A Bachelor of Science in Nursing, or BSN degree, prepares you to work as a registered nurse. While you can work as a nurse with an associate’s degree, you are afforded more opportunities with a BSN. BSN degrees are also becoming an industry standard as competition in the field increases.
A nurse with a BSN has the opportunity to find new career opportunities in this competitive job market and also places him or her in a good position for better, more desirable positions. A Bachelor of Science in Nursing lets you move to professional nursing practice and places you in a more specialized career.
With this degree, you can explore levels of upward mobility in your chosen career or you can move toward something that is more challenging. Overall, a BSN gives you the chance to have more flexibility and job opportunities. This is valuable in the current market where it is more difficult to acquire promotions and competition is fierce.
With the growth of technology and educational opportunities, it is now possible to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree online. Earning a BSN online gives you the education and knowledge you need. However, you will still need to work experience at a local clinic or hospital.
There are multiple BSN programs online for you to choose from. These programs are based on whether or not you have a license. The pre-license programs are for students who are just starting their education and plan to earn an RN along with their degree.
The registered nurse, or RN-to-BSN program, is a post-license program that is treated as a bridge program. These programs connect the gap between the two degrees and credit you for both past education and experience from your associate’s degree or nursing program. These credits may even speed up your degree process.
Whatever program you choose, your studies will be based on your school’s curriculum. Below is a list of the best schools to earn your BSN, whether you’re choosing to study online or in-person.
Best BSN Degree Programs in 2020
The University of Washington has a BSN program that prepares students for the rigors of working as a registered nurse. The program lasts for two years and builds skills taught in the school’s Learning Lab. Students participate in various scenarios so they can practice in a controlled environment before putting their skills and knowledge to use in a clinic or hospital.
Students receive more than 1,000 hours of hands-on training at local partner sites to further their skills and fully prepare them for their careers in nursing.
The University of Washington has one of the top nursing schools in the world. Since its inception in 1918, UW has continuously helped its students learn, grow and impact their communities in a positive way.
New York University goes back to 1831 and is a private institution that offers an RN-to-BSN program for registered nurses to strengthen their expertise. Upon graduating from the program, students can take on leadership roles and even raise their earning potential.
Students take courses based on a number of topics, such as community health nursing, pediatric nursing and health assessments.
The university also offers an accelerated program for applicants who already have a bachelor’s degree in a field that isn’t related to nursing. In order to participate in the program, applicants must provide a letter of recommendation from a supervisor or professor.
Marywood University offers a BSN that combines clinical skills and academics. The program prepares students for a professional career and advanced nursing education, depending upon their goals after graduation.
Marywood University provides an ideal environment for learning by ensuring small class sizes and utilizing innovative nursing technology. Real-world simulations are provided, as well as service-learning experiences, and students build skills that fully equip them for competitive careers.
Students also complete internships during their final semester. Marywood University’s RN-to-BSN program is designed to help working nurses further their careers.
The University of Texas at Austin offers a BSN degree program designed to empower students through education in both practice and theory. Students work in multiple clinical settings to gain a wide array of experience in order to find employment after graduation.
The program has a strong focus on planning, implementation, evaluating nursing care and clinical judgment. Students also study leadership in nursing in various clinical settings.
The UT Austin School of Nursing has garnered a significant amount of credibility due to the strength of its program. In fact, it was ranked 17th in the nation by US News & World Report, and NIH ranked the school 15th in research funding.
The University of Iowa has a RN-to-BSN program designed for registered nurses who want to earn their BSN. The University of Iowa has a Nursing Clinical Education Center that allows students to practice nursing and learn in a clinical environment.
The learning environment for students enriches their experience and gives them the ability to enhance care for their patients. This center runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and has a strong focus on patient simulation, pediatrics, adult and pediatric ambulatory care, as well as several other areas.
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University is a public, historically black institution located in Tallahassee. The RN-to-BSN program the school provides helps prepare nurses for leadership roles and graduate programs.
The program lasts three semesters. During that time, students take courses that cover a number of topics, such as population health, patient assessment and evidence-based practice. The program includes clinical labs so students gain valuable hands-on experience while they’re studying.
Students also take individual study courses based on their career goals and interests. Students looking to participate in the program need a minimum GPA of 3.0.
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro offers a part-time RN-to-BSN program to help working nurses further their careers.
Nursing students must complete elective, general education and nursing requirements as part of the program. The curriculum covers various topics, such as nursing research, community health nursing and health assessment. Students also complete a leadership and management course to help prepare them for more advanced roles in the industry.
"Career Karma entered my life when I needed it most and quickly helped me match with a bootcamp. Two months after graduating, I found my dream job that aligned with my values and goals in life!"
Venus, Software Engineer at Rockbot
In order to take part in the program, prospective students need a minimum 3.0 GPA and a current RN license. The UNCG institution’s RN-to-BSN program is accredited.
The University of Wisconsin has multiple nursing programs. The institution offers a traditional BSN in Nursing, Accelerated BSN and an online RN-to-BSN for students who wish to take part in the program without visiting campus. All of these programs are incredibly strong and some of the best provided in the Midwest. The traditional BSN gives students the chance to learn skills as well as gain clinical experience.
The Accelerated BSN allows students who already have their bachelor’s degree to earn a BSN in a shorter period of time, typically about one year. The online RN-to-BSN program helps students who are RNs get their BSN by completing a program that primarily takes place online.
Career Prospects for BSN Degree Grads
BSN degrees are becoming a requirement for some entry-level positions and are most definitely needed to advance your nursing career. Below are some of the career paths available to you by earning your BSN.
Registered Nurse: More and more hospitals are making it a requirement for RNs to have a BSN. Hospitals are also the largest nursing employer. If you want to work at a hospital, especially in a specialized field, it’s important to earn a BSN.
Nursing Manager: Management positions, as well as other leadership roles such as nursing director, require a BSN at minimum. These roles require a strong combination of experience and clinical skills.
Nurse Educator: In order to be an educator in nursing, you typically must have a degree above the level you plan to teach. In order to teach in a nursing program, you will need a bachelor’s degree. If you want to teach BSN nurses, you’ll have to take things a step further and earn a master’s.
If you’re interested in a nursing career, earning your BSN is a valuable investment of your time and energy. Not only will you gain the skills to better perform as a nurse, you’ll also open multiple career paths for yourself in specialized positions.
There are online programs available to students who can’t attend campus and already have the means of gaining clinical experience through local facilities. With a bit of work and effort, you can earn a BSN and transform your career path.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.