Students looking at a BSN degree overview

3 Ways to Earn Your BSN Degree

The need for nurses has never been higher. It is estimated that the United States is short approximately one million nurses. As baby boomer nurses retire, the nursing industry’s needs will become even greater, making job opportunities for new nurses abundant. Nursing is among the fastest-growing fields, with a predicted addition of over 300,000 jobs between now and 2029. There will be an even higher need for registered nurses.

Though it is possible to become a registered nurse with an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), the American Association of Colleges of Nursing encourages prospective nurses to pursue a BSN degree (Bachelor of Science in Nursing). This is to the benefit of both patients and nurses. Unlike nurses of an associate degree program, a BSN graduate is prepared to work in most healthcare settings, including critical care, outpatient care, public health, and mental health. A BSN nurse can likewise work in a variety of care environments such as private homes, clinics, hospitals, and outpatient care centers. Nurses with a BSN can make independent decisions quickly, are skilled at delegation, and provide a broad array of care services. BSN degree holders also earn an average of $15,000 more per year than ADN holders. With this in mind, you may be wondering how to get a BSN degree. Here are three pathways you can take to get your BSN.

Traditional BSN Program

A traditional BSN program is career-focused and prepares graduates for entry-level positions in the healthcare field and for the NCLEX-RN licensure examination. The traditional BSN is an eight semester program consisting of 55 credits in general education and 65 nursing specific credits. This program gives nursing students the groundwork they need to provide patient-centered care, promote healthy lifestyles by providing health education to patients, and to become healthcare leaders. With a strong liberal arts foundation, nurses with a BSN will also be uniquely skilled in the ability to think critically, synthesize knowledge, and communicate effectively with patients. The BSN degree also prepares students for graduate level education, should they wish to pursue it. The ideal candidate for a traditional BSN degree program is a student who has not completed a college degree or earned a nursing certification. If you already have a nursing certification, the RN to BSN program may be right for you.

RN to BSN Program

If you’re a registered nurse who is interested in expanding your career options, an RN to BSN program could be the perfect fit for your needs. A BSN can help you take the next step in your career, giving you the credentials you’ll need to apply for nursing leadership positions. This program also provides you with the education you’ll need to pursue advanced education. The advantage of an RN to BSN program is that you may be able to transfer previously earned nursing credits from other institutions. In an RN to BSN program, students complete 120 credits in total, including any credits they’re able to transfer. Students must take courses in general education, basic nursing, and upper-level nursing. You’ll likely also need to complete residency coursework. An additional benefit of this kind of program is that it offers flexibility. If you worry that you won’t be able to get your BSN degree because you’ll have to work, an online program offers a wonderful option. Many nurses continue to work full time while they pursue their BSN. Each course is offered every seven weeks, giving you plenty of opportunities to complete your degree. You can take as little as one course per term or as many as four courses per semester, should you want to attend school full-time. If you attend school full-time, it’s possible to complete your degree in as little as one full school year, plus one summer semester. The only time restraint is that you must complete your program within seven years of matriculation.

Accelerated BSN (ABSN)

The Accelerated BSN (ABSN) is a program designed for students who already hold a Bachelor’s degree in another, non-nursing field. This is the perfect program for students who are looking to make a career change. Applicants are required to have finished their science and math coursework within seven years prior to applying to the ABSN program. Prospective students are also required to have a minimum cumulative QPR of 3.0 from all previously attended institutions. As a student in the ABSN program, you’ll be required to complete 56 credits in nursing. These will be completed over a fifteen month period. In this program, students will also be given clinical experience as early as their first fall semester. This includes laboratory and simulation experiences. At the end of this program, graduates will be eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN licensure examination, which will enable them to practice as a registered nurse.

With the US health-care system experiencing an ever-growing demand for nurses, there’s never been a better time to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Whether you’re a new college student, a licensed nurse looking to expand their job options, or a college graduate interested in making a change, there’s a BSN degree program for you.

If you’re interested in earning your BSN degree at the University of Bridgeport, you can find out more about our program here.