RN to BSN: Online vs. Campus Programs

As part of your nursing education, you need to complete on-site work at a healthcare facility. So, although there are online programs available, you do have to do hands-on work as well. Some wonder, then – why even consider online schools in the first place? Let’s take a look at some of the advances to online RN to BSN programs, as well as who might benefit from campus programs instead.


Although cost shouldn’t dictate the type of education you receive, this is a concern for many students. If you complete most of your RN to BSN program online, the cost will generally be lower than if you attend classes at a traditional brick-and-mortar college. Online schools don’t have an many operating expenses, since there are no building to maintain, so tuition is lower (on average) and as a student, you can do work from home, which means no commuting expenses or room and board payments. Both online and offline school offer scholarships and grants to students, and as long as the program is accredited, you can also look for financial aid from outside sources as well.


At one time, online schools weren’t highly regulated. Today, they can be accredited just like campus programs, so you can be sure that the online RN to BSN program you attend will preparing you for licensing in your state. When it comes to legitimacy, online and offline programs should be treated equally. Before you attend either, check accreditation. If your program isn’t accredited, which is still found online, you won’t be able to get your nursing license after you graduate.


One of the biggest advantages to online school is that these programs allow you to be flexible with your education – you don’t have to attend classes on a strict schedule. However, be aware that online schools offering RN to BSN programs may not be flexible with the medical facilities where you can get the hands-on learning you need to complete your degree. Before you choose a program, make sure you understand your practical work options so you can choose a program that works for you.

The Best RN to BSN Degrees Online

Kaplan University
Kaplan University — Kaplan's RN to BSN program empowers you to earn your bachelor's degree online from an accredited leader in education. The curriculum features an emphasis on professional leadership and health promotion and includes courses in management, informatics, research, and emerging trends in medicine. A capstone completed in your community allows you to apply your knowledge.
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Grand Canyon University
Grand Canyon University — Grand Canyon University's RN to BS in Nursing Program is designed for registered nurses who already possess their associate's degree or diploma in nursing. The curriculum focuses on the inherent skills of an RN, building on them to graduate competent nurses with more advanced skills. Courses are taught both online and in the classroom.
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Walden University
Walden University — According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for registered nurses is projected to continue to increase dramatically through 2016. Further studies have indicated that the earnings gap between those with and without a bachelor's degree is growing. At Walden, you can earn your bachelor's degree with a flexible, relevant, online program.
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