Most Popular Online Nursing Degree Programs of 2022

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A bachelor's in nursing (BSN) prepares students for key nursing roles. With a BSN, nurses work as ER nurses, ICU nurses, pediatric nurses, and nurse supervisors. A growing number of healthcare organizations prefer nurses with a BSN, so the degree appeals to current registered nurses (RNs) and those moving into the nursing profession.

Online nursing students learn how to conduct health assessments, promote community health, and apply nursing research in evidence-based practice. BSN programs also offer students focused training for nursing specialties.

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Nursing ranks near the top of the most popular majors. Many top online colleges offer flexible programs making it easier to complete a nursing degree and enter a growing profession. Nursing degrees can take as little as one year for RNs in an accelerated program.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), registered nurses earn a median salary of $77,600 per year. This is higher than the annual median salary of $45,760 for all workers. The BLS projects 194,500 nursing jobs per year from 2020-2030, which is as fast as average.

What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Nursing Degree Program?

Online bachelor's offer flexibility without sacrificing quality. During an online bachelor's in nursing, students take nursing classes in a virtual classroom environment. These classes provide a foundation in nursing practice, human physiology, and nursing research. Distance learners complement their classroom training with in-person clinical practicums and virtual simulations.

The format of an online nursing degree depends on the program. Most nursing schools offer three options: a four-year bachelor's in nursing for students with no prior healthcare training; an RN-to-BSN option for registered nurses seeking a bachelor's degree; and an accelerated BSN program for students with a bachelor's degree in another field.

The length and graduation requirements vary depending on the program type. For example, RN-to-BSN and accelerated BSN programs generally take 1-2 years, since students have already completed several years of college.

An online nursing degree appeals to working RNs who require a flexible schedule and nursing majors who prefer online classes. Online formats allow students to choose the nursing program that best matches their budget, schedule, and career goals without restricting their search to local schools. Distance learners with strong organizational skills and self-discipline may thrive in online programs.

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Popular Online Bachelor's in Nursing Degree Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Nursing Degree Program?

Nursing Practice

Students strengthen their theoretical and practical understanding of the nursing profession. Topics include core nursing concepts, the nursing process, and clinical reasoning tools. The class prepares majors for advanced nursing coursework.

Comprehensive Health Assessment

Conducting health assessments is a core nursing skill. Learners strengthen their health assessment skills by examining physical, mental, social, and environmental metrics. The course covers collecting and interpreting assessment data, placing IVs, drawing blood/labs, inserting foley catheters, basic wound care, and cardiac resuscitation.

Nursing Research

Learners explore nursing research methods and read current literature in the field. The course introduces how to evaluate research and trains nurses to develop evidence-based practices.

Leadership in Nursing

Nursing leadership courses emphasize the theories and skills necessary to take on leadership roles. Topics include information management, health policy, and quality outcomes.

Clinical Practicum

Nursing students complete a clinical course to gain hands-on experience. The clinical practicum may include simulations, case studies, and clinical hours in a healthcare setting. Online nursing students meet in-person requirements at an approved site in their local area. The course builds clinical reasoning and patient care skills.

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What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Bachelor's in Nursing Degree Program?

Online bachelor's programs admit applicants with a high school diploma or equivalent. In nursing, programs typically set different admission requirements for those with no prior nursing training vs. RNs seeking a BSN. RN-to-BSN programs typically require a current, unencumbered RN license.

Application

Prospective nursing majors submit an undergraduate application. The application requires prior prior education and experience. For example, RNs applying to RN-to-BSN programs provide information about their license and work history. The application may also ask about extracurriculars, volunteer experience, and awards. Most online programs accept online applications.

Test Scores

Depending on the program, nursing students may need to submit entrance exam scores. Four-year bachelor's programs often ask for SAT or ACT scores. However, a number of schools offer test-optional admission that lets applicants decide whether to provide scores. RN-to-BSN programs may ask for NCLEX-RN scores.

Letters of Recommendation

Applicants submit 1-3 letters of recommendation that speak to their preparation for a nursing bachelor's program. Typically, students ask former instructors or supervisors for letters. RNs can ask their current supervisor to write a letter. Make sure to ask for a letter of recommendation several weeks before the application deadline.

Essays

Most colleges request one or more essays during the admissions process. The college application essay might address a specific question posed by the school or ask about the applicant's preparation and career goals more broadly. For example, RN-to-BSN programs often ask applicants about their prior nursing experience and their goals with a BSN.

Official Transcripts

Prospective nursing majors submit official transcripts showing their high school diploma and any college credits. Four-year nursing programs generally require a high school diploma or the equivalent, while RN-to-BSN programs may require an associate degree in nursing or a nursing diploma. Applicants can receive transfer credits based on their transcripts.

What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Nursing Degree?

Career Outlook

Nursing remains one of the most popular majors for undergraduates. According to BLS data, registered nurses earn a median salary of $77,600 per year compared to $45,760 for all other jobs. The highest-paid registered nurses earn over $120,000 per year. Nurses can increase their earning potential by pursuing a graduate degree in nursing.

Registered nurses also benefit from steady demand. The BLS projects 9% job growth for RNs from 2020-2030, which is about as fast as average.

A bachelor's degree helps prepare nurses for competitive positions. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, over 40% of healthcare organizations require a BSN for nursing hires, while over 77% prefer nurses with a BSN. Nurses with an associate degree or diploma can enroll in RN-to-BSN programs to earn their bachelor's degree.

See where a bachelor's in nursing degree can take you.

Career Paths

Registered Nurse

Registered nurses provide patient care in a variety of settings. They have strong communication skills and discuss health issues with patients and their families. RNs can specialize in pediatrics, family medicine, gerontological care, and ambulatory care. RNs with a bachelor's degree take on more responsibilities in healthcare organizations.

Median Annual Salary: $77,600

Emergency Room Nurse

ER nurses evaluate patients in an emergency care setting. They take vital signs, conduct health assessments, and coordinate with other ER staff. After assessing patients, ER nurses administer medication and care for admitted patients. They may also assist physicians in emergency surgeries.

Average Annual Salary: $73,520

Informatics Nurse

Informatics nurses manage electronic medical records and create custom software solutions to improve patient outcomes. They train nurses in using patient care software programs and recommend upgrades. Informatics nurses typically hold a bachelor's degree in nursing and RN experience. They may also take classes in health informatics or healthcare management.

Average Annual Salary: $79,530

Critical Care Nurse

Critical care nurses work in intensive care units (ICUs) and other critical care settings. They conduct regular health assessments and carry out patient care plans. Critical care nurses monitor patients and communicate patient information to the healthcare team. Their role also requires specialized training in ICU equipment.

Average Annual Salary: $77,800

Registered Nurse Supervisor

RN supervisors oversee nursing teams who provide patient care. They train other nurses and set the work schedule. RN supervisors also enforce safety and healthcare procedures. They update their division's policies based on new research. RN supervisors typically hold a bachelor's degree with several years of nursing experience.

Average Annual Salary: $76,800

Nursing Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Continuing Education

Nurses with a bachelor's degree can pursue specialized roles. With a master's in nursing (MSN) and an advanced practice nursing license, nurses can apply to nurse practitioner or nurse anesthetist positions. Many top-ranked nursing programs offer online MSN programs with concentrations in nursing education, nursing leadership, and advanced practice nursing. Nurses can also earn their DNP degree online.

Registered nurses also pursue specialty certifications to demonstrate expertise and advance their careers. Organizations like the American Nurses Credentialing Center offer nursing certifications. Nurses can earn certification in informatics nursing, cardiac vascular nursing, ambulatory care, pediatrics, and other areas.

Should I Choose a Popular Online Bachelor's in Nursing Degree Program?

Nursing is one of the most popular online majors. Popular programs tend to report high NCLEX-RN passing rates, helping students launch their nursing careers.

In addition to popularity, consider several other factors like cost, format, and accreditation when choosing an online bachelor's in nursing program.

Additional Programs Factors to Consider

Cost

The cost of a nursing degree varies depending on the program and school. In general, nursing students should budget at least $40,000 for a BSN degree. RN-to-BSN programs require less time than a four-year bachelor's program, so students might pay half that much. When comparing costs, make sure to consider additional expenses like fees and textbooks that add to the true program cost.

Program Format

Nursing schools offer online degrees with several formats. Students can enroll full-time or part-time. Some programs offer accelerated bachelor's degrees and online learners enroll in classes either synchronously or asynchronously. Many nursing programs use asynchronous formats with no required login times to fit the schedules of working nurses.

Location

Should you choose an online or on-campus nursing program? Even if you choose an online program, you might prefer a local nursing school. Local programs build relationships with healthcare facilities to host practicums and meet clinical requirements. In addition, some online nursing programs only accept applicants in certain states or require some in-person attendance.

Accreditation

Nursing students must choose an accredited school. Only accredited nursing degrees meet the requirements for an RN license and nursing jobs. Accreditation recognizes institutions that meet academic standards.

Student Support

Online programs support distance learners with student services. These services include academic advising, online tutoring, and library access. Online services may also include internship programs and mentorship opportunities. Ask schools about their online student services before submitting an application.

2022 Most Popular Accredited Online Bachelor's in Nursing Degree Programs

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#1 Most Popular Online Nursing Degree Programs of 2022

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

  • Little Rock, AR
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $280
Out of State | $280

Credits to Graduate
34 credits

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | Yes
Program Accreditation | Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing

UA Little Rock offers a fully online BSN completion program for nurses who hold RN licenses. This popular nursing degree program allows current nurses to earn their bachelor's degrees, which can open career opportunities. Applicants should hold current and unencumbered RN licenses. 

Candidates must apply to UA Little Rock first, then to the specific program. The program considered applicants who have completed at least 12 credit hours of general education beyond what's required for associate degrees. Students can choose between the 12-month and 18-month curriculum plans.

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,495
Out-of-state
$18,750
Retention Rate
66%
Admission Rate
66%
Students Enrolled
9,581
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
54% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#2 Most Popular Online Nursing Degree Programs of 2022

Southeastern Louisiana University

  • Hammond, LA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Asynchronous Classes

Avg. Cost
In State and Out of State | $9,500 flat rate for tuition, books, and fees

Credits to Graduate
31 credits

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | Yes
Program Accreditation | Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

This fully online bachelor's in nursing program allows nurses with RN licenses to earn their BSN credentials in as little as one year. The program's asynchronous courses allow full-time nurses to fit school into their busy schedules. The school offers three start times per year. 

Applicants to the program must hold an unencumbered RN license. They must also hold associate degrees in nursing from accredited schools and possess GPAs of 2.5 or higher.

Average Tuition
In-state
$5,777
Out-of-state
$18,255
Retention Rate
68%
Admission Rate
90%
Students Enrolled
14,220
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
31% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#3 Most Popular Online Nursing Degree Programs of 2022

University of North Florida

  • Jacksonville, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Hybrid | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $285
Out of State | $285

Credits to Graduate
30 credits

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | Yes
Program Accreditation | Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

UNF offers an RN-to-BSN program with online coursework and the opportunity to earn credits by working in a community health center. Learners take two courses at a time during eight-week terms. 

Students can earn this popular nursing degree from any state in the United States as long as they hold a current RN license in that state. Applicants must hold an associate degree or diploma in nursing with a GPA of 2.8 or higher.

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,996
Out-of-state
$16,799
Retention Rate
83%
Admission Rate
72%
Students Enrolled
17,117
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
57% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#4 Most Popular Online Nursing Degree Programs of 2022

AdventHealth University

  • Orlando, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Hybrid | Scheduled and Asynchronous Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $540
Out of State | $540

Credits to Graduate
30 credits

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | Yes
Program Accreditation | Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

AHU offers this RN-to-BSN program with both synchronous and asynchronous courses. The popular online bachelor's in nursing also includes clinical rounds, which learners complete in their communities. 

The curriculum encourages nurses to see healthcare as their ministry. Applicants must hold valid RN licenses unless they are recent graduates of associate in nursing programs. Such candidates must be eligible to sit for the NCLEX. The program is not available for Arizona residents.

Average Tuition
In-state
$12,240
Out-of-state
$12,240
Retention Rate
61%
Admission Rate
51%
Students Enrolled
1,688
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
54% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#5 Most Popular Online Nursing Degree Programs of 2022

McKendree University

  • Lebanon, IL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Scheduled and Asynchronous Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $400
Out of State | $400

Credits to Graduate
30 credits

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | Yes
Program Accreditation | Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

McK's online bachelor's in nursing includes asynchronous online courses and a practicum requirement that students complete in their communities. In this RN-to-BSN program, learners also complete capstone projects and writing intensives in leadership and management. 

Applicants must hold current and unencumbered RN licenses. Candidates must apply to McK as transfer students first and then to the nursing school. Courses follow eight-week schedules, and full-time students can graduate in just one year. 

Average Tuition
In-state
$30,540
Out-of-state
$30,540
Retention Rate
75%
Admission Rate
63%
Students Enrolled
2,292
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
47% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

#6 Most Popular Online Nursing Degree Programs of 2022

Eastern New Mexico University-Main Campus

  • Portales, NM
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Hybrid | Asynchronous Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $295.75
Out of State | $380.25

Credits to Graduate
30 credits

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | Yes
Program Accreditation | Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing

ENMU offers an online RN-to-BSN program with eight-week courses. Full-time students graduate in as little as 16 months. The flexible online course structure requires learners to log in to their classes at least twice per week. 

Degree candidates must complete two practicums in local facilities. The practicums focus on nursing leadership and community health nursing. Each applicant must submit two letters of recommendation and a copy of their RN license.

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,996
Out-of-state
$5,994
Retention Rate
63%
Admission Rate
58%
Students Enrolled
5,685
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
69% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#7 Most Popular Online Nursing Degree Programs of 2022

Madonna University

  • Livonia, MI
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Asynchronous Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $500
Out of State | $500

Credits to Graduate
25 credits

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | Yes
Program Accreditation | Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

MU's popular nursing degree offers online courses with asynchronous coursework, which is flexible for nurses who want to work while furthering their education. This RN-to-BSN program includes unique courses with subjects such as spiritual and ethical considerations in palliative care. 

Learners complete a seminar in nurse leadership. Applicants must hold a current RN license. The school also offers an accelerated hybrid bachelor's in nursing for students who do not have RN licenses.

Average Tuition
In-state
$23,100
Out-of-state
$23,100
Retention Rate
76%
Admission Rate
75%
Students Enrolled
2,992
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
61% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#8 Most Popular Online Nursing Degree Programs of 2022

The University of Tennessee-Martin

  • Martin, TN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $426
Out of State | $463

Credits to Graduate
40 credits

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | Yes
Program Accreditation | Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing

At UT Martin, experienced nurses can gain credit toward their bachelor's in nursing. Learners can take proficiency tests, show their unencumbered RN license, and demonstrate their experience level to earn up to 30 credit hours. 

Students complete all coursework online with no practicum requirement. Applicants should hold unencumbered RN licenses. Candidates must also apply to UT Martin first, then take the Assessment Technologies Institute Test of Essential Academic Skills (ATI TEAS) before applying for the nursing school.

Average Tuition
In-state
$8,214
Out-of-state
$14,254
Retention Rate
75%
Admission Rate
64%
Students Enrolled
7,280
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
29% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#9 Most Popular Online Nursing Degree Programs of 2022

Delta State University

  • Cleveland, MS
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Hybrid | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $281
Out of State | $281

Credits to Graduate
27 credits

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | Yes
Program Accreditation | Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Current RNs can earn a bachelor's in nursing from Delta State in just two semesters. Learners complete coursework online and finish two in-person practicums in their communities. The first practicum covers community and public health nursing, while the second focuses on leadership in nursing. 

Applicants must hold a current and unencumbered RN license in the state in which they would complete their practicums. They must also have a GPA of 2.0 or higher in all nursing courses.

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,501
Out-of-state
$7,501
Retention Rate
67%
Admission Rate
94%
Students Enrolled
3,751
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
49% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#10 Most Popular Online Nursing Degree Programs of 2022

Fitchburg State University

  • Fitchburg, MA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Asynchronous Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $311
Out of State | $311

Credits to Graduate
32 credits

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | Yes
Program Accreditation | Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Fitchburg State offers a popular online bachelor's in nursing degree with a special focus on advocacy and social justice. The curriculum includes subjects such as caring for forensic populations and nursing in a global community. Learners complete all coursework online asynchronously, including the capstone course, in which students discuss their transition to BSN nursing. 

Applicants must have RN licenses in good standing and a GPA of 2.5 or higher on all previous coursework.

Average Tuition
In-state
$970
Out-of-state
$7,050
Retention Rate
74%
Admission Rate
88%
Students Enrolled
7,251
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
37% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

Frequently Asked Questions About Popular Nursing Degree Programs

Are popular online bachelor's programs more difficult to get into?

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The most popular bachelor's programs typically have strong demand from students. However, popular programs typically offer more classes and enroll more students. As a result, getting into these bachelor's programs can be straightforward for applicants who meet the minimum requirements.

Students unsure about their major can consider applying to popular online colleges that offer many options. Contact the school's admissions office to learn more about the program's requirements.

What are the most popular college majors?

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The most popular college majors include business, healthcare, and the social sciences. Within these broad fields, majors often choose a specialization. For example, healthcare programs offer degrees in nursing, health science, health informatics, and public health. Other popular majors include engineering, biological sciences, psychology, and communication.

Education and computer science also rank among the most common majors for undergraduates. Prospective students can reach out to online schools to learn more about their most popular majors and their admission requirements.

How should I choose an online degree program?

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Prospective applicants considering online programs should weigh several factors when choosing a college. Many students rank cost as the most important deciding factor. Look for programs that offer tuition discounts for fully online students or in-state tuition for out-of-state distance learners.

Also research the program's accreditation status, retention rate, and graduation rate. Reputable schools provide this information to prospective students. Finally, look at the program's course options, graduation requirements, and career placements. Programs with a strong track record in these areas help students reach their educational and professional goals.

Are the most popular online programs also the highest quality?

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Popularity and quality often match in online programs. The highest quality programs tend to prioritize the student experience and help graduates reach their goals. However, students researching popular online programs should also look into program quality.

Check for accreditation when evaluating popular programs. Accredited schools meet high standards for academic quality. Next, research the program's reputation and find out where graduates work. For nursing programs, determine if it reports high passing scores on the NCLEX-RN. Finally, reach out to current or former students to ask about their experiences.

What jobs can I get with an online bachelor's in nursing?

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An online bachelor's in nursing from an accredited nursing school meets the same high standards as in-person accredited programs. Online nursing programs help students pass the NCLEX-RN exam and apply for their RN licenses, allowing them to pursue nursing jobs.

Some BSN programs also work with hospitals and other healthcare organizations to place nursing students in clinical practicums. The best online nursing programs also provide career placement support. These services, along with tips on finding a job, help nursing majors find jobs in diverse specialties.

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BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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