An online RN to BSN program doesn’t need to put you into debt or take years of time away from your career. However, the demand for bachelor’s educated nurses has meant many fly-by-night, unaccredited and non-reputable online schools overcharging and under-delivering. Getting your bachelor’s in nursing through an online program is supposed to allow you to study and advance your career while working, without the added stress of commuting or relocating. Is it too much to ask for an affordable online RN to BSN program? Not if you know where to look.
Where are the Easiest and Cheapest Online RN to BSN Programs?
However, there are programs that are easier to get into than others, and certainly programs that are significantly cheaper than others. Our advice is to look to the smaller, regional public colleges and universities – not the big flagships, but the schools that are dedicated to making education accessible to everyone (especially where there is a nursing shortage, which is many communities). They’ll have cheaper tuition, but they’ll also usually have more one-on-one support, since they’re smaller. They won’t be easy, but the support can often make or break an online RN to BSN student. (It’s key to finding the right nursing school for you.)
It’s important to note that no online RN to BSN program is “easy,” precisely. A Bachelor’s in Nursing online program is just as much work as a traditional, on-campus program, with an enormous amount of material to learn and memorize, and demanding tests and exams preparing you for the NCLEX exam – a notoriously difficult test that knocks out more than a quarter of first-time test-takers.
Are the Cheapest Online RN to BSN Programs Reputable?
Online RN to BSN programs are often cheaper than the traditional programs. This does not mean that they are not quality programs. While traditional programs offer fundamental topics and focus on the core competencies, online programs stretch even further. An online RN to BSN program covers advanced coursework and ensures that the students are well rounded in terms of leadership skills, administration, physical and social sciences, and research. Even the cheapest online RN to BSN programs have a high reputation, as long as they are accredited.
Ensure that both the institution and the program are accredited by recognized bodies. Colleges and universities should be regionally accredited by one of the seven agencies recognized by the US Department of Education. The two main bodies of accreditation for nursing programs are American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). In most states, you can only qualify for RN licensure if your BSN program is accredited by one of the above organizations.
An Online BSN Saves Money (If You Do It Right)
Taking a degree in nursing is a big investment even in the most affordable nursing schools. One needs to find ways of saving money where possible. Even the cheapest online RN to BSN programs require other purchases and expenses that aren’t included in the tuition rate. Along with seeking out the easiest and cheapest online RN to BSN program, here are some ways you can save some money:
Books: Nursing textbooks are quite expensive. Buying used textbooks instead of new ones can result in big savings. It is also a good idea to invest in an e-reader so that you can download books and study from your phone or iPad. E-books are much cheaper and easy to find.
Nursing Kits: Many of the most affordable nursing schools supply nursing kits to their students but in case you enroll in one that does not, you can purchase them online at a cheaper price.
Scholarships: There are institutions that offer scholarships for both working registered nurses and those who are unemployed. Find out the options available before enrolling as it can help you save a lot. Some employers may also reimburse your tuition fees.