BSN to MSN Online Programs

By Nikita Nath

Updated March 15, 2024

Nikita Nath

Nikita is a psychologist working primarily with children using a child rights-based approach. She also writes content for various websites and blogs on diverse topics, focusing primarily on academia. Her hobbies include traveling, reading, and discovering different coffee-making techniques.


Bachelors in English, Journalism, and Psychology; Masters in psychology with clinical specialization

Areas of Expertise & Credentials

  • 2 years of experience working as a content writer with various start-ups
  • 1 year of experience working as a child psychologist with Insight
  • Working on various projects of inclusion for neurodivergent children
  • 2+ years of experience teaching psychology online

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Nursing encompasses the collaborative or autonomous care of patients of all age-range, groups and communities, families, chronic or acute sick, and in other cases. It is one of the largest professions in the healthcare industry. BSN to MSN online programs are designed to help individuals succeed as nurse practitioners and educators. These programs prepare them to train the next generation of nurses, improve the health system within different communities, and impact patient care. Nurses work with specific patient groups, including addiction, critical care, genetics, neonatal, nephrology, and more. For those who hold a bachelor’s degree in nursing, online BSN to MSN programs are a cost-effective way to build upon their knowledge base and expand leadership and clinical skills. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual wage for registered nurses was $77,600 in 2021[1].

BSN to MSN Online Programs

Find the Best Online BSN to
MSN Programs

Nursing education through an online BSN to MSN program is one of the quickest and most cost-effective ways to reach one’s career goals. It is not easy to find such programs in one go, and several factors need to be evaluated to determine which nursing program will best suit to enhance one’s potential for growth and pay. After evaluating several crucial factors like quality and scope, tuition fees, accreditation, graduation rates, and more, our team at FBD has come up with a list of the best BSN to MSN online programs across the United States: *

The University of Florida (UF) is a public land-grant research university located in Gainesville, Florida. It was founded in 1853 and is a senior member of the State University System of Florida. UF has 16 academic colleges and over 150 research centers and institutes, providing a wide range of graduate professional programs, including business administration, engineering, law, dentistry, medicine, pharmacy, and veterinary medicine.
Univ Address Tuition Grad Rate
University of Florida-Online 341 Tigert Hall 300 SW 13th St, Gainesville, Florida 32611 $3,876 72%

Universities and programs are ranked by various factors, such as affordability, curriculum and coursework, reputation and availability, program length, statistics, the potential of employment, and return on investment for the students. For a more in-depth analysis, please read about our rankings methodology page

What to Expect from an
Online BSN Degree

BSN to MSN programs online helps nurses who already have an online BSN degree to pursue an MSN degree. This program’s curriculum builds on one’s existing understanding of nursing. The minimum credit hours required to complete a BSN-MSN can range between 30 and 50 credits, differing from institution to institution. Colleges can provide online, offline, and hybrid learning modes depending on the student’s requirements. Those pursuing an online BSN-MSN degree have likely finished a BSN, and the MSN courses will proceed further and become more specialized. After completing BSN-MSN programs, one can pursue a career as an advanced practice registered nurse or APRN. Many also go for a Ph.D., Doctor of Nursing Practice, or teaching career.

Curriculum and

Many of the BSN-MSN program curricula are evidence-based, prescribed by the National League for Nursing Nurse Educator standards and the Master’s Essentials for Professional Nursing Practice. Students will develop knowledge related to complexities within the healthcare system and understand its quality, access, and costs. The curriculum will cover topics like development, assessment, learning styles, and much more. Most nursing programs include requirements like field experiences, which one will need to complete in facilities near them. Even though the curriculum differs from institution to institution, one can find some core courses that are consistent across various BSN to MSN degrees, including:

Professional Presence and Influence

In this course, students are taught about the therapeutic relationship that is built between the patient and the nurse. They will learn about different techniques of self-care practices that can develop the physical and mental well-being of the patient and ensure ethical care is being given to them. Students also build mindfulness practices that increase patient outcomes and create a joyful environment for them to work.

Essentials of Interprofessional Practice and Nursing Roles

In this course, students explore the many characteristics professional nurses can play as educators, informatics specialists, and leaders in the healthcare setting. They also apply evidence-based strategies that help in facilitating interprofessional collaborations among all the stakeholders present. They explore the roles of nurses advocating for change in health policy reforms.

Pathopharmacological Foundations

This course provides foundational knowledge for practicing nurses about the pathologies they will need to encounter. From cellular to the level of body systems, this course gives an overview of all pathologies of the typical conditions seen in healthcare recently. Special focus is given to understanding human affective responses to changes taking place in health.

Leadership and Management in Healthcare Systems

Nurses have a huge role to play as strong leaders in high-performing healthcare systems. This course prepares them for thoughtful strategy, informed decision-making, and developing competencies for managing diverse teams. Students also learn how to monitor and measure the organization’s performance, allocate human and financial resources, and bring optimistic transformation to the healthcare system.

Health Assessments for Patients and Population

This course builds on the fundamentals of prior physical health skills and assessment knowledge built during one’s undergraduate studies. It focuses on advanced biopsychosocial or sociocultural context assessments in patients and populations across the ages. It enhances understanding of comprehensive disease prevention, health restoration, and health promotion models to address health concerns in patients and communities.

Some other common courses one can find in a BSN-MSN program include:

  • Evolving Roles of Nurse Educators in Diverse Environments
  • Contemporary Curriculum Design and Development in Nursing Education
  • Informatics for Transforming Nursing Care
  • Emerging Trends and Challenges in 21st-Century Nursing Education
  • Facilitation of Context-Based Student-Centered Learning
  • Nursing Education Field Experience
  • Nursing Education Capstone

For more on bachelor studies, read the Guide to Bachelor’s Programs.

Learning Outcomes and
Skills Gained

BSN to MSN can prepare students to work in various settings, including hospitals, schools, industry and businesses, community agencies, and nursing education. These programs prepare them to have extensive nursing knowledge and apply it in practical situations or to educate other nurses. There are various skills students acquire through this degree that will help them carve out excellent careers for themselves, including the ability to:

  • demonstrate responsible behaviors in professional settings and work collectively to fulfill their duties towards coworkers, organizations, and patients;
  • manage one’s time efficiently, practice ethically, and effectively manage patient caseload;
  • creatively think about solving problems and quickly implement solutions in challenging cases;
  • accumulate both subjective and objective information and use attention and active listening skills while taking data from patients;
  • employ clinical judgment to assist in the planning of treatments and implementing quality patient care correlating with various health-related conditions;
  • plan for optimistic outcomes and establish individualized treatment plans and goals for patients that will allow all stakeholders in the team to lead appropriate care management; and
  • evaluate if a care plan is efficient and the desired goals are met and decide if more interventions are needed to be continued, discontinued, or changed.

Types of BSN Degrees Students
Can Obtain

There are different pathways to online BSN programs for a successful career in nursing. BSN-educated nurses show high-quality and comprehensive care in the field, translating into greater pay. For an ideal program that meets career objectives, students should understand all the types of BSN programs before picking the right one. In most instances, they will likely find three types of BSN programs: the traditional BS, RN-BSN, and accelerated BSN.

Traditional BSN

Those who are very new to the field of nursing and have not considered any degree before might find a traditional program in Bachelor of Science in Nursing or BSN more suitable. This degree takes around four years to complete and is a good choice for those who have graduated from high school and have minimal or no background in nursing.


This type of BSN degree is for those students who have already taken their NCLEX-RN exam and earned licensure. The degree is a flexible and fast-track option that will help students complete their requirements for a bachelor’s quickly. It is designed for those who want a fast-paced curriculum that can be completed part-time in around 16 to 18 months. One can complete this degree while taking care of other responsibilities they have.

Accelerated BSN

This degree is for those with a bachelor’s in another healthcare field, but who want to change their occupation to nursing. It will allow them to get licensed as a registered nurse and work in the field faster. It can also be completed quickly, in a minimum of 16 months, when taken up full-time. The degree prepares non-nursing majors to gain the skills and knowledge needed to become qualified patient caregivers.

Areas of Specialization for
BSN Students

Specializing in one area will help those pursuing BSN-MSN online programs establish themselves as experts in that area. It will also help them develop skills in the specialty, increasing their chances of quicker employment and better pay. Some areas in which nursing students can specialize include:

Area of SpecializationDescriptionCareer Options
Clinical Trials ResearchBy specializing in this domain, nurses will be able to deepen their collective understanding of medicine. They will get the skills required in clinical research nursing, including writing SOPs and evaluating effective research methods.Clinical Research Nurse
Adult-GerontologyIn this specialization, students understand the clinical expertise required in caring for aging adults, including the assessment and identification of planning, intervention, problems, and evaluation of care of older adults. It involves understanding and using an interdisciplinary approach to care.Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
Primary CareIn this concentration, students learn normal physiology and anatomy and the treatment options available. They will learn about invasive methods and develop keen monitoring and assessment skills.Primary Care Nurse
Psychiatric Mental HealthIn this specialization, students learn and understand the different tools that help them create health care plans for patients with mental health concerns. They will gain in-depth knowledge of modern psychotherapy techniques and information on psychopharmacology.Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Oncology NursingIn this specialization, students learn about the various issues in cancer nursing and the mechanisms nurses need to work efficiently in this specialty. They also learn about genetics, cancer biology, detection and diagnosis, and symptom management.Oncology Nurse Practitioner
PediatricsThis specialization includes knowledge about the promotion, protection, and optimization of the abilities of children from their birth to young adulthood. Students learn to provide acute care for chronically ill patients and understand the role of nurses in conducting developmental screening.Pediatric Nurse

Full-Time and Part-Time

The duration of BSN to MSN programs online depends on how many courses a student takes in one term. The overall time they take to complete the degree will also depend on their specific program requirements and the time it would take to meet them. However, one must remember that most programs have a specified time to complete the degree. Generally, a BSN to MSN takes two years of full-time study. A part-time degree could typically take longer, as much as four years. Specializations also influence the timeline; depending on one’s specific program or school, a non-clinical specialization would require fewer clinical hours than a clinical specialization.

Accelerated BSN to
MSN Programs

Accelerated programs can help students complete all their program requirements faster while ensuring that the knowledge and skills they learn are at par with a regular degree. Accelerated online BSN degrees are typically opted for by students who already have completed an associate’s degree in nursing or have a bachelor’s in a different field and want to switch careers to nursing. Some also choose the option of RN to MSN to accelerate their degrees. Examples of institutions providing accelerated programs are Wilkes University[2] and Southern New Hampshire University[3].

Requirements for Getting into an Online
BSN to MSN Program

Each college will have its independent requirements for admission to a BSN-MSN. The program is typically very competitive and seeks to admit students with academic and professional experience who can handle an advanced curriculum. Some of the common online BSN admission requirements include:

  • Admission form and application fee
  • A minimum CGPA of 2.75 (from High School or an accredited college)
  • One year of clinical experience as an RN (required by some schools)
  • Professional reference letters or academic Letters of Recommendation
  • Completion of courses in domains including human physiology, microbiology, human anatomy, and more (within five years of program application)
  • A Personal Statement or essay highlighting professional goals in the field of nursing
  • An in-person interview with the faculty in charge
  • Some colleges require an active and unencumbered RN license in the state of residence or employment (not required to be working as an RN at the time of enrollment into degree)

How to Ensure an Online BSN
Program Is Accredited

Accreditation is one of the most important factors to check while enrolling for a BSN to MSN online program. One must choose an online BSN degree accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing[4], to ensure that the program is of repute and quality. Nursing programs are also accredited by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing[5]. Along with programmatic accreditation, colleges are frequently accredited by six regional accrediting agencies in the U.S., namely:

  • New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

Students pursuing a BSN to MSN online degree can check the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)[6] website or the Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs[7] for a college’s accreditation status. Additional information on accreditation is available in the Guide to College Accreditation.

Where to Find Free Online Courses
for BSN Students

There are many free nursing courses that BSN students can take to further their knowledge in the nursing field and apply that knowledge to update their care for their patients in different healthcare settings. One can consider the following courses:

CourseDescriptionProvided by
How Do Viruses Cause Infection[8]This course gives learners an understanding of how viruses work and the control of infection to keep it from spreading further. It can also help in learning the current science of viral infection and applying it to nursing.American Nurses Association
Cultural and Linguistic Competence[9]This course can benefit both the professional and academic growth of nurses as it helps them gain cultural competence skills and apply them in cross-cultural situations in healthcare settings. It will help improve health outcomes and understand sociocultural identities like gender, sexual orientation, and more.Scientiacme
NIOSH Training for Nurses on Shift Work and Long Work Hours[10]This course helps learners understand the scientific reasons behind working long-hour shifts and the safety and health risks of counterproductive work hours. Learners can also understand individual factors that increase safety concerns at work.NIOSH

Ways to Pay for an Online
BSN Degree

With high educational costs, prospective online BSN students often look for ways to fund their degrees without digging into their pockets. Although online students do not have to pay for books and stationery, transportation, accommodation, etc., they still must pay for tuition. Fortunately, nursing students can tap into many kinds of financial aid to fund their education, such as:


Scholarships are merit-based awards often from various sources like colleges and universities, non-profit organizations, community groups, etc. Students do not have to pay back the money received through a scholarship.


Grants are similar to scholarships but are usually need-based rather than merit-based. Grant money can be used to pay for tuition or other educational expenses.

Student loans

Student loans are offered by financial institutions and banks. Because loans attract interest, the cost of education increases, and students may sometimes find it challenging to repay them. One can look for donors and grants to help pay off their loans to avoid the danger of slipping into debt.

Federal Work-Study

Federal Work-Study programs allow students to work part-time while still in school. Both full-time and part-time students can avail of them.


FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is an application that determines whether a student is eligible for federal aid.

Scholarships for Online
BSN Students

Scholarships are a great source of financial assistance available to students. Many BSN scholarships are available based on merit and need, including

Scholarship Description Amount/AwardApplication Deadline
AISES A.T. Anderson Scholarship[11]The AISES A.T. Anderson Scholarship is awarded to undergraduate and graduate students studying any STEM-related degree, including nursing.$1,000 for undergraduate and $2,000 for graduate studentsTBA
ANURSEIAM-Cherokee Uniforms[12]The A Nurse I Am Scholarship is provided by Cherokee Uniforms, a global leader in medical apparel. Scholarships are given to deserving undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in an accredited nursing program.NAFebruary 2024
Nurses Make a Difference Scholarship[13]The Nurses Make a Difference Scholarship is provided by Cascade Healthcare solutions to an aspiring nurse enrolled in an undergraduate nursing program at an accredited college. It is awarded through an essay contest, with varying essay topics each year.$1,000August 01, every year

Career Opportunities and Salaries
After Graduating

The BSN can lead to many jobs in healthcare and medical settings. Furthermore, depending on the specialization, one could easily take on niche roles that offer good growth and high salaries. Here are some of the common occupations BSN students go on to take:

OccupationJob DescriptionSkills RequiredMedian Annual SalaryJob Growth (up to 2030)
Registered Nurse[14]Registered nurses observe and record medical observations of patients. They set up treatment plans for care and contribute to existing plans as well. They also collaborate, consult with doctors and other stakeholders, and operate medical equipment.Critical-thinking skills, communication skills, compassion, detail-oriented, emotional stability, physical stamina, organizational skills$77,6006% (as fast as average)
Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners[15]Nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners are advanced practice registered nurses and have the same duties as registered nurses. They gather information about patients’ conditions and manage their health. They focus on patient-centered care, which includes understanding patients’ concerns and medical requirements.Communication skills, critical-thinking skills, compassion, detail-oriented, leadership skills, interpersonal skills$123,78040% (much faster than average)
Physician Assistants[16]Physician assistants assist with surgery and provide treatment like stitching wounds, immunizing patients, setting broken bones, and more. They prescribe patients medication based on examining and diagnosing their illness or injury.Problem-solving skills, emotional stability, interpersonal skills, detail-oriented, compassion, communication skills$121,53028% (much faster than average)
Legal Nurse Consultants[17]Legal nurse consultants analyze, understand and review health records that will help them instruct people about the standards of potential causes and risks in healthcare. They keep track of a patient’s medical chronology and case analysis.Detailed-oriented, verbal skills, interpersonal skills, management skills$82,203NA
Nurse Educators[18]Nurse educators work with administrative and medical staff to recognize caregivers like nurses and incorporate them into different education programs at organizations in the capacity of trainers. They directly train such employees to ensure consistency and education is delivered smoothly.Interpersonal skills, verbal skills, writing skills, critical-thinking skills$78,967NA
Hospice Nurses[19]Hospice nurses provide individualized care based on the unique needs of patients with a diagnosis of six months or less to live and have opted for hospice care. These nurses explain the patient’s prognosis, perform assessments, and review a patient’s medical history.Critical-thinking skills, communication skills, compassion, detail-oriented, emotional stability, physical stamina, organizational skills$72,574NA

Certifications and Licensing for Online
BSN Students

Professional certifications demonstrate an individual’s ability and knowledge required by law to perform their job. In the United States, national and state agencies issue professional certifications. Students pursuing BSN-MSN online programs can consider one or more certifications as they prove to potential employers that they have the knowledge and expertise required to execute their duties professionally. Here are a few certifications to consider:

Family Nurse Practitioner[20]

This certification ensures that a professional can obtain subjective patient information, like their social history, family history, history of present illness, and their review of systems. It tests how the individual would establish a primary diagnosis and recognize emergent and urgent conditions.

Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner[21]

Those with this certification can identify psychosocial and health risk factors that will help them evaluate their caregiver role. They will be able to differentiate between normal and abnormal changes or changes associated with aging and development.

Emergency Nurse Practitioner[22]

This certification helps nurses identify the needs and challenges of vulnerable patient populations and equips them with tools to formulate specialized follow-up plans. They will be able to utilize resources properly and effectively integrate components of cultural competence in how they care for the patient.

Nursing is one of the occupations where professionals need to obtain a license to practice in healthcare setups. Individuals can take the National Council Licensure Examination[23] to be eligible to practice as registered nurses in a state of their choice.

Additional Resources for Bachelor’s Students
in Nursing Degrees

It is always a good idea for those pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing to join professional organizations that support nurse practitioners and work towards promoting the field. Doing so can allow access to many resources they offer to help nurses advance in the field. Examples include:

National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners[24]This organization aims to support the clinical practice and nursing efforts that contribute towards improving the well-being and quality of life for children, families and the communities in which children are raised.
American Academy of Nursing[25]This association aims to enhance the quality of nursing and health and promote healthy aging and human development throughout. They work towards projects that reduce the inequalities and disparities in health.
Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments[26]This organization builds a collaborative transformational alliance. It engages nurses to guarantee a healthy environment for everyone and heal communities and future generations.
American Association for the History of Nursing[27]This organization aims to foster interdisciplinary collaboration in the history of nursing. They also encourage the preservation, collection, and use of historically important materials in nursing. The association sponsors conferences and research grants.
American Nursing Association[28]Through the organization, one can connect with registered nurses for their advice and support. They can make their voices heard through the advocating opportunities provided by the organization and communicate their ideas to policymakers.

FAQs About Online BSN to
MSN Programs

Can you get a BSN to FNP online?

Yes. One can get a BSP to FNP degree online. This program is tailored to meet the unique needs of BSN-prepared registered nurses who want to continue in this field as advanced practice registered nurses.

Should I do an MSN after a BSN?

What kind of licensing do I need to pursue a BSN-MSN degree?

How much does a BSN-MSN program cost?

Is there any clinical requirement for the BSN-MSN degree?

What kind of place can I work in after completing a BSN program?

Can I pursue an online BSN-MSN degree?

Author Bio:

Nikita Nath

Nikita is a psychologist working primarily with children using a child rights-based approach. She also writes content for various websites and blogs on diverse topics, focusing primarily on academia. Her hobbies include traveling, reading, and discovering different coffee-making techniques.


Bachelors in English, Journalism, and Psychology; Masters in psychology with clinical specialization

Areas of Expertise & Credentials

  • 2 years of experience working as a content writer with various start-ups
  • 1 year of experience working as a child psychologist with Insight
  • Working on various projects of inclusion for neurodivergent children
  • 2+ years of experience teaching psychology online


The average tuition (based on degree type for in-state students), average graduation rates, and rankings are based on data from various sources, including the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), and are variable over time. All rankings and statistics are subject to change. The rankings are solely the opinion of Find Best Degrees (FBD) and are based on our proprietary methodology. They do not represent the views of the institutions or organizations mentioned, nor do they represent any official government census or survey. Furthermore, any views or opinions expressed on this page are of FBD’s researchers and teams. Unless otherwise specified, they do not represent the thoughts and opinions of the individuals, institutions, or organizations mentioned. This page’s content is provided solely for informational purposes, with data drawn from various sources, including IPEDS. FBD and its employees make no guarantees regarding the accuracy or completeness of any information found on this page or by following any link. FBD will not be held liable for any errors or omissions in this material nor any losses, injuries, or damages resulting from the exposure or use of this information. Although the information on this page is/was correct at the time of publication, readers should exercise caution because some or all of the provided information may have changed over time, potentially resulting in inaccuracies. For more information, please read our Terms of Service. Trademarks and logos are the property of their registered owners.