Evidence of Excellence: What are the Top Three Things that Signal a Superior Online RN to BSN Program?

RN to BSNAugust 28, 2017

*Editor's Note: This article has been updated (from original date of 2017) to account for the most recent information with the RN to BSN degree path. 

So, you have decided to pursue your RN to BSN degree. You are already a working nurse and you have recognized the value in furthering your education—and opportunities—as a more qualified healthcare professional. You know that more education typically equates with better pay and more responsibility. You will expand your professional horizons while enhancing your ability to earn income.

The question now is, how do you choose an appropriate program? Most nurses pursuing an RN to BSN must grapple with the need to continue working and earning income. 

Many students discover that an online RN to BSN program is the best option. That is because an online program is there when you need to be. You can study, learn, and complete assignments when it works best with your schedule, without the need to beat traffic, drive to a bricks-and-mortar institution, find parking, and get to class at a specific time. As a working nurse, you will already have real-world experience delivering healthcare, so the online model may be especially well-suited to your needs. 

But how does one choose among competing online RN to BSN programs? Certain things can be taken as crucial signals that a given program is excellent. 

Is the program accredited?

When making a decision, it would be wise to ensure that the program you are considering is accredited and accepted in your home state. Examples of accreditation programs in the country are the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). Denver College of Nursing is accredited by the latter.

What are the admission requirements?

Are requirements clearly spelled out? Do you or will you possess the necessary documents, scores, grades, etc.? At Denver College of Nursing, an RN with an associate’s degree from an accredited institution is not required to take any additional pre-requisite classes.    

Does the program offer ample online resources? 

Not all online RN to BSN programs are created equal. Some offer better online resources than others. Ideally, these resources should be available to you constantly, the better to fit with your schedule. Ready availability of online resources—and technical help if you need it—is an important convenience factor for busy students who may be juggling work, study, and other obligations. Additionally, so-called asynchronous classrooms mean coursework is available online at any hour; there are no mandatory course times. This greatly enhances the flexibility and convenience of earning your degree in this manner. 

Additional Considerations

How many credit hours from your existing Associate’s Degree will transfer to your prospective online RN to BSN program? At Denver College of Nursing, we offer 90 credits transferred. Cost is another obvious consideration when weighing the relative merits of various education options. Are tuition and associated costs spelled out clearly? Does the cost include books—and a laptop computer—as you will find at Denver College of Nursing?