BS in Nursing (BSN): The Definitive Guide & Top Schools

A bachelor’s degree in nursing or BSN can give you the hands-on training and education needed to start a life-changing career.

Here’s what you need to know about these programs and the unique ways they help train you for a career as a nurse.

What Will I Learn in a Nursing Program?

A BSN includes multiple courses that help train you for a career in nursing.

They’re more advanced than an associate’s degree and go into more in-depth scientific studies.

For example, a typical curriculum for a BSN includes anatomy and physiology classes that help train a nurse for day-to-day tasks.

However, nurses also learn about microbiology, including how infections spread through the body.

They also study psychology and anthropology, as these courses help them work with difficult patients.

Nutritional and dietary support is also necessary to help nurses care for their patients better.

These courses include life span training, basic pharmacology, senior support, family and community support, and more.

Nurses may also take more advanced courses, such as nursing theory and research if they want more advanced careers.

Be prepared for multiple clinical courses that offer hands-on experience in various fields.

These often occur in multiple environments, including local hospitals and research firms.

Typically, a BSN pairs these courses with traditional bookwork to help train nurses for advanced treatment.

Note that a BSN also requires taking general courses to expand your knowledge.

These include English, Art, Physical Education, History, and Social Science classes.

Typically, these are few and can be handled early in your degree to let you focus on your nursing training later.

Because the BSN is a full-fledged bachelor’s degree, you’ll complete several required courses, such as English/Composition, Art, Literature, History, Physical Education, and Social Sciences.

How to Choose a Good Program

Research different state-based public schools in your area, focusing heavily on their nursing options.

Make sure that they provide a BSN that focuses on your needs, including specific treatment options or facilities that interest you.

You can check out their website or call them to learn more about what they offer nurses like you.

Then, you can check their program requirements, including what GPA you need, how much the school costs, and other vital factors.

Try to choose a facility that falls within your cost range and which accepts scholarships and grants that you’ve earned.

In this way, you can offset much of the expenses and get into your program easier.

If you’re conflicted between multiple schools, read sites that highlight their pros and cons, specifically in nursing programs.

A school that offers a great program in one field may have a weaker option in another.

Don’t get caught up in a school’s overall quality but on whether they provide a nursing program that suits your needs and helps you train for your career.

If possible, focus heavily on schools near you that may offer discounts to people in your state.

Just as importantly, you can consider private schools that may cater to you if you want a more personalized course.

For instance, some private schools may provide gender-specific education that may be more welcoming for many.

How Long Does It Take to Earn a Bachelor’s in Nursing?

A traditional bachelor’s degree should take at least four years to complete.

During these four years, you’ll take your required courses, learn essential nursing skills, progress to advanced classes, and take clinical studies.

In some situations, a BSN may take less than four years.

For example, if you earned an associate degree in nursing, your program may take between 11-18 months of classes because you likely already finished your required courses.

Bridge programs like these help advance your career quickly and make it easier to earn your degree.

Note that accelerated BSN degrees are also available for people with other bachelor’s degrees.

For instance, if you earned an English Literature degree but need help with your career, you can take an accelerated BSN course to earn your nursing degree in 11-18 months.

Some schools also provide accelerated programs that you can complete in 1-2 years without any other degree.

These courses typically occur year-round and include high-class loads.

They’re a good option if you want to start working quickly and would rather not wait four years.

Typical requirements for entering a BSN include a high school diploma or GED, a GPA of 3.00-3.25 or higher, completing high school and college courses, passing the SAT or TEAS, and any other requirements asked for by the school.

These may vary, so research carefully before choosing.

How Much Does it Cost to Get a Bachelor’s in Nursing?

Depending on many factors, a BSN can range in cost from $40,000 to over $100,000.

For example, some schools have higher admission costs than others.

While these schools may provide a higher-quality education, less expensive options offer the same degree.

Nursing students will pay registration and application fees, books, scrubs, uniforms, supplies, physical examination, insurance, immunization, and room and board fees.

Nurses typically pay a little more due to the unique demands of their education and career.

You can offset these costs by applying for financial aid, grants, or scholarships.

For example, nursing scholarships may pay for some or all of your tuition, including books and other expenses.

Grants may help with specific needs, such as research costs and other unique factors.

Note that you’ll pay more for private schools, though you’ll benefit from smaller and more focused classes.

You may also get help from military scholarships if you or a family member served in the armed forces.

Public schools also have more financial aid options than private ones.

Some schools may provide nurses with temporary jobs that can offset their expenses.

For instance, some may earn teaching or aide positions that help pay for their education.

These options vary depending on the school, student grades, and nursing experience.

What Can I Do With a Bachelor’s in Nursing?

You can pursue many careers after earning a BSN. For example, a general nursing career is available after earning this degree.

You may also earn a job as an RN or even a traveling nurse, which can provide you with many career opportunities in your field.

For instance, an RN can expect a more stable environment in a single hospital, nursing home, or medical facility.

They typically receive competitive salaries and various benefits, such as vacation time and health insurance.

By comparison, travel nurses will make more money.

Travel nurses also see more of the world, work with multiple facilities, and earn a higher wage to compensate for their travel.

However, it is often harder for travel nurses to feel comfortable or build a stable household.

It’s an excellent option for those who don’t have a family or who want to travel.

Note that you may also start a career in research as a nursing assistant.

Research nurses work in clinical settings and help take care of patients going through research projects.

They also help doctors and other research professionals prepare their procedures before starting.

Other nurses may specialize in specific fields, such as cancer-center nursing.

This career is often more demanding because you must provide specific care based on a person’s needs.

It may include more in-depth classes during your bachelor’s training, including cancer-treatment therapies.

Talk with your advisor about your options before deciding on a career.

You may also take some training courses after finishing your BSN if more specialized work appeals to you.

This option works well for people with more specific interests or those who decide on a path after completing their degree.

Should I Get a Bachelor’s in Nursing?

A BSN is a good investment if you’re interested in a career helping people.

you’ll get to provide hands-on care for those in a hospital and do the hard work doctors don’t have time to handle.

Nursing is an excellent career for people who like helping others and who thrive in these environments.

While you can start a nursing career with just an associate’s degree, a BSN provides many benefits.

First, you’ll earn more money by getting a BSN.

This may include an annual increase of several thousand dollars or more, making it easier to pay off your student debt quickly.

Importantly, nurses with a BSN also have better career opportunities.

They typically get jobs in 4-6 months due to a high demand in the market.

Furthermore, they’re more likely to get advanced career options, such as research, travel, or managing positions in their hospital or medical center.

You’ll also have a better chance of transitioning into graduate work.

A master’s or even a doctorate in nursing can be beneficial for ambitious nurses.

For instance, you can transition into community college or university teaching if you’re interested in those fields.

Note that increasing demands on nurses have made BSN degrees more in demand in many facilities.

Some believe that a BSN may become mandatory in many facilities in the coming years.

As a result, a BSN is a good investment for your career.