What is a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing?
A bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN) is a 4-year degree designed to prepare you to work as a registered nurse (RN). During this time you will be prepared through didactic education and clinical experiences to care for patients in a variety of settings. During your training you will learn to become a safe and effective nurse by taking courses in the hard sciences, nursing theory, clinical assessment, and more. You will be taught skills that will enable you to think critically about the nursing care that you deliver to your patients. At the end of your degree you will be qualified to sit for the NCLEX exam that credentials you at the national level as an RN. With a BSN you will be highly employable at major hospitals and healthcare organizations around the country.
Why Should I Earn a BSN?
With so many pathways existing to becoming an RN it can be hard to know which route to take. If you are ready to earn your 4-year bachelor’s degree and want to work as an RN, a BSN may be the right path for you. While earning an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) was the original and most popular way to become a nurse, many healthcare organizations are shifting towards having the BSN become the baseline degree for them hiring RNs. By earning your BSN you will be a strong candidate in your applications to nursing jobs. Additionally, if you choose to move past a bachelor’s degree to become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) or earn your PhD, a bachelor’s is the minimum degree requirement for these programs.
Best Ranked BSN Degree Programs in Your State
One of the best measures of a nursing program’s ability to prepare its students to become a registered nurse is to look at an institution’s first-time NCLEX-RN pass rates. We went directly to each state board of nursing to find, report and rank the best Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs in your state. Find a campus or online BSN degree program, see NCLEX Exam rankings by school along with tuition costs, average loan rates, and additional data points that will help you find the best RN program for your career.
Entrance Requirements for BSN Programs
To an extent, every university will have different entry requirements. Most of them will be similar to what is required by the University of Virginia:
- In order to apply for BSN programs you must have a high school diploma or have completed your GED. With this you need to be able to include your GPA on your applications. Most programs will require a minimum GPA of 3.0. If you do not have this, you can take some college level courses to prove your academic ability prior to applying.
- You will need gather some letters of recommendation for your application. Depending on the program you may be required to include some professional and personal recommendations. These can be obtained from teachers, employers, and/or acquaintances who can attest to your character.
- All bachelor’s programs require that you submit an application along with a fee. The individual application requirements and fees will vary by university. With the application you will need to send official transcripts from your prior education.
- Depending on the program an interview may be required. Don’t fret, they want you to be a fit for their program as much as you do!
What Pathways Exist for Earning My BSN?
Generally there are four ways you can earn your BSN.
- High school to BSN: After finishing high school or earning your GED you can earn your BSN in about 4 years.
- LPN to BSN: These programs give you credit for the nursing education you already have. LPN to BSN programs are about 2-years in length depending on the program. They are designed for people who already have some nursing experience and education at the LPN level.
- RN to BSN: If you are an RN with an ADN and are hoping to advance your degree to the bachelor’s level you can complete a specially designed program for people who have already passed the NCLEX and work as RNs. An RN to BSN route will give you classes you have not had previously such as evidence based practice, additional hard science courses, ethics, and more. Learn about the differences, read RN vs BSN Degree.
- Direct Entry: Direct Entry BSN programs have been developed to help meet the growing nursing demand while also helping individuals to achieve their goals of becoming nurses after they have earned their bachelor’s in another field. These programs give you credit for the bachelor’s required courses you have already done such as English, history, math requirements and more, while arming you with the additional course you need to become an RN. Depending on your background you may be required to take prerequisite courses before applying to these programs.
Online BSN Programs
With technology the world is becoming an increasingly flexible place for people seeking to advance their education. Online BSN programs can allow you to balance your personal, professional, and academic life effectively. Often these programs have online classes, assignments, and discussions. You can work with your school to organize your clinical requirements at a location and time that is convenient for you.