Earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) can be a great way to advance your career. The move from registered nurse (RN) to BSN helps put you on track for more opportunities, promotions, and, potentially, higher compensation.
Nurses who earn a BSN not only enrich their knowledge of advanced nursing techniques but are exposed to the latest trends and approaches to quality care. An online BSN programs can help make you a better, more well-rounded caregiver and healthcare practitioner — one who will likely be poised to tackle all the challenges ahead and meet future demand.
As more members of the baby boom generation reach retirement age and begin to require more medical care, the need for nurses increases. In addition to this rising need, some hospitals and other facilities (and even states) are beginning to require nurses to have a BSN. Furthering your nursing education is a strategic move and an investment in your future.
Once you’ve determined that a BSN program is the right path to achieving your career goals, your next step may be to ask yourself, “How long does it take to get to your BSN?” and, “What are the key advantages of earning a BSN?”
Advantages of Earning a BSN
RNs who earn a BSN degree gain numerous advantages. First, BSN graduates earn higher salaries than RNs with Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) degrees. ASN degree-holders had a median salary of approximately $72,000 per year as of March 2022, while BSN degree-holders had a median salary of approximately $89,000 per year, according to PayScale. From a return on investment perspective, it pays to go to school longer to secure a higher degree.
Another advantage of a BSN degree is that it opens several career doors beyond the role of a registered nurse. There are many administrative and teaching positions in healthcare that require at least a BSN degree to apply.
Additionally, a BSN degree is a requirement for several graduate and nurse practitioner programs. It’s also a requirement to sit for certain healthcare certification exams. For example, a BSN degree is one of the requirements to sit for the informatics nursing certification (RN-BC) exam.
Last, a number of studies have shown that nurses with a BSN generally outperform those with an ASN in terms of patient outcomes and patient satisfaction, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) reports. In fact, many hospitals and healthcare facilities have made a BSN degree the minimum educational requirement to join their staff of RNs.
Steps to Completing Your BSN Degree
A BSN can be pursued in several different ways, but they all share some universal steps.
Verify Program Status
Before choosing a BSN program, make sure it is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). BSN graduates who attended an accredited school generally fare better with employers and can pursue an MSN if they choose.
Also, be sure the program is approved by your state’s board of nursing or regulatory body (BON/RB). You will not be able to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam unless it is.
Enroll in and Complete a Program
A BSN degree program includes coursework that offers foundational knowledge, exposes students to current trends in nursing, and prepares them for the NCLEX-RN exam.
Passing the NCLEX-RN exam is required to apply for licensure. However, the process for getting a nursing license may vary by state, so make sure you check with your state’s licensing board for the most current requirements. After obtaining licensure, graduates can begin working as registered nurses.
Completion Time for a Traditional BSN Degree
A traditional BSN degree usually takes up to four years to complete. The BSN curriculum includes liberal arts courses, which fulfill general education requirements, and higher-level classes that are specific to a major in nursing.
This four-year estimate does not include any prior degrees, such as an associate degree, which many RNs already have. Courses taken at the associate level usually are transferable but must be approved by the school ahead of time.
Accelerated BSN Programs Completion Time
Several schools, many with online coursework options, offer an accelerated program for current registered nurses. An accelerated RN to BSN online program can typically be accomplished in one to two years. Of course, this hinges on how much time you can commit to the program, as well as your previous education and work experience.
If you plan to work as an RN while you earn your BSN, you’re in good company. Nursing schools with online programs tailor the course schedules, making them as flexible as possible, so working nurses can schedule their time and coordinate their lives accordingly.
How Long Does It Take to Complete Maryville’s RN to BSN Program?
Maryville developed its RN to BSN online program to provide associate degree graduates and diploma-holding registered nurses with the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s in nursing. With three different start dates per year, Maryville’s 100% online curriculum is well-suited for today’s working nurse who needs options when it comes to completing coursework. By offering choices and support, Maryville gives RN to BSN students the opportunity to complete the program in as little as one year. Before getting started with your enrollment, make sure to check the RN to BSN program requirements for prospective students.
RN to BSN Credit Breakdown
Maryville’s RN to BSN requires the completion of 89 credit hours, 64 of which are general education courses, and 25 of which are nursing-specific courses. This curriculum is designed to help prepare nurses with the skills and ability to provide advanced care to individuals, families, and communities.
General Education Courses (64 Credits): Liberal arts, psychology, and math courses strengthen students’ critical thinking and creative analysis skills.
Nursing Courses (25 Credits): RNs further develop their professional nursing skills with the following upper-level, nursing-specific courses:
- NURS 307 Transition to Professional Nursing
- NURS 309 Nursing Research
- NURS 330 Individual Assessment
- NURS 341 Family Assessment
- NURS 342 Nursing Informatics
- NURS 406 Leadership in Contemporary Healthcare
- NURS 412 Nursing Care at End of Life
- NURS 414 Genetics in Nursing
The program also requires each student to do research and collaborate with other students to complete a public health capstone project. Graduates should leave the program with newfound skills in leadership and research, as well as a refined ability to assess public and patient health.
Career Opportunities for BSN Degree-Holders
Many career opportunities are available for RNs with a BSN degree. BSN graduates can pursue careers in hospitals, home healthcare services, nursing care facilities, and physicians’ offices, just to name a few.
Some of the most popular positions for BSN degree-holders, besides registered nurse, are:
- Nurse manager
- Clinical nursing specialist
- Nurse educator
- Nursing informatics specialist
- Geriatric nurse
- Critical care nurse
- Public health nurse
Some of these positions are nonclinical or administrative. The option to take on one of these roles is another benefit of a BSN degree.
Why Choose Maryville for Your Online Bachelor’s in Nursing?
Maryville nursing students receive personal attention and support to help outline, pursue, and achieve their nursing goals. The Maryville online bachelor’s in nursing program supports industry and workplace advancement with a practical focus that’s mindful of healthcare industry trends and each individual’s vision for the future. In other words, we understand nursing and healthcare work environments, and our program can realistically help prepare you to thrive and excel in them.
As you gain more experience and consider additional education, Maryville University is here to support you through each stage of your nursing career. Holding a BSN puts you one step closer to a master’s degree or doctorate if you decide you want to become an advanced-practice nurse.
Discover more information on Maryville’s online RN to BSN program.
A Guide to Transferring College and Keeping College Credits
How Nurses Impact Quality of Care
Leaders in Two Different Worlds: Business Degree vs. Nursing Degree
American Association of Colleges of Nursing, “Fact Sheet: The Impact of Education on Nursing Practice”
American Nurses Credentialing Center, Informatics Nursing Certification (RN-BC)
Chron, “Advantages of a BSN Degree in Nursing”
New York State Senate, Senate Bill S2145
PayScale, Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) Degree