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FAQs About Online RN to BSN Programs

Nurse in a hospital skybridge, reading a chart

Many nurses enter the health care field by completing an associate degree or a hospital diploma program, then passing the NCLEX to become an RN. While this is the quickest path to a career in registered nursing, it can also be the most limiting. Whether you are seeking a promotion or looking for a new job, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is often required for the best opportunities.

The reports that 82% of hospitals and health care employers now prefer to hire BSN-prepared nurses. One reason is that BSN RNs have additional knowledge in areas such as research and evidence-based practice. They also bring skills in care planning and coordination to their role, and they understand how to adapt best practices to a wide range of health care settings.

If you’ve risen to the level of unit or department manager without a BSN, the degree may take your career further. Growing your leadership, innovation and cultural competency skills with a bachelor’s can help you chart a path to your next success. Your employer may even offer tuition reimbursement as an incentive to earn the degree.

Online RN to BSN programs are designed to help busy nurses complete their degree while working full time. Courses are accelerated so students can move through material quickly, learn faster and still have time for patients, friends and family. Follow the links below to learn more about the RN to BSN degree and the benefits of earning it online.

What Is an RN to BSN Program?

RN to BSN programs help nurses develop new skills in research, analysis and leadership

The RN to BSN degree is designed for working nurses who want to further their education and achieve their career goals. It is a bridge program that allows ADN- and diploma-prepared RNs to complete a bachelor's in two years or less, depending on their previous course credits.

RN to BSN programs build on the foundational knowledge that experienced nurses bring to patient care. Students develop their skills in research, critical thinking and analysis while gaining insight in new areas and aspects of nursing. According to AACN, RN to BSN programs also help nurses understand the that can affect heath and patient care.

Online programs tend to be an affordable option for earning a BSN, and the most flexible when it comes to scheduling. They can also save you time and money normally spent on commuting or finding childcare in order to study on campus.

offers working nurses a convenient and affordable way to earn a bachelor’s degree. Study when and wherever it suits you, without disrupting your life in the process. Core nursing courses can be completed in as little as 12 months and for $6,750 total. You can also take most of the general education classes required for the degree online.

Why Should I Earn a BSN If I Already Have an ADN?

Smiling male nurse with two colleagues

A BSN can increase your skills and expertise in nursing and benefit your career. Expanding your knowledge of nursing practice to include advanced concepts in care delivery and management can also help ensure the best results for your patients.

Studying evidence-based practice helps RNs understand the wide range of factors that contribute to acute and chronic disease, as well as short-term illness and overall health. You’ll also learn new strategies to promote wellness, improve communication and address nursing issues that can impact patient care.

A BSN can prepare you to take on many different leadership roles as well, or to work in specialized areas of nursing such as critical care or pediatrics.



The online RN to BSN program is a great opportunity for nurses that would like to advance their nursing education so that they can be better qualified, not only to care for their patients but also for professional growth and personal advancement.

, Director of Undergraduate Nursing, St. Thomas University

Why Do Some Nursing Jobs Require a BSN?

Having more BSN RNs on staff can result in better patient outcomes and lower care costs, Source: AACN

Over the last decade, hospitals and other health care employers have started following nursing recommendations originally issued by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), now known as the . The push for more BSN-prepared nurses began in 2010, in response to the IOM’s research report The Future of Nursing. The report argued that the rapid evolution of health care in the United States calls for a higher minimum standard in nursing education. It suggested that 80% of RNs should be BSN-prepared by 2020.

Although that goal has not been met, nurses are making progress. Data by the shows that between 2009 and 2019, the total number of BSN graduates more than doubled from 66,727 to 143,294. Multiple research studies conducted since the initial IOM report have also demonstrated that having more BSN-prepared RNs on staff can lead to . They include fewer hospital-acquired infections, lower mortality rates and decreased care costs due to shorter patient stays and fewer readmissions.

Do Magnet Hospitals Require a BSN?

Yes, for most nursing positions they do. BSN RNs are essential to hospitals and health care systems working toward designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. To earn Magnet status, institutions must strive to meet the IOM's goal of 80% BSN-prepared RNs. All nurse leaders must have a BSN as well. There are over 500 Magnet health care organizations across the U.S., and . Your BSN must also be accredited if you want to work for a Magnet hospital or system.

Do I Need a BSN to Become an APRN?

If you hope to be an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) someday, you will definitely need the academic and clinical preparation a BSN provides. It’s the first step on the road to a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), which is required to become a nurse practitioner, nurse educator, clinical nurse specialist or any other type of APRN.

It's wise to earn your bachelor's from an accredited nursing program if graduate school is part of your plans, since most MSN programs require an accredited BSN for admission.

What Will I Learn In an Online RN to BSN Program?

Heart, heartbeat pattern and open book

Online RN to BSN programs are designed to help nurses build on their core knowledge of patient care, develop their research skills and explore new ideas in the field. For example, when studying evidence-based practice you’ll rely on your clinical experience as you learn to gather information, make informed decisions and evaluate the results. Students also complete projects that address current issues in nursing, often in an actual health care setting.

Students in STU’s online RN to BSN program learn how to improve patient care using a variety of holistic assessment and support measures. Coursework highlights critical reasoning, collaboration and leadership, with a focus on strategic planning and innovation in nursing.



You can get your BSN at any age, but having that all-around education just makes you a well-rounded nurse, much more marketable, much more worldly, much more able to cope and to understand how to take care of a patient. Not only that, but you're prepared to be a leader. At STU that's our motto, ‘leaders for life,’ so that leadership component is very important that you learn at a BSN level.

, St. Thomas University Online RN to BSN Program

What Kind of Courses Will I Take In an Online RN to BSN Program?

Icons for health assessment, leadership, informatics and strategy

You will complete both nursing and general education courses to earn a bachelor’s degree. BSN core classes cover subjects such as nursing research and advanced patient evaluation, as well as analytics and administration. They also provide students with a broader perspective on cultural and community issues that can impact health. The number of gen ed courses required will vary by student, based on previous coursework and transfer credits.

St. Thomas University’s online RN to BSN program requires 30 credit hours in nursing, completed in nine courses:

  • Transition to Professional Nursing
  • Health Care System Issues
  • Nursing Research and Evidence-Based Practice
  • Aging and the End of Life
  • Health Assessment & Promotion
  • Nursing Leadership
  • Community Health Nursing
  • Nursing Practice in Multicultural Society
  • Nursing Informatics

In addition to the 24 general education credits required for the BSN, STU nursing students must take World Religions (3 hours) and Biomedical Ethics (3 hours) if they have not done so previously. Any classes not offered online at STU may be completed on campus, or through a local community college.



As a nursing student at STU online, you will be challenged to acquire the scientific knowledge base and critical thinking skills of the nursing discipline, incorporate professional nursing behaviors, develop technical and decision-making skills, embody ethics into your practice, and gain awareness of self and others’ value systems.

, Dean of Academic Programs, St. Thomas University

Are There Any BSN Prerequisites?

Some online RN to BSN programs do require nursing prerequisites, usually for courses such as evidence-based practice. The type and number of classes you might need will depend on your school’s policies and degree requirements. Check with programs you are considering to learn more.

STU’s online RN to BSN program does not require any nursing prerequisites. You can begin taking BSN classes as soon as you enroll.

What is Accreditation?

Seal of Approval

Accreditation is an independent review process that helps guarantee colleges and universities meet high academic and operational standards. It also ensures that schools are providing students the right preparation for their degree field.

Accreditors may evaluate universities or specific degree programs. They may look at policies, curriculum, financials, professor qualifications, teaching methods, learning resources available to students, graduation rates and much more. Nursing program accreditors also consider student pass rates on the NCLEX and other RN licensure and certification exams.

Are Online RN to BSN Programs Accredited?

Most are, but not all. This is why it's important to verify that your degree program is accredited before you apply. The maintains a list of independent organizations that review nursing schools and the degrees they offer. You can also search the DOE .

Online RN to BSN programs are typically accredited by either the or the . Once granted, accreditation must also be renewed every five years.

St. Thomas University's online RN to BSN program is CCNE-accredited. STU is also regionally accredited by the .

Why Is Accreditation Important?

Students cannot use federal financial aid or military education benefits for an unaccredited BSN

Accreditation helps ensure that schools and their degree programs operate responsibly and provide students with a quality education. Unaccredited schools do not always live up to these standards. Their graduates may also have limited job options in health care since most nursing employers expect BSN RNs to have an accredited degree. Magnet hospitals are among many employers that require one.

Nurses who study in unaccredited RN to BSN programs are not eligible for state or federal financial aid, and they can’t use military education benefits to pay for their degree. They also don’t qualify for federal loan consolidation, loan forgiveness or income-driven repayment programs after graduation.

For-profit colleges are more likely to be unaccredited than public or private universities. This may be one reason these institutions have higher rates of fraud and financial failure, as academic news site points out. All things considered, there is really no benefit to earning your degree from an unaccredited nursing school.

Do Online RN to BSN Programs Have Clinicals or a Practicum?

Two smiling nurses

Yes. Most online RN to BSN programs have a practice experience requirement, whether this educational component is known as clinicals, an internship or a practicum. You won’t repeat any elements of your original RN clinicals, however. The BSN version focuses more on research and evaluation, as well as other advanced concepts in nursing. Requirements differ by program, and each state also has its own standards for BSN preparation.

Students in STU’s online RN to BSN program complete their in two practicum courses: Nursing Leadership and Community Health Nursing. Each requires 54 clinical hours, divided between in-class learning and on-site application.

Clinical projects are tailored to each health care setting, with the goal of identifying issues and solving problems. Students also collaborate with nursing leaders, staff members and the local community, while working closely with professors and a preceptor.

Will I Choose My Own Clinical Site and Preceptor?

Most online RN to BSN students choose a local clinical site and preceptor, with program approval

In most cases, yes. However, check with programs you are interested in for their policies. Online RN to BSN students usually pick a site for their clinical practicum and are responsible for finding their own preceptor. In each instance, your arrangement must be approved by the professor or RN to BSN program coordinator overseeing your placement.

This approach to clinicals makes it easier for RNs to fit the required hours around their weekly nursing schedule. You can also choose the best placement for your needs and interests, as well as your career ambitions. Some schools provide placement assistance if an RN is having difficulty finding the right fit, but it’s always best to confirm whether this is the case before enrolling.

St. Thomas University strongly encourages online RN to BSN students to secure their own site and preceptor. Help is also available if needed, with the caveat that limited placement options may require commuting within your geographic area. Visit the section of the program page to learn more.

Can I Do My Clinicals In My Current Unit, or With My Regular Supervisor?

BSN clinicals take place in a different setting than your current job, so that you can learn new professional skills

Probably not. Most schools don’t offer this option because the point of BSN clinicals is to broaden your knowledge and skills. While completing clinical hours in your regular job setting may seem convenient, it’s not really the best way to get exposure to the new ideas, challenges and colleagues that can speed your professional development.

STU requires that online RN to BSN students complete their clinicals in a different setting than the one where they currently work, and under a preceptor who is not their current supervisor.

For the leadership practicum, you could do a nursing project in another unit of your hospital or at a separate facility in your health care network, for example. For the community health practicum, you will select a project site in your city or metro area, and address issues impacting local citizens. For instance, you might team up with a nonprofit serving a specific patient population or work with your municipal health department.

Student practicum activities must also take place outside of typical working hours. This separation of duties is important, because RNs cannot be paid for time spent meeting clinical requirements for the degree.

Spotlight: Community Nursing Projects Help Floridians Make Healthy Choices

Fitness and wellness icons: sunshine, apple, checklist, measuring tape

BSN RNs have an important role to play in public health projects that address community needs. The oversees many of these efforts in the Sunshine State, such as the recent Healthy People 2020 campaign. It introduced a wide range of disease prevention and awareness activities, including a number of projects designed to address the issue of obesity.

Carrying extra weight can lead to premature death as well as conditions such as high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes and heart disease. Using evidence-based practice, BSN RNs can find the best strategies for helping citizens adopt healthy diet and exercise habits. They can also make a difference by participating in obesity outreach campaigns targeted to youth and adults.

According to the Department of Health, of adult Floridians are overweight or obese. The state also predicts that 60% of Florida children will be obese by the time they graduate from high school. Some government agencies in the state are partnering with universities and health care providers to try and reverse these concerning trends by 2024. Here are two current projects:

  • Jackson County’s Community Health Improvement Plan has several key obesity-related initiatives. They include strategies to increase physical activity, encourage consumption of fruits and vegetables, and help reduce chronic disease rates linked to unhealthy weight.
  • In Miami-Dade County, the Florida Department of Health is working to ensure that WIC and SNAP recipients have access to healthy food options in their communities, while also helping residents of all ages reduce their weight and avoid poor health outcomes.

Online RN to BSN students at STU interested in public health have the opportunity to get this type of hands-on community nursing experience during their bachelor’s practicum. Obesity is just one challenge among many important health issues nursing students can choose to address in their city or region.

What Are the Admissions Requirements for Online RN to BSN Programs?

Laptop computer and online admission acceptance letter

Most online RN to BSN programs have similar admission requirements, which include:

  • A valid RN license
  • An associate degree or diploma program certificate
  • Official transcripts from each school attended
  • A grade point average (GPA) that meets the minimum standard for admission

Applicants to St. Thomas University’s online RN to BSN program must have a valid and unencumbered RN license as well as official transcripts documenting their RN preparation. A cumulative GPA of 2.5 on previous coursework is also required for admission.

Will My Previous Course Credits Transfer?

Transfer credit guidelines will vary by school, but most online RN to BSN students receive a substantial block of course credit for passing the NCLEX exam and/or having an RN license. You may be able to transfer some general education credits from a previous school as well, depending on the type of courses you’ve taken. Check with individual nursing programs to verify their policies.

Online RN to BSN students at STU are awarded 60 course credits in nursing for having their RN license, which is half of the 120 credits required for the degree. Students must complete their 30 BSN credits in the online program but may transfer in some general education courses if desired. Contact an STU online RN to BSN admissions advisor at 855-215-4021 for further information.

When Can I Enroll in an RN to BSN Program?

Six RN to BSN start dates each year

Traditional on-campus programs usually have one application date each spring and fall, but online programs are more flexible. You can apply online anytime, instead of waiting months for a new term to begin. Once you are accepted, you can also get started right away.

STU’s accelerated online RN to BSN program has six start dates a year, and new classes begin every eight weeks. This means you can pursue your degree soon as you’re ready.

What Is the Career Outlook for BSN RNs?

Smiling nurse giving two thumbs up, standing in front of a chalkboard where a graduation cap has been drawn above her head

Job market analysis from Burning Glass Technologies (December 2020) projects that Florida will have high demand for BSN RNs in the decade ahead, with expected job growth of 21% through 2026. This is more than double the demand for all RNs, according to 2019 data from the

BLS predicts faster-than-average job growth for RNs across America through 2029, attributing this robust employment outlook to an increase in both preventive care and chronic disease rates. The number of Baby Boomers who are at or nearing retirement age is also a contributing factor, since this group’s life expectancy continues to grow.

Spotlight: Why BSN RNs Win More Nursing Jobs

Shiny #1 trophy being hoisted in the air by a winner

Bachelor’s graduates have a competitive advantage in the health care job market. In fact, the nation’s largest nursing employer, the U.S. Veterans Administration, requires a BSN for all RNs who wish to move beyond an entry-level role. The following studies illustrate why the VA and other employers are investing in BSN RNs and promoting them to leadership positions.

  • A study published in the journal (2020) found that nurses enrolled in RN to BSN programs show a significant improvement in all six areas of AACN’s Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice.
  • A comparative analysis of BSN and ADN graduates in 13 states and the District of Columbia published in (2019) found that RNs with a bachelor’s degree were better prepared than those with an associate’s alone. In fact, researchers discovered that many ADN RNs had knowledge gaps in areas of quality and safety that BSN RNs did not.
  • A research review published in the (2018) cited specific benefits when BSN-prepared nurses care for acutely ill patients, including higher survival rates and lower incidence of thrombosis after surgery. Researchers also noted fewer hospital-acquired complications among facilities with high numbers of BSN RNs.

Simply put, employers know that nurses with a bachelor’s degree have professional skills that set them apart.

Will I Make More Money With a BSN?

According to the latest BLS data, the average salary for registered nurses is $73,300 annually. While pay can vary depending on your experience, region and job title, BSN RNs usually make more than nurses without a bachelor’s degree.

The table below features typical compensation rates for RNs in Florida. In many cities, BSN-prepared nurses earn at least $15,000 more annually. That’s an extra $105,000 in just seven years.

Location Average Annual Salary
BSN RNs
Average Annual Salary
All RNs
Santa Rosa Beach $83,335 $67,535
West Palm Beach $82,301 $66,697
Miami $82,411 $66,786
Fort Lauderdale $81,920 $66,388
Jacksonville $81,111 $65,732
Tampa $80,657 $65,364
Orlando $80,252 $65,036
Fort Myers $79,410 $64,354
St. Petersburg $78,760 $63,827
Tallahassee $77,021 $62,418

Source: ZipRecruiter, December 2020

Which BSN RN Jobs Pay the Best?

In addition to building new knowledge, BSN courses prepare RNs to step into more complex nursing and leadership roles. If you’re currently a nursing manager, the degree can also give you the credential you need to get promoted or improve your salary.

Here are a few of the great-paying jobs you can explore as a BSN RN.

Position Average Annual Salary
Informatics Nurse $102,230
Critical Care RN $100,433
NICU Manager $100,395
ER Nurse Manager $97,105
Clinical Operations Manager $96,760
ICU Nurse $95,000
Transplant Coordinator $92,173
Operating Room RN $92,136

Source: ZipRecruiter, December 2020



At St. Thomas University, we are committed to preparing leaders, giving you the knowledge, the ethical background that you need so that you can be a true leader to your community.

, St. Thomas University Online RN to BSN Program

Where Are BSN RNs In High Demand?

Map view of Florida, with GPS markers over Miami, Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville

AACN’s found that 76% of BSN-prepared students across the country had a job offer by the time they finished their degree. Schools in the South led the nation in this respect, with employment offers for 84% of new BSNs by graduation.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has also noted high demand in Florida for BSN RNs. December 2020 data from Burning Glass Technologies confirms that these metro areas are recruiting the most BSN graduates in the state.

  • Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach
  • Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater
  • Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford
  • Jacksonville

Florida cities of all sizes are experiencing strong demand for BSN RNs, however. Employers in the areas below have the most difficulty recruiting qualified nurses, which means that new BSN graduates may find excellent opportunity there.

Metro Area Demand Percentage
Above National Average
Sebring 170%
Gainesville
Punta Gorda
120%
Port St. Lucie
Homosassa Springs
90%
Ocala 70%
Tampa
Orlando
Melbourne
Vero Beach
50%
Source: Burning Glass Technologies, December 2020




Nursing is a high-demand career in South Florida, and across the nation there is a shortage of nurses. St. Thomas University is stepping up to fill that void.

, Dean of Academic Programs, St. Thomas University

What Are Some Advantages of Working at a Magnet Hospital?

Magnet hospitals prioritize RN education, best practices, collaboration, quality care and safety

According to AACN, the Magnet designation is the gold standard in nursing. It recognizes health care institutions committed to excellence. Magnet hospitals promote best practices in management and patient care. They are also committed to RN training and development. Here are a few more reasons why working for one is a great career move.

  • Your current skills will be validated. Magnet facilities are among the most selective in hiring nursing staff, and their RNs are well-regarded professionally. They also tend to have higher employee satisfaction and lower turnover rates.
  • You’ll practice nursing in a setting focused on collaboration and quality of care. Research routinely links Magnet hospitals with better patient satisfaction and safety, as well as
  • Statistics show that RNs are often safer on the job at Magnet facilities. AACN notes that nurses experience fewer musculoskeletal issues, accidental needlesticks and other injuries.

Nurses hoping to join the staff at a Magnet hospital are in the best position to do so after earning a BSN. Some hospitals will also hire qualified ADN-prepared nurses enrolled in an RN to BSN program.

How Long Does It Take to Earn a BSN Online?

BSN nursing courses can be completed in as little as 12 months

Online RN to BSN programs can be completed in as little as two years, because they build on each student’s experience and previous courses. Most programs award incoming students substantial course credit for passing the NCLEX and holding an RN license, so everything you’ve learned can also count toward your bachelor’s. Once you enroll, your pace will likely depend on your schedule, the amount of time you have to devote to school, and the total number of nursing and general ed credits required for the degree.

The nursing component of STU's online RN to BSN program can be completed in just 12 months by taking two classes each term. This timeline is for BSN courses alone and does not include any general education requirements you may still need to meet.

How Many Hours Will I Need to Study a Week?

If you set aside nine to 12 hours of study time per class each week, you should be able to complete everything your professor has assigned. However, adjust this figure according to your study habits and give yourself more time whenever assignments or projects are due.

Can I Go to School and Work Full Time?

RN seated in hospital break room with a cup of coffee, feet propped up and studying on a tablet computer

Yes. Online RN to BSN programs are tailored to working nurses and take their needs into consideration. You can study whenever it’s convenient, whether that’s on a lunch break, on your day off or at night after the kids are in bed. You can even listen to your professor's lectures on the way to work or while stuck in traffic. Your virtual classroom is available wherever you go.

STU’s accelerated seven-week courses give students the flexibility to fit school around work or family obligations. While earning a BSN can be challenging, online study makes it possible for RNs to enjoy all the benefits that come with a bachelor’s degree.

How Much Does an Online RN to BSN Program Cost?

The cost of an online RN to BSN degree can differ for each student depending on a few factors. Where you live is sometimes most important because that may determine whether you’ll pay in-state or out-of-state tuition. Many online nursing programs charge all students the same tuition rate, but this is not always the case.

The number of courses you’ll need to take is the next consideration. Aside from your BSN classes in nursing, consider the general education credits you have left to complete. Check whether you have to fulfill some prerequisites as well. Once you know how many hours are required to finish your degree, you can figure your tuition cost. Don’t forget to add any fees that may apply also.

The table below features six popular online RN to BSN programs in Florida. These tuition and fee rates for BSN classes represent typical costs for the degree. Based on those figures, the average cost to complete all required nursing courses runs about $13,603.

Institution BSN Credit Tuition Per Credit Total Tuition Fees Estimated Total Cost
Keiser
University
36 $825 $29,712 Included $29,712
Advent Health University 30 $555 $16,350 $300 $16,650
Palm Beach
Atlantic
University
31 $360 $11,160 *$950 $12,110
Jacksonville University 30 $315
In-State

$400
Out-of-State
$9,450
In-State

$12,000
Out-of-State
Included $9,450
In-State

$12,000
Out-of-State
University of
North Florida
30 $285 $8,550 Included $8,550
St. Thomas University 30 $225 $6,750 Included $6,750
Figures based on 2020-2021 tuition rates
*Based on five semesters of study at 2021 fee rates

Will My Employer Pay for My BSN?

Many employers offer tuition benefits for RNs ready to earn a BSN

A number of hospitals and health care systems provide tuition reimbursement for nurses as part of their standard employee benefit package. Sometimes it is also offered as an incentive for ADN and diploma-prepared nurses to further their education. Check with your employer, however, as these programs are not standard in every workplace.

If you are changing jobs and considering a BSN, be sure to ask potential employers whether tuition reimbursement is an option. Many hospitals competing for the best nurses are now including this benefit in their recruiting package, along with signing bonuses and other perks.

Are Online Students Eligible for Financial Aid?

Laptop keyboard, clipboard with FAFSA form, pen, textbook and stack of hundred-dollar bills

Online students attending an accredited school or degree program can apply for federal student aid, including loans, grants and scholarships. Your eligibility will depend on your income, the cost of your degree and other criteria. The first step is to submit the by your online RN to BSN program’s established deadline.

The federal and programs also provide assistance to RNs willing to make a service commitment after graduation and work in a high-need facility or geographic area. offers an extensive list of nursing scholarships online students can apply for as well.

Can I Use My Military Education Benefits for an Online RN to BSN Program?

Smiling male service member in a military office, wearing camouflage fatigues

Yes, as long as the degree program you choose is accredited. Funding programs available through the include the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill (Active Duty and Selective Reserve), and Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance.

St. Thomas University also participates in the VA’s , which helps fill funding gaps for service members without enough coverage under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.


Are Online Courses Easier Than Courses On Campus?

Online courses are just as rigorous as on-campus courses, with similar assignments and grading

No. Online courses require the same time commitment and hard work as classes held on campus.

The readings, assignments and grading policies will be similar in each version, and you’ll be learning the same skills and concepts. In fact, online nursing courses are often taught by the same professors you would study with on campus.

The main difference you’ll notice is that learning online makes it easier to balance professional and personal commitments while earning your degree.


How Do Online Courses Work?

Online courses are organized to help you move through lessons quickly and independently, even if you’ve never studied this way before. Each course features a syllabus, a schedule and a set of learning modules. You will find readings and assignments to complete, along with guidelines and due dates. Professor lectures are recorded on video, so you can watch them anytime. You’ll also take tests and submit papers in your online course.

Simply log in to your school’s learning management system (LMS) to find your classes and begin earning your degree. St. Thomas University’s Canvas LMS is user-friendly and easy to navigate, with courses, grades and helpful learning resources all located in one convenient place.



STU is a smaller community. ... We don't have large classes, so we can give individual attention if we need to. We know each student, we know their personalities, we work with them closely.

, St. Thomas University Online RN to BSN Program



It is imperative that students dedicate the time to meet all their requirements. It is important to be engaged in the class and participate in discussions. It is essential to keep good communication with your instructor to facilitate your needs.

, St. Thomas University Online RN to BSN Program

Will I Have Classmates in Online RN to BSN Courses?

Female student sitting at a desk video chatting with four classmates whose faces appear on a large computer monitor

Yes. There are plenty of opportunities to interact with other students in your online courses. You can even work and study with your RN peers.

Discussion board conversations give students the chance to share experiences and hear different perspectives on nursing. Group projects and presentations allow RNs to collaborate and do research together. You can also communicate with classmates anytime via email, or chat with them online.

What Are the Technology Requirements for Online Courses?

Tablet computer, desktop computer, laptop computer and smartphone

Studying online isn’t nearly as complicated as it may sound. To get started, all you really need is a computer, internet access, word processing software and enough storage space for assignments and other files. If you already stream videos and chat online you’re probably ready to do the same in your classes. Submitting homework and papers is easy as well.

If your computer is older and you feel you need a technology update, it's possible to get a new laptop or desktop system without breaking the bank. Your current setup may also be fine with a few upgrades. You can even use a smartphone or tablet as needed when posting to discussion boards, watching video lectures or talking to your professor.

Check with the nursing programs you are interested in to learn more about tech requirements for their LMS and online courses.

What Kinds of Support Services Are Available to Online Students?

Hand reaching into a desktop computer screen filled with books, and pulling one out to borrow

Online students are eligible for many of the same services as on-campus students. The type of services available will vary by school, but remote library access and tech support are common forms of assistance.

STU offers extensive student services online. The provides e-books and online databases, as well as research assistance via telephone or email seven days a week. You can even use the interlibrary loan service online, or get a book delivered if you live within 100 miles of campus. The offers 24/7 writing support, and services are also available around the clock.

Learn more about the online RN to BSN program!

Sources:

American Association of Colleges of Nursing:






American Nurses Credentialing Center:






Campaign for Action:



Florida Department of Health:






















U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:



U.S. Department of Education:




U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs:



U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration:



ZipRecruiter: