Registered Nurses (RNs) considering a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) can pursue an RN to BSN program, a flexible program specially designed for already licensed nurses. Nurses who have completed their RN licensure and earned an associate degree in Nursing (ADN) qualify for degree advancement through the RN to BSN.
Of course, going back to school as a working nurse can be intimidating. If you are an RN considering a BSN degree, you are probably asking yourself a lot of questions:
- Will an RN to BSN program be worth it?
- How long will it take to complete an RN to BSN program?
- Can I take classes online, or do I need to be there in-person?
While the answers to many of these questions will depend on your personal preferences and needs as a student, as well as the program you choose, we want to provide you with as much information as possible so you can make an informed decision. Below, we answer common questions nurses have about going back to school for an RN to BSN degree.
Will an RN to BSN program be worth it?
In short, the answer is yes. Data shows that nurses with a BSN have access to more career opportunities and higher earning potential than nurses without a bachelor’s degree. In fact, according to PayScale, the median salary for an RN with a BSN is more than $62,952 per year, compared to the median salary of $59,408 for those without a BSN.
In addition to the salary bump, nurses with a BSN have more career opportunities. A BSN opens the door to positions in management, advanced patient care, and clinical research which bring their own pay raises as well.
Furthermore, if you desire to work with the military, the U.S. Public Health Service, or are considering becoming a nurse educator, you are required to have a BSN. Advanced certifications like certified pediatric nurse (CPN), advanced oncology certified nurse (AOCN), or certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) also require a BSN.
As you can see, the higher salary, chances for career advancement, and enhanced personal development provided by a RN to BSN program prove that it is well worth it. You can learn more about the benefits of a BSN here.
How long is an RN to BSN program?
The good news is that RN to BSN programs can take much less time than you think.
Most often, students who are RNs have completed up to half of their BSN credits already, in their associate degree program. Thus, they can complete their BSN in one to two years of full time, year-round enrollment, or three to four years of part-time enrollment.
The time to completion for these programs varies depending on the following factors:
- How many courses taken per semester
- How many credits you can transfer in
- The number of credits required for program completion
- The structure of the program (full-time vs. part-time)
- The type of program—on-campus, online, or hybrid
Generally, full-time students take an average of five courses per semester for three to four consecutive semesters. Part-time students often take two or three courses per semester, extending the time to complete the program by two or more semesters.
The length of the program also depends on how many credits the school requires for the RN to BSN degree. Typically, the total number of credits required is 120. Nursing schools usually require approximately 30 credits of residency (or 10 courses), but some schools can require 45 or more. The rest can be transferred in from your prior education.
At UB, the RN to BSN program length ultimately depends upon the number of general education courses you are transferring in, and how many courses you take per semester. You may transfer up to 90 credits from an accredited institution. For most students, UB’s RN to BSN program can be completed fully online and in as little as one year, plus a summer semester.
Should I take classes in person, online, or enroll in a hybrid program?
The answer to this question is extremely individualized and depends on what type of environment you would excel best in.
Traditional BSN programs hold classes and meet regularly throughout each semester. Traditional RN to BSN programs can be completed in nine months to two years. If you are someone who benefits from face-to-face, structured learning and have the time for in-person lectures, on-campus programs are a fantastic option.
Online RN to BSN programs have become an incredibly popular option for RNs to further their education and still work full-time. These programs range from 12 to 24 months to complete. They offer the most flexibility to students who are not able to attend in-person classes with their full schedules.
Additionally, many online nursing degree programs offer part-time study options, and some are even specifically designed for working professionals who can’t afford to leave their careers to continue their education. While it may take longer to complete the degree, studying part-time helps candidates balance their career, education, and family responsibilities.
Lastly, hybrid RN to BSN programs combine online coursework and face-to-face time with on-campus classes, clinical rotations, and other requirements outside of independent learning. Hybrid programs can take from two to five semesters and combine the flexibility of online learning with practical hands-on experience relevant to daily nursing practice.
Finding Time for Your RN to BSN
Regardless of the type of program you choose, the subjects you study will be the same. According to U.S. News & World Report, students in RN to BSN programs take courses in subjects like nursing concepts and applications, anatomy, biology, chemistry, psychology, and sociology.
Whether it takes you one year or four, it’s best to focus on a program that prepares you for a successful career rather than how quickly you can finish a RN to BSN program.
Our 120-credit RN to BSN program at the University of Bridgeport (UB) prepares students for employment at any professional practice and provides optimal care to all patients in any health or emergency situation. Students participate in clinical experiences in a variety of clinical sites including hospitals, schools, medical offices, and laboratories. Upon completion, students are eligible to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to become a certified Registered Nurse.
In order to apply, you must complete and meet the following requirements:
- Completed University of Bridgeport application
- Current and unencumbered RN license in your state of residence
- University of Bridgeport School of Nursing supplemental application
- Cumulative G.P.A. of 2.5 or higher
- Transcripts from any colleges or universities attended
- Proof of high school completion or its equivalent
Applications are open for 2023 and financial aid is available. Our faculty, staff, and career development center are dedicated to helping you succeed in our BSN program and in your future career.
Reach out to us to learn more about our RN to BSN program length and start dates. Let’s start something great together!