How Long Does It Take To Get a BSN?

A male nurse talking with a patient

Nurses play a vital role in the healthcare field. 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 higher roles in nursing while continuing to work as a nurse.

If you’re an RN looking to advance your career, you may have several questions: How long does it take to get a BSN? What are the benefits that come along with it? What can I expect in an RN to BSN program? The following guide will provide more information on earning your BSN degree through an RN to BSN program and how long it will take.

In This Article:

What Is an RN?

A registered nurse (RN) is a nurse who has a license to practice the profession of nursing in their state. These nursing professionals often provide 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 successfully completing an accredited nursing program, clinical training and passing the National Certification Licensing Examination (NCLEX) for RNs. Some students choose a two-year associate degree in nursing to first become an RN, later advancing their nursing education by earning a BSN degree through an RN to BSN program.

What Is an RN to BSN Program?

An RN to BSN program is a way for current RNs to earn their BSN degree while continuing to work in their profession.

As a current RN, you already possess many desirable and necessary skills needed to be a successful nurse. You will use this prior nursing knowledge while completing your RN to BSN program. Important skills to utilize and develop while in your program include:

  • Nursing leadership practices
  • Analysis of research
  • Health promotion and wellness
  • Collaboration and communication
  • Population and community health
  • Evidence based practice and application

How Long Is an RN to BSN Program?

RN to BSN programs are set up to seamlessly transition nurses to study at a baccalaureate level. The format you choose for your RN to BSN program — many are offered online — as well as whether your full or part-time status will affect how long it takes you to complete the program.

Some universities may offer a more accelerated RN to BSN program that takes just over one year to complete. At GCU, the RN to BSN core courses can be completed in 14 months. Students that transfer in the maximum of 90 credits, including six upper division, may be able to complete the core courses in as little as 12 months.2

With various options available, it is important to explore different programs and create a realistic plan for you and your nursing studies.

New Lower RN to BSN Tuition
Only $340 Per Credit3

GCU just lowered the price of our accredited RN to BSN program by 30% to help make college more affordable!

Learn More

Why Earn a BSN?

When 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.4 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 — from how long the program will take to what kind of opportunities you can gain.

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 From Nursing School

The RN to BSN program will provide you with the opportunity to learn valuable skills, and you will also have the chance to network and collaborate with other students and professionals while you are in the program. Expert nursing faculty will 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. Take most classes 100% online (clinical, practicum and immersion hours completed locally) to help you advance in the field of nursing. GCU just lowered the price of our RN to BSN program by 30% to help make college more affordable. Get started on furthering your nursing career today. 

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

The entire program requires 120 credits.

3 Cannot be used in conjunction with other GCU scholarships or awards.

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


Approved with changes by the dean of the College of Nursing and Healthcare Professions on Jan. 30, 2023.

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.