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Key Infor­ma­tion:

  • There are mul­ti­ple path­ways to becom­ing a nurse, includ­ing Asso­ciate Degree in Nurs­ing (ADN), Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence in Nurs­ing (BSN), and advanced degrees like Mas­ter of Sci­ence in Nurs­ing (MSN).
  • High­er degrees, such as a BSN or MSN, often lead to bet­ter job oppor­tu­ni­ties, high­er salaries, and more advanced roles in nursing.
  • To prac­tice as a nurse, grad­u­ates must pass the NCLEX-RN exam, regard­less of their degree type.
  • Many pro­grams offer online and accel­er­at­ed options to accom­mo­date var­i­ous sched­ules and career goals.
  • Fort Hays State Uni­ver­si­ty and Ball State Uni­ver­si­ty are top schools for a nurs­ing degree.

The min­i­mum degree required to become a reg­is­tered nurse (RN) is an associate’s degree, which requires the com­ple­tion of 60 col­lege cred­it hours. How­ev­er, many RNs decide to earn high­er degrees which allows them to take on more respon­si­bil­i­ty in dif­fer­ent nurs­ing roles, which will increase their expect­ed salary. Con­sid­er the dif­fer­ent tiers of nurs­ing degrees, the posi­tions that are avail­able at each lev­el, and their expect­ed salary:

  • Associate’s degrees in Nurs­ing (ASN) will allow grad­u­ates to become Reg­is­tered Nurs­es, who per­form all of the basic med­ical tasks, and earn an aver­age salary of $70,000 per year.
  • Bachelor’s degrees in Nurs­ing (BSN) take twice as long as an Associate’s degree and will allow grad­u­ates to become Psy­chi­atric Tech­ni­cians, Research Nurs­es, or a Med­ical and Health Ser­vices Man­ag­er, who earn an aver­age salary of $98,350 per year.
  • Master’s degrees in Nurs­ing (MSN) will allow grad­u­ates to take on extra respon­si­bil­i­ties by per­form­ing med­ical tasks with high­er stakes, such as Physi­cian Assis­tants, who earn an aver­age salary of $104,860.
  • Doc­tor­al degrees in Nurs­ing (DNP) will qual­i­fy grad­u­ates for any job in the field of nurs­ing, includ­ing Nurse Anes­thetists, who earn an aver­age salary of $169,450.

If you are an under­grad­u­ate stu­dent look­ing to become a nurse, the best route will be to earn your BSN. If your cur­rent school does not have a BSN pro­gram, you can take sci­ence cours­es like Biol­o­gy, Organ­ic Chem­istry, and Human Anato­my that will count towards your degree, and then trans­fer to a school that has a nurs­ing pro­gram by Junior year. If you are cur­rent­ly a prac­tic­ing RN and want to go back to school to earn your BSN, there are many online RN-BSN pro­grams that will allow you to trans­fer pre­vi­ous cred­its and earn your nurs­ing degree as fast as pos­si­ble while keep­ing your sched­ule flex­i­ble to main­tain your cur­rent employ­ment. For ref­er­ence to some of the top online BSN pro­grams in the Unit­ed States, check out our list of the 30 Best Online Bach­e­lors of Nurs­ing Pro­grams. Let’s take a clos­er look at a cou­ple of the online BSN pro­grams that made our list.

Fort Hays State

Fort Hays State is a pub­lic uni­ver­si­ty that was estab­lished in 1902, and is locat­ed in Hays, Kansas. The university’s Depart­ment of Nurs­ing offers a tra­di­tion­al on-cam­pus BSN pro­gram, as well as an online RN to BSN pro­gram. Grad­u­ate stu­dents can earn an online MSN in Nurs­ing Edu­ca­tion, or Nurs­ing Admin­is­tra­tion, as well as an online DNP. The total tuition cost for the 2017–18 school year came out to $5,009 for in-state stu­dents, and $14,832 for out-of-state stu­dents, mak­ing it a great deal for an online nurs­ing degree.

Ball State University

Ball State Uni­ver­si­ty is a pub­lic research uni­ver­si­ty that was found­ed in 1918, and is locat­ed in Muncie, Indi­ana. The uni­ver­si­ty offers a vari­ety of online nurs­ing degrees, includ­ing a tra­di­tion­al BSN, as well as an accel­er­at­ed “Degree in Three [Years]”. Online stu­dents can earn an MSN with a con­cen­tra­tion in nurse admin­is­tra­tion, nurse edu­ca­tion, or fam­i­ly nurse prac­ti­tion­er. Ball State also offers an online doc­tor­al nurs­ing pro­gram that will pro­vide you with clin­i­cal expe­ri­ences in your own com­mu­ni­ty, wher­ev­er you live. The total cost of tuition for the 2017–18 school year at Ball State came out to $9,774 for in-state stu­dents and $25,942 for out-of-state students.


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