How Long Does it Take to Go from an RN to BSN?

How Long Does it Take to Go from an RN to BSN?

Just like registered nurses (RNs) take care of their patients, they also need to take care of their livelihood. Holding an associate degree in nursing is a great starting point for those who are interested in joining the medical world as an RN—in as little as two years.


However, over time, those who hold an associate degree as an RN may find themselves wanting more responsibility, a bigger role at their place of employment, or a higher salary. If this is the case, earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) could be the perfect fit.

Getting Started

If you’re an RN and are ready for more, enrolling in an RN-to-BSN program is the best next step for career advancement.


RN-to-BSN programs are built around the work schedule of currently employed RNs. The schools that offer these programs understand that their students are working full-time jobs and design their coursework to minimize the need to take time off from work. These schools also allow students to use their job and the relevant experience they have from working in the medical field to help them complete their coursework.


Enrolling in an RN-to-BSN program is the next logical choice for RNs with an associate degree who envision a long career in the medical field. Nurses who hold a BSN are in higher demand and typically earn higher salaries than an RN with only an associate degree. Holding a BSN can also make it easier to continue your education and earn a master’s degree or additional medical certificates, if this is something that interests you in the future.


America is currently facing a nursing shortage due to its aging population. This means that there is a high demand in many areas of the country for well-qualified individuals who hold a BSN. The field of nursing is expected to have higher-than-average job growth (15%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics) over the next ten years.


Earning a BSN degree is a great way to help fill this gap, increase your knowledge, and increase your earning potential doing what you love.


Now could be the perfect time to continue your educational journey! But what else should you know?

RN-to-BSN Program Timeline

Going back to school to earn a bachelor’s degree may seem like an uphill battle that could take a lot of time and cost even more money. Most bachelor’s programs take three to four years to complete. But when you hold an associate degree as an RN, you have already completed two years of the education required for a BSN! This means that you’re already halfway to earning your BSN before you’ve even stepped foot back in the classroom.


In as little as 18 months to two years, you could be done with coursework and have earned your BSN. Most programs provide a variety of class options to help school fit into their students’ busy lives. Both face-to-face and online class options are also offered by many universities. Plus, students have the choice of attending school on a part-time or full-time basis, depending on their own personal and professional schedules.


This flexibility allows those enrolled to take classes as needed—without changing their daily routine drastically. The more classes that students can fit in each semester, the sooner they can graduate and be on the job as a nurse with a BSN.

Is an RN-to-BSN Program a Good Fit for Me?

Before committing your time and money to an RN-to-BSN program, it’s important to know if you’re the right candidate.


Schools that offer RN-to-BSN programs will be looking for a specific type of student to enroll in their program. RN-to-BSN programs are designed to support RNs who are looking to increase their earning potential and skill level by earning a bachelor’s degree. Candidates for this program must already hold an associate degree in nursing and must have worked (or currently be working) as a registered nurse.


Someone who is aspiring to be an RN, but who has not yet earned an associate degree in nursing, will not qualify for an RN-to-BSN program. This is the same for students who already hold a bachelor’s degree in another field. In both cases, however, students may choose to enroll directly in a typical Bachelor of Science in Nursing program to earn their nursing credentials.


If you’re a candidate for an RN-to-BSN program, there are other factors to consider before enrolling. It’s important that you take the time to evaluate your lifestyle and responsibilities. The following questions are good to consider before making your decision to enroll in an RN-to-BSN program.


  • Do I have time to go back to school?
  • How will I pay for school?
  • Will my current employer help pay for my education?
  • Do I need to work while I am in school?
  • How much time per week do I have to spend on school work?


It’s also important to make sure you understand the type of student you are (such as whether you’d do better in an online or on-campus environment) so you can find the school that is the perfect fit for you. Once you have a strong understanding of your commitment level, you’ll be better able to determine how long it is likely to take you to finish school with a BSN.

Ready to find a nursing program that’s right for you? The Imagine America Foundation has a robust network of partner schools who are eager to help you begin or advance your nursing career!

216 / 309

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked