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Bypass the Basics: Discover Online RN to BSN Programs Without Prerequisites

An online RN to BSN without prerequisites is a great way to increase your skills and earning potential without spending time on familiar concepts. See what these programs entail and the best schools offering them.

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A group of diverse healthcare professionals, including doctors and nurses, discussing and working with laptops and documents in a brightly lit modern office.

As a registered nurse, you’re well-aware of the ongoing nationwide shortage the profession is experiencing and the dangerous ratios of nurses to patients its forcing you and your colleagues to shoulder. If there is one silver lining, it’s that you can be sure that job security won’t be an issue for you any time soon. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there will be roughly 200,000 new positions available in the field over the next 10 years.

With a promise of job security this strong, you may find yourself fielding questions from friends and family about why you’re considering going back to school to earn a bachelor’s degree, especially if it entails retaking classes whose concepts you apply every day at work. Maybe it’s to make yourself more marketable to future employers, or to give yourself another bargaining chip when it comes time to negotiate your salary — after all, earning a BSN can give you the skills needed to provide a higher level of patient care, prepare you for supervisory positions, and boost your earning potential. Regardless of your reasons for considering a bachelor’s degree, RN to BSN programs with no prerequisites are an excellent choice. Not only do these programs allow you to take classes while working full time, but they also help you complete your degree more quickly by receiving credit for (and not having to sit through) courses you’ve already taken.

Keep reading to learn more about RN to BSN online bridge programs without prerequisites and get a look at the best ones available. We’ll walk you through the admissions requirements for BSN programs, strategies you can use to meet these standards, and more.

You already have a strong educational background in nursing, so you may feel confident that you know what to expect when you enroll in a program. To an extent, that is true, but that doesn’t mean you should take your program research any less seriously — you may be surprised by how online RN to BSN programs that have no prerequisites compare to the nursing education you received in the past. Take a look at the schools we’ve spotlighted below to get an idea of what to expect and explore a few of the best programs available today.

Rutgers University – Camden

Full-time students in the online RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at Rutgers University – Camden can complete their degree in just one year, making it a great choice for students working full time or anxious to minimize the amount of time they spend in the classroom. Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the New Jersey Board of Nursing, this program allows you to conveniently incorporate courses into your busy schedule while enjoying the small class sizes you’d typically find in a traditional program. Students receive support from professors and peers alike as they navigate the rigorous curriculum, which includes coursework in pathophysiology, global health policy, and biomedical ethics.

To help students complete their studies quickly, Rutgers University – Camden allows those with an associate degree to transfer up to 60 credits and avoid having to repeat any work they’ve completed already. Students also receive credit for passing the NCLEX examination. The admission process is straightforward and streamlined and does not include so a personal essay requirement.

University of Nevada, Reno

Offered through its Orvis School of Nursing, the RN to BSN program at the University of Nevada, Reno offers two paths to admission. Prospective students with an active, unencumbered registered nursing license who have graduated from an accredited nursing school with a minimum of 24 transferable credits and a 2.0 grade point average can enroll through the post-licensure admission path.

The other path to admission to this bridge program is through the school’s concurrent ADN/AAS enrollment option. This allows students who are currently registered in a nursing associate degree program to work toward their bachelor’s degree simultaneously. If you’re interested in being admitted in this way, you should be in the third or fourth semester of an accredited nursing associate degree program and have at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average. You should also have completed at least 24 transferable college credits before applying.

Students enrolled in both tracks are required to take classes on nursing leadership; social justice and healthcare; legal and ethical issues in nursing; and healthcare policy and regulation. Those who want to further immerse themselves in the school’s nursing community can participate in the Orvis Student Nurses’ Association, where people network with each other as they continue to develop as nursing professionals.

University of Texas at El Paso

The online RN to BSN program at the University of Texas at El Paso, which can be completed in roughly one year with no prerequisites, combines coursework with mentorship to help nurses build on their existing skills and become stronger contributors to the profession. The school requires bridge program students to take a role transition class to become familiar with the increased responsibilities they are likey to take on after earning a bachelor’s degree; as a result, students are positioned for success in their coursework and beyond. Coursework includes topics in health assessments; evidence-based research; nursing leadership and management; and nursing informatics and technology.

To build on their classroom instruction, students in the online RN to BSN program can participate in the UTEP Edge student success initiative, which is designed to help them sharpen their leadership, communication, teamwork, problem solving, and critical thinking skills. Participating students gain unparalleled capstone experience; partake in research activities and creative projects; and try their hands at community engagement. Students also participate in a practicum, where they work closely with a mentor to complete a project related to the nursing experience.

Is an Online RN to BSN Program Without Prerequisites Right for You?

Online RN to BSN programs that have no prerequisites can be an excellent way for you to upskill and reach your specific career goals. However, these degrees are not for everybody. It’s important to keep your strengths, needs, and limitations in mind before pursuing any program. To help you determine if an RN to BSN online program without prerequisites is right for you, consider the following factors.

Accelerated Learners

RN to BSN online programs without prerequisites may sound like a great idea, especially if you want to complete your bachelor’s degree in a short amount of time. However, it’s important to remember that an accelerated timeline means these programs can be intensive. If you thrive in a fast-paced learning environment this may be the right option for you—especially if your lifestyle allows it.

Busy Professionals

So much of determining the right program for you is identifying what would fit best with your current lifestyle. Are you in a job with flexible hours that would allow you to take the time to move slowly through your coursework? Or are you used to juggling a million tasks each day and squeezing additional learning in where and when you can? As a busy nurse, you may not want to devote years to earning an additional degree, making these programs the perfect way to advance academically and professional on your time.

Career Advancement Seekers

For many nurses, a BSN is the means to an end: career advancement. If this is the case for you, then an online RN to BSN program with no prerequisites is likely for you. Similarly, if you aspire to earn a graduate degree, which in turn can help you qualify for competitive positions like that of an advanced practice registered nurse, then these programs can set you on the path toward that goal. Alternatively, if career advancement is low on your list of priorities, you may find that a traditional program suits you better.

Cost-Conscious Individuals

Earning an online RN to BSN degree with no prerequisites allows you to save money for a number of reasons. If you attend a program that charges tuition on a per-credit basis you can guarantee you will save money you would otherwise have spent on credits you’ve already taken. At the University of Texas at El Paso, you’ll save $336.12 for every RN to BSN program credit you don’t have to retake. The fact that these programs are offered online means you’ll also save you money on transportation and other expenses associated with traveling back and forth to campus.

Nontraditional Students

Online RN to BSN programs with no prerequisites accept recent college graduates, but they are designed for “nontraditional” students who have spent several years working before deciding to continue their education. If you’re looking for a program where your needs, schedule, and experience will all be acknowledged, look no further. In fact, states like Texas are working to support nontraditional students in order to address their nursing shortages. Since online bridge programs provide so much flexibility, they’re a great choice for nontraditional students juggling personal and professional responsibilities already.

Working Nurses

RN to BSN online programs without prerequisites delivered in uniquely flexible formats to accommodate the schedules of working nurses. These programs’ curricula also recognize the value of the experience you gain with every day you spend at work as well as your educational background, meaning you don’t have to repeat classes you’ve already taken. Instead, online RN to BSN programs allow you to focus exclusively on enhancing the skills you already have. If you need a program that will meet you where you are, you’ve found it.

A Look at Additional Admission Requirements

Just because an online RN to BSN program has no prerequisites does not mean it has no admission requirements, and it’s important to understand what they are before you sit down to complete your application. Take a look at some of these admissions requirements to get a clearer picture of what schools generally expect and what areas of your application may need more work than others.

Associate Degree

Many schools that offer bachelor’s degrees in nursing expect applicants to have an associate degree, or in the case of a concurrent program, be working toward finishing one. An associate degree indicates to a program that you possess a foundational understanding of the topics you’ll be studying in greater depth as a BSN student. This is particularly important if you are hoping to attend a program without prerequisites. That said, some programs, like Chamberlain University’s online bridge program, also admit students who have a nursing diploma from an accredited school.

Background Check, Drug Screen, and Vaccination Records

Even if you’re attending nursing school online, part of the admissions process will include submitting to a background check that screens you for a criminal history. You’re likely familiar with this process already, since state and federal criminal background checks are required to receive a nursing license. Most schools also require applicants to submit proof of required vaccinations and a clean drug test before they are cleared to interact with patients.

Minimum GPA

The minimum grade point average expected when you apply to an RN to BSN program varies—though it typically ranges from 2.0 to 3.0. For example, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University asks applicants to have at least a 2.0; Arizona State University expects a 2.50; Tennessee Wesleyan University’s minimum GPA is 2.75; and George Washington University requires a 3.0.

Personal Statement

Writing a personal statement gives you the chance to put your best foot forward during the admissions process. While not all schools require personal statements, many that offer online RN to BSN programs, like the University of Maryland and Denver College of Nursing, do. Give yourself the time to write, receive feedback on, and rewrite your personal statement before submitting your application.

RN Licensure

If you’re planning to enroll in a concurrent program that allows you to earn an associate and bachelor’s degree simultaneously, then you will not be required to have an RN license before you start. Otherwise, you can expect this to be one of the minimum requirements for admission to an online RN to BSN program without prerequisites.

Work Experience

Work experience, like college credits, signals to an RN to BSN program without prerequisites that you already have a foundation in the courses you’re looking to waive. It can also work to your advantage to have professional experience in a niche you’re interested in pursuing as a nursing specialties.

Alternative Ways to Complete Prerequisites

Although you can quickly finish some online RN to BSN programs that have no prerequisites by waiving classes you completed during your previous nursing education, coursework is not the only way to get credits toward your degree. There are several alternative ways you can complete the prerequisites of a BSN degree program. Continue reading to find out how they work.

Credit by Exam

One way to complete your prerequisites and shorten the length of your degree program is by earning credit by examination (CBE). CBE allows you to demonstrate your proficiency in a topic without having to repeat a single lesson. Applicants to the RN to BSN program at the University of Maryland are also able to waive some of their degree requirements if they completed Advanced Placement classes, a College-Level Examination Program, or International Baccalaureate exams.

Dual Enrollment Programs

Dual enrollment programs can help you handle your education in an efficient way, allowing you to earn an associate and bachelor’s in nursing at the same time. Keep in mind that these programs can be extremely intensive, so consider the workload and your capacity to take it on when you apply.

Online Courses

Depending on your program, you may be able to conveniently take some or all of your prerequisite classes online. This can help you get caught up on the courses you need, while saving time and money.

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)

Prior learning assessments are a great way to leverage your work experience to earn credit toward your degree. The University of Memphis allows students in its online RN to BSN program to earn up to four credits by exam or based on their professional portfolios. Students can also receive credit for experiences like publishing in scholarly journals, participating in clinical leadership projects, earning a national nursing certification, and completing continuing education units. Seton Hill University and American Public University also provide PLA credit to nursing students based on their past work or volunteer activities.

Summer and Intensive Courses

The summer can be a good time for you to catch up on or get ahead of required coursework. Taking intensive summer classes can help you get these credits out of the way faster than you would during a regular semester.

Transfer Credits

RN to BSN programs allow you to transfer credits from your previous nursing education programs, helping you complete your degrees faster. The number of credits you can transfer to complete your prerequisite requirements varies from school to school, for example, Rutgers University – Camden students can transfer up to 60 credits toward their degree while BSN students at the University of Nevada, Reno can transfer just 24.