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Online nursing degrees offer a flexible option for individuals who are unable to attend traditional on-campus programs due to personal or work obligations. It is essential to note that online nursing programs must have accreditation from a recognized accrediting agency to ensure that they meet quality standards and prepare graduates for licensure and professional practice. State nursing boards regulate nursing education programs, establishing licensure standards and determining eligibility requirements for licensure exams.


Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN)

The program emphasizes the application of scientific principles in nursing practice. Students acquire skills in conducting comprehensive health assessments and addressing health issues across the lifespan. Additionally, the program includes components that focus on professional development, enabling registered nurses to work effectively within healthcare teams, manage complex cases, and leverage information technology to support patient care.

Course Examples:

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program prepares registered nurses for advanced practice roles by providing education in quality patient care practices. In addition, students can select a nursing specialty to focus their studies and develop expertise in their chosen area

Course Examples:

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program enables nurses to apply current research findings to patient care by offering courses that emphasize improving healthcare systems and enhancing patient outcomes. The program includes practice activities that enable nurses to gain expertise in leadership and nursing science. As part of the program, DNP students undertake a project in their area of interest, which encourages problem-solving and the promotion of positive change.

Course Examples:

Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)CCNECCNE

A RN to BSN is a bridge program for registered nurse graduates of an ADN or diploma. These often provide transfer credit which means you won’t repeat material. Every school is different but programs usually last between one and two years. Since students entering this program already have hands on experience, many will find that these courses build on existing knowledge.

Second degree BSN programs are for students who earned a bachelor’s degree but not in nursing. While most nurses enter a four year BSN program, there are options for students who decide to become a nurse after they already complete their undergraduate degree. These programs usually credit general education courses. Then help students prepare for an RN license. Second degree BSN programs offer the quickest route for students to obtain an RN license when they have already earned a bachelor’s degree in another field.

An MSN degree is an entry point to advanced practice registered nursing (APRN) roles. For instance, a Critical Care Nurse. Or, Family Nurse Practitioner (MSN / FNP). They usually include a strong focus on clinical training. Evidence based practice is another key area of focus.

Some MSN programs have a non patient care focus. These include MSN Nurse Educator, Nurse Researcher and Nurse Executive programs. There are also joint degrees which pair nursing with another major. Business administration, public health or hospital administration are a few.

MSN educated nurses are some of the highest paid in the field. There are also certain positions that give preference to candidates who have their MSN degree.

Direct entry MSN programs are for non nurses who hold bachelor’s degrees in another field. These programs allow nurses without a BSN and non nurses to earn their master’s degree in less time. Part of the program is a prep for an RN license. Successful students then pursue their MSN courses in their chosen track.

Direct entry MSN programs are for non nurses who hold bachelor’s degrees in another field. These programs allow nurses without a BSN and non nurses to earn their master’s degree in less time. Part of the program is a prep for an RN license. Successful students then pursue their MSN courses in their chosen track.

An MSN to DNP program is for advanced practice nurses in pursuit of a Doctor of Nursing Practice. This program is for students who have completed their MSN degree in an area of advanced practice nursing and want to earn their DNP in the same focus. Such programs concentrate on systems leadership and clinical expertise.

A PhD in Nursing is a terminal degree for nurses who want to teach and research. It has the same academic value as a DNP but asks you to conduct research and excel in thought leadership. A PhD in Nursing builds on the foundation of nursing science. It brings together practice, policy, research and leadership. In addition to coursework, students are require to complete an exam with written and oral parts.


The curriculum of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program typically includes coursework and laboratory time, tailored to the student’s entry pathway. The BSN degree program aims to equip nurses with the knowledge and skills to provide high-quality direct or indirect patient care. Emphasis is placed on developing professional competencies, which include an understanding of research and evidence-based practice. BSN students also learn to conduct health assessments, stay up-to-date with emerging healthcare trends and adhere to ethical standards. Additionally, the program covers topics such as health promotion, community health, diversity, healthcare management, and coordination of patient care with other members of the healthcare team. Case file management is also an essential aspect of the program.

If you still have general education credits to complete, factor these into your studies. The following are samples of potential BSN nursing major core topics:

Online BSN students often complete their clinical rotations within their local community.


Nurses have a range of specialty options to choose from, each requiring unique skills that are reflected in specialized coursework. Although the primary core curriculum of a nursing bachelor’s or master’s degree stresses communication, critical thinking, and empathetic patient care, the courses offered in each concentration area are tailored to meet industry-specific expectations. Below are examples of courses that students may take when pursuing an online nursing degree:

Some common courses include:

Health Assessment: Understand how to provide a plan of care for the needs of each person.

Nursing Leadership and Management: Learn how to create an environment that influences the quality of patient care and satisfaction.

Introduction to Nursing Research: Gain advanced knowledge in how to use evidence based practice and research in your daily work.

Family Centered Health Promotion:Explore how to promote service satisfaction by creating a familial bond during pediatric treatment.

Concepts in Community and Public Health: Learn how to assess and treat the emotional and physical health needs of individuals, families, and communities.


The cost of a nursing program varies from one school to the next. In some colleges, there is an in state and out of state tuition too. According to the most recent data, the average in state cost of a registered nursing degree is $6,095. The average out of state cost is $28,360.

Many online schools charge by the credit. Compare cost per credit for these schools that offer BSN programs in nursing.


A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program usually takes four years to complete at a college or university for individuals without an RN license. However, individuals with an RN license can opt for an RN to BSN program, which typically takes two to three years depending on the course load. Some colleges offer an online nursing degree that can be completed in as little as one year. RN to MSN programs may take as little as 20 months to complete, depending on the course load. For those who already have a BSN and are pursuing an MSN, most programs take about two years to complete. A Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program typically takes 2 to 3 years to finish, while bridge programs are available for BSN holders looking to earn their DNP. Some online colleges offer DNP programs that can be completed in as little as 30 months, but part-time students may take up to 3 years to finish their nursing degree online.


Recent data shows that there are more than 50 schools offering registered nursing degrees or programs, resulting in over 237,915 degrees or programs awarded to students. The majority of these programs, which is 57%, were bachelor’s degrees.

School 2017 Degrees awarded 2019/20 Tuition (out of state unless *)
Chamberlain College of Nursing (Illinois) 7,950 $19,900*
Western Governors University 7,179 $6,670*
Grand Canyon University 5,444 $17,800*
Walden University 4,001 $12,150*
The University of Texas at Arlington 3,563 $28,129
Ohio University Main Campus 2,685 $22,406
National University College 1,475 $6,675*
Ivy Tech Community College 1,223 $8,661


Nursing programs offered online are available in schools that have either regional or national accreditation. This accreditation status may allow students to participate in federal aid and state entitlement programs, as well as transfer credits from other accredited nursing schools. Choosing an accredited school can also ensure that the quality standards of their BSN, MSN, and DNP programs are maintained through regular assessment and adherence to core curriculum requirements.

One way in which accreditation is important is through BSN programs, which often align with the Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice (AACN, 2008). This can help students prepare for national nursing licensure exams, which are necessary in a regulated field like nursing.

The main accreditors of nursing programs in the U.S. are:

The length of the accreditation process varies by program. But most accrediting agencies maintain a database with current statuses.


The number of registered nurses in the workforce is 4.28 million and it is increasing at a rate of 4.06%. The average age of a person in this workforce is 42.8 years and the majority are women.


The following information is for Registered Nurses. Salary and employment NURSING CAREER PATHS AND POTENTIAL SALARIES

State Employment Annual Mean Wage
California 294,510 $106,950
Hawaii 11,310 $98,080
District of Columbia 11,110 $92,350
Massachusetts 80,630 $92,140
Oregon 36,020 $91,080


A degree in Nursing can lead to diverse career paths that involve making a difference in people’s lives. Contrary to popular belief, the opportunities for Nursing graduates extend beyond just becoming a nurse. The salary range of Nursing professionals is determined by their job position, level of education, work experience, and expertise. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics collected statistics in 2018 regarding the following careers to give you an idea of what is possible.


RNs are responsible for providing and organizing patient care, educating patients and the general public on different health issues, as well as offering guidance and emotional support to patients and their families.

According to 2020 BLS data:

Median Salary: $73,300 per year

Job growth through 2029: 7% (Much faster than average)

Entry level education: Bachelor’s Degree


LPNs and LVNs are responsible for providing fundamental nursing care, such as monitoring patient health status, administering medications, and assisting with daily living activities. They work under the supervision of registered nurses and physicians.

According to 2020 BLS data:

Median Salary: $47,480 per year

Job growth through 2029: 9% (Faster than average)

Entry level education: Post secondary non degree award


Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), including nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners, play a crucial role in patient care coordination and may provide both primary and specialized healthcare services. However, the extent of their practice may vary depending on the state in which they work.

According to 2020 BLS data:

Median Salary: $115,800 per year

Job growth through 2029: 45% (Much faster than average)

Entry level education: Master’s Degree


Adult health nurses provide general care for adult patients. They provide care for patients who are suffering from many different chronic health conditions.

According to 2020 BLS data:

Median Salary: $75,291 per year

Job growth through 2029: 4%(Faster than average)

Entry level education: Bachelor’s Degree


Nurse educators are registered nurses who have advanced nursing degrees. These advanced degrees allow them to teach nursing courses at colleges.

According to 2020 BLS data:

Median Salary: $46,910 per year

Job growth through 2029: 13% (Much faster than average)

Entry level education: Bachelor’s Degree