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What Are the Different Types of Online BSN Degree Programs?

Kenneth W. Michael Wills
Kenneth W. Michael Wills

Professionals working in the field of nursing, who are either a licensed practical nurse/licensed vocational nurse (LPN/LVN) or a registered nurse (RN), have the option to continue their studies to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Many of these professionals work either part time or full time, meaning they often need to pursue a degree program that offers flexibility. Online BSN degree programs offer such flexibility in one of three formats for course delivery: LPN/LVN to BSN, RN to BSN and accelerated BSN degree formats. Each type of program has its own unique requirements for admissions and completion, depending on the prospective student’s qualifications.

LPN/LVN to BSN degree programs delivered online are geared toward students who are registered and licensed as an LPN/LVN. Unlike other online BSN degree programs, this curriculum will incorporate foundational clinical components that are required for RN licensure, usually arranged in a healthcare facility local to the student. Upon completion of all academic and clinical requirements for RN licensure, the student will continue academic study to earn the BSN degree online. Requirements for completion may vary according to university curriculum, however, such a program takes anywhere from two or three years to complete. Courses taken will range from foundational nursing courses to baccalaureate courses required to earn the BSN degree.

Hands-on clinical training is an essential part of training to become a nurse.
Hands-on clinical training is an essential part of training to become a nurse.

RN to BSN programs are geared toward candidates who are already licensed as an RN and who have an associate’s degree in nursing. These online BSN degree programs are structured to provide students with advanced academic theory in nursing and nursing management as well as clinical applications of those theories. Curriculum, therefore, may consist of both online classes in nursing theory and clinical components that are located close to where the student lives or works. Some of these programs may require residency on campus for short durations, while most have no such requirements. Important to note as well, many online programs may not incorporate clinical components into the structure of the program, thereby, limiting the practical application experience, but expediting the flexibility of completing the degree.

Accelerated online BSN degree programs are specifically aimed at students who already have a bachelor’s degree in another course of study and maybe even another career outside of nursing, but are seeking a transition to the nursing field. Programs of this nature are usually structured to complete all nursing requirements and clinical components in one year of study. Focus is usually on nursing theory and clinical application of that theory, in preparation for licensure as an RN as well as a career in nursing administration.

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    • Hands-on clinical training is an essential part of training to become a nurse.
      By: Minerva Studio
      Hands-on clinical training is an essential part of training to become a nurse.