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Online Colleges for Nursing

Online nursing degrees have become extremely popular in the last several years among both men and women. This might be due to the fact that online education allows working nurses to pursue their degree despite long hours and ever-changing schedules. With the wide variety of specializations available to nurses—ranging from critical care to trauma care, oncology to pediatrics, anesthesia to infection control—nursing can be an exciting and fulfilling career. If the unpredictable hours of your schedule are obstructing your education, then an online degree might be just what the doctor ordered.

Best Online Colleges for Nursing

Registered nurses are the unsung heroes of the health care world. In many cases, registered nurses begin their career with an associate degree, which allows them to jump into patient care but might not offer many opportunities for advancement. That's where a good RN to BSN bridge program comes into play.

As most nurses know, there are hundreds of online colleges for nursing out there, and narrowing down the options can be tough. Fortunately, we've made it a bit easier with our list of the best online RN to BSN bridge programs. We reviewed over 250 online programs to come up with our comprehensive list of the best ones, using a solid methodology that took into account graduation rates, admission rates, tuition and more. Here are the results, presented as our top ten online bachelor's degree programs in nursing.

1

Mississippi University for Women

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$5,681
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
8
Accredited
School Type
4-year

Chartered in 1884, Mississippi University for Women was the first state-supported college for women in the United States. Today, both men and women can take advantage of the programs offered by "The W." This includes the RN to BSN Advanced Placement Option through the Department of Baccalaureate Nursing. Students who enter the program must have a registered nursing license as well as 50 hours of completed general education studies. Most students can finish the program in three semesters.

The W boasts an excellent admissions rate of over 96 percent, as well as a respectable graduation rate and favorably priced tuition. In addition, the school definitely has a strong focus on nursing, as registered nursing degrees accounted for over 54 percent of all degrees awarded by the school in 2015. These facts were part of what pushed Mississippi University for Women to the top of our list.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, Board of Trustees

Location:

1100 College Street
Columbus, MS 39701
Go to School Website 
GO
2

Georgia Highlands College

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$2,181
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
2
Accredited
School Type
4-year

Students looking for great education at an affordable price are likely to find it at Georgia Highlands College. Georgia Highlands College ranked an impressive No.6 out of 261 schools for tuition, making it the most affordable college on this list, which is particularly fortunate when you consider they also have an open admissions policy. The school is quite serious about its nursing programs, as a full quarter of all degrees awarded by the school in 2015 went to nursing students.

If that weren't attractive enough, the flexibility of the school’s RN to BSN Online Completion Program offers students the opportunity to attend full-time or part-time. Students can complete the program in as few as three consecutive semesters when attending full-time and four semesters when completing their work on a part-time basis. This part-time option is a huge benefit of GHC’s online program for working nurses: they can continue to gain work experience and focus on earning their BSN at the same time.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Accreditation Commission on Education in Nursing

Location:

3175 Cedartown Hwy. S.E.
Rome, GA 30161-3897
Go to School Website 
GO
3

Winston-Salem State University

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$3,238
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
7
Accredited
School Type
4-year

Founded in 1892, Winston-Salem State University has been recognized as one of the Top Public Schools in the U.S., as well as one of the Top Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the country by U.S. News & World Report. The RN-BSN Outreach Option at WSSU recently began offering an online-only option in addition to the hybrid educational opportunity. Registered nurse students can expect to spend three semesters over the span of one year to complete their degree.

Admission to the RN-BSN program is highly competitive; however, the graduation rate ranks in the top half of all the schools we surveyed, showing that students who gain acceptance and work hard can look forward to obtaining their BSN. Tuition is favorable, ranking 17th out of all schools surveyed. With nursing degrees making up over 43 percent of all degrees awarded in 2015, WSSU obviously has a strong nursing department, which translates into an impressive showing on our prominence metric.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education

Location:

601 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr.
Winston-Salem, NC 27110-0001
Go to School Website 
GO
4

Montana State University-Northern

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$3,953
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
6
Accredited
School Type
4-year

With a student-faculty ratio of about 14 to one, students at Montana State University-Northern can rest assured they will receive top-notch attention from their teachers, even when taking the popular online RN-BSN Completion Program. The program builds on previous education with courses in community health, leadership and management and advanced clinical practice. (Please note this program does require clinical hours; however, those hours can be completed at the student's geographical location. No travel to the university is required.) In addition to the RN-BSN program, the school also offers an associate degree in nursing that is sufficient to prepare a student for registered nursing licensure.

Students interested in attending MSU Northern will be happy to know the university has an open admissions policy, and tuition is quite reasonable.

Accreditation:

  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  • Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing

Location:

300 W 11th St.
Havre, MT 59501
Go to School Website 
GO
5

Mercy College of Health Sciences

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$16,268
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
3
Accredited
School Type
4-year

This private Catholic college has been teaching students since it was founded as a school of nursing in 1918. Today it carries on the tradition of excellent nursing education with numerous programs focused on the health field, including the RN-BSN Nursing Online Program. Full-time students can complete the rigorous accelerated courses in as little as one year. Though students are expected to have their RN license upon admission, limited general education courses are available for those who need a refresher.

With an open admissions policy and well over 55 percent of students graduating from the program, students are poised for success at Mercy College. The school scored 5th in our prominence ranking, thanks in part to the wide selection of related programs available, as well as the fact that over 65 percent of degrees awarded by the school in 2015 were in the nursing field.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Location:

928 Sixth Ave
Des Moines, IA 50309-1239
Go to School Website 
GO
6

Mount Carmel College of Nursing

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$18,747
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
4
Accredited
School Type
4-year

With a strong emphasis on nursing education, MCCN offers an excellent eight to one student-faculty ratio, boasts a 93 percent NCLEX pass rate and offers financial aid to 90 percent of all enrolled students. The Online RN-BSN Completion Program allows students to choose a full-time or part-time path that fits in with their busy schedule. Those who complete the RN-BSN program with an eye toward teaching in an academic or health care setting can go further with the online graduate program in Nursing Education.

Out of all the degrees awarded by the school in 2015, over 87 percent were in nursing, indicating a top-notch department and plenty of related programs. Thus, Mount Carmel College ranks 2nd on our prominence metric, out of 261 schools! With over 81 percent of applicants admitted and a graduation rate of over 71 percent, it's safe to say students at MCCN are serious about their education. Those looking for the best online colleges for nursing should definitely consider pursuing their educational goals here.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Location:

127 So. Davis Ave
Columbus, OH 43222-1504
Go to School Website 
GO
7

College of Coastal Georgia

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$2,451
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
1
Accredited
School Type
4-year

As part of the University System of Georgia, the College of Coastal Georgia ranked in the top ten of Top Public Schools of 2017 by U.S. News & World Report. And when ranking schools specifically for their online nursing programs, we also gave the College of Coastal Georgia high marks. The handful of online programs available at the school includes the RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing, which can be completed entirely through virtual means. Students can choose between three, four and five semesters to complete their studies, allowing for better flexibility for busy working nurses. The program accepts only those who are currently licensed to practice as registered nurses in Georgia.

Students who seek their RN to BSN through College of Coastal Georgia will find a favorable admissions rate, but even more favorable is the tuition rate: CCG ranked 11th in affordability out of over 250 online bachelor's degree programs in nursing across the country. These great advantages coupled with the strong flexibility of the program gave CCG a boost to our top ten.

Accreditation:

  • Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing

Location:

One College Drive
Brunswick, GA 31520-3644
Go to School Website 
GO
8

Cox College

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$9,302
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
2
Accredited
School Type
4-year

Serving students for over a century, Cox College is home to numerous programs that focus on health care, including the RN to BSN online program. Offered entirely online, the program consists of five 8-week blocks. Though students can complete the work at their own pace, the college requires completion of the program within five years of enrollment. Nurses who work for CoxHealth can receive a 20 percent discount on tuition.

Since the college focuses strongly on health care programs, it ranks very high on our prominence metrics. Almost 60 percent of applicants are accepted into the RN to BSN program. Perhaps thanks to allowing five years for program completion, Cox College boasts a graduation rate of over 98 percent, catapulting it to the top of our graduation rates and into the top ten online colleges for nursing.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission
  • Accrediting Commission for Education in Nursing

Location:

1423 N. Jefferson
Springfield, MO 65802
Go to School Website 
GO
9

South Dakota State University

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$4,341
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
28
Accredited
School Type
4-year

As South Dakota's largest university, SDSU offers numerous programs to choose from, including the RN to BSN online option. Students can choose from three or five semesters in which to complete their degree, allowing a high level of flexibility for working nurses. With the option to transfer up to 90 community college credits, some students might find that their RN to BSN program is even shorter than they expected it would be.

Over 91 percent of applicants are accepted into the program, and the flexibility of the RN to BSN option might be one reason why the graduation rate sits at a comfortable 54 percent. The affordable costs of the program mean the school ranks very well in tuition. Students who want to take their career even further can opt to continue with the online master's degree in nursing.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Location:

Administration Lane
Brookings, SD 57007-1898
Go to School Website 
GO
10

AmeriTech College-Draper

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$11,890
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
4
Accredited
School Type
4-year

The AmeriTech College of Healthcare is available to those who want to work in the world of health, including nurses who want to earn their bachelor's degree. The RN to BSN Degree Completion Program can be completed in as little as three semesters and strives to prepare nurses to become leaders in their clinical fields or move into management and leadership areas. The 13 core courses must prepare nurses well, as the program has an impressive 100 percent placement rate, as reported by the school.

About 75 percent of all nurses who apply to the program are accepted, and the graduation rate is impressive at just over 81 percent. These points put AmeriTech College-Draper on our radar, and the impressive prominence metrics pushed it into the top ten. In the world of online RN to BSN bridge programs, this health care college rounds out the best of the best.

Accreditation:

  • Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Location:

12257 South Business Park Drive-Ste 100
Draper, UT 84020-6545
Go to School Website 
GO
Sources and Methodologies

Methodology

To be included in these rankings, all colleges had to meet the following criteria for the specific subject being ranked:

  1. Offer an undergraduate degree (either associate or bachelor's) in that subject online
  2. Have awarded at least one degree or certificate in that subject in 2014-15

Once we had our list of schools for each subject, we ranked them on five criteria:

  1. In-state tuition, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  2. Graduation rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014
  3. Accessibility, based on the admissions rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014
  4. Program prominence, based on how many of the degrees and certificates awarded in 2014-15 were in this particular subject, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  5. Related subjects, based on the number of similar topics for programs in relevant CIP codes that are offered at any level, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015

Sources:

  1. Mississippi University for Women, RN-to-BSN Advanced Placement Option, http://www.muw.edu/nslp/bsn/rnbsn
  2. Georgia Highland College, RN to BSN Program, http://www2.highlands.edu/site/bsn
  3. Winston-Salem State University, RN-BSN Option, https://www.wssu.edu/academics/distance-learning/rn-bsn-option/default.aspx
  4. Montana State University Northern, Department of Nursing, http://www.msun.edu/academics/nursing/aboutprogs.aspx
  5. Mercy College, RN-BSN Nursing Online Program, https://www.mercycollege.edu/program/rn-bsn
  6. Mount Carmel College of Nursing, Online RN-BSN Completion Program, http://www.mccn.edu/academics/online-programs/online-rn-bsn-completion-program
  7. College of Coastal Georgia, School of Nursing & Health Sciences, https://www2.ccga.edu/Academics/SchoolNursing/rntobsn.asp
  8. Cox College, RN to BSN Program, http://coxcollege.edu/home/programs/rn-to-bsn/
  9. South Dakota State University, Department of Undergraduate Nursing, https://www.sdstate.edu/undergraduate-nursing/rn-bsn
  10. Ameritech College of Healthcare, RN to BSN Degree Completion Program, https://www.ameritech.edu/programs/rn-bsn-degree-completion/
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Sources and Methodologies