Top Online Nursing Programs for Non-Nurses | 2024

10 Min Read Published November 1, 2023
Top Online Nursing Programs for Non-Nurses

A career in nursing is a dream for many, but the rigorous schedule required by traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs can put the profession out of reach for many. If a traditional in-person nursing program won’t fit into your schedule, an online nursing program may be just what you need. These programs are specially tailored for those non-nurses and students with bachelor’s degrees in non-nursing fields. The online format allows students to quickly earn their BSN degrees in just a few semesters.

Online Nursing Programs for Non-Nurses

Salary The average RN salary is $81,220 or $39.05 per hour, per the BLS
Program Length 16 months - 3 years
Requirements
  • Official transcripts
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0
  • Personal statement
  • Prerequisite courses
  • Letters of recommendations

Top Online Programs for Non-Nurses

For nursing candidates interested in online programs, convenience is generally the factor that ranks highest in importance and priority. But there are other elements that contribute to our ranking methodology, including accreditation, cost, and the program’s reputation. When choosing the top online nursing programs for non-nurses, our selection process included the following elements:

  • Cost of attendance
  • Program length
  • Admission requirements
  • Flexibility of available programs
  • Any additional accolades that the program has received

1. Emory University

Emory University’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing is one of the nation’s leading educational institutions, and its distance-based Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program provides the opportunity for students who have already earned a previous bachelor’s degree in another discipline to earn their BSN over three semesters, completing the curriculum in just one year. 

The program is full-time but distance-based, with all classes offered online. Clinical rotations are offered in local communities, on the Emory campus, and optional global sites. The program has two required clinical intensive sessions that students must attend on Emory’s Atlanta campus. 

  • Tuition: $1,656 per credit hour

  • Program Length: One year

  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

  • Application Deadline: Rolling

  • Requirements: 

  • Contact Email: nursingquestions@emory.edu

  • Contact Phone Number: (404) 727-7980

  • Online Options Available? Yes

2. University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh

The University of Wisconsin’s Accelerated BSN program was the first program for students who have already completed a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field. Since the program’s inception in 2003, the program has graduated more than 1,100 students.  It is an intense program that offers all nursing theory courses online, with clinical rotations completed in or near a student’s home community. There are also required on-campus residencies, including a two-week lab/clinical combination and an advanced concepts/capstone week. 

  • Tuition: $46,500 (includes course software and NCLEX-RN prep course)

  • Program Length: 12 months

  • Accreditation: CCNE

  • Application Deadline: June 30th

  • Requirements: 

    • Admission to the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

    • Prior completion of non-nursing bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum GPA of 2.5.

    • Criminal background check

    • Completion of nursing assistant course with clinical component and Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) certification

    • Proof of residence is required in one or more of the Approved States

  • Contact Email: ona@uwosh.edu

  • Contact Phone Number: (920) 424-0134

  • Online Options Available? Yes

3. Kent State University

Kent State’s Accelerated BSN was specifically designed for students who already hold a bachelor’s degree and who want to transition to a career in nursing. The hybrid program is offered as a combination of online and in-person classes and clinical experiences at major hospitals and healthcare facilities throughout northeastern Ohio. 

It emphasizes professional knowledge, skills, and compassionate nursing practices and can be completed in just 15 months and is offered as a daytime cohort or evening and weekend cohorts offered at the Akron and Cleveland locations.

  • Tuition: 

    • Ohio Resident: $11,923

    • Non-Ohio Resident: $21,029.80

  • Program Length: Four or five semesters

  • Accreditation: CCNE

  • Application Deadline: June 1st, September 1st, February 1st

  • Requirements: 

    • Admission to the university

    • A cumulative 2.75 GPA or higher

    • A minimum science prerequisite GPA of 2.75, and a minimum of a grade of C in each course/equivalent: Anatomy & Physiology I, Anatomy & Physiology II, Microbiology, and Chemistry

    • A college-level algebra course (or higher) with a minimum grade of C

  • Contact Email: nursing@kent.edu

  • Contact Phone Number: (330) 672-7930

4. University of Texas at Arlington*

The innovative accelerated BSN program offered at the University of Texas at Arlington* delivers course content via a blended learning model with online, technology-enhanced courses and UTA faculty-supervised clinical experiences at partner hospitals throughout the state. 

The program is not linked to a traditional semester-based schedule, allowing students to enter and progress through the program at their convenience. 

  • Tuition: $22,100

  • Program Length: 15 months

  • Accreditation: CCNE

  • Application Deadline: Rolling

  • Requirements: 

    • Students must have completed 70 credit hours prior to starting the program 

    • Prerequisite and pre-nursing program completed during the semester of application

  • Contact Email: Contact Form*

  • Contact Phone Number: (866) 489-2810

  • Online Options Available? Yes

5. Herzing University

Herzing University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program specifically designed for non-nurses seeking an undergraduate baccalaureate education. 

Classes are offered both on-demand and in real-time. The program’s eight clinical courses can be completed in your geographic area, and students are required to attend three 2-4 day intensives at a designated Herzing or partner site. Intensives will take place at our Kenosha or Atlanta campuses—or a facility associated with a unique clinical partnership. Students can earn dual credits towards an MSN or choose an online MSN Direct Entry program to begin working towards a master’s degree. 

  • Tuition: $695 per credit

  • Program Length: 36 Months

  • Accreditation: CCNE

  • Application Deadline: Rolling

  • Requirements: 

    • High school diploma or equivalent with minimum GPA of 2.5 

    • Minimum TEAS score of 66

    • Eligibility for enrollment is limited to residents of certain states (Alabama, Florida (Orlando and Tampa regions only), Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wisconsin)

  • Contact Email: N/A

  • Contact Phone Number: (800) 596-0724

  • Online Options Available? Yes

6. Wilkes University

Wilkes University is a nationally ranked nursing program that offers an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing online program that can be completed in just one year. 

The program is full-time, offers complimentary clinical placement services, and provides graduates the ability to quickly transition into a nursing career. There are multiple start dates and all coursework is offered 100% online. 

  • Tuition: $20,154 per term

  • Program Length: 12 months

  • Accreditation: CCNE

  • Application Deadline: Rolling

  • Requirements: 

    • Bachelor's degree with 3.0 GPA

    • Statement of professional goals

    • 2 letters of recommendation

    • 6 prerequisite courses (see “Prerequisites” tab for details)

    • Available to residents in Indiana, Kansas, Pennsylvania & Vermont

  • Contact Email: admissions@onlinenursingdegrees.wilkes.edu

  • Contact Phone Number: (888) 413-5633

  • Online Options Available? Yes 

7. Marymount University*

Marymount University has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as among the Best Regional Universities in the South, Best Colleges for Veterans, and Best Value School. Its Second-Degree Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing is a full-time program specifically designed for students who can take their courses online and complete their clinicals within the state of Virginia. 

The didactic coursework is completed entirely online. Nursing students must complete a two-week hands-on residency and the required clinicals.

  • Tuition: $1,106 per credit hour or $71,890 for the entire program

  • Program Length: 16 months, 65 credit hours

  • Accreditation: CCNE

  • Application Deadline: June 24th

  • Requirements: 

    • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited U.S. college or university 

    • GPA minimum of 2.8

    • One letter of recommendation

    • Writing sample

    • Prerequisite courses

  • Contact Email: admissions@marymount.edu

  • Contact Phone Number number: 703-284-1500

  • Online Options Available? Yes

8. Chamberlain University

Chamberlain College of Nursing’s BSN Online Option leverages the school’s 130-year history of nurse education, offering students a hybrid model that combines online classes with clinical rotations offered in Iowa, Maryland, Virginia, and Wisconsin. 

Online classes are conducted in real-time, offering students the opportunity to participate in virtual simulations and labs, and the school offers a personalized approach that emphasizes individualized coaching. 

Skills evaluations are performed in person at the Rockford, IL location and clinical immersions occur over the final two weeks of an 8-week session through clinical partner sites. 

  • Tuition: $675-$725 per credit hour depending upon location

  • Program Length: 3 years

  • Accreditation: CCNE

  • Application Deadline: Rolling

  • Requirements: 

    • Proof of graduation with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 

    • Minimum custom score of 73 on the HESI test

  • Contact Email: cuadmissions@chamberlain.edu

  • Contact Phone Number: (877) 751-5783

  • Online Options Available? Yes

9. Methodist College

Methodist College’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing Second Degree is an online and weekend program for those who already have a degree in another area of study. Full-time students can complete the program in two academic years or five semesters, with learning taking place in an online classroom that provides lectures, instructional materials, media, and discussions. 

Students must attend weekend face-to-face classes and clinical experiences at the school’s campus and at Peoria, Illinois healthcare facilities.

  • Tuition: $677 per credit hour

  • Program Length: 120 credit hours, available both part-time and full-time

  • Accreditation: CCNE

  • Application Deadline: July 1st

  • Requirements: 

    • Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 

    • Submission of a complete application for admission and application fee

    • Submission of official transcripts from each college and university attended (send via email to registrar@methodistcol.edu)

    • Proof of completion of a bachelor's degree

  • Contact Email: admissions@methodistcol.edu

  • Contact Phone Number number: (309) 672-5513

  • Online Options Available? Yes

10. Roseman University of Health Science

Roseman University of Health Sciences is a non-profit, private institution with locations in Nevada and Utah. The College of Nursing offers a hybrid-online accelerated BSN program that is available to both graduates with bachelor’s degrees in other areas of study and applicants with 54 specific college credits. 

Courses are offered in a block curriculum that allows students to take one course at a time continuously. In addition to completing all didactic classes online, lab assignments, and assessments are conducted in person, as is the clinical rotation component of the curriculum. 

  • Tuition: $60,000

  • Program Length: 18 months

  • Accreditation: CCNE

  • Application Deadline: Rolling

  • Requirements: 

    • Bachelor’s degree or transcript from accredited college or university reflecting completed transfer credit

    • Minimum 2.75 GPA for both Math and Science prerequisites as well as cumulative GPA

    • TEAS minimum overall score of 58.7%

    • Prerequisite courses

  • Contact Email: bsnadmissions@roseman.edu

  • Contact Phone Number number: (702) 990-4433

  • Online Options Available? Hybrid  

>> Show Me Online RN-to-BSN Programs

What to Expect in an Online Nursing Program for Non-Nurses

Second-degree programs can be completed in a little less than a year, while the accelerated programs for students who do not have bachelor’s degrees are offered in a year-round, compressed schedule that prepares graduates to take the NCLEX-RN licensure exam in just three years.

Admission Requirements 

Though each program is different, all of the second-degree programs require students to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited U.S. college or university, and the full-time online BSN programs require graduation from high school or its equivalent. 

Different schools have different minimum GPA requirements, and most require the completion of prerequisite science-based classes. Others ask students to submit academic and/or professional letters of recommendation and personal statements explaining their reasons for wanting to become a nurse.

Program Length 

The length of the online BSN programs varies depending upon whether the student takes them on a full-time or part-time basis and whether the student already has earned a bachelor’s degree. The quickest path to nursing offered by these programs is one year, and the longest is three years.

Program Cost 

The cost to attend an accelerated online BSN program depends upon the individual program. Private schools tend to cost more than state- or community-based programs.

Classes 

Every nursing program is a reflection of the priorities and philosophies of its faculty and administration, but there are certain classes that every nurse can expect to be part of the curriculum that they will be required to take. Some of these foundational courses include:

  • Introduction to Professional Nursing
  • Health Assessments
  • Mental Health
  • Pharmacology
  • Pathophysiology
  • Nursing Medication Mathematics
  • Nursing Care of Adults
  • Nursing Care of Women, Children, and Families
  • Nursing of Geriatric Populations
  • Health Policy
  • Health Ethics
  • Leadership and Management in Nursing

FAQs 

  • Are online nursing degrees legitimate and respected by employers?

    • Over the last several years, online degrees have become commonplace, even in a hands-on field like nursing. Employers view graduates of programs accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) with the same degree of respect as they do graduates of traditional on-campus programs.
  • Is it better to get an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing?

    • Though an associate’s degree in nursing is an excellent stepping stone to the profession, nurses who possess a BSN degree generally receive higher levels of compensation and are provided with greater responsibilities and autonomy.
  • What is the easiest RN program to get into?

    • Every registered nurse program has certain minimum requirements, including graduation from a high school or equivalent, and usually with a minimum GPA. 
  • What is the shortest RN program?

    • The fastest path to becoming a Registered Nurse is generally through an associate’s degree in nursing program. These can generally be completed in 18 months to two years.
  • Can you become a nurse in 6 months?

    • Although you cannot become a Registered Nurse in six months, those who are interested in exploring whether healthcare is the right field for them can train to become home health aides or certified nurse’s aides (CNA) in six months or less.
  • Are online BSN programs good?

    • Every nursing program is different, but every online BSN program that is accredited has met rigorous criteria that ensure that its graduates have received the education and training that they need to provide high-level patient care.
  • How do online BSN programs work?

    • Online BSN programs generally offer students the ability to take their didactic courses online. Most require students to attend on-campus programming involving labs and assessments. Clinical training requirements are met through placements arranged by either the school or by the student with the school’s approval.
BSN Degree  >> Top Accelerated BSN Programs >> Online RN to BSN Programs >>
Terri Heimann Oppenheimer
Terri Heimann Oppenheimer
Nurse.org Contributor

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is a freelance writer and editor who is driven by details. She loves to dive into research, ensuring that the information she provides educates, engages and illuminates. Before starting her own business she spent years working in advertising and raising three kids. Today she lives in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, where her she and her husband enjoy travel, the Jersey Shore, and spoiling their grandchildren.

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