How Long Does an RN to BSN Degree Program Take?

A male nurse talking with a patient

Nurses play a vital role in the field of healthcare. They are responsible not only for tending to the needs of patients, but also for providing continuous quality care on a daily basis. Today, many registered nurses (RNs) are choosing to advance their education by earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN). Earning a BSN online gives nurses an opportunity to explore roles in nursing that involve higher levels of responsibility and offer greater benefits such as nursing leadership.

If you’re an RN who is looking to advance your career, you may be wondering how long it takes to get your BSN, as well as its benefits and what to expect in a BSN program. The following guide can answer some of your questions and give you an idea of how long an RN to BSN program will take you.

What Is an RN?

To enroll an RN to BSN program, the first step is to become a registered nurse. An RN is a nurse who has a license to practice the profession of nursing in their state. These nursing professionals are often found providing hands-on patient care in a variety of settings, including hospitals, medical offices and nursing homes. They work closely with all members of a healthcare team to provide the best treatment for all patients.1

There are many steps to becoming an RN, including completing a nursing program, clinical training and taking the National Certification Licensing Examination (NCLEX) for RNs. Although some students choose a two-year associate degree in nursing to meet this requirement, many others choose to earn a BSN to help them advance in their careers.

Why Earn a BSN?

While considering a BSN program, you may be wondering what the benefits are to earning this degree. Having a BSN in the healthcare field comes with many advantages.

More and more nurses are choosing to further their education to become better equipped with modern skills and technology, increase their earning potential and gain more job opportunities.

NurseJournal reports that nurses with a BSN are more likely to be considered for managerial positions and promotions within their field along with multiple other benefits.2 They are given more job opportunities beyond bedside care and are more desirable to employers. In addition, earning a BSN is essential to achieve professional goals including teaching nursing, seeking advanced healthcare certifications or earning a master’s degree.

What To Expect in a BSN Program

It’s important to know what to expect from a BSN degree program, everything from how long the program will take to what kind of opportunities you can gain.

How Long Does It Take To Get Your BSN?

In general, a BSN degree is a four-year program because you will be earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing. However, some students entering this program have already earned credits which can be applied toward meeting BSN degree requirements, shortening the timeframe for program completion.

For instance, if you already have an associate degree in nursing, the program will generally take about two years. If you have a full 90 credits that are accepted and applied toward your BSN degree, you can earn your RN to BSN in as little as 12 months.*

What Topics Are in an RN to BSN Program?

Throughout the RN to BSN program, you will gain in-depth knowledge on the following topics: 

  • Concepts in Community and Public Health 
  • Nursing Leadership and Management 
  • Trends and Issues in Today’s Healthcare 
  • Introduction to Nursing Research 
  • Family-Centered Health Promotion

The courses in the RN to BSN program will help prepare graduates to step into leadership roles in healthcare settings. Building upon the skills that RNs already possess, the RN to BSN degree program prepares students to broaden their knowledge and skills and apply the latest evidence to provide the best care possible to their patients.

Gaining Valuable Experience and Opportunities

The RN to BSN program will provide you with the opportunity to learn valuable skills and you will have the opportunity to network and collaborate with other students and professionals while you are in the program. You will have expert nursing faculty to help you navigate your studies, expand your professional network and guide you through your professional and academic development.

Continue Working While Earning a BSN Online

Many students decide to enroll in an RN to BSN program while already working professionally as a nurse, so it’s entirely possible to earn your BSN while continuing to work. An online RN to BSN program gives working nurses the flexibility and convenience to further their education while still working in a meaningful career they are truly passionate about.

Grand Canyon University’s College of Nursing and Health Care Professions offers an accredited online RN to BSN degree program meant to help individuals advance in a rewarding career in the field of nursing. Click on the Request Info button at the top of your screen to learn more about GCU’s online nursing degree programs and how to apply.


*Must transfer 90 approved semester credits toward the required 120 credits and double coursework twice during the 10 week courses in order to complete the program in 12 months.

Retrieved from:, Career Guide Series, Registered Nurse in September 2020

2NurseJournal, Top 10 Advantages of a BSN Degree in May 2021

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.


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