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Starting your career in nursing with an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) is a great introduction to what life is like as a nurse, but in terms of career advancement, you’ll hit the job ceiling pretty quickly. For many, the benefits of a nursing career are such that they don’t feel the need to ask the question of “is a BSN worth it?” and don’t return to school to earn advanced degrees. There’s plenty of work to go around, especially with the ongoing nursing shortage, and the median salary for a nurse with an ADN is $75,330 according to the BLS. All of these factors suggest that an ADN is sufficient for an exciting and well-compensated career, but there are also reasons why a BSN in nursing is important for getting the most out of the benefits of a nursing career.

The main reason why a BSN in nursing is important is that it helps you gain access to better job titles, and gives you an opportunity to specialize in an area of healthcare that you enjoy. BSN programs offer concentrations in a specific area of healthcare and also help an RN improve their general nursing skills. Earning a BSN also puts an RN onto the educational pathway to earn a graduate degree in advanced practice nursing and become licensed as a nurse practitioner. A nurse who continues their education past their ADN has more earning potential and more satisfaction with their career as well as having more success finding quality employers.

Methodology: Ranking the Best BSN Programs in the US

The editors at Bachelor’s Degree Center want prospective BSN students to find programs that make a difference. That’s why we feature only accredited, reputable colleges and universities, ranking according to practical factors like tuition cost, student reviews, and potential salary.

1. University of Washington

The University of Washington offers two of the best BSN programs in the US, with a CCNE-accredited BSN – a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree and an accelerated BSN program option. The University of Washington’s best Bachelor of Nursing programs have been nationally recognized among the leading nationally ranked programs as ranked by US News & World Report. Nursing students interested in an early entrance to a doctoral program in nursing can take advantage of an accelerated BSN degree working towards a DNP degree.

Established in the 1860s before Washington became a state, the University of Washington is the state’s flagship school and a sea, space, and land-grant institution of higher learning maintaining multiple campuses that serve nearly 48,000 postgraduate and undergraduate students.

What We Like: The University of Washington is recognized as one of the west coast’s oldest higher learning institutions.

Degree: BSN and Accelerated BSN

2. University of Michigan

The University of Michigan offers one of the best BSN programs in the US with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree with an academic minor in Global Public Health, as noted by US News and World Report. These CCNE-accredited best Bachelor of Nursing programs from the University of Michigan emphasizes global nursing opportunities in its BSN program. Featured coursework for these nursing degrees include health assessment, applied statistics, evaluation data and evidence, and pharmacology, plus a clinical practicum, to name a few.

The University of Michigan (UMichigan) was established in 1817 when Michigan was still a territory and is recognized among the oldest schools in Michigan. The Ann Arbor campus and online platform of this sea and space-grant school serve more than 47,950 students.

What We Like: With an endowment of $12 billion+, the University of Michigan’s endowment is among the largest in the nation.

Degree: BSN, Minor in Global Public Health

3. Purdue University

Purdue University offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN) program that is ranked among the best BSN programs in the US. These two CCNE-accredited best Bachelor of Nursing programs include a direct admission BSN program and a second-degree program for nurses that can be completed in only 15 months. Featured coursework for these BSN degree programs includes public health nursing, health assessment, nursing practice, and foundations of leadership, plus a practicum available from more than 200+ partners.

Purdue University is the flagship higher learning institution of Indiana. It was founded in the late 1860s and now operates as a sea, space, and land-grant school serving nearly 50,000 students each year. In addition, Purdue is a triple designated school – land, sea, and space-grant, with a student population of about 49,450 undergraduate and postgraduate students.

What We Like:  Purdue University’s list of impressive alumni includes more than a couple of dozen astronauts, heads of state, governors, and members of the United States Congress.

Degree: BSN

4. Texas A&M University

Texas A&M University’s School of Nursing offers a variety of the Lone Star State’s best Bachelor of Nursing programs. A&M offers nursing students a traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN) program, a BSN as a second degree, and an RN to BSN degree. Texas A&M University’s CCNE-accredited best BSN programs in the US require the completion of this nursing coursework – adult nursing, the care of mental health clients, and foundations of nursing practice theory, plus a clinical practicum, among others.

Texas A&M University’s College Station campus is the flagship campus of the A&M system. Founded in the 1870s under the Morrill Act as a land-grant (agricultural) and military college, TAMU is now a sea and space-grant university with a student population that nears 70,000 students.

What We Like: TAMU is recognized as the first public higher learning institution in the Lone Star State.

Degree: BSN, Second Degree BSN, RN to BSN

5. University of Texas at Austin

The University of Texas at Austin offers a CCNE-accredited Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program that is recognized to be among the best BSN programs in the US. In addition, UT’s best Bachelor of Nursing programs include a traditional program and an ADN to BSN program through an external transfer policy. The University of Texas’s BSN degree is considered among the best-value programs in the United States, according to ValueColleges.com.

The University of Texas’s Austin campus is the flagship campus of the Texas university system and a land and space-grant designated school. The Austin campus is home to more than 51,000 students, several Museums, and the LBJ presidential library.

What We Like: The University of Texas at Austin is considered one of the public ivy institutions of higher education.

Degree: BSN

6. University of Florida

The University of Florida offers a variety of the best BSN programs in the US. TheUniversity of Florida offers nursing students a traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program, an accelerated BSN degree, and an online RN to BSN degree. The University of Florida’s best Bachelor of Nursing programs offer students the opportunity to explore nursing research with UF’s well-respected faculty members and researchers. Featured classes for these BSN degree programs include the principles of personalized nursing care, nursing care for adults with chronic conditions, and leadership and innovation in nursing, among others.

The University of Florida (UF) is the Sunshine state’s flagship school that is also triple designated in land, space, and sea. UF is ranked among the top public schools in the nation, with a student enrollment that exceeds 55,550 graduate and postgraduate students.

What We Like: The school was founded in 1851 and has operated on the Gainesville campus for over one century.

Degree: BSN, Accelerated BSN, RN to BSN

7. University of Wisconsin, Madison

The University of Wisconsin Madison Nursing School offers a variety of the best BSN programs in the US, which a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program, an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, plus an online RN to BSN degree program. The NCLEX passing rate for UW’s traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree candidates was 83% on the first attempt. These best Bachelor of Nursing programs are CCNE-accredited and require the completion of a comprehensive clinical practicum.

The University of Wisconsin’s Madison campus is a land-grant institution of higher education that was founded in the 1840s. UW Madison operates as the state’s flagship campus and a sea-grant school with a student enrollment of approximately 45450 students each year.

What We Like: The University of Wisconsin’s Madison is situated on the Lake Mendota shores and covers more than 900 acres.

Degree: BSN, Accelerated BSN, Online RN to BSN

8. University of Minnesota

The University of Minnesota’s School of Nursing offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN) program that is ranked among the best BSN programs in the US. UM’s best Bachelor of Nursing programs have received accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and require four years to complete with a full-time course load. The University of Minnesota’s nursing programs collaborate with many premier clinics and hospitals, which offer degree candidates various clinical opportunities.

The University of Minnesota operates as a multi-campus higher learning institution with more than 49,100 students studying online and the university’s 2,500+ acre campuses. The school was established as a land- school in 1851, years before Minnesota achieved statehood. The University of Minnesota’s students and alumni have garners more than six dozen Olympic medals.

What We Like: Two US Vice presidents are UM alumni.

Degree: BSN

9. Rutgers University

Rutgers University School of Nursing offers a variety of New Jersey’s best Bachelor of Nursing programs which includes a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program, an RN to BSN degree program, and an accelerated CCNE-accredited BSN degree. Rutgers’ School of Nursing, according to US News, offers some of the best BSN programs in the US. Featured coursework for these BSN program options include 121 credits in classes like professional role development, health assessment, nursing informatics, and pathophysiology, plus a comprehensive practicum, to name a few.

Rutgers University is among the nation’s oldest schools; established in 1766 as Queen’s College. Rutgers University now operates with multiple campuses in New Jersey and a robust online platform that serves nearly 59,000 students each year.

What We Like: Rutgers is a sea, space, and land-grant school and the largest institution of higher education in the Garden State.

Degree: BSN, Second Degree BSN, RN to BSN

10. Northeastern University

Northeastern University’s School of Nursing offers some of the best BSN programs in the US, which includes these CCNE-accredited options – a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program, an accelerated BSN degree, and an RN to BSN degree program. As New England’s best Bachelor of Nursing programs, Northeastern University offers these featured nursing classes – integrated lab for anatomy & physiology, health assessment, nursing women & families, and the promotion of mental health, plus a clinical nursing practicum, among others.

Northeastern University was developed as an academic program in the local YMCA in the late 1890s. Northeastern University’s student population across all campuses is approximately 27,500. Northeastern University is world-renowned for its cooperative approach to education that allows students to earn full salaries while studying.

What We Like: Northeastern University maintains campuses across the country in North Carolina, Washing, California, Maine, and in Canada.

Degree: BSN, Accelerated BSN, RN to BSN

11. University of Utah

The University of Utah’s offers a variety of academic paths that permit nursing students to complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN). This program is ranked among the best BSN programs in the US. Degree candidates may opt for a prelicensure nursing track, a traditional track (with an early guaranteed entrance and an online RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN). These best Bachelor of Nursing programs offered by the University of Utah are CCNE-accredited. U of U offers the only doctoral level nursing program in Utah.

The University of Utah was established in the 1850s, years before the date Utah joined the Union. U of U is Utah’s flagship, with a student enrollment that exceeds 32,750 undergraduate and postgraduate students.

What We Like: The University of Utah is the state’s oldest institution of higher education.

Degree: BSN

12. University of Connecticut

The University of Connecticut offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN) program that is ranked among the best BSN programs in the US. Nursing students enrolled in UConn’s best Bachelor of Nursing programs must complete a minimum of 120 credit units to earn the BSN degree with a minimum of a GPA of 2.5. This Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from the University of Connecticut has received accreditation from the CCNE. Featured coursework for the BSN degree includes human genetics, individual and family dynamics and development, the principles of biology, and health assessment, plus a clinical practicum, to name a few.

The University of Connecticut is Connecticut’s flagship and land-grant school that was established in the 1880s.

What We Like: The University of Connecticut, as one of the best value schools in the nation, is also a sea and space-grant school with a student enrollment that exceeds 32,650.

Degree: BSN

13. University of Iowa

The University of Iowa Nursing offers a variety of the best BSN programs in the US, offering these nursing program options – a prelicensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree and a Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees. The University of Iowa’s best Bachelor of Nursing programs from the College of Nursing are CCNE accredited and recognized as great value educational programs. Featured classes for these nursing degree programs include general chemistry, human biology, nutrition and health, and human development and behavior, to name a few.

The University of Iowa was founded in 1847 and now operates as the state’s flagship and space-grant higher learning institution. The university’s Iowa City 1,750+ acre campus and online platform serve more than 21,450 graduate and undergraduate students each year.

What We Like: The University of Iowa is recognized as the school that developed the MFA degree program.

Degree: BSN, RN to BSN

14. University at Buffalo

The University at Buffalo offers a variety of BSN degree programs that are ranked among the Empire State’s best Bachelor of Nursing programs which includes these options – a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree; an accelerated a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program for those who currently hold an unrelated bachelor’s degree and an RN to BSN degree program that is available for completion entirely online. These best BSN programs in the US from the University of Buffalo are CCNE accredited.

The University at Buffalo (UB) is a member school of the SUNY system. Established in the 1840s by Millard Fillmore, the University of Buffalo now operates as a space and sea-grant higher learning institution with more than 32,100 students studying online and, on the university’s, 1250+ acre campuses.

What We Like: The University at Buffalo is recognized be one of two universities that have been founded by a US president.

Degree: BSN, RN to BSN, Accelerated BSN

15. Indiana University, Bloomington

Indiana University Bloomington offers a traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program, an RN to BSN degree program option that is available 100% online, plus an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree – all considered among the best BSN programs in the US. Sample coursework for these Indiana University’s best Bachelor of Nursing programs includes data analysis for the nursing practice, the promotion of health populations, and comprehensive health assessments across the lifespan, plus a practicum.

Indiana University’s campus in Bloomington operates as the flagship campus of the Indiana state university system with a student population that exceeds 45 050 students each year. In addition, IU is a space-grant and the largest student enrollment of any school in the IU system.

What We Like: Indiana University’s campus in Bloomington is organized into fifteen colleges/schools.

Degree: BSN, Accelerated BSN, RN to BSN

16. Stony Brook University

Stony Brook University offers a variety of the best BSN programs in the US. Stony Brook University offers potential nursing students a traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, and an RN to BSN degree. The featured coursework for these best Bachelor of Nursing programs from Stony Brook University includes psychosocial mental health nursing, health assessment, population health nursing, and the fundamental so pharmacology, plus a nursing practicum, among others.

Stony Brook University (SUNY Stony Brook) was founded in the late 1950s as a state college. More than 26,550 students attend classes online and on the Long Island campus.

What We Like: The university now operates as a space and sea-grant school and a partner/manager of the Brookhaven National Lab.

Degree: BSN, Accelerated BSN, RN to BSN

17. University of Illinois at Chicago

The University of Illinois at Chicago offers some of the best BSN programs in the US. UIC offers potential nursing students a traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program and an online RN to BSN completion degree program. Applicants to these best Bachelor of Nursing programs offered by the University of Illinois must have completed57 credits to be eligible for admission. The featured classes for UIC’s nursing programs include nursing professionalism, concepts in pharmacology, and the foundations of nursing, to name a few.

The University of Illinois (UI Chicago) was established in 1972 as a public research institution of higher education. The University of Illinois ASU is organized into 16 colleges/schools that serve more than 34,00 postgraduate and undergraduate students.

What We Like: The University of Illinois at Chicago is recognized as an Asian-serving and Hispanic-serving institution of higher learning.

Degree: BSN, RN to BSN

18. Arizona State University

Arizona State University’s Edson School of Nursing offers a variety of best BSN programs in the US with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree that offers students six academic specializations from which to choose. ASU’s best Bachelor of Nursing programs also include an online RN to BSN degree and an accelerated BSN Degree for students who already hold a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field. In addition, Arizona State University’s nursing programs have received accreditation from the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education.

Arizona State University was founded before Arizona reached statehood in 1885. With a student enrollment exceeding 130,000, Arizona State University is among the largest student bodies in the US and beyond. Student-athletes at ASU compete in more than two dozen varsity sports.

What We Like: The faculty and staff members at ASU total more than 4,700.

Degree: BSN with 6 specializations

19. University of Oklahoma

The University of Oklahoma’s Ziegler College of Nursing offers a variety of Oklahoma’s best Bachelor of Nursing programs in Oklahoma, as well as the best BSN programs in the US. The University of Oklahoma offers potential nursing students a traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program, an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, an LPN to BSN degree, and an RN to BSN completion program. BestCollegeDegrees.com ranks the RN to BSN as the best in the nation.

The University of Oklahoma was established in the Oklahoma territory in 1890. The school offers more than 300 academic degree and diploma programs to its 28,000+ students. The University of Oklahoma maintains several campuses and museums include an art museum and a museum of natural history.

What We Like: TheUniversity of Oklahoma athletes have won multiple championships in a number of sports.

Degree: BSN, Accelerated BSN, LPN to BSN, RN to BSN

20. Florida State University

Florida State University offers some of the Sunshine State’s best Bachelor of Nursing programs. These nursing program options include a traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program and an accelerated BSN degree program. FSU’s nursing programs are also nationally ranked as the best BSN programs in the US. These nursing degrees from Florida State University offer two start dates each fall and spring, with a maximum enrollment of 72 nursing students.

Florida State University is a public research higher learning institution that is ranked by US News among the twenty top public schools in the national category. As a sea and space-grant school, Florida State University serves more than 41,450 graduate and undergraduate students.

What We Like: The university operates one of the largest museum complexes in the country, with its Ringling Museum of Art.

Degree: BSN, Accelerated BSN

21. University of Kansas

The University of Kansas School of Nursing offers one of the best BSN programs in the US with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree that offers students six academic specializations. Degree candidates enrolled in these best Bachelor of Nursing programs will be required to complete 120 semester hours to be eligible for the NCLEX-RN exam. The University of Kansas’s concept-based curriculum includes managing healthcare information, basic assessment and therapeutic interventions, population-based healthcare, health and illness across the lifespan, and professional development, plus a nursing practicum, to name a few.

The University of Kansas was founded in the 1860s as a public institution of higher learning before Kansas became a state. The university maintains multiple campuses across campus that serve more than 27,550 students each year.

What We Like: The University of Kansas is organized into five divisions offering programs and degrees in architecture/design, business law, engineering, and journalism.

Degree: BSN

22. University of Pittsburgh

The University of Pittsburgh offers two of state’s best Bachelor of Nursing programs. These include a basic Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program and a 2nd-degree BSN degree program for those who have earned a previous bachelor’s degree. Sample classes for these best BSN programs in the US include nursing anatomy and physiology microbiology, nursing management for adults with chronic health issues, nutrition for clinical practice, nursing informatics, and basic statistics for evidence-based practice, plus a nursing practicum.

The University of Pittsburgh operates as a public, state-related institution of higher education and research that was founded as an academy in the 1780s. The university’s 125+ acre campus serves approximately 28250 students each year.

What We Like: Many influential politicians (governors and senators) are alumni of the University of Pittsburgh.

Degree: BSN, 2nd Degree BSN

23. Texas Tech University

Texas Tech University Health Science Center offers a variety of best BSN programs in the US from a world-class nursing program. Texas Tech University’s nursing program options include a traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program, an accelerated veteran’s BSN degree, an accelerated second-degree BSN, and an RN to BSN degree program. TTU’s best Bachelor of Nursing programs are CCNE-accredited and offer a variety of pathways to a nursing career.

Texas Tech University (TTU) is a public university and the flagship campus of the Texas Tech University system in Texas. The university’s campus in Lubbock and online platform serve more than 40,250 postgraduate and undergraduate students, making it the seventh-largest school in the Lone Star State.

What We Like: Texas Tech University is organized into 12 colleges and schools.

Degree: BSN, RN to BSN, Second Degree BSN, Veteran BSN

24. San Diego State University

San Diego State University offers a variety of best Bachelor of Nursing programs on the west coast. These best BSN programs in the US include a traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program and an RN to BSN degree program that is available online. Sample classes for San Diego State University’s nursing degree programs include human anatomy, client assessment, nursing care for the ill adult or gerontologic population, pediatric nursing, and community health nursing, plus a nursing practicum, to name a few.

San Diego State University (SDSU) was established as a state-sponsored normal school for teachers in 1897. The university now operates several campuses as a space-grant school that serves nearly 36,000 students each year.

What We Like: The student enrollment at San Diego State University is recognized to be among the most racially diverse across the globe.

Degree: BSN, RN to BSN

25. University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming’s Whitney Nursing School offers a variety of best Bachelor of Nursing programs in the state of Wyoming. These programs include a traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program, an accelerated BSN degree for those students who have finished a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, and a variety of BSN completion programs for ADN students, RN’s, and the school’s online option. The university’s best BSN programs in the US offering completion degrees are delivered in eight-week modules and offer students the option to complete the degree at their own pace.

The University of Wyoming was established under the Morrill Land Grant Act in the 1860s, several years before Wyoming entered the Union. More than 12,000 students attend classes offered online and on-campus each year.

What We Like: The University of Wyoming is comprised of seven colleges/schools that offer programs in arts/sciences, education, business, health sciences, law, and engineering.

Degree: BSN, BRAND, BSN Completion

How Important is Accreditation?

Nursing school accreditations for a BSN program are very important. If you don’t see accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) on the BSN program, you should keep looking for a program that is accredited by either one of these commissions. Accreditation enables you to transfer your credits in most cases, but that’s not always a guarantee. You should check with the school about the transferability of credits.

The CCNE accreditation standards and ACEN standards are similar to one another, and both are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (DoE). When looking at ACEN vs CCNE for differences, you’ll see that ACEN accredits all levels of nursing programs and works with government agencies to help students get financial assistance. CCNE nursing accreditation is only offered to bachelor and master’s degree programs. Both CCNE accreditation standards and ACEN standards in nursing education ensure that students get a quality education that meets the current standards expected of nurses in the healthcare industry.

Sometimes employers check for nursing school accreditations prior to extending an offer of employment. They look for ACEN or CCNE first due to the wide acceptance of the standards from these nursing school accreditations. Regional accreditation is another type of nursing school accreditation, but may not be as accepted by employers.

It’s a wise idea to research the nursing school accreditations offered by the schools you’re interested in attending. The more information you have about the employment prospects of your BSN in nursing degree, the better the choice you can make for schooling.

What Are the Advantages of a Traditional On-Campus BSN Program?

Chances are good that you’re using the search term of colleges near me with nursing programs in order to find local bachelor of science in nursing schools. But you may also be looking for the best colleges for nursing in the US because the colleges near you with nursing programs aren’t abundant, or you want to attend a program that offers a bachelor of science in nursing with a concentration that appeals to you. Oftentimes, you can access these schools through their online nursing programs for a bachelor’s of science in nursing, but you can also benefit from attending a traditional on-campus BSN program.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, many programs for bachelor of science in nursing schools were offered completely online. The main reason for a completely online degree is to accommodate working nurses who have unpredictable schedules. These RN-to-BSN programs are still a good option for RNs, but students who are skipping the ADN to earn a BSN before employment are better served by attending a traditional on-campus BSN program.

The main reason why a nursing student should strongly consider looking at on-campus bachelor of science in nursing schools comes down to the quality of education, hands-on learning, working directly with a mentor, and the opportunity to network with nursing professionals. Many of the concepts of nursing are best learned directly from a nurse with extensive experience in the field. And when the student graduates, having a mentor to connect with is invaluable during the early days of their career. Last, but not least, students who have demonstrated their skills in-person can improve their employment prospects with an organization after graduation. These reasons and more are why students should search for colleges near me with nursing programs when looking for a bachelor of science in nursing schools.

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