Nurses care for individuals with healthcare needs and act as mediators between patients, patients' families, and physicians. More than 3 million registered nurses (RNs) provide medical care across the U.S., making nursing the country's largest healthcare profession. Nurses work in a variety of settings including hospitals, doctor's offices, emergency rooms, and homecare environments.
Earning a nursing degree online prepares graduates to work as RNs, nurse midwives, nurse practitioners, nurse educators, nurse anesthetists, or clinical nurses, or in a variety of other nursing positions. Nursing isn't just an exciting field -- it's also one of the fastest-growing professions, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
What's the Benefit of Earning Your Online Nursing Degree?
Nursing degrees prepare graduates to work as professional nurses. An associate degree trains students in the fundamental principles of nursing, afterwards graduates may take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to become RNs. RN licensure allows nurses to work in almost any healthcare field, but certain specialties -- such as nurse practitioner and nurse midwife -- require an advanced degree or certification.
The BLS projects that the nursing profession will add more than 438,100 jobs between 2016 and 2026. This high-demand profession can be a fulfilling and challenging career path and offers multiple specialization options. Nurses interested in working with children, for example, can focus on neonatal care or pediatrics, while others may concentrate on mental health nursing, cancer care, or other medical specialties.
This high-demand profession proves to be a fulfilling and challenging career path and offers multiple specialization options.
Online nursing degrees require commitment. Since many online nursing programs design their curricula for currently employed nurses, nursing students should be self-motivated learners. Many nursing students can also balance work with school, which allows them to complete their clinical requirements while maintaining employment.
Nurses don't just provide medical care. They play a central role in patient communication, provide emotional support, and guide patients and their families through the healthcare system. While nursing requires dedication, prospective nurses can also customize their careers around their own strengths and interests to concentrate in a fulfilling specialty within nursing.
Why Should I Earn a Nursing Degree Online?
Online nursing programs boast several advantages over traditional programs. Current nurses can earn online nursing degrees while working full-time, accessing course materials and completing classwork around their busy schedules. Whether earning an RN-to-BSN online or an RN-to-MSN online, RNs can advance their careers while maintaining their jobs.
Accessibility is the top advantage of online programs. Online nursing programs give students the ability to access lectures and other course materials from anywhere, at any time, benefiting working nurses who may have limited time and resources.
An online nursing degree provides flexibility, allowing learners to create an education plan to earn their nursing degree online while balancing their other responsibilities. Many students benefit from the ability to jump into nursing studies on their own schedules, and online programs often offer multiple start dates throughout the year.
- School Options
Prospective nurses should choose the best programs for their particular interests and strengths, but the top online nurse practitioner programs, for example, might not be local to the student. However, an online nursing degree allows aspiring and current nurses to attend school from a distance.
Nurses-in-training benefit from a diversity of experiences and backgrounds, and online nursing programs bring together students from around the country and the world. Doing so helps nurses build expansive professional networks.
Online nursing programs blend technology with practical experience, connecting students to their classmates and faculty members through a variety of delivery methods while allowing learners to conduct practicums locally. Professional nurses use technology to advance their careers while continuing to work.
Career and Salary Outlook for Nursing Graduates
All licensed nurses can work as RNs, but a degree in nursing allows graduates to enter several specialities within the field, such as midwifery or anesthesia services. Advanced professionals may become nursing directors or chief nursing officers, and online nurse practitioner programs allow graduates to work as nurse practitioners. Specializations may require a specific degree along with a specialty license, and salaries vary depending on demand and career requirements. The BLS projects that many fields in nursing will grow at a faster-than-average rate between 2016 and 2026.
- Registered Nurse
In 2016, there were nearly 3 million RNs in the country, and the BLS projects jobs opportunities will continue to grow. RNs provide patient care and educate patients about health conditions, and advanced degrees can increase salary potential.
- Nurse Practitioner
Nurse practitioners can provide primary and specialty healthcare, and the position requires a graduate-level degree in nursing and a state license. The BLS projects this field will grow by 15% between 2016 and 2026.
- Nurse Anesthetist
Nurse anesthetists administer pain management tools and monitor patients' vital signs, including patient recovery from anesthesia. Students must have specialized in graduate education and have a license in anesthesia services.
- Nurse Midwives
Nurse midwives specialize in maternal care during pregnancy, labor and delivery, and the postpartum period. The position requires a graduate degree in nursing and a state license.
- Nursing Instructors
Nursing instructors teach patient care at the college level to nursing students, including clinical units. They may also conduct nursing research. Instructors must hold a graduate degree.
|Position||Entry-Level Median Annual Salary||Mid-Career Median Annual Salary||Experienced Median Annual Salary||Late-Career Median Annual Salary|
|Chief Nursing Officer||$113,000||$116,000||$129,000||$140,000|
|Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner||$97,000||$106,000||$109,000||$115,000|
|Acute Care Nurse Practitioner||$94,000||$103,000||$108,000||$108,000|
|Adult Nurse Practitioner||$92,000||$98,000||$104,000||$108,000|
States With the Highest Employment of Registered Nurses
While nursing is a fast-growing and lucrative field across the nation, the career outlook for nurses is particularly strong in population-dense states, such as California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Pennsylvania. Many of these states also pay above-average nursing wages. The rankings below list the most affordable RN-to-BSN programs in each of these states.
|State||Employment||Employment per Thousand Jobs||Annual Mean Wage|
The Most Affordable RN-to-BSN Programs in California
|1||California State University-Dominguez Hills Carson, CA||
Registered nurses working in California need look no further than CSUDH for an excellent, affordable RN-to-BSN program. A hybrid program, students' only on-campus obligation involves completing laboratory work for a single course. Students can also complete all practicum experiences at their job sites.
Applicants must either possess an associate in nursing or an active U.S. nursing license. Accepted students with bachelor's in other subjects can select from the RN-to-BSN and the MSN. New students who already passed the National Council LIcensure Examination automatically receive six transfer credits; CSUDH boasts generous credit transfer agreements with local community colleges. The synchronous curriculum takes full-time students two years to complete, while part-time students use the university's specialized three-year program.
In-state students pay an extremely competitive tuition rate. Although out-of-state students pay higher tuition, CSUDH remains a competitive option compared to online RN-to-BSN programs at private colleges and universities. All full-time students save money compared to their part-time peers.
|2||California State University-Fresno Fresno, CA||
The hybrid RN-to-BSN program at Fresno State stresses community health, making it the perfect choice for RNs who plan to work in underserved areas. The program accepts RNs with an associate in nursing and a bachelor's degree in a non-nursing subject. Fresno State requires that applicants possess California nursing licenses; out-of-state nurses should look to other California programs.
The synchronous curriculum starts with foundational coursework in nursing principles, theories, and best practices. Full-time students select from one of three degree roadmaps. The university also uses a specialized assessment system to ensure that students master topics the National Council Licensure Examination covers. Students must earn a minimum C grade in all courses to stay in good academic standing.
A competitive program, Fresno State requires that all applicants possess a minimum 2.5 undergraduate GPA. Other application requirements include completing extensive lab work. Nurses who are veterans and those with extensive work experience receive special consideration. Fresno State uses the same tuition structure as all California State University institutions.
|3||California State University-Northridge Northridge, CA||
At CSUN, students can earn an RN-to-BSN in California entirely online while completing all practicum requirements at their job sites. Students not only learn a core curriculum common to many affordable RN-to-BSN programs, but they also receive a specialized education that prepares them to improve nursing services in their home communities.
Students commit just 1-2 days each week to studying, giving them the ability to continue working full time. Full-time students can complete the program's 60 credits in just three semesters. The required courses emphasize pathophysiology, family systems, and leadership. New students may test out of up to six credits (e.g., two courses).
In addition to its low tuition for in-state students, CSUN also awards multiple merit- and need-based scholarships to deserving students. Like CSUDH, all new students must possess a valid California nursing license.
|4||California State University-Stanislaus Turlock, CA||
Stan State's RN-BSN track boasts an advanced clinical practicum that sets the program apart from other California RN-to-BSN programs. This practicum experience involves extensive research and a portfolio that graduates use to advance their careers.
Stan State offers program roadmaps for both full- and part-time students. In the full-time path, students take three courses each semester and graduate in just three semesters. In the part-time path, students take two courses each semester and graduate in five semesters. Both paths use a synchronous curriculum. Curriculum highlights include a community health clinical and a specialized health assessment course.
Students still earning their RN licenses may apply as long as they possess them before starting Stan State's online RN-to-BSN program; the university does not require applicants to possess work experience. All applicants need completed coursework in English, composition, and core science courses. Merced Community College, Modesty Junior College, and San Joaquin Delta College graduates benefit from Stan State's Seamless Transition From Community College initiative.
|5||California State University-Bakersfield Bakersfield, CA||
CSUB's RN-BSN post-licensure program attracts students from throughout southern California. Although students take all courses online, the program requires them to attend an on-campus orientation. Students go through the program as a cohort and graduate in 15 months. New cohorts begin every fall. Students take 30 credits in areas such as community and public health, professional nursing career development, and ethics. At the end of the program, students complete a leadership in nursing capstone experience.
Applicants must possess an active California nursing license. However, prospective students with out-of-state associate degrees may still apply. The same goes for applicants who already hold a bachelor's degree in a non-nursing subject. Students residing in Kern County have the best chances of finding a clinical placement in their home communities.
Unlike other online RN-to-BSN programs, CSUB's charges a flat tuition rate to all students. The application window opens on Oct. 1 and closes on Nov. 30.
|6||California State University-Fullerton Fullerton, CA||
Nursing students in Cal State Fullerton's RN-BSN program benefit from one of the shortest online RN-to-BSN programs in the state. Even part-time students can graduate in just two years. The program includes 26 credits in nursing courses and approximately 45 credit hours of electives. Unique nursing courses include population health and evidence-based nursing research.
Applicants must possess at least 60 transferable credits and a minimum 2.75 undergraduate GPA. The admissions department uses a points system that highly values applicants' GPA. Other application requirements include completing college-level statistics, English, and critical thinking courses. Prospective students may apply for the spring term in August. The fall application window opens on Oct. 1 and closes on Jan. 15. Students with out-of-state nursing licenses may apply as long as they transfer their licenses within one semester.
Cal State Fullerton's affordable RN-to-BSN program also includes four scholarship opportunities. Each scholarship lists unique application requirements. Awards vary from $100-$5,000.
|7||California State University-San Bernardino San Bernardino, CA||
CSUSB's post-licensure RN-to-BSN program attracts California RNs who can commit to a hybrid program. The program's 11 courses include pathophysiology, nursing leadership, and two higher-level electives. Students take courses in a cohort. A new cohort begins each fall. Students attempt 14-16 credits each semester and graduate in three semesters. CSUSB stands apart from other California RN-to-BSN programs by also offering a part-time cohort track that takes six semesters to complete.
In addition to a valid California nursing license, this affordable online RN-to-BSN program also requires a minimum 2.0 undergraduate GPA and eight prerequisite courses (e.g., microbiology, human physiology, and English). New students use the university's Peer Advising Center to forge professional relationships with and receive valuable advice from experienced students and faculty.
CSUSB hosts RN-to-BSN informational sessions once a month on its San Bernardino and Palm Desert campuses.
|8||California State University-Sacramento Sacramento, CA||
Prospective Sac State RN-to-BSN in California students can review the department's informational PowerPoint to determine whether the program fits their interests and career aspirations. In this affordable RN-to-BSN program, full-time students graduate in just two semesters while part-time students take three semesters. Both pathways involve earning 33 nursing credits. Besides the first and final courses, students may complete the curriculum asynchronously. Students also complete approximately 40 credits in general education and electives. A hybrid program, students take approximately 30% of courses on the Sacramento campus.
Application requirements include California residency, a California nursing license, and a minimum 2.6 undergraduate GPA. Applicants with relevant experience receive priority admission. The program accepts students who already possess bachelor's degrees in other subjects. Students earning their second bachelor's pay approximately 20% more in tuition compared to traditional online RN-to-BSN program students. New students can begin the program in the spring or fall semester.
|9||California State University-East Bay Hayward, CA||
Cal State East Bay's post-licensure program offers both intensive and part-time hybrid tracks. Both synchronous tracks include 35 core nursing credits and 15 upper-division credits. Upper-division credits prepare students for the National Council Licensure Examination. In-person requirements include lab courses on the university's Hayward campus. Working online, students use Blackboard to view lectures, submit assignments, and interact with professors.
The curriculum features a capstone project wherein students perform action research at their job sites. Students work closely with their employers and professors to identify an appropriate research area. At the end of the project, students present their findings to professors and peers.
Cal State East Bay's affordable RN-to-BSN program requires applicants to possess a minimum 3.0 GPA, making it one of the most competitive schools on this list. The program uses a single Oct. 1 - Dec. 15 application window for the following year's fall semester. Incoming students can apply for up to five Pioneer Scholarship opportunities that award $500-$5,000.
|10||San Diego State University San Diego, CA||
The on-campus RN-to-BSN program at SDSU offers both affordability and a curriculum where full-time students can graduate in 12-15 months. SDSU also boasts something many programs do not: an optional two-week study abroad opportunity.
The curriculum includes 26 credits of nursing courses, nine credits of general education courses, and any other credits students may need to meet SDSU's 120-credit requirement for a bachelor's degree. The program's nursing courses emphasize providing care to critically ill patients. Students complete clinicals at sites the program assigns. The university recommends that due to the program's rigor, nursing students do not work while they earn their degrees.
Applicants must possess a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA and a valid California nursing license. The university uses a single Oct. 1 - Nov. 30 application window for the following year's fall semester. New students can earn their degrees at SDSU's San Diego or Imperial Valley campus.
Career Outlook for Nurses in California
As the nation's largest state, California employs more nurses than any other state and boasts positive growth projections for the field. Nurses in California earn a higher annual mean wage than those in any other state. In fact, California's registered nurses pull in an average salary of $100,730, and earn as much as $151,210 per year. By earning an appropriate graduate degree and qualifying to become a nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, or nurse anesthetist, medical professionals can earn annual salaries of up to $200,000.
|Occupation||Employment||Annual 10th Percentile Wage||Annual Median Wage||Annual 90th Percentile Wage|
|LPNs and LVNs||66,350||$38,790||$38,790||$71,380|
|Nursing Instructors and Teachers, Postsecondary||3,870||$49,290||$89,030||$153,640|
How to Become a Nurse in California
The California Board of Registered Nursing licenses all registered nurses in the state. Students can begin pursuing their nursing careers as early as high school by taking prerequisite courses in math and science. In college, students can enter the nursing profession by earning an associate, bachelor's, or master's degree in the field. Prospective nurses who complete online LVN/LPN programs can become registered nurses through California's LVN 30 Unit option. This option takes 18-24 months to complete and does not grant a degree; however LVNs can use the program to become RNs in California.
Students who complete an approved nursing education program must then pass a criminal background check and register for the NCLEX-RN. An initial license by examination costs $150. Students can apply for an interim permit to practice nursing pending their exam results. New nursing licensure remains valid for the holder's next two birthdays. After nurses renew their first license, they must continue renewing every two calendar years. To renew their license, nurses must complete 30 contact hours of continuing education, submit fingerprints, and report any convictions or disciplinary actions.
The Most Affordable RN-to-BSN Programs in Texas
|1||The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Edinburg, TX||
Located at the southern tip of the state, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley uses affordability to increase access to higher education. UTRGV oversees a catalog of online degrees, including the RN-to-BSN program. The degree provides RNs with an accelerated degree they complete fully online in as few as 12 months. Nurses continue working as they complete the 27-credit degree delivered in a seven-week format.
Coursework includes study of nursing, community health, and client assessment. RNs acquire advanced knowledge of evidence-based practice while enhancing their leadership skills with study of healthcare management and organizational structures. The degree's per-credit tuition applies to all students regardless of in-state or out-of-state residency. Furthermore, UTRGV offers a full suite of financial options for those who qualify. For admission to this RN-to-BSN in Texas, applicants need a minimum 2.5 GPA, must submit transcripts, and must hold RN licensure or a temporary permit in their home state.
|2||Texas A & M University-Central Texas Killeen, TX||
Established in 2009 as part of the state's university system, Texas A&M University-Central Texas emphasizes access and affordability. The nursing department offers programs that serve the community, including military personnel and their families. The RN-to-BSN provides learners with an online learning format designed with the working RN in mind. The two-year program includes study of leadership, research, community health, and transition and informatics.
Students who enroll in a bachelor's program at Texas A&M University-Central Texas save money with the school's capped tuition program called the the Warrior Guarantee. Under it, RNs complete 15 or more credits and pay tuition and mandatory fees for only 12 credits. Furthermore, the Warrior Guarantee facilitates accelerated degree completion as learners study in a cohort. Admission to this RN-to-BSN in Texas requires a minimum 2.0 GPA, school transcripts, and Texas RN licensure. The program admits students in the spring, summer, and fall.
|3||Texas A & M International University Laredo, TX||
One of Texas's best colleges for affordable tuition, the Texas A&M International University offers an RN-to-BSN that nurses complete in as few as 12 months. Working nurses receive an accessible education delivered in an accelerated, fully online format. The 32-credit evidence-based curriculum includes study of nursing research, global health nursing, and nursing history.
In addition to deepening nurses' knowledge, this RN-to-BSN in Texas cultivates nurse leaders well-versed in critical thinking, how to improve quality and safety, conflict resolution, and lead change in a practice setting. The program also immerses nurses in a 126-hour embedded practicum. The RN-to-BSN offers very affordable in-state tuition to Texas residents; learners can opt to pay tuition by the course, and tuition includes all fees. Admission requires a minimum 2.5 GPA, school transcripts, and RN licensure issued by the Texas Board of Nursing. The program features six start dates throughout the year.
|4||The University of Texas at El Paso El Paso, TX||
An urban college that enrolls about 25,000 students, the University of Texas at El Paso is the second oldest college in the UT system. The school offers an RN-to-BSN that serves RNs who want to advance their careers with a bachelor's degree.
Nurses located in West Texas and beyond complete all of the nursing courses in this RN-to-BSN online in as few as 2.5 semesters. The curriculum includes study of nursing informatics and technology, evidence-based practice, and nursing leadership and management. RNs also cultivate a high level of critical thinking and decision making skills.
Students in this RN-to-BSN in Texas learn in an environment with a very diverse student population and faculty. Residents pay affordable guaranteed tuition locked in from day one, and nonresidents benefit from affordable online tuition. Admission requires RN licensure in the U.S. and completion of all core and elective courses with a minimum 2.0 GPA.
|5||Texas Woman's University Denton, TX||
A powerhouse in training nurses and other healthcare professionals in the state, Texas Woman's University offers one of the most affordable RN-to-BSN programs in the nation. The curriculum builds on a nurse's diploma or associate degree with coursework delivered fully online to facilitate easy scheduling. Coursework includes study of nursing assessment, community health competencies, and RN practice with families and groups.
Students must complete clinical components and a capstone through class projects and a preceptor. The college ensures that learners can afford degrees through TWU's scholarship program, which awards approximately $15 million in scholarships to students each year. The school also offers financial aid such as loans and grants to first-year students. Admission requires that learners complete general education and nursing prerequisites with a minimum 3.0 GPA, hold RN licensure, and submit proof of professional liability insurance. The program admits students in fall, spring, and summer.
|6||The University of Texas of the Permian Basin Odessa, TX||
One of the colleges in the prestigious University of Texas system, UT of the Permian Basin maintains affordability with competitive tuition. The school offers a fully online RN-to-BSN that learners complete in as few as 12 months. Faculty use seven-week courses to deliver the program, which includes study of professional nursing and healthcare, transcultural nursing, and global health nursing.
The curriculum prepares RNs for leadership roles with a series of electives covering topics such as human resource management and modern organization theory. The program offers multiple start dates throughout the year for maximum flexibility. For under $10,000 learners complete the upper-division nursing requirements; online learners pay the same tuition rate regardless of in-state or out-of-state residency. The school offers flexible payment options and facilitates learner access to financial aid. Admission to this RN-to-BSN in Texas requires RN licensure in Texas or another state and graduation from a state-approved nursing program with a minimum 2.5 GPA.
|7||Midwestern State University Wichita Falls, TX||
Located in Wichita Falls, Midwestern State University serves as the only public liberal arts college in Texas. The school offers an RN Transition program for RNs with a nursing diploma or associate degree in nursing. The fully online RN-to-BSN requires 27 credits that nurses complete in three semesters. Students complete clinicals at any one of the nursing school's partnering organizations. During the first semester of the RN Transition program, RNs may opt to begin prepping for a master of science in nursing with tracks in family nurse practitioner or psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.
RNs enjoy access to a state-of-the-art simulation facility equipped with high- and low-fidelity manikins. In addition to loans and grants, MSU offers merit-based institutional scholarships that help make this one of the state's most affordable RN-to-BSN programs for transfer students. MSU also offers non-Texas residents a special tuition rate designed to enhance affordability. The program admits students in the spring, fall, and summer.
|8||Prairie View A & M University Prairie View, TX||
One of the state's historically black colleges and universities, Prairie View A&M University offers several distance education programs. The online RN-to-BSN concentration allows RNs with an associate degree or a diploma in nursing to earn the degree in 12 months. Courses include study of trends and issues in nursing, professional nursing practice, and nursing leadership and management. A course in community health nursing requires a practicum that students complete locally.
The school keeps tuition rates competitive and offers financial aid such as loans and scholarships. The college also offers nonresident tuition and fee waivers to make learning affordable. To enroll in this RN-to-BSN in Texas, applicants must transfer 63 credits of general studies and liberal arts, many of which RNs completed during the licensure process. Admission also requires a minimum 3.0 GPA and RN licensure in Texas -- or eligibility for licensure.
|9||University of Houston-Victoria Victoria, TX||
Established in 1973, the University of Houston-Victoria offers on-campus and online programs to students residing in the Gulf Coast region and elsewhere. The school's nursing program offers an RN-to-BSN online for nursing program graduates with a diploma or associate degree. The 30-credit curriculum includes study of global health systems, population-focused community health, and healthcare organization and informatics.
In addition to affordable tuition, the nursing program administers scholarships to help learners pay for tuition and fees. To qualify, learners need a minimum 2.0 GPA, must reside in certain counties, and must attend part-time or full-time. The program also offers a free-ride Scholars Award for learners with a 3.5 GPA or higher. Admission to one of the state's most affordable online RN-to-BSN programs requires unencumbered RN licensure in Texas, or another state, and a minimum 2.0 GPA.
|10||Lamar University Beaumont, TX||
Lamar University enrolls about 15,000 students and is one of the fastest growing colleges in the state. Nurses can continue to work while they complete the school's online RN-to-BSN -- in as few as 13 months. The 30-credit curriculum includes study of nursing practice for communities, comprehensive holistic health assessment, and leadership and management. RNs learn through class assignments, a practicum, and community service-learning hours. The program prepares RNs for advancement into leadership roles, advanced clinical practice, and as nurse educators.
With competitive tuition rates and scholarships awarded specifically to BSN students, the program stands as one of the most affordable RN-to-BSNs in the state. Furthermore, the university offers the LU Tuition Lock, which guarantees that tuition remains the same for up to four full years. Admission to the RN-to-BSN requires transferable general education and nursing credits and an unencumbered RN license.
Career Outlook for Nurses in Texas
As the second most populous state in the U.S., Texas offers many opportunities for new nurses to begin their careers. Graduates of on-campus or online RN programs can join the more than 200,000 registered nurses working in Texas. RNs in Texas can earn between $51,890 and $98,340 per year -- slightly higher than the annual mean salary for nurses nationwide. Nurses with talent and ambition for higher-paying careers can return to school for a master's degree or doctorate, which may equip them to serve as nurse practitioners or nurse anesthetists.
|Occupation||Employment||Annual 10th Percentile Wage||Annual Median Wage||Annual 90th Percentile Wage|
|LPNs and LVNs||72,010||$34,010||$45,400||$60,310|
|Nursing Instructors and Teachers, Postsecondary||3,660||$37,830||$67,230||$105,960|
How to Become a Nurse in Texas
The Texas Board of Nursing grants licensure to individuals who meet the appropriate educational and moral qualifications. To apply online to take the NCLEX-RN, prospective nurses must have a Social Security number and no criminal history, although Class C misdemeanor traffic violations are OK. They cannot be under investigation by a disciplinary board, hold a diagnosis that might impair their judgement, or have undergone treatment for chemical addiction within the last five years. The board considers such cases separately.
Students who pass the criminal background check should then apply to take the NCLEX-RN, 30 days prior to graduation. The exam costs $200. Students must pass the Texas nursing jurisprudence examination to receive authorization to test for the NCLEX-RN. After completing their approved nursing education programs and meeting all other requirements, prospective nurses can sit for the exam.
Licensed nurses must renew their license every two years. During that time, nurses must accrue at least 20 approved continuing education units in their area of practice, or take an approved course to qualify for renewal.
The Most Affordable RN-to-BSN Programs in New York
|1||CUNY Lehman College Bronx, NY||
Lehman's fully online nursing RN-to-BSN program attracts prospective students who plan to continue working while earning their bachelor's. The program boasts specialized accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The eight-course, 37.5-credit synchronous curriculum includes classes in nursing trends, clinical decision-making, and therapeutic intervention. Students can earn their degrees by attending either full time or part time.
Applicants must possess a New York state nursing license and an associate degree in nursing from a CUNY or SUNY institution. The program also accepts applicants who possess out-of-state bachelor's degrees in other subjects. New students may take up to two challenge exams that award credit for introductory-level courses.
Like all CUNY schools, Lehman charges full-time students a flat tuition rate and charges part-time students a credit-based tuition rate. As a result, full-time students save money on their degrees compared to part-time students. Eligible students can apply for a merit- or need-based scholarship.
|2||CUNY York College Jamaica, NY||
The on-campus nursing RN-to-BSN program at York College focuses on generalist professional nursing to prepare students to succeed at different job sites. Through specific prerequisites and a rigorous curriculum, the program ensures that nursing students gain the skills and knowledge the modern nursing profession requires.
Students' associate programs must include courses in anatomy, chemistry, statistics, and psychology. Students who do not meet these requirements may still attend York College as long as they complete these courses before moving onto core coursework. Core coursework emphasizes the relationship between nurses and the communities they serve.
Eligible York College nursing students can test out of some lower-division courses through the College Level Examination Program. As York College does not require applicants to possess a New York nursing license, out-of-state students should consider York College if they plan to work in New York state. Out-of-state students pay approximately twice the in-state tuition rate. New students can start this affordable RN-to-BSN program in the spring, fall, or winter semester.
|3||CUNY Hunter College New York, NY||
Hunter College's hybrid RN-to-BS nursing program includes limited coursework at the college's New York City campus. All students study part time so they can continue working while earning their degrees. The college also places students in New York City community health centers for a single course. All students complete a minimum of 120 credits to graduate. Students who follow the suggested synchronous curriculum graduate in 15 months.
Application requirements include prerequisites in English and the sciences. Applicants must possess a minimum 3.25 undergraduate GPA, making Hunter College's affordable RN-to-BSN program one of the most competitive in New York state. York College exempts online RN-to-BSN program students from the college's foreign language requirements. Unlike other colleges and universities, Hunter College accepts applicants with international associate degrees in nursing as long as they possess a New York state nursing license.
|4||CUNY New York City College of Technology Brooklyn, NY||
New York City registered nurses should consider City Tech's hybrid bachelor of science in nursing to advance their educations and careers. Approximately 50% of courses take place on the college's Brooklyn campus; community health assignments take place in Brooklyn as well. In addition to a core curriculum that stresses generalized nursing, students can personalize their degrees through program-specific elective courses. Full-time students take 12-17 credits per semester and can graduate in just two years. Although some courses require prerequisites, students can take the majority of courses asynchronously.
Applicants must possess a minimum 2.5 undergraduate GPA and a valid New York state nursing license. Applicants finishing their associate degrees may still apply as long as they obtain a nursing license before starting this affordable RN-to-BSN program. To stay in good academic standing, students must maintain a minimum "C" grade and not need to repeat more than one course.
|5||College of Staten Island CUNY Staten Island, NY||
The College of Staten Island's hybrid RN-to-BS in nursing uses Blackboard to instruct students in approximately half of all courses. The curriculum stresses community health, management, and health promotion. Students benefit from a 100% job placement rate within the first 12 months after graduation.
The synchronous curriculum includes courses in professional development, mathematics, and two electives wherein students personalize their educations. Full-time students can graduate in just four semesters, and part-time students can graduate in eight semesters. Students who maintain a 3.0 GPA join the CSI chapter of Mu Upsilon, an international honor society in nursing.
The college requires applicants to its affordable RN-to-BSN program to possess a minimum 2.5 undergraduate GPA. Both practicing registered nurses and nursing students finishing their associate degrees may apply. Applicants may possess out-of-state nursing licenses. New students start the program in the fall semester.
|6||CUNY Medgar Evers College Brooklyn, NY||
The on-campus bachelor of science in nursing (RN-BS completion program) at Medgar Evers College prepares graduates for leadership and management careers in the nursing field. The program also appeals to students who plan to enter MSN programs immediately after earning their bachelor's.
The 60-credit curriculum at MEC includes a flexible general education core and major requirements. Unique nursing courses include health assessment of the adult client, psychosocial health, and high-risk families. Full-time students can earn their degrees in just four semesters. Due to the curriculum's high rigor, the college recommends that students do not work while they enrolled in the program.
Applicants must possess an active New York state nursing license and meet all Medgar Evers College's admission requirements. Eligible students can receive significant financial aid if they maintain satisfactory academic progress. Full-time students pay a flat tuition rate, meaning they can take more than 12 credits each semester at no additional charge; part-time students pay per-credit tuition.
|7||Farmingdale State College Farmingdale, NY||
Farmingdale State College's online RN-to-BS completion program attracts prospective students from all around the U.S. The 62-credit program includes courses in community nursing, modes of inquiry, and healthcare organization. Students may complete the asynchronous curriculum by enrolling either full time or part time. This flexibility makes Farmingdale an excellent choice for applicants who plan to continue working while they earn their degrees.
Due to the highly competitive admission process, the college advises prospective students that the average online RN-to-BSN program applicant earned a minimum "B" grade in all associate degree courses. Application requirements include a minimum 3.0 GPA. Residents of states not members of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements should look to other New York RN-to-BSN programs.
In-state undergraduate students save approximately 60% on their educations compared to out-of-state students. However, all full-time students save money compared to part-time students. FAFSA-eligible students may receive a university-sponsored grant or scholarship. The Farmingdale College Foundation awards more than 175 scholarships each year.
|8||Maria College of Albany Albany, NY||
The on-campus BS degree completion program at Maria College boasts full- and part-time options. It possesses not just regional accreditation, but also specialized accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. Full-time students can complete the 60-credit program in two years. This RN-to-BSN in New York includes coursework in health informatics and the intersection between health and culture. The university works closely with students to find appropriate clinical placements in the Albany area.
Prospective students with an active nursing license from any state or U.S. territory may apply. Applicants must possess a minimum 2.5 undergraduate GPA and 11 specific prerequisite courses.
A private school, Maria College charges identical tuition to both in-state and out-of-state students. Students also pay comprehensive and technology fees each semester. Like many institutions, full-time students save money on their degrees. Eligible students may qualify for a New York state grant or university scholarship.
|9||Excelsior College Albany, NY||
At Excelsior College, students in the RN to bachelor's in nursing program enjoy the online courses' flexibility and a generous transfer program. The program boasts accreditation status from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. The synchronous, 60-credit curriculum involves three phases: foundational coursework, higher-level coursework, and the nursing capstone. Some graduation requirements do not apply to students who earned an associate in nursing from Excelsior College.
This RN-to-BSN in New York requires students to possess an active U.S. nursing license and an associate degree in nursing. Washington state residents may not apply. Excelsior College accepts transfer credit from all regionally accredited colleges.
A private institution, Excelsior College, charges the same credit-based tuition rate to all students. Out-of-state students pay approximately 40% less in tuition at Excelsior College compared to out-of-state students who earn their degrees at New York public colleges and universities. Active military personnel and veterans save 50% on tuition.
|10||SUNY College of Technology at Canton Canton, NY||
SUNY Canton's bachelor of science in nursing uses an entirely online curriculum and has earned accreditation status from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. When not studying, online RN-to-BSN students complete clinicals at hospitals, nursing homes, and hospices in the Canton area. The full-time pathway takes four semesters, while the part-time curriculum takes eight semesters. Both synchronous pathways include courses in health promotion, sociology, and transcultural nursing.
Applicants must possess an active U.S. nursing license, a minimum "C" grade in all associate degree courses, and at least 60 transferable credit hours. Students who live outside the Canton area must arrange appropriate clinical placements.
Although out-of-state students pay higher tuition than in-state students, the narrow tuition gap makes SUNY Canton an attractive option for out-of-state students. Also, out-of-state online students save more than half on tuition compared to on-campus, out-of-state students. Finally, the university awards hundreds of scholarships and grants each year to students regardless of residency.
Career Outlook for Nurses in New York
Thanks to its size and population density, the career outlook for nurses in New York remains strong. An online nursing degree marks the first step toward becoming one of the nearly 360,000 people employed in nursing-related professions in New York, where nursing is a growing, well-paying field. Registered nurses typically earn between $54,050 and $117,470 per year -- some of the highest nursing salaries in the country. By pursuing a master's or doctorate degree and becoming a nurse practitioner or nursing instructor, professionals can earn more than $160,000 each year.
|Occupation||Employment||Annual 10th Percentile Wage||Annual Median Wage||Annual 90th Percentile Wage|
|LPNs and LVNs||45,950||$34,120||$47,610||$62,050|
|Nursing Instructors and Teachers, Postsecondary||4,190||$48,440||$86,910||$160,280|
How to Become a Nurse in New York
As one of the most populous states in the country, New York offers many opportunities for new nurses to start their careers. Nurses in New York must demonstrate good moral character, be 18 years or older, complete an approved education program, and pass the required examination, the NCLEX-RN. To demonstrate good moral character, candidates must not have been found guilty of or pled guilty to a felony or misdemeanor, and not have charges pending against them in a court of law or a professional agency with disciplinary authority. The board considers moral character questions on a case-by-case basis. Approved education programs include an appropriate associate, bachelor's, or master's degree, along with training in child abuse reporting and infection control.
In New York, nurses must hold proper licensure and registration. Licensure lasts for life, except in unusual circumstances, but nurses must renew their registration every three years. Licensure and first registration costs $143. Students who completed a nursing program but have not yet met other requirements may apply for a limited permit, which qualifies them for 90-day employment starting immediately after graduation.
The Most Affordable RN-to-BSN Programs in Florida
|1||Indian River State College Fort Pierce, FL||
Boasting low resident tuition rates and five campuses spread throughout four counties, Indian River State College secures a top spot among the most affordable RN-to-BSN programs in Florida. IRSC offers a guided course pathway for both full-time and part-time nursing students, allowing for graduation in four or five semesters, respectively.
To earn the 31 credits required by the major core, students take courses in nursing theory, pharmacology, and ethical and legal issues in healthcare. IRSC nursing students transferring in an associate degree generally need to complete 36 credit hours of additional general education courses. To ensure ultimate flexibility for its students, IRSC offers all courses in the nursing program online, with an average 12-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio.
Prospective students must possess a current, valid RN license and an associate degree in nursing with a minimum GPA of 2.5. The program accepts online applications at any time throughout the year.
|2||Gulf Coast State College Panama City, FL||
Gulf Coast State College offers one of the top RN-to-BSN programs in Florida accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Students complete courses both online and on campus in Panama City, FL, with an average class size of 25. Full-time enrollment allows for degree completion in as few as three semesters. The school also offers part-time options.
With up to 72 credit hours eligible for fulfilment with prior coursework, many students need only fulfill the remaining 48 credits of upper-level nursing coursework. In-person classes at GCSC provide hands-on, laboratory learning. Required courses include clinical decision making, teaching and learning for the healthcare professional, and a capstone practicum.
The RN-to-BSN program at GCSC offers six program start dates each year and accepts both online and paper applications on a rolling basis. Application requirements include a valid RN license, completion of an associate degree, and a minimum 2.5 GPA.
|3||Palm Beach State College Lake Worth, FL||
The online RN-to-BSN program at Palm Beach State College holds accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing and prepares graduates for careers in a variety of healthcare environments. A 2016 student achievement survey reported that 100% of graduates found employment within six months of degree completion.
In order to graduate, students must fulfill all requirements of the 120-credit degree plan. Students beginning the program with 60 associate degree transfer credits must complete approximately 24 credits of general education and lower-division courses -- and 36 credits of upper-division nursing courses. Upper-division studies focus on leadership and management, nursing research, and advanced patient care concepts, all of which culminate in a capstone experience. Most students complete all requirements in 18-24 months.
PBSC nursing program applicants must possess a current, valid RN license in the state of Florida and an associate degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5. Upon acceptance, students must attend a mandatory orientation session on campus.
|4||Chipola College Marianna, FL||
Florida, Alabama, and Georgia residents all pay the same low-rate tuition for the affordable RN-to-BSN program at Chipola College. In addition to holding accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Chipola adheres to the Joint Commission's national patient safety goals.
Students with an associate degree take approximately 60 credits of general education and nursing coursework to fulfill the 120-credit RN-to-BSN degree requirements. Upper-division courses provide a focus on nursing leadership and management, the role and scope of nursing professionals, and working in multicultural practice. During their final semester, students complete a practicum at a local, assigned facility, focusing on professional growth with a select patient population.
Admission to Chipola's RN-to-BSN program requires a valid RN license from Florida, Alabama, or Georgia; a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA; and a completed associate degree in nursing from a regionally accredited institution. Chipola accepts applications throughout the year, but semester registration deadlines remain firm.
|5||Florida State College at Jacksonville Jacksonville, FL||
The 120-credit degree available from Florida State College at Jacksonville ranks among the top RN-to-BSN programs in Florida. A 2017-18 graduate survey reports a 95% satisfaction rate and 99.3% job placement rate. FSCJ's nursing program holds accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.
Students need to complete approximately 50 credit hours of general education and upper-level nursing courses to graduate. To allow students to continue their current employment, the program adheres to a part-time enrollment structure. With this model, most students complete their degree in 3-6 semesters, taking hybrid courses such as professional ethics and diversity, introduction to nursing research, and dimensions of professional practice.
FSCJ accepts applications to the RN-to-BSN program year-round. Prospective students must hold an active RN license in the state where they plan to complete practicum work. Accepted students may apply to a variety of privately funded FSCJ scholarships.
|6||Florida Gateway College Lake City , FL||
Students seeking out affordable RN-to-BSN programs with online courses and hands-on practicum requirements need look no further than Florida Gateway College. FGC offers registered nurses a program with 90 required credit hours of practicum and lab experience, completed through virtual simulations and on-site assignments in each student's community.
The 31 required credits of upper-division nursing courses include leadership, community health, and legal aspects of care. Degree completion times average three semesters for full-time students and six semesters for part-time students. The Foundation for Florida Gateway College offers a variety of privately funded scholarships each year.
FGC accepts applications for this limited-access program twice a year, with deadlines on March 31 and September 30, respectively. To apply, prospective students must possess an associate degree in nursing with a 2.5+ GPA in all nursing courses and a current Florida RN license. Required submission materials include official transcripts, a resume, and one letter of recommendation.
|7||Pensacola State College Pensacola, FL||
Registered nurses with an associate degree can complete the online RN-to-BSN program at Pensacola State College in as few as three semesters, depending on transfer credits. At least 70% of PSC nursing graduates report successfully securing a new job placement, promotion, salary increase, or enrollment in further education.
Accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, all 13 required nursing courses utilize 100% online learning methods. Two required practicums offer both on-site and online options. PSC students needing to complete general education courses, however, must attend these classes on campus.
Only Florida residents may receive in-state tuition prices at PSC, but residents of Alabama currently pay only an additional $10 per credit, which saves them 27% on nonresident costs. To apply, prospective students must possess an associate degree in nursing with a minimum 2.0 GPA and an unencumbered RN license issued in their practicing state.
|8||Daytona State College Daytona Beach, FL||
As of January 2018, Daytona State College joined the ranks of Florida's fully online RN-to-BSN programs. Students can now complete all course components without stepping foot on any of DSC's seven Volusia and Flagler county campuses. DSC's nursing program holds full accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.
To meet graduation requirements, students must complete 48 credits of upper-division nursing courses, including healthcare policy and economics, nursing in a multicultural society, and pharmacology. Full-time students can fulfill all degree requirements in four semesters of study. The Daytona State College Foundation offers dozens of scholarships each year to help fund student education.
Applying to DSC's nursing program requires a single, streamlined application process. Prospective students must submit proof of an unencumbered Florida RN license, two letters of recommendation or reference forms, and all official transcripts -- showing a cumulative 2.5+ GPA on associate degree coursework.
|9||Saint Johns River State College Palatka, FL||
In addition to eight online degrees, Saint Johns River State College boasts campuses in Orange Park, Palatka, and St. Augustine. Students looking for affordable RN-to-BSN programs in Florida may find their perfect match with SJR State's accredited nursing degree, which reports a 93.85% job placement rate for graduates.
Courses in the nursing curriculum -- all offered 100% online -- utilize both asynchronous and synchronous learning methods. Students only need to travel to campus once, at the end of the program, to complete a standardized test as part of the final capstone. With most students needing to accrue approximately 30 credits of nursing coursework, degree completion can occur in as few as three semesters. Additional general education coursework may be required.
Prospective applicants must possess an associate degree in nursing with a minimum GPA of 2.0 and an unencumbered, current RN license; they must also submit separate application materials to SJR State and the RN-to-BSN program. The program accepts applications throughout the year.
|10||College of Central Florida Ocala, FL||
The flexibility of an affordable RN-to-BSN program at the College of Central Florida offers three start dates throughout the year and an option to study either part time or full time. To help students pay for their education, CF makes approximately $2 million in scholarships available annually.
Accredited by the the Florida Board of Nursing and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, CF's RN-to-BSN program takes 4-7 semesters to complete. Students complete courses and lab components including nursing theory and philosophy, community nursing, and evidence-based clinical judgment. Several courses require students to attend on-campus experiences on select dates.
Pursuing enrollment in CF and its nursing program requires prospective students to submit two separate applications. The limited-access, RN-to-BSN program accepts applications on a rolling basis and requires applicants to possess an active RN license and a minimum 2.5 GPA in all lower-division nursing courses and general electives.
Career Outlook for Nurses in Florida
Florida employs more than 325,000 individuals in nursing-related professions, making it the fourth-highest concentration of nurses in the nation. Registered nurses in Florida earn between $46,830 and $84,530 per year. Other nursing fields may pay even more in the state. Online nursing programs can help prepare registered nurses for lucrative careers as nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, or nurse anesthetists. These high-paying medical positions require master's degrees or doctorates, along with extensive hands-on nursing experience.
|Occupation||Employment||Annual 10th Percentile Wage||Annual Median Wage||Annual 90th Percentile Wage|
|LPNs and LVNs||47,550||$33,200||$43,380||$55,450|
|Nursing Instructors and Teachers, Postsecondary||2,240||$44,450||$71,470||$103,930|
How to Become a Nurse in Florida
Florida is home to many retirees, making it a great state to work in as a nurse. Launching a nursing career in Florida starts with earning an associate or bachelor's degree in nursing. These programs usually require at least 15 liberal arts credits, plus science and nursing courses. Once finished with the educational program, prospective nurses may qualify to take the NCLEX-RN. In Florida, 90% of test-takers pass this exam -- much higher than the national average pass rate. Students who fail the test three times, however, must complete a remedial course before taking the exam again.
Candidates for the NCLEX must pass a criminal background check and pay a $175 fee for application and licensing. Applicants who have already passed the NCLEX and qualified for a nursing license in another state may apply for licensure in Florida by endorsement, and do not have to repeat the exam. Nursing licenses come up for renewal every two years, and nurses must demonstrate completion of their continuing education requirements and submit a renewal fee of $75 to qualify for relicensure. The Florida board publishes a list of current continuing education requirements and exemptions on its website.
The Most Affordable RN-to-BSN Programs in Pennsylvania
|1||Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Schuylkill Schuylkill Haven, PA||
A satellite campus of Penn State based in the titular Schuylkill County, Penn State Schuylkill offers one of the strongest hybrid RN-to-BSN programs in PA. The program features both in-person and online coursework, with Wednesday and Friday courses allowing students to continue to work as nurses during the rest of the week. The program's curriculum blends theoretical nursing coursework with clinical experiences in local hospitals that help students hone in on a specific professional nursing specialty. Each student must take responsibility for their own transportation to these clinicals.
The program also helps students save money through its portfolio assessment, which allows students to earn up to 33 credits for coursework completed during their RN licensure or other nursing education. Penn State Schuylkill's nursing programs hold accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
|2||Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Fayette- Eberly Lemont Furnace, PA||
Based in the unincorporated community of Lemont Furnace, Penn State Fayette offers a focused slate of primarily preprofessional bachelor's and associate degrees, including one of the most affordable RN-to-BSN programs in PA. The program's 120-credit curriculum includes nine core theory courses and a clinical experience that the school arranges with each student at a local placement site. Courses include introduction to nursing research, health assessment, and adult health concepts.
The program welcomes both full-time and part-time students and enables them to complete their courses in any order. Penn State Fayette strives to make its program affordable and accessible by accepting plentiful transfer credits, although students must complete at least 36 of their final 60 nursing credits at Penn State Fayette to earn their degrees. The school's nursing programs hold accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
|3||Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Worthington Scranton Dunmore, PA||
Located in Lackawanna County in the borough of Dunmore, Penn State Scranton originally opened as a technical school serving the local population. The campus maintains its focus on preprofessional and career education to this day, offering a strong RN-to-BSN program. The program's 120-credit curriculum combines foundational nursing coursework with courses that prepare graduates for nontraditional nursing areas, such as managed care, insurance, and pharmaceutical sales.
The program strives for accessibility and affordability by allowing to students to earn up to 33 credits for prior coursework and experiences. Furthermore, transfer students may bring up to 87 approved credits with them to Penn State Scranton. The program includes a standard clinical experience and holds accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
|4||Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Abington Abington, PA||
Located in the eponymous Abington Township about 15 miles outside of Philadelphia, Penn State Abington is one of the few hybrid RN-to-BSN programs in PA. Penn State Abington's hybrid program combines asynchronous online coursework with in-person evening classes that allow students to work full time while earning their degrees.
The program aims for affordability above all, offering a deferred payment plan to students who cannot pay for the entire program at the time of enrollment. Additionally, students can submit a portfolio of their previous coursework to earn up to 33 credits before ever taking a class at Penn State Abington. All applicants must already hold nursing licensure as well as an associate degree in the field. Prospective students may apply for admission for the fall and spring semesters. The program holds accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
|5||Pennsylvania State University-Penn State New Kensington New Kensington, PA||
Based in the titular city of New Kensington about 25 miles outside of Pittsburgh, Penn State New Kensington primarily serves the local population, enrolling less than 1,000 students per year. Penn State New Kensington also offers one of the few hybrid RN-to-BSN programs in PA. Students complete the program's 120-credit curriculum by combining online, asynchronous coursework with evening courses on campus, allowing them to maintain a full-time job while they earn their nursing degrees. The curriculum blends lower-level biology, psychology, and chemistry classes with upper-level nursing coursework.
Like all other schools in the Penn State University System, Penn State New Kensington's nursing programs hold accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Students in the program may receive up to 33 credits for their previous nursing coursework, easing the burden of tuition. Students may transfer as many approved credits as they wish as long as they complete 36 of their final 60 credits at Penn State New Kensington.
|6||East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania East Stroudsburg, PA||
A public college based in the borough of East Stroudsburg, ESU offers one of the best RN-to-BSN programs in PA. The program's curriculum consists of approximately 53 credits, combining foundational courses in biology, chemistry, math, and psychology with upper-level nursing coursework. Specific nursing courses include introduction to evidence-based nursing practice, nursing leadership and management, health assessment for nurses, and nutrition and diet therapy. Chemistry and biology courses include plenty of lab work.
The program only accepts transfer applicants with an associate degree or approximately 60 credits. All applicants must submit evidence of a nursing degree from an accredited program with a minimum 2.75 GPA and a copy of their Pennsylvania nursing license. The program strives for affordability by charging all students the same flat tuition rate.
|7||Edinboro University of Pennsylvania Edinboro, PA||
Named for its location in the borough of Edinboro, EU holds membership in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The university offers degrees across numerous disciplines, including one of the best RN-to-BSN programs in PA. Awarding a degree in innovative nursing, the program allows students who already hold an associate degree in nursing to earn a BSN in three semesters.
As opposed to some other offerings, this innovative nursing program requires a significant time commitment from students, who take courses each weekday in addition to fulfilling rigorous clinical experience requirements. The program assumes that students already completed general education requirements during their associate degree, so the curriculum focuses exclusively on upper-level nursing coursework. The program also includes an overt focus on experiential and hands-on learning.
|8||Holy Family University Philadelphia, PA||
A Roman Catholic-affiliated university based in Philadelphia, HFU primarily focuses on the liberal arts. Nevertheless, the school also offers several preprofessional degrees, including one of the best RN-to-BSN programs in PA. The program offers an accelerated curriculum that allows students to both save money and continue to work professionally as nurses while earning a degree that can advance their careers. The curriculum includes coursework that prepares graduates for various nursing fields, including acute care, home healthcare, mental health, and assisted living.
Transfer students from two-year universities may bring up to 75 credits with them, while transfer students from four-year universities may bring up to 90. Due to these generous transfer policies, some students can earn their BSN degree from HFU within 15 months. The program offers both cohort (blended learning) and non-cohort models (in person), and certain students who enroll in the cohort program can earn tuition discounts if they work for qualifying healthcare companies.
|9||Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania Bloomsburg, PA||
BU enrolls a little under 10,000 students on its rural central Pennsylvania campus. However, students never need to visit campus to earn a bachelor's degree from BU, which offers one of the only entirely online RN-to-BSN programs in PA. The program delivers all of its 120-credit curriculum asynchronously, allowing maximum flexibility for students who still want to work full time as nurses while earning degrees that can help them advance in the profession.
The program only accepts students who hold associate degrees in nursing, awarding these students 63 credits upon their entry to BU. The program maintains affiliation agreements with community colleges in six different counties throughout the state. BU's nursing programs hold accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
|10||Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Shenango Sharon, PA||
Located in the city of Sharon, Penn State Shenango is the only Penn State Commonwealth campus located in an urban area. The school also distinguishes itself by offering one of the few RN-to-BSN programs in PA that includes online courses. Penn State Shenango's nursing program uses a hybrid model, combining on-campus evening courses with asynchronous online classes. The program's flexible delivery method allows students to maintain their full-time nursing jobs while still earning a degree that can help them advance in the profession.
Penn State Shenango's program also earns a spot among the most affordable RN-to-BSN programs in Pennsylvania by offering a 20% discount to all students working within qualifying health systems. The school also awards numerous scholarships to incoming students, including a guaranteed $3,000 scholarship to incoming students with a 3.0 minimum GPA.
Career Outlook for Nurses in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania employs more than 250,000 professionals in nursing careers -- one of the highest concentrations of nurses in the country. Pennsylvania nurses earn average pay, with nurse assistants making $22,350 per year and nurse anesthetists earning up to $207,570. Registered nurses typically earn $68,230 annually, nearly twice the national median wage for all occupations. To earn a top salary as a nurse anesthetist, professionals must complete a master's degree or doctorate in nurse anesthesia. Admission to these programs requires a BSN and at least one year of nursing experience.
|Occupation||Employment||Annual 10th Percentile Wage||Annual Median Wage||Annual 90th Percentile Wage|
|LPNs and LVNs||36,890||$34,230||$46,400||$61,740|
|Nursing Instructors and Teachers, Postsecondary||3,610||$38,670||$72,440||$122,140|
How to Become a Nurse in Pennsylvania
Nurses in Pennsylvania start their careers after completing high school, at which point they may take prerequisite courses required by colleges for nursing students. Students in Pennsylvania can begin their nursing careers with just an associate degree, which takes 2-3 years to complete; a bachelor's degree, which requires four years; or an entry-level master's degree, which takes 1-2 years. Once they complete their education, prospective nurses must pass a criminal background check and take the NCLEX.
RN program graduates can sit for the NCLEX, which costs $35 for in-state students, and $100 for out-of-state students. Students who do not pass the exam may retake it as many times as necessary, but they must wait 45 days between attempts. Once granted a nursing license, nurses in Pennsylvania must renew their license every two years by completing 30 hours of continuing education, including two hours of child abuse recognition training and information on abuse reporting guidelines. Nurses must pay a renewal fee of $65. Renewals take 10-14 days to process.
Types of Nursing Degrees
An associate degree prepares nurses to provide critical healthcare services, take national exams, and earn an RN license. Nurses who advance their education by earning degrees, such as a bachelor's in nursing or a master's in nursing, expand their career opportunities and salary potential. Advanced degrees also allow professional nurses to specialize in areas like neonatal or pediatric care, while also earning certification as nurse practitioners or nurse anesthetists. According to PayScale, nurses with their master's degree make double the salary of nurses with an associate degree.
Each step up the educational ladder requires time and resources. An associate degree takes two years to complete, while a doctorate may require three to five years in addition to a four-year undergraduate education. Prospective nurses must weigh their career goals against the cost and job outlook for advanced nursing degrees. Nurses can also pursue graduate certificates in specialized nursing fields, which may take less than a year to complete.
|Associate Degree in Nursing||Licensed Practical Nurse||$41,246|
|Bachelor's Degree in Nursing||Registered Nurse||$63,245|
|Graduate Certificate in Nursing||Nurse Educator||$73,394|
|Master's Degree in Nursing||Nurse Administrator||$83,766|
|Doctoral Degree in Nursing||Nurse Practitioner||$92,392|
Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)
Prospective nurses can become RNs or licensed practical nurses (LPN) with an associate degree in nursing. Associate students learn fundamental nursing principles and complete hands-on practicums to build their nursing skills. Nursing is a fast-growing profession, and associate degree graduates can earn their licenses and begin working as full-time nurses.
Associate-granting institutions typically require a high school diploma or equivalent, but few require standardized test scores. An associate degree requires approximately 60 credits, and prospective nurses typically earn the degree in two years. Online nursing programs, including online LPN nursing programs, allow students to complete practicum requirements locally, which can lead to job placement after graduation.
An associate degree prepares graduates to take the NCLEX to become RNs or LPNs, depending on their career goals. Requirements vary by state, so prospective nurses must check their local guidelines. RNs can earn their RN-to-BSN online or RN-to-MSN online, both of which advance nurses' career prospects.
- Nursing Fundamentals
Nearly every online associate nursing degree includes an introductory course on the fundamentals of nursing, which introduces students to the skills required to succeed as a nurse. This can include patient-centered care, collaboration, and quality improvement.
- Health Assessment
Health assessment classes train nurses in collecting, organizing, and interpreting data about an individual's health status, including physical assessment, mental status, and patient communication.
- Ethics in Nursing
Coursework on ethics in nursing introduces students to the theoretical framework for providing healthcare, including ethical, spiritual, and moral issues faced by professional nurses.
- Medical-Surgical Nursing
Many professional nurses work in surgery or a related area, and medical-surgical nursing classes train nurses in clinical judgment, safety, and patient care for health conditions that may require surgery.
- Maternal Newborn Nursing
Maternal newborn nursing prepares nurses to work in labor and delivery services, including caring for pregnant women and newborns, as well as providing postpartum care. The class may incorporate clinical practice experiences.
Bachelor's Degree in Nursing (BSN)
A bachelor's degree in nursing prepares graduates to work as licensed nurses, and students can specialize in several areas of healthcare including pediatrics, gerontology, acute care, and primary care. Earning a bachelor of science in nursing online allows graduates to earn a graduate nursing certificate or a graduate degree in nursing, which advanced nursing positions might require.
Most bachelor's-level online nursing programs require 120 credits, including general education requirements and nursing courses. Most students finish their degrees in four years, or less if they have transfer credits or already hold an RN license. Bachelor's programs typically require a high school diploma or equivalent, and admissions departments sometimes call for ACT or SAT scores.
RNs can enter specialized RN-to-BSN programs, which take less than two years to finish. Completing the requirements for an RN license before entering a BSN program can significantly speed up the process, and prospective students with an RN license can research the top RN-to-BSN programs to find the best school for their professional interests.
- Evidence-Based Practice
Classes on evidence-based practice emphasize the research process for developing nursing practices, including evaluating published research and applying it to clinical practice.
- Health Systems
This course focuses on healthcare policy and the relationship between various elements of the health system, from care providers to policy makers and insurers. Students analyze the broader context for healthcare and influences on health policy.
- Leadership in Nursing
Professional nurses often act as leaders, and coursework in leadership emphasizes behaviors and organizational structures that improve patient care and teamwork in nursing. Coursework may also cover effective communication with patients, families, and healthcare professionals.
- Mental Health Nursing
Classes in mental health nursing focus on care for patients with psychiatric and mental health disorders, including coping resources, health promotion, and different stages of treatment.
- Women's Health Nursing
Classes in women's health train nurses in caring for women, including childbearing, vulnerable clients, and the treatment of women's health needs.
Graduate Certificate in Nursing
Earning a graduate certificate in nursing allows professional nurses to advance and specialize their training. Graduate certificate programs provide instruction in several concentrations, such as nursing education or nurse practitioners in acute care or primary care. A graduate certificate prepares nurses to become nurse educators, nurse practitioners, or other specialists within nursing.
Most graduate certificate programs -- including online nurse practitioner programs -- require around 20 credits, meaning they can be completed in a year or less, depending on enrollment status. Some certificate programs require practicums for clinical experience, while nurse educator programs rarely incorporate practicums. Many certificates are structured as post-master's nursing specializations, allowing professional nurses to move into advanced specialties. Some specifically serve nurses with bachelor's degrees in their field, who want to move into specialized healthcare fields.
After earning certification, nurses can take a national certification exam in their area to demonstrate excellence in their field. For example, the National League of Nurses administers the nurse educator certification program. Nurses interested in earning graduate certification can research the top online graduate nursing certificate programs.
- Acute Care
Nurses can choose a graduate certificate in acute care, which emphasizes complex judgment and medical interventions. Coursework may require clinical experience in a variety of acute care settings.
- Teaching for Nurse Educators
Classes in teaching strategies for nurse educators equip future nursing instructors with knowledge of teaching methods, including evidence-based practices, the educational process, and assessment.
- Assessment for Nurse Educators
Coursework on assessment for nurse educators emphasizes a variety of assessment methods in nursing instruction, from testing learning outcomes to clinical experience assessment.
- Primary Care
For nurses interested in moving into primary care nurse practitioner roles, this class trains nurses to care for children and adults in primary care settings, and may include a clinical component.
Some nursing certificate programs require a set number of clinical experience hours as part of a practicum. Online nursing students may arrange to complete the practicum in their local area.
Master's Degree in Nursing (MSN)
Master's degrees in nursing prepare graduates for advanced positions in nursing, including in high-paying specialties like nurse anesthesia and oncology nursing. Master's degrees also train nurse practitioners, who offer primary care to a variety of patients. Certain licenses and certifications require graduate degrees, particularly in the more challenging specialties.
Most students who earn a master of science in nursing online can complete the degree in two years, though accelerated programs may require less time. Online master of nursing programs typically call for a mix of academic and work experience, and some may require a bachelor's degree and current RN license. Current RNs can enroll in RN-to-MSN programs, which allow RNs without bachelor's degrees to complete their master's in nursing. Master's in nursing programs generally require 30 credits.
Master's in nursing degrees prepare graduates for professional careers in nursing, and master's in nursing administration degrees train licensed nurses to supervise and oversee nursing programs through management and business preparation. Nurses interested in management can research the top online master's in nursing administration programs, along with RN-to-MSN programs and master's in nursing programs.
- Advanced Nursing Practice
Nursing students study current issues in the nursing field, including barriers to providing nursing care, and the historical, legal, and ethical factors shaping the profession.
Master's in nursing students study pharmacology to understand the concepts and principles related to the therapeutic use of medications. Coursework may also include the impact of pharmacology on organ systems and disease processes.
In pathophysiology courses, nursing students study common conditions affecting children and adults, along with the clinical management of illness, pathogens, and environmental factors.
- Nurse Practitioner Practicum
Future nurse practitioners in practicums gain hands-on experience in primary care settings, with an emphasis on clinical decision-making and healthcare practice.
- Clinical Nurse Leader Practicum
Future clinical nurse leaders complete practicums to develop advanced competencies, including in quality management, patient safety, healthcare technology, and financial management.
Doctoral Degree in Nursing (DNP)
As the highest degree in nursing, the doctoral degree prepares nurses for top positions in the field, including those in nursing research and teaching nursing in academic settings. Doctorates also allow professional nurses to move into leadership or policy positions. These degrees require a substantial investment, but certain jobs may mandate a doctorate.
Nurses can choose between multiple doctoral program options, such as a doctorate in nursing practice (DNP) or a Ph.D. in nursing. Ph.D. degrees are research-based, while DNPs are professional degrees that prepare graduates for leadership roles in nursing. Certain teaching and research positions may require a Ph.D., while DNPs help nurses advance their clinical careers. Both degrees typically require 3-5 years to complete.
A doctoral degree in nursing may create certain opportunities, such as in academic research, or teaching and nursing leadership positions. Prospective doctoral students must weigh the benefits of the degree against the required commitment. Nurses can pursue options outside of a doctoral degree to advance their careers, as well, which they should consider before committing to a doctoral program.
- Advanced Practice Nursing
Doctoral advanced practice classes explore nursing roles within multiple frameworks, including political, philosophical, and legal contexts. Coursework emphasizes healthcare and leadership trends within the healthcare delivery system.
Biostatistics courses prepare students to apply biostatistical methods in public health investigations, including data analysis, theoretical distributions, and correlation. This course particularly serves nurses who want to work in public health studies.
- Advanced Health Assessment
Nursing students build advanced skills in collecting comprehensive health histories, conducting physical examinations, and taking mental health assessments.
- Chronic Illness
Courses in chronic illness prepare nurses to work with patients, families, and groups affected by chronic conditions, including applying theories and research in caring for chronic illnesses.
- Children's Health
Children's health courses emphasize clinical decision-making when delivering primary healthcare to children and adolescents, communicating with patients' families, and providing preventative medicine.
Nursing Concentrations and Specialties
RNs work in a variety of specialized fields, from neonatal care for newborns to gerontology nursing, which involves senior healthcare services. Many of these concentrations require specialized coursework and certification in the field.
Adult-gerontology nurses treat adults of all ages, including seniors, with a clinical focus. Within their broad group of patients, adult-gerontology nurses may specialize in palliative care, diabetes, or another medical condition.
Pediatric nurses work with children from birth to age 18, providing medical care either through a pediatric general practice office or a hospital offering specialized pediatric services. Pediatric nurses often work with young children, so they should possess strong communication skills to help patients and their parents.
Neonatal nurses work with newborn infants, particularly those who were born prematurely, experience surgical problems, or exhibit birth defects. Neonatal nurses often provide care for newborns from birth until they are discharged from the hospital.
- Nurse Anesthesia
Nurses who specialize in anesthesia enjoy some of the profession's highest wages. Nurse anesthetists administer anesthesia and other pain management medications, and monitor patients as they recover from anesthesia. The profession requires a master's degree and a certification exam.
- Clinical Nursing
Clinical nurse specialists typically hold a master's degree and certification, and they work directly with patients to implement treatment plans. They may specialize in areas like critical care, pain management, or gerontology.
Oncology nurses provide healthcare services to patients with cancer. They work with patients from diagnosis, coordinating care during cancer treatment. These professionals can pursue board certification in oncology by passing an exam.
|Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner||$89,377|
|Clinical Nurse Specialist||$86,227|
Nursing Licensure and Certifications
Every state requires nurses to earn RN licensure before practicing in their field. To become RNs, nursing students must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), which takes two forms: the NCLEX-PN and the NCLEX-RN. The NCLEX-RN serves prospective RNs, covering patient evaluations and care plans. The NCLEX-PN seves prospective practical or vocational nurses, and the exam focuses on collecting patient information and providing support services. Each state sets its own laws and regulations for becoming an RN, so prospective nurses should check the rules in their state.
Nursing licenses and certifications allow professional nurses to demonstrate their specializations and advanced knowledge. All nurses must hold a nursing license, but they can choose between several options for advanced certifications and licenses. For example, the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) offers board certification for RNs in various specialties, and nurse anesthetists can earn certification through the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA).
- Registered Nurse, Board Certified: Board-certified RNs must receive certification from ANCC, which requires candidates to pass a competency-based exam testing clinical knowledge and nursing skills. To maintain current credentials, nurses must meet the renewal requirements.
- Basic Life Support: The American Heart Association offers BLS certification to individuals who take a life support course and pass the skills testing. The certificate does not require a nursing degree, and can be renewed on a regular basis.
- Advanced Cardiac Life Support: As a more advanced course on cardiac life support, the American Heart Association's ACLS certificate verifies that an individual passed a course on the recognition of and intervention in cardiac arrest, post-cardiac arrest care, and other heart disease care. The organization also offers an ACLS certification for experienced providers.
- Pediatric Advanced Life Support: The American Heart Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics offer certification to individuals who complete the PALS class, which covers effective resuscitation techniques for seriously ill or injured children. The certification stays valid for two years, and requires applicants to pass an examination and skills tests.
- Neonatal Resuscitation Program: The American Academy of Pediatrics offers the NRP, which certifies individuals to care for newborns at birth, including through team-based care. The certificate requires online testing and case-based simulations. NRP also provides an app with guidelines for newborn resuscitation.
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist: To earn the CRNA designation, applicants must hold a valid RN license and bachelor's degree in nursing. CRNAs must earn a graduate degree through an accredited nurse anesthetist program, some of which require a year of acute care experience. After graduation, nurse anesthetists must pass a certification exam administered by the AANA.
- Certification for Nurse Educators: The National League for Nursing offers the CNE for RNs with a master's or doctoral degree in nursing, with a focus in nursing education. Applicants who did not specialize in nursing education must hold at least two years of work experience in an academic nursing program. Nurse educators must pass an exam to earn the certification.
One Nurse to Another
Mary Carney Director of Nursing, Western Governors University - Indiana
Mary's nearly four decades of nursing experience includes adult, neonatal, and pediatric critical care. She focused on transitioning infants and children who are dependent on life-support machines from the hospital to their home, school, and community environment. Her original research on shiftwork and the culture of fatigue in health care has been published and presented to national audiences. She holds current clinical certifications in pediatric critical care and general
pediatric nursing. She is also a certified nurse educator, and is director of nursing for Western Governors University - Indiana. She earned her DNP in educational leadership from Touro University-Nevada in 2016.
- Why did you choose to go into nursing?
I worked in a nursing home during my college years and really connected to the residents, the work, and the satisfaction it gave me.
- What skills are essential to nursing?
Number one is definitely the ability to adapt to change. Nurses have to be smart and hard-working, but that resilience and think-on-your-feet mentality is crucial.
- What are some things you do during a typical day on the job?
During my days (nights actually) as a bedside nurse, I provided direct care to critically ill children. Frequent assessments to watch for subtle changes that could spiral into bad situations filled the majority of my time, but I also gave meds, educated patients and families, and provided a listening ear to parents who feel helpless in the face of their child's illness. Now, I am the director of a nursing program, and I sleep at night. I work directly with students, instructors, and clinical facilities to provide a top-notch education for Indiana's future nurses.
- What's the hardest part of being a nurse?
Watching bad things happen to good people and the high-stakes nature of the work. There is no room for error, especially in pediatrics.
- What do you like most about nursing?
The variety of things a nurse can do; interacting with people across the spectrum of human existence.
- How do you maintain work-life balance?
I'm not sure I do. Sometimes my job becomes all-consuming, and it is difficult to remove myself from that. I sometimes lose sleep over situations related to work. Because nursing becomes to much a part of one's DNA, it is hard to separate work from the rest of life.
- Is it important to choose a nursing specialty? What tips do you have for students who aren't sure which focus they would like best?
I think it is not terribly important at the beginning of one's career. I have done inpatient psych, med-surg, adult, newborn, and peds critical care. I've been a private duty nurse, the supervisor of a large hospital, and now an academic administrator. Each of those jobs has given me skills I have applied to the next job. Sometimes I think that having that 'dream job' as a goal throughout nursing school is a detriment—it keeps you from being open to opportunity.
- What makes nursing an exciting career opportunity right now?
Nurses are beginning to command respect and a seat at the table when health care decisions are made. Being the most trusted profession has certain perks. Nurses are leading in a way that was not even dreamed of at the beginning of my career.
- What type of clinical experience should every nurse gain in college?
Any type they can get! Never pass up an opportunity to learn a new skill, hold a hand, or interact with a patient or a family member. Do anything and everything you can.
- What does continuing education look like for you?
A continuous process. I started out as a nursing assistant and have progressed through every level of nursing . LPN>ADN>BSN>MSN>DNP. My last three degrees were earned online and after my 55th birthday. Old dog being taught new tricks. I think it behooves every nurse to continually be learning new things. Maybe not in pursuit of another degree, but things relevant to practice and professional development.
- How important is networking and what are some easy ways to stay connected to other marketers in your community?
It is critical! I stay up to date and in touch by belonging to several professional organizations, volunteering for health related activities, via social media and acting as an ambassador for my university.
- How do you stay up to date with the latest advancements and technology in the nursing world?
I follow a lot of professional organization on social media—Twitter in particular provides me with a vast amount of information. My professional organizations have journals, and I attend two to three conferences per year.
- What are some practical tips to prepare for an interview?
Know something about the employer's culture and mission. Be able to relate that to your own practice. Ask about the patient population, and think of ways your current experience might be applied to the new group. Be on time. Leave your phone in the car. Ask intelligent questions that will let YOU know if the job would be a good fit.
Scholarships for Nursing Majors
Scholarships help nursing students pay for their degrees, whether they pursue an associate degree to become an RN or a doctorate degree. Some nursing scholarships serve nurses who plan to work in particular fields, such as perinatal care or oncology, while others award scholarships to nurses who come from underrepresented groups.
- National Black Nurses Association Scholarship
Who Can Apply: The NBNA offers numerous scholarship opportunities to students who hold organizational membership, study nursing at an accredited school, and have at least one year of education remaining. Requirements vary between scholarships.
Amount: $1,000 to $6,000
- Creative Biolabs Scholarship Program
Who Can Apply: Students majoring in scientific or medical fields who hold a 3.0 GPA or higher can apply. Applicants must also demonstrate academic strength, leadership skills, and an interest in social concerns through meaningful participation in volunteer or community activities.
- American Indian Nurse Scholarship Program
Who Can Apply: American Indian men and women pursuing education for nursing careers or jobs in healthcare or health education can apply for this scholarship, funded by the National Society for the Colonial Dames of America. Recipients work among their communities to improve healthcare.
Amount: $1,500 per semester
- Madeline Pickett (Halbert) Cogswell Nursing Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Supported by the Daughters of the American Revolution, this scholarship welcomes applications from students enrolled in accredited nursing programs. Applicants must hold DAR membership, be a descendant of a member, or qualify for membership.
Nursing Scholarships for Bachelor's Degree Students
- Caroline E. Holt Nursing Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Also funded by the DAR, this scholarship serves students enrolled in accredited nursing programs who demonstrate financial need. Students must submit a letter of acceptance or a transcript with their application.
- Army Nurse Corps Association Scholarship
Who Can Apply: U.S. citizens pursuing degrees in nursing or nurse anesthesia, whose parent, child, or spouse serves in the U.S. Army. Students who receive this scholarship do not have a military service obligation.
- American Nephrology Nurses Association - Career Mobility Scholarship
Who Can Apply: ANNA offers four scholarships to a total of 10 recipients. Each applicant must hold ANNA membership for at least two years, demonstrate an interest in nephrology nursing or related healthcare services, and pursue a bachelor's degree or higher in nursing.
Amount: $1,000 to $3,000
- A Place for Mom's Senior Wisdom Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Prospective students with an interest in gerontology and a plan to work with senior patients must submit an application, along with a compelling essay and video. A panel of senior living experts determines recipients.
Nursing Scholarships for Master's Degree Students
- Nurses Educational Funds Scholarships
Who Can Apply: Nurse Educational Funds, Inc has awarded more than 1,300 scholarships. The organization oversees scholarships for graduate-level nursing students, each scholarship with its own selection criteria, application process, and funding amount. The NEF Criteria and Eligibility Committee selects all scholarship recipients.
- Graduate Scholarships in Cancer Nursing Practice
Who Can Apply: Students becoming advanced practice nurses with an emphasis in oncology nursing can apply for this scholarship from the American Cancer Society. Applicants do not have to hold U.S. citizenship.
Amount: $10,000 per year
- Nursing Incentive Scholarship Program
Who Can Apply: Kentucky residents attending a higher education institution for nursing may apply for this scholarship funded by the Kentucky Board of Nursing. The board selects recipients using its own set of criteria. Students with financial needs receive preference.
- National Health Service Corps Scholarships
Who Can Apply: Applicants must be U.S. citizens and full-time students attending an accredited U.S. school. To receive consideration, they must qualify for federal employment and have no other existing service obligations.
Amount: Covers tuition and provides a living stipend
Nursing Scholarships for Doctoral Degree Students
- Doctoral Degree Scholarships in Cancer Nursing
Who Can Apply: Offered by the American Cancer Society, this scholarship serves students pursuing doctorates focused on cancer nursing research or degrees designed to help them become nurse scientists. Applicants must be U.S. citizens.
Amount: $15,000 per year
- Hal and Jo Cohen Graduate Nursing Faculty Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Applicants must be Maryland residents pursuing graduate degrees in nursing at a Maryland university or college. They must hold a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Part-time and full-time students may apply.
Amount: Covers tuition and mandatory fees
- March of Dimes Dr. Margaret C. Freda Graduate Nursing Scholarship Award
Who Can Apply: Registered nurses pursuing graduate degrees focused on maternal-child nursing can apply. Applicants must hold membership with one of the following organizations: the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses; the American College of Nurse-Midwives; or the National Association of Neonatal Nurses.
- Oncology Nursing Society Doctoral Scholarships
Who Can Apply: Practicing nurses planning to pursue a research doctoral degree such as a Ph.D. or DNSc, or a clinical doctoral degree such as a DNP, must hold current nursing licensure and demonstrate an interest in oncology nursing to apply.
Amount: $5,000 - $7,500
Resources for Nursing Students
- Nursing Resources: We have compiled a collection of the best academic journals, websites, and open courses available to those in nursing.
- Scholarships for Nursing Majors: Explore our curated list of scholarship options for nursing majors and minority students pursuing nursing.
Nursing Courseware and Massive Open Online Courses
Working nurses hoping to upkeep their skills or who must complete continuing education to maintain licensure or certification can enroll in open courseware or Massive Open Online Courses. These online courses provide university-level educational opportunities to nurses and other health professionals, and many of them are free.
- Interprofessional Healthcare Informatics: A graduate-level course, interprofessional healthcare informatics explores informatics in a variety of medical practice settings, including emerging technologies and telehealth.
- Leading Healthcare Quality and Safety: With a focus on ensuring patient safety and the quality of healthcare, this course introduces participants to the foundations of patient safety and quality improvement. The course includes personal stories and cross-industry comparisons.
- Introduction to Cardiac Care: An e-seminar offered through Columbia University, this course focuses on heart disease and cardiac care, illustrating how a healthy heart functions and exploring how to treat individuals with heart disease.
- Introduction to Health Policy: Health policy and management represent central concerns for nurses, and this course covers the economics of health policy, healthcare politics and laws, and the quality and effectiveness of healthcare services.
- Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases: Many nurses work with infectious diseases, and this course covers case studies of disease syndromes, outbreak investigations, disease surveillance, and case-control studies.
Professional Nursing Organizations
Working nurses benefit from joining professional nursing organizations, such as the American Nursing Association (ANA) or the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN). These professional organizations provide scholarships and certifications to their members, plus access to professional development resources and continuing education courses, which may be required to maintain RN licensure.
Professional organizations also offer access to job resources, such as counseling resources and the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing job board. They can also provide networking opportunities through conferences and workshops.
- ANA: Dating back to 1896, ANA represents the interests of America's RNs. ANA membership provides both personal and professional benefits, including access to nursing resources.
- AACN: AACN offers certification, conferences, and events, along with access to continuing education resources for its members. AACN members also receive discounts for certification and are eligible for awards.
- Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing: Founded in 1922, this organization celebrates nursing excellence and provides career counseling and mentorship to its members, along with access to the Sigma job board.
2018 Accredited Programs
- Top Bachelor's in Nursing Programs
Rank School State Degree Cost 1 Western Governors University UT BSN $9,115 2 The University of Texas at Arlington TX BSN $11,952 3 University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh WI BSN $13,171 4 North Dakota State University ND LPN to BSN $14,581 5 Marian University IN Accelerated BSN $21,063 6 Concordia University-Wisconsin WI BSN $25,764 7 Adventist University of Health Sciences FL BSN $18,603 8 Utica College NY BSN $24,153 9 Indiana State University IN LPN to BSN $10,681
- Top Master's of Science in Nursing Programs
Rank School State Degree Cost 1 Duke University NC MSN $19,950 2 Georgetown University DC MSN $26,625 3 Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center TX MSN $5,760 4 Vanderbilt University TN MSN $23,150 5 Johns Hopkins University MD MSN $27,352 6 George Washington University DC MSN $39,562 7 Samuel Merritt University CA MSN $40,684 8 Rush University IL MSN $33,435 9 The University of Texas Medical Branch TX MSN $6,347 10 University of Central Florida FL MSN $15,533 11 University of Southern California CA MSN $32,932 12 California State University-Fullerton CA MSN $8,170 13 Clarkson College NE MSN $19,842 14 University of St Francis IL MSN $17,968 15 University of Pittsburgh PA MSN $7,157 16 Oregon Health & Science University OR MSN $20,412 17 Michigan State University MI MSN $14,970 18 Stony Brook University NY MSN $13,615 19 Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health NE MSN $18,374 20 Western Governors University UT MSN $9,115 21 University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus CO MSN $13,751 22 Mount Carmel College of Nursing OH MSN $16,660 23 San Diego State University CA MSN $14,344 24 Gonzaga University WA MSN $33,586 25 Florida State University FL MSN $16,506 26 University of South Carolina-Columbia SC MSN $19,913 27 University of Connecticut CT MSN $19,064 28 University of Maryland, Baltimore MD MSN $13,329 29 Thomas Jefferson University PA MSN $34,740 30 University of North Carolina at Charlotte NC MSN $12,084 31 Nova Southeastern University FL MSN $25,344 32 Texas A & M University-College Station TX MSN $15,455 33 Central Methodist University-College of Graduate and Extended Studies MO MSN $11,224 34 The University of Alabama AL MSN $20,133 35 California State University-Dominguez Hills CA MSN $3,297 36 The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley TX MSN $4,432 37 Simmons College MA MSN $29,781 38 Ohio State University OH MSN $17,971 39 Florida Atlantic University FL MSN $11,303 40 Regis University CO MSN $26,505 41 East Carolina University NC MSN $12,817 42 William Carey University MS MSN $14,717 43 University of San Francisco CA MSN $35,054 44 Liberty University VA MSN $24,794 45 Excelsior College NY MSN $15,184 46 Sacred Heart University CT MSN $39,134 47 DePaul University IL MSN $32,084 48 The University of West Florida FL MSN $11,175 49 Ball State University IN MSN $13,369 50 The University of Texas at Arlington TX MSN $11,952
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