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Bachelor of Science in Nursing: Online Degree

Research online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs. Get information on requirements, courses, career prospects and salary to make an informed decision about your education.

Essential Information

Some BSN degree programs are offered in a hybrid format, blending online and on-campus courses. For example, a hybrid program may offer general education and certain core healthcare courses, such as anatomy and medical terminology, online. There are also schools that offer BSN programs with fully online coursework paired with on-site clinical experiences or practicums. Student nursing requirements must be completed at a healthcare facility. Many online programs require that students already hold a registered nursing (RN) license and an associate's degree in nursing or a nursing diploma.

All states require that nurses be licensed. Requirements vary, but all states mandate that candidates complete an accredited nursing program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for RNs (NCLEX-RN). An accredited BSN program that includes some online courses can prepare graduates to take the exam.

Learning Environment

An online BSN program can be completed in as little as 15 months. Most courses are online to allow students to work at their own pace and continue their employment. Some schools require a clinical experience in a healthcare facility, but students may be able to complete these requirements in their hometowns. Some programs have a few required on-campus meetings, but they may give the option of virtual or teleconferencing meetings for out-of-state students.

Students will need access to a computer with high-speed Internet and word processing software. Some programs may require that free software, such as Shockwave, Real Player and Acrobat Reader be installed.

Common Coursework

Online BSN programs typically include general education requirements. Although requirements vary by school, these courses can include English, chemistry, anatomy and physiology, microbiology, math and social science. Nursing-related courses could include research practices, health promotion and community health.

Nursing Research Practices

Students learn to evaluate research reports, focusing on the research process as it relates to nursing and health. This course also emphasizes the ability to apply research findings to nursing practice.

Health Promotion

Students focus on nursing theory and practice as it relates to a changing healthcare environment. The course explores issues of genetics, health literacy and contemporary issues in nursing practice.

Community Health

This course focuses on public health with an emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention in the community. Students learn to be culturally sensitive while working with different population groups and may be required to participate in a service-learning project.


Career Information for Graduates

With a BSN, an RN may qualify for administrative, consulting, research and teaching positions with hospitals, clinics and other healthcare organizations. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 2,745,910 registered nurses working in the U.S. in 2015 (www.bls.gov). The average salary for these nurses was $71,000. The BLS also predicted that the number of RNs would grow by 16% between 2014 and 2024.

Continuing Education Information

RNs may seek further education in online master's degree programs to become advanced practice nurses, such as nurse practitioners, nurse-midwifes, nurse anesthetists and clinical nurse specialists. RNs may also earn voluntary specialty certification from professional organizations, such as the American Nurses Credentialing Center. To renew your certification, you may need to engage in professional development activities, maintain your RN license and prove that you have been practicing your specialty.

An online Bachelor of Science in Nursing program typically requires students to fulfill student nursing requirements at a healthcare facility, and teaches students skills related to health promotion, research and community health. A license is required to work as a nurse, and graduates may seek further education to become nurse practitioners, nurse-midwifes, nurse anesthetists and clinical nurse specialists.

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