The nursing profession spans many different types of degrees and certifications. One of the most helpful is the BSN. But what exactly is a BSN in nursing?

What BSN Means

The letters BSN stand for Bachelor of Science in Nursing, meaning a person with a BSN has an undergraduate degree in nursing.


Nurses who have BSNs are usually licensed as Registered Nurses (RNs). You do not need a BSN to work as an RN (the entry level degree is an associate's degree), but having a BSN can boost your attractiveness to potential employers and lead to higher salaries.

Time Frame

As with most other undergraduate degrees, a BSN encompasses about four years of full-time study in a college or university.


Some employers will only hire RNs who hold a BSN. It is possible that a BSN may become the new minimum degree for prospective RNs, so new nurses are well advised to attain one.


Completing a BSN can be beneficial for nurses who aspire to become nurse practitioners, as a bachelor's degree is often a prerequisite.


It is possible to apply directly to a BSN program and apply for an RN license in conjunction with completing the program, but it is also possible to start with an associate's degree. RN to BSN programs are often available online or via part-time schedules that can accommodate full-time work.

Related Articles