There are more than three million registered nurses (RNs) working in the United States today, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Many of these men and women completed their nursing training at hospital-sponsored
certificate programs (as opposed to earning a two-year associate degree from a community college or four-year bachelors degree in nursing from a university.) This is especially true of nurses who started their careers prior to the 1980s, when such hospital nursing courses were the norm. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, just 37 percent of RNs in America have a BSN. For those who do complete this extra training, a myriad of additional career opportunities unfold.
About a RN to BSN program
Fortunately, more than 600 colleges and universities around the United States offer RN to BSN degree programs that allow you to build on your previous training and your clinical experience and apply that knowledge towards earning a BSN degree. Most RN to BSN degree program take just one year of full-time work to complete, and many offer flexible class schedules and online classes.
Admission requirements for a RN to BSN program
All RN to BSN degree programs require that you have successfully completed an RN certificate training program. Most also require that you be licensed as an RN in the state when you reside and/or practice. Other admission requirements vary by school, but often include a minimum grade point average in all previous nursing and/or college courses and a variety of prerequisite nursing, science and general education courses.
Salary and job prospects with a BSN degree
The BLS reports that the average salary for RNs in the United States is $64,690 per year or approximatley $31.10 per hour. Registered nurses with BSN degrees generally earn slightly more than the average.
According to the BLS, the number of registered nursing jobs in the United States is expected to grow by 26 percent between now and 2010. That's an increase of more than 700,000 jobs.Getting a BSN degree will certainly set you apart from the 63 percent of RNs who do not yet have a four-year degree. In addition, you'll be ahead of the curve if your state begins requiring RNs to have a BSN degree as several states are discussing. Even where states accept a RN certificate program for a nursing license, individual hospitals are requiring a BSN degree for employment or advancement. Why limit yourself in your career?
Taking the time, money and effort to earn a BSN degree not only shows that you are committed to your nursing career. It sets you apart from the nearly two-thirds of RNs who still lack such a degree. This opens the door for higher salaries, promotions and even a career at some of the top hospitals and medical facilities in the U.S.