Accredited Online Schools with BSN Programs: How to Choose

Look over some of things to look for in an accredited online BSN program, as well as the different types of BSN programs offered. Then explore some of the schools that offer these programs.

How to Select an Online BSN School

Students can find online BSN programs through 4-year colleges and universities. Among the criteria students may consider are program goals, program types and technical requirements.

Program Goals

Nurses must be licensed to practice, and most online educational programs prepare students for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) if they haven't already earned the registered nurse (RN) credential. Completion of a bachelor's degree program in nursing may qualify graduates to apply for entry-level nursing and administrative positions. Professional nurses may also benefit from employer tuition reimbursement programs if they decide to return to school and earn a bachelor's degree in nursing.

Program Type

Online programs in nursing may be available to students completely online or with low-residency requirements. A few schools may also offer accelerated or self-paced study options that allow students to complete courses at their own pace.

Course instruction is provided through online e-learning platforms and generally doesn't require students to attend classes on campus. Students typically watch streaming video lectures and participate in online exchanges through chat, discussion boards and e-mail. Low-residency or hybrid programs require students to spend short periods of time on campus and may offer more hands-on training opportunities.

Technical Requirements

In order to participate in online programs, students need computers with fast Internet service. They must also have access to a computer with enough memory to run software and accommodate the transmission of large media files like videos and live-streaming content. Students will need technical fluency to download and run important course materials or access them online.

Popular Online Nursing Program

Online RN-to-BSN Degree

The registered nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-to-BSN) degree program allows current registered nurses to return to school and earn their bachelor's degree online with flexible self-paced scheduling or part-time study options. Depending on the program, the degree can be obtained in 1-2 years. Since programs may accept transferred core liberal arts credits from an already-earned associate degree and award up to 30 credits to current practicing nurses, most RN-to-BSN students earn their degree in little more than a year. The curriculum is especially designed for experienced nurses with courses that include:

  • Leadership and management in professional practice
  • Community-focused nursing
  • Advanced acute care concepts
  • Nutrition

Schools with and Accredited BSN Online Programs

Jacksonville University offers students an RN to BSN program that working registered nurses may complete online during their own time. The program requires students to complete 32 credits in BSN courses and 58 credits in general education courses, in addition to the 30 credit hours awarded in an RN program. The School of Nursing at Jackson University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and is part of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

Excelsior College also offers a distance learning program for RNs wanting to earn a BSN. This program involves completing 61 credits in general education and 60 credits in nursing, 30 of these are covered by being a registered nurse. This program includes a capstone nursing course. The nursing degree program at Excelsior college is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc and the National League for Nursing.

A number of schools offer online programs for RNs wanting to earn a BSN. These programs have students complete the general education requirements of a bachelor's degree and courses that build on an RNs knowledge in nursing. It is important that when looking at these schools, you find one that offers an accredited program.

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