A nursing career is widely recognized as one of the best career paths you could choose in America today. Whether your goal is to be an RN, a nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, nurse educator or some other specialty of nursing, you will enjoy plenty of work and plenty of money.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the following:
- The median wage for all nurses in 2015 was $67,490.
- Job demand for all nurses will rise by 16% by 2024, which is a very fast growth rate.
- The median wage for advanced practice nurses with a master’s degree in nursing is $104,700. This includes the jobs of nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, and nurse anesthetist.
- Job demand for all advanced nursing practice professions will rise 31% by 2024, which is one of the fastest growth rates of all US occupations.
If this sounds good to you, you need to get going on your nursing education. There are plenty of online universities that offer both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing.
We highlight seven of the best BSN and MSN programs below that are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or CCNE. This is the premier accreditation agency in the US for nursing programs, and is recognized by the US Department of Education as a national accreditation agency.
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Whether you want to earn a BSN or MSN degree, you should be able to find a high quality, affordable program on our list.
Note: If you want to earn an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN), this will take you approximately two years. You generally will find those programs available at a local community college or vocational school. There are few fully online ADN programs available.
After you earn your ADN, sit for your NCLEX-RN exam, and become an RN, you should gain some work experience. Then, you can if you choose, earn your BSN or MSN online. There even are RN to MSN programs where you can earn your BSN and MSN at the same time.
BSN Degree Online Programs
These nursing degree programs are for current nurses who have current experience as an RN and have an ADN or RN diploma.
Arizona State University
ASU’s online RN to BSN program will prepare you to become a nursing professional who can handle the many complex demands of the healthcare landscape that is evolving and changing constantly.
This program is designed for nurses who have either their diploma or ADN degree who want to complete their nursing requirements to earn their bachelor’s degree.
Nursing students will improve their skills in both written and oral communication, use of computers, clinical reasoning and problem solving. Your teachers are only full time, highly distinguished professionals who have a high degree of expertise in their area. The faculty also are fully trained in online teaching, and most are involved in nursing research and service to the broader Arizona community.
Your core classes include the following:
- Writing for Health Care Management (3 credits)
- Professional Nursing Theory (4 credits)
- Health Promotion Across the Life Span (4 credits)
- Nursing Research and Application to Practice (3 credits)
- Art of Nursing (4 credits)
- Community/Public Health Nursing in the United States (4 credits)
- Innovation in Nursing (4 credits)
- Nursing Management in Health Care (4 credits)
- Public and Global Health in Nursing (4 credits)
- Capstone: The Synthesis of Professional Nursing (4 credits)
Each course is 7.5 weeks long, and you may complete this program in only 15 months, if you have all of the prerequisite courses fulfilled from your ADN or diploma program.
Chamberlain College of Nursing
Chamberlain’s RN to BSN program is ideal for a current RN who want to earn a BSN in as few as three semesters. This program is fully online.
The curriculum is designed to challenge how you think in clinical nursing, and to expand your role as a professional nurse. The program is attended to enhance your long term career horizons so that you can eventually move into nursing management or advanced nursing practice if you choose.
Key features of this BSN program:
- Highly customizable curriculum: You can do the program full time or part time, and most courses can be completed on your own schedule; there are few classes with set times that you must attend.
- Direct care, experiential learning: This will help to boost the usefulness of your curriculum as you will apply your new nursing knowledge both in the classroom and in your current clinical nursing position.
- No courses required before you begin: You only need to have your active RN license that is approved by your state. You automatically get 77 proficiency credits before you start.
Your required classes will include the following:
- Transitions in Professional Nursing
- RN Health Assessment
- RN Evidence Based Practice
- Collaboration Health Care
- RN Community Health Nursing
- Statistics for Decision making
- Rn Information Systems in Health Care
- Foundational Concepts and Applications
- Healthcare Policy
- Advance Research Methods
MSN Degree Online Programs
These programs are designed for current nurses who have a current RN license, and either has an associate’s degree or bachelor’s in nursing.
If you want to become a family nurse practitioner and you have a background in nursing, you can choose this online program from Simmons University. This two year program will provide you with the excellent clinical nursing knowledge base that you need to succeed as an FNP.
One of the unique aspects of this online FNP program is that it has entirely live classes that allow you to interact with people on web camera, including your classmates and faculty. This program also has self paced coursework, one weekend immersion experience on the Boston campus, and clinical placements in your area.
After you complete this online degree program, you are eligible to sit for American Nurses Credentialing Council.
Earn your MSN degree at Maryville University to become a family nurse practitioner. This program can be completed it in 15 courses entirely online. Everything about this program has been designed so that a working RN can earn their degree online in as little as two years.
Required core classes for your MSN are:
- Theoretical Foundations of Nursing Practice
- Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing
- Health Care Policy
- Health Promotion/Disease Prevention
- Professional Role Development: Advanced Practice Nurse
- Leadership and Quality
- Advanced Pathophysiology
- Advanced Health Assessment
- Advanced Pharmacotherapeutics
Family nurse practitioner classes include:
- Adult-Gerontology Health Care I
- Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Practicum I
- Adult-Gerontology Health Care II
- Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Practicum II
- Pediatric/Family Health Care III
- Pediatric/Family Nurse Practitioner Practicum III
Another option at Maryville University is to do the BSN to Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree, which covers the MSN material at the same time. You may prefer this route if you want to focus on teaching or research at the university level.
If you want to greatly improve your salary and your nursing responsibilities, you should earn your MSN from Liberty University. This program allows you to greatly enhance your nursing career as a nursing educator or administrator.
The nursing educator track will prepare you for an exciting nursing education career. You will develop the critical thinking skills and nursing knowledge that is so important to advance the nursing profession through clinical practice, teaching, program development and implementation and scholarship.
The nurse administration track will prepare you for a career in nursing leadership and management. You will be able to effectively combine your great passion for nursing practice with nursing leadership. You will discover how to employ the nursing process to do strategic planning, evaluation of outcomes and fiscal/resource management.
Required classes for this MSN program include:
- Health Policy and Ethics
- Advanced Pharmacology
- Nursing Theory and Advanced Practice
- Pain Management
- Financial and Resource Management for Nurse Leaders
- Advanced Clinical Applications for Nurse Education
- Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
- Health and Wellness Capstone
- Nursing Administration I and II
American Sentinel University
This program from American Sentinel University is perfect for the nurse who wants to increase her responsibility, clinical skills and earn a higher salary. While a BSN degree is becoming the standard for the nursing field, earning your MSN degree will allow you to specialize in a field that you want and to be in much higher demand.
This innovative program provides exciting MSN specialties that you will not find in every online program:
- Case management
- Infection prevention and control
- Nursing education
- Nursing informatics
- Nursing management and organizational leadership
Other important things to note about this MSN program:
- University’s advanced nursing case management program has been recognized by US News and World Report as among the Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs.
- Past graduates of this program have gone to work as leaders in healthcare systems, insurance organizations, hospital management, and specialty case management organizations.
Curriculum for this online MSN program features:
- MSN Role Development
- Advanced Pathophysiology
- Research Design
- Advanced Pharmacology
- Advanced Physical Assessment
- Clinical Epidemiology
- Theoretical Foundations
Jacksonville University offers both a Master of Science in Health Informatics and a Master of Science in Nursing, depending upon your career goals. Each of these degree programs have highly experienced professors who are regarded highly in the nursing field.
This university has an RN to MSN program so that you can actually bypass your BSN degree. This allows a current RN with an ADN or diploma to earn their MSN as much as three semesters faster! This is because you can receive as many as 30 credits towards your BSN for your current RN license. By bypassing up to 10 credits for your BSN, you save yourself plenty of time and money.
The program curriculum includes these courses for the RN to BSN program:
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Microbiology for Health Professionals
- Introduction to Chemistry
- Human Growth and Development
- Nursing Assessment for the Practicing Nurse
- Nursing Leadership and Healthcare Policy
- Community Focused Professional Nursing
- Pathophysiology for Nurses