RN to BSN: Frequently Asked Questions

Interested in pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing after you’ve already been practicing nursing? Here are some RN to BSN tips to help you get started!

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What are my options for getting a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree?

There are 462 RN-to-BSN programs available across the country. RN-to-BSN programs may be face-to-face, online, or hybrid.  There are several programs within the state of Oregon—Oregon Health Sciences University, Linfield College, George Fox University, Warner Pacific University, University of Portland and Northwest Christian University.

See these websites for more information on all programs, including those in our state:


Can I afford to get my BSN? How much will it cost?

For information on the average cost of getting a BSN, click here. Don’t forget to look at this link under “Obstacles to returning to school.”

Check out the U.S. Dept of Education’s Net Cost Calculator for school:

Will my employer allow me to work full/part time?

Investigate options through your manager and department of education or human resources. Consider the flexibility of online programs.

 How long will it take for me to get a BSN?

Most have online learning options and take from 12 to 24 months to complete. Programs may be part-time or accelerated—you decide what works best for you.  Talk to other nurses who have gone back to school.

What are the advantages of earning a BSN degree? Why should I go back to school?

  • Possible increased salary now and in the future
  • More options for employment and career opportunities
  • Leadership skills enhancement and improved critical thinking abilities
  • Improved ability to use evidence to support your work
  • Professional preparation for roles in nursing management, population health, research and application of evidence-based practice, and healthcare in a rapidly changing healthcare environment
  • Personal satisfaction and sense of accomplishment
  • Many employers now require nurses to have at least a BSN degree
  • Improved patient safety outcomes in inpatient acute care facilities

What funding is available?

  • Seek funding through tuition reimbursement, financial aid, loans, and scholarships.
  • Make appointments to talk with human resources personnel, your nurse manager, local college financial aid representatives, bankers, and RN-to-BSN program directors to learn about possible funding sources.
  • Determine the best way to fund your education. If you need to work full-time while going to school, ask your nurse manager to support flexible scheduling to engage him or her in your goal for continuing your education.

You can find information about available scholarships and other funding here:




Have I been out of school too long to return?

It is never too late to get your BSN! There are many students getting a BSN degree from all ages and work settings – you will likely find others who have not taken a formal class for some time in your program.

Also ask yourself four key questions:

Have I reached my goals as a professional nurse? Having a BSN degree can expand your career options and help you reach your goals. Many positions require the BSN or strongly prefer to hire those with a BSN.

Can I afford or am I planning to retire in the next 5 to 10 years?  If not, then maybe returning to school would be a good idea.  Check with your employer to see what his/her vision for the future is.

Let’s say I choose not to return to school. Then what? Your employer may require that you have a BSN in your current position, and/or require you to have it to change to a new position.  With a BSN, you can feel confident whatever the future holds.

What if I have been out of school for a long time and I am not comfortable with computers?  Most programs provide support if you have difficulties with writing, computer, or study skills. Ask about this specifically when applying to a program.

I am too busy already. How can I fit classes into my schedule?

  • Advancing your education will help you to make positive changes in your career.
  • Many programs are designed to support the needs and schedules of working RNs
  • A wider variety of positions will be open to you
  • You will be a part of evidence-based reductions in infection rates, falls, and readmission rates
  • There are many reasons to return to school. Find the one that speaks to you!
**This information was compiled and prepared by the Oregon Action Coalition Education Committee.**