completing a Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN) degree online in 18 to 24 months, the Florida Hospital College of Health Science boasts tuition rates up to 40 percent less than most of its competitors. The RN to BSN program prepares students for management positions in the nursing field.

University of Illinois at Chicago — The University of Illinois at Chicago offers an online BSN program that gives students an excellent foundation for a successful nursing career. Upon completion of the program, students will earn a fully accredited Bachelor of Science from the College of Nursing at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Walden University — Designed by nursing experts, Walden University's Bachelor of Science in nursing curriculum emphasizes evidence-based practices that can be applied to the nursing profession. This particular program can be completed in under two years, depending on transfer credits from previous education.

Indiana State University — Indiana State is proud to offer the only online LPN to RN/BSN degree program in the nation. Students of this program complete upper-level coursework and exams online and finish the required clinical hours at a local facility.

University of St. Mary — Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, the University of St. Mary online RN to BSN degree program focuses its curriculum on the areas of nursing care plan development, outcome evaluation, intervention implementation, and health assessment. The ideals of "commitment, conscience, competence, compassion, and confidence" are emphasized throughout the program.

Grand Canyon University — For registered nurses looking to improve their careers or take on more of a role, GCU offers an RN to BSN program that is sure to be of good value. Grand Canyon's program focuses on both the science and the art of nursing, so that students get a full education of the field.

Western Governors University — The Western Governors University RN to BSN program is designed for nurses who possess an associate's degree or diploma in nursing and desire to advance their careers with a bachelor's degree. The program focuses on patient education, health promotion, and technology integration, as well as healthcare systems and policies.

Liberty University — Liberty University offers a general Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program that prepares students for becoming leaders in the nursing industry. The curriculum here incoporates the core Christian values and beliefs that underscore the mission of Liberty University as an evangelical Christian school.

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