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Degree Overview: Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) Programs

Majors Overview March 29, 2015

Get information about registered nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) programs and their education requirements, coursework, job and wage outlook, career choices, and continuing education choices.

RN-to-BSN Programs

Working RNs enrolled in registered nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) degree programs (also referred to as RN-to-BSN programs) are provided with the opportunity to advance their knowledge and skills of the field and seek jobs with greater earning potential, in addition to responsibility and flexibility.

They can also pursue specialization within the field or advanced education in the nursing field. They can complete programs within a year given the accelerated nature of programs offered by schools. The program may take five years for part-time students to complete.

Education Requirements

Those applying must have completed a previous RN program, so requirements may vary based on the student’s prior education. Previous education will help determine the length it takes to complete an RN-to-BSN program. The NCLEX-RN licensure test that is available through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing is also a prerequisite. All students must have some college-level coursework in mathematics, sciences, and humanities along with a high school education.


Coursework in RN-to-BSN programs is a combination of classroom study and clinical experience unless the student opts for an online program. Core coursework may include topic areas such as the following:

•Nursing ethics and laws
•Assessing health
•Modern nursing practices
•Healthcare systems and management
•Nursing research and theory
•Anatomy and physiology
•Patient nutrition
•Nursing mathematical statistics
•Nurse leadership

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, a much-faster-than-average growth rate of 19% has been predicted for registered nursing jobs (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). Preventative measures combined with technological advances and aging population drives this growth. In May 2012, registered nurses brought in an average annual wage of $65,470 (BLS).

Career Choices

Burgeoning opportunities and stable employment characterize the career, especially in rural areas and inner cities. By 2020, nursing is expected to become the highest healthcare employer, with over 3.4 million nurses expected to find employment in the United States (BLS).

Continuing Education Choices

Some nurses who earn Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.) degrees can seek careers in research, advanced practice nursing, and management. Volunteering for professional certification in a specialty area would also help these professionals enhance their career prospects.

These voluntary certifications cover various health environments, diseases, and age groups. While certification is obtainable without a BSN, the degree, when augmented by continuing education, experience, and other requirements, would facilitate the pursuit of various credentials.

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