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Data Spotlight: RN to Baccalaureate Program Characteristics

Published September 06, 2022

RN to Baccalaureate (BSN) programs play a central role in preparing a better-educated nursing workforce. RN to BSN degree completion programs provides additional education to registered nurses (RNs) who received their initial nursing preparation in diploma and associate degree (ADN) programs. These bridge programs build on previous learning, prepare nurses for a higher level of nursing practice, and provide RNs with the education necessary to move forward in their nursing careers.

Over the last 10 years, there has been an increase in the number of RN to BSN programs across all four regions of the U.S. (Figure 1). The south region has experienced the largest growth in the number of programs. Figure 2 depicts a 10-year growth of 15.8% in RN to BSN enrollments, acknowledging that there has been a recent decline in enrollments over the past four years. Graduations have increased 95.8% over the last 10 years.

While the number of RN to BSN programs being offered in a traditional setting has declined significantly, the number of programs being offered 100% online has increased by 25.35 percentage points (Figure 3). Online and hybrid programs offer working nurses and those in rural areas more flexibility and a viable option for academic advancement.

Figure 1: Number of RN to BSN Programs by Region

Figure 2: RN to BSN Enrollments and Graduations

Figure 3: Distance Education in RN to BSN Programs