Many colleges offer the Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN) completion program in an online format, with only clinical internships and science labs completed on campus. Traditional classroom courses are also offered in some programs. Most BSN programs prefer to enroll students who are already registered nurses. Depending on prior college coursework, professional certifications and the student's attendance status, many RN-BSN degree programs can be completed in two to three years.
Students who already have a bachelor's degree can enroll in a second bachelor's degree program in nursing. These programs are most often offered in an accelerated format. They may only take four to six semesters for a second bachelors degree.
RN to BSN Degree Programs
In addition to general education requirements, RN-BSN programs usually have a heavy science component, with courses in microbiology, anatomy, physiology, chemistry, nutrition and pharmacology. Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree completion programs for registered nurses typically include around 35 credits of nursing-specific work, including the following topics:
- Pain management and end-of-life care
- Research and evidence-based practice
- Leadership and management theory
- Community nursing
Second Bachelor's Degree: Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Some Bachelor of Science in nursing programs for students seeking a second bachelor's degree are more compressed than others. Intensive accelerated programs distill coursework into four rigorous semesters, and students are required to attend on a full-time basis. Other programs can take six or seven semesters to complete. Regardless of the program format, many schools allow up to 60 credits of prior college coursework to be counted toward a second bachelor's degree.
Since many liberal arts and humanities courses are from the first bachelor's degree are counted toward the second degree, most second-degree BSN programs focus solely on nursing science and practice education. Several units of supervised clinical internships are required, and if programs include summer semesters, the bulk of this time is usually spent in internships. The following are some common course topics:
- Nursing and nutrition
- Disease prevention
- Evidence-based nursing
- Pharmacology and pathophysiology
- Health and physical assessment
Salary and Employment Growth Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that nursing is a career that is growing much faster than the average field, and it is expected to grow 16% from 2014-2024. Many registered nurses with bachelor's degrees work in home health settings, outpatient care and mobile clinics, substance abuse centers and private nursing facilities. Government studies from 2015 estimate that the national median salary for nurses is $67,490 annually.
Popular Career Options
Registered nurses who upgrade to a bachelor's degree may significantly increase job prospects, professional advancement opportunities and earning potential. Nurses who hold BSN degrees find work in many health care venues, including hospitals, urgent care clinics, emergency rooms and other social health providers.
- School nurse
- Nursing consultant
- Clinic nurse
- Home health nurse
- Assisted living nurse
Continuing Education Information
After graduating, students must pass the national registered nurse examination, the NCLEX-RN, in order to practice. Post-baccalaureate programs available to BSN degree holders include graduate nursing certificate programs, Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), Ph.D. and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs.
RNs wanting to advance their career often go back to school for a RN-BSN degree or sometimes even an second bachelor's degree. These programs provide the training RNs need to open more job opportunities or prepare for graduate-level education.