How Long Does IT Take to Earn an Online Registered Nursing Degree?

Several different nursing degrees are available online, including those at the associate's, bachelor's and master's degree levels. Learn more about the time needed to earn an online registered nursing degree. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Online Registered Nursing Degree Options

The amount of time it will take you to earn an online registered nursing degree varies by degree level and format (part-time or full-time attendance). The most common online nursing degree programs are the Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). Many schools offer these programs in an accelerated format that might take less time to complete, depending on your former education. All programs, regardless of degree level, require you to complete your clinical experience in a hospital or clinic near you.

Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)

If you attend full-time, you can expect to finish your coursework for this 72-unit program in about two years. The required courses for an ADN are typically split between general education and nursing. Some schools allow you to place out of general education classes or transfer credits from other schools if you have taken the courses previously. You may still have to attend labs and clinics on a school campus.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

Most online options for a bachelor's degree in nursing are labeled RN-to-BSN or accelerated BSN. If you are already a licensed RN, you might want to look into a BSN program in order to qualify for a better position or advance in your career. The majority of RN-to-BSN programs in nursing requires you to complete between 122-126 total credit-hours of instruction, though credits you've already earned count towards that requirement. If you attend full-time, it should take you about 3-4 semesters to earn your degree.

If you hold an associate's or bachelor's degree in a non-nursing field, you can earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing through an accelerated BSN program in as little as one year of full-time study. Be aware that certain prerequisites, such as microbiology, anatomy and physiology, must usually be completed before you can qualify for admission.

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Most online MSN degree programs require a strong nursing background prior to admission. Many programs are designed for RNs who already have an ADN or BSN. If you're an RN with a diploma or associate's degree in nursing, you can expect to earn your degree in 2-3 years.

Several schools offer direct-entry online master's degree programs that you might consider if you hold a bachelor's degree in a field other than nursing. These programs will take you about 2-3 years to complete, after finishing any necessary prerequisites. Most programs require you to attend a portion of the required courses and clinical experiences on campus.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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