In addition to getting a degree quickly, there are many advantages to choosing an accelerated BSN program. Registered nurses with an associate degree and current RN license searching for the cheapest accelerated nursing programs want to find a way to get through school quickly. When you choose an online RN to BSN, you’ll get to enjoy lower costs for your program as well as a more intensive learning environment. The cheapest accelerated nursing programs can be a fantastic deal — you get to dive into your studies in a way that’s more intense than a standard program, and you get to enjoy lower costs than other programs.
If you’re continuing to work while you’re taking classes in your online RN to BSN, you may find that an accelerated program is a better fit than a traditional program. Going to work and school at the same time is stressful, and shortening the amount of time that registered nurses with an unencumbered RN license need to fulfill both roles at the same time can reduce the amount of time that you’re under a high level of stress. You may want to talk to your employer about whether they’ll be able to offer flexibility while you go through your accelerated BSN program.
Methodology: Ranking the Best Accelerated Nursing Programs Online
For the Bachelor’s Degree Center ranking of the fastest online nursing degrees, BDC editors researched programs from reputable, accredited institutions that allow fast progress through the degree. Programs are ranked by tuition rate, reputation, and graduate salary, using current information from IPEDS and Niche.
1. Purdue University Global
Purdue Global offers one of the best accelerated nursing degree programs online. Learners can earn this online RN to BSN at their own pace if they have a diploma or associate degree and unencumbered RN license. Prospective students choose their own deadlines and course loads. For some, this means speeding up the process, along with transfer credits for required prerequisite courses The program is also competency-based, so students can take advantage of what they already know. This program uses a flat tuition rate. In a single semester, students enrolled can pay the same amount for multiple BSN courses as they would for one, saving on federal financial aid. Purdue Global models its nursing curriculum on real-world nursing work.
Purdue University has a strong presence in collegiate nursing education. Many people know about this school because of its online learning platform. Purdue Global makes learning more accessible for adult learners with an associate degree. It maintains high education standards and tailors nursing courses based on how adults approach school. Purdue Global offers multiple start dates and a tuition-free introductory period. Students can take a few weeks of classes before deciding if Purdue is right for them.
What We Like: Purdue Global undergraduates take an average of just two years to finish their degrees. That’s because Purdue Global has a generous transfer policy and offers credit for relevant experience.
Degree: RN to BSN accelerated – ExcelTrack BSN
2. American Public University System
With the American Public University System, prospective students can learn from one of the best accelerated online nursing degree programs online. Through this program, students grow their existing healthcare skills and build on their RN license and associate degree transfer credits. They also gain the education they need to adapt to healthcare’s changing landscape. Students learn how to use their nursing skills, communication, professional nursing practice, health assessment, and teamwork to provide the best possible nursing care. Those who graduate from this online RN to BSN program become leaders in the workplace.
The American Public University system educates both military members and civilians. It has provided quality collegiate nursing education for 30 years, and it’s a leader in online learning and career advancement. Designed primarily for military education, APUS provides lots of accessibility and affordability. APUS started as a way to help military members transition back into civilian life. As a result, it’s a very career-centered school. It has no entrance exams for undergraduate programs and generous financial aid per credit hour.
What We Like: The APU system is a top choice for military members. 85% of APU students are either active duty military members, on reserve, or veterans.
Degree: RN to BSN
3. University of Louisiana-Monroe
At the University of Louisiana Monroe, students with an unencumbered RN license can finish the online RN to BSN program in as little as 14 months. As one of the best accelerated nursing programs online, this degree helps students enhance their nursing skills while adding nursing research, leadership, and management into the mix. Students learn how to provide assessments and evidence-based healthcare. They also learn how to interpret data and use that data for the best outcomes. The online RN to BSN program covers professional nursing on a deeper and more theoretical level.
The University of Louisiana Monroe focuses on collegiate nursing education and the health sciences. As a result, it’s a top choice for nursing students with an associate degree or nursing diploma looking for BSN programs. Courses focus on today’s most in-demand skills. Students learn how to succeed in an increasingly global economy. This school is deeply committed to student success and making the most of available resources. It provides a baccalaureate degree education that gets results.
What We Like: US News and World Report has ranked ULM in the top 100 performers for social mobility.
Degree: RN to BSN
4. University of North Florida
The University of North Florida offers an accelerated RN to BSN program. Students with a valid RN license can finish this program in as little as 12 months if they already have an associate degree. The program is designed to combine excellence with affordability and flexibility. Nurses use this online RN to BSN program to increase their career opportunities. Courses cover theoretical topics like ethics, writing, health assessment, population health, and nursing scholarship. They also cover practical topics like using evidence to provide care (evidence-based practice) and clinical practicum. Through this program, online learners may use their nursing skills outside of hospitals and similar settings.
The University of North Florida’s BSN programs focus on career readiness and real-world experience in the nursing profession. That’s one reason why it has some of the best accelerated nursing programs online. It’s one of the top public research universities in the US for its collegiate nursing baccalaureate degree program. It emphasizes skills for today’s careers. As a result, UNF BSN graduates have a high career placement rate. UNF courses provide individualized attention to help students meet their goals. Learners get a high-caliber education at a good value.
What We Like: UNF is the highest-ranked nursing school in the state of Florida.
Degree: RN to BSN
Learn more at the program website!
5. University of Texas of the Permian Basin
At the University of Texas Permian Basin, students can finish the accelerated RN to BSN in 12 months or more. The program prepares learners for leadership roles in the healthcare field. It uses the latest research in patient care and teaches students how to bring evidence-based practices into the workplace. The program is online. In fact, it’s one of the best accelerated RN to BSN programs online, and it requires no campus visits. However, it does require clinical hours, which students may finish locally.
UT Permian Basin is an affordable school that performs well in online learning and collegiate nursing education. Students who do want to visit the campus should take a look at the Stonehenge replica. For those who don’t want to make a campus visit, UT Permian Basin still has a lot to offer. For example, it performs well in STEM, collegiate nursing education, and healthcare topics. The school takes job-related leadership skills to new levels, so learners can compete in today’s career market. The school is known for its cost-effectiveness and high ROI.
What We Like: UT Permian Basin was ranked as one of the best colleges for social mobility.
Degree: RN to BSN
6. University of North Alabama
The University of North Alabama has one of the best accelerated nursing programs online. Students can finish this BSN degree program in as little as one year by speeding up general education. By taking general education courses alongside their major courses, many North Alabama online students speed up the degree process. UNA’s nursing program has highly supportive faculty members. The program also offers a great value on tuition and transfer credits. Courses cover advanced nursing knowledge and evidence-based practice and help students discover new career opportunities.
UNA is the oldest public university in Alabama, and now it offers online learning opportunities for collegiate nursing education. It helps students, including nursing students with RN licensure and an associate’s degree, further their careers. UNA is student-centered university where learners gain the right tools to pursue their goals. The school prioritizes student success, which is why it offers competitive tuition rates, personalized education, and lots of career support.
What We Like: US News and World Report ranks UNA as one of the top public regional universities in the South.
Degree: RN to BSN
7. University of Rhode Island
The University of Rhode Island recognizes that there’s a creative side to nursing, and for students who want to pursue that side, it offers one of the best accelerated RN to BSN programs online. Students can finish this RN to BSN program in as little as 15 months. Within the program, students learn about nursing practice, listening and communication, thinking outside the box, and finding complex solutions. Of course, the nursing program curriculum also covers more tangible skills like medicine administration, nursing management, nursing research, health promotion education, and community health.
URI’s nursing school values compassionate care and social justice. It fosters diversity in learning. URI also transforms healthcare by educating nurses and making key discoveries. Courses focus on meeting today’s healthcare needs. All nursing school students have the option to minor in thanatology, the study of death and grief. Thanks to all of these factors, URI’s nursing school has made an impact in Rhode Island and beyond.
What We Like: URI is ranked among the top 200 national universities.
Degree: RN to BSN
8. Oakland University
Oakland University’s online RN to BSN can be finished in as little as 12 months. It offers competitive tuition prices with no added fees, and courses are taught by talented faculty members who have made an impact in the field. As a result, this program is one of the best accelerated online nursing programs. The high-quality curriculum focuses on both theoretical and practical skills in patient care, health education, and cultural diversity. It also provides opportunities for students to personalize their education in nursing science.
Oakland University is a pioneer in collegiate nursing education. The Oakland School of Nursing uses the latest research, so it offers up-to-date learning resources for students. Its high-quality programs come with a lot of support. Online courses offer the same quality education per credit hour as on-campus courses, and online students get just as much support as their on-campus peers.
What We Like: US News and World Report recognizes Oakland as one of the top nursing schools in the Upper Midwest.
Degree: RN to BSN
9. Herzing University
Herzing University’s accelerated RN to BSN program is one of the best accelerated nursing programs online. It’s designed to open career possibilities. Students work with support teams and teachers who understand the field. Through this BSN degree program, students can either enhance their current careers or get ready to pursue an MSN degree in global health nursing, population health nursing, clinical practice, and more. The program is completely online, offers multiple start dates, and lets students transfer up to 70 credits.
Herzing University is a private, career-focused school where many programs are available online. Students learn what it takes to succeed in today’s workforce. For nursing students, this means learning about today’s most important healthcare needs. Coaches and teachers help students work toward career success, so students can build the lives they want after graduation.
What We Like: US News and World Report ranked Herzing among the best online programs for 2021.
Degree: RN to BSN
10. University of North Carolina at Wilmington
The University of North Carolina at Wilmington has been educating nurses for over 40 years. Unsurprisingly, UNC Wilmington’s RN to BSN program is one of the best accelerated RN to BSN programs online. Teachers in this program have a lot of field experience. Students can focus on more advanced and specific areas in healthcare, like community health nursing, pediatric nursing, electronic health records, or nursing leadership. Healthcare professionals can also examine and make the most of current research.
The University of North Carolina at Wilmington is part of the respected UNC system. It’s recognized for its great online learning programs. UNC Wilmington promotes excellence in learning, career training, and graduate nursing programs. Students grow their critical thinking skills for life beyond the classroom. Whether they learn from online programs or in the classroom, UNC Wilmington offers a full learning experience for a registered nurse.
What We Like: UNC Wilmington has been ranked as one of the top public colleges in the South.
Degree: RN to BSN
How Can I Get an Online BSN Fast?
If you’re searching for fast-track RN to BSN online programs, you likely already have some experience in the nursing world. Good news: it’s likely that you’ll be able to take some of your previous work history and use it toward your education in an online RN to BSN. Some accelerated 1 year BSN online programs allow you to use previous nursing experience as course credit, cutting down on the amount of time that it takes to get your degree. There are many RN to BSN online no clinical programs, allowing you to focus solely on your coursework without having to spend time getting clinical hours.
If you’ve already completed some college, you may be able to use some or all of your class credits toward your accelerated 1 year BSN online degree. Before you commit to an RN to BSN online no clinical program, be sure to reach out to the program office to learn whether they’ll accept previous credit (or whether they’ll provide credit for work experience).
You may also be able to find a program that offers intensive classes in a six or eight-week format, rather than requiring you to take classes over full semesters. This can cut down on the time that it takes to earn your degree and also help you continue to work while earning your degree. You may find that you’re able to put much of what you learn in class into practice at your job immediately.
As always, look for an accredited program from an accredited college recognized by the colleges and schools commission. Colleges and schools commission standards help BSN graduates know their nursing career will succeed with an accredited school behind them.
Are Online MSN Programs Easier than On-Campus?
It makes sense that many people search for the easiest online RN to BSN programs. Any reputable nursing program is challenging, and you’ll find the same level of difficulty in a quick online RN to BSN program as standard on-campus programs.
When you search for the easiest online RN to BSN programs, you’ll want to consider that while the coursework won’t be easier than a traditional, on-campus program, the scheduling flexibility may make it easier to get through your studies. When you choose an online program, you may be able to complete all of your coursework on your own time, rather than having to attend class at a scheduled time.
In accelerated quick online RN to BSN programs, you may not need to complete clinical hours, further cutting down on the stress and scheduling challenges of completing your program. With choices like healthcare administration, community nursing for vulnerable and underserved populations, medical surgical nursing, psychiatric nursing, health care systems, public health, nurse educator, healthcare informatics, and more, students enrolled in an MSN can take their career to the next level.
If you’re unsure whether you’re up to the challenge of an online MSN program, reach out to the program coordinator to learn more about any prerequisite classes you may need to take to boost your skills before enrolling in your program.
However, be sure of all the admission requirements for your bachelor of science in nursing program. If you already have your associate degree in nursing (ADN), your GPA might not be important. You may use your current job for capstone or clinical experience. Hands-on learning in an RN-BSN program is already taken care of. You may need no in-person time at all. Also be aware of the full program cost.
Can I Get an Accelerated BSN if I Have a Bachelor’s in Another Field?
Absolutely. There are many online BSN programs for non-nurses who are interested in getting into the nursing field. Accelerated online BSN programs for non-nurses allow those who do not have nursing education or experience to utilize each credit hour transferred from another degree program to cut down on the amount of time it will take to earn their RN to BSN degree. Depending on your background, you might consider specializations like community health nursing or nursing leadership.
Non-nurses who are interested in achieving their BSN should reach out to programs they’re considering directly to learn more about how many of their previous credits will be accepted into the program. After talking with an advisor or program director, it will be easier to understand how many credits will be needed in order to complete an accelerated BSN program for non-nurses.