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In this article, we profile the top 50 most affordable RN to MSN online programs for 2020.

Job security and earnings usually increase with education. While a broad statement, this is especially true for the nursing industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a registered nurse can nearly double their income by transitioning from a diploma or associate’s in nursing to a bachelor’s degree. Add on a master’s in nursing, and the potential for increased pay skyrockets. We looked at accredited online RN to MSN programs designed for working nurses with an active RN license to see what affordable options were available.

Ranking Methodology for the 50 Affordable Top RN to MSN Online Programs

This is a list of the 50 most affordable online RN to MSN degree programs offered by nationally and/or regionally accredited colleges and universities. The programs on our list offer reputable graduate nursing programs and graduate tuition and fees below $31,000. We looked at approximately 158 accredited institutions listed by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) College Navigator that offered online RN to MSN programs. We confirmed accreditation and selected schools and/or programs that had earned rankings or recognition by U.S. News and World Report. From this list of recognized institutions, we chose the most affordable online nursing programs.

Below is our list of the top 50 most affordable online RN to MSN degree programs for 2020.

#50 – Sacred Heart University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Fairfield, Connecticut

Website

Sacred Heart University - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
CCNE-accredited RN to MSN online program – Sacred Heart University!

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $30,427

Sacred Heart University offers an online RN to MSN for individuals with a nursing diploma or associate’s degree. This accelerated program requires students to take 8-9 classes rather than the traditional 12, allowing students to be able to save time and money. In addition, Sacred Heart has a generous transfer policy allowing students to transfer up to 90 credits. If admitted, students choose a concentration area such as clinical nurse leader, nursing management, or nursing education. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education to confer master’s degrees to those who successfully complete all requirements. The program is ranked #91 in best online master’s in nursing programs and #9 in best online master’s in nursing education programs by U.S. News.

#49 – West Coast University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Los Angeles, California

Website

West Coast University - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
24 months to complete the RN to MSN online program at West Coast University.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $28,600

West Coast University offers an online master’s in nursing for individuals with a nursing diploma or associate’s degree. The program can be completed in 24 months making it a convenient option for working nurses. In addition to coursework, students are required to complete 270 hours of clinical hours to apply what they learn in the classroom. Courses may include ethics in healthcare, health promotion and disease prevention, and principles of teaching and learning. Admission requires students to possess a diploma or associate’s degree in nursing from a Board of Nursing Licensed program with a minimum of a 3.0 GPA. Applicants with a lower GPA may be admitted on probation.

#48 – Wilkes University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania

Website

Wilkes University - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
Ranked by U.S. News! Wilkes University – top choice for RN to MSN online programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $27,024

Wilkes University offers an online RN to MSN degree to practicing RNs with a diploma or associate’s degree. This program does not award a pass-through bachelor’s in nursing. Students can choose from concentrations in adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, or psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. Admission requirements include nursing licensure, minimum one year of clinical experience, transcripts, and resume. Courses may include advanced role development in nursing, diagnostic reasoning for nurse practitioners, and theoretical foundations of nursing science. Wilkes has a solid academic reputation and ranks in multiple U.S. News and World Report rankings including #211 in national universities and #138 in top performers in social mobility.

#47 – University of San Francisco

Online Master’s in Nursing

San Francisco, California

Website

University of San Francisco - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
100% online and affordable RN to MSN online degree. University of San Francisco!

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $25,810

The University of San Francisco’s online master’s in nursing is designed for those with an associate’s degree in nursing from an accredited program. Classes are offered year-round and can be completed in just two years. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and the California State Board of Registered Nursing to confer master’s degrees. Students receive assistance setting up their clinical hours as the university has partnerships with medical institutions around the country. Most students set up clinicals at their current place of employment. U.S. News and World Report ranks the program #88 in best online master’s in nursing and #6 in best online master’s in nursing administration.

#46 – La Salle University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Website

La Salle University - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
A hybrid RN to MSN online degree program – La Salle University!

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $25,630

La Salle University’s online master’s in nursing ranks #45 in our list of most affordable RN to MSN online programs for 2020. The program is offered in a hybrid format with online courses and either evening or weekend classes designed to be built around students’ work schedules. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and includes courses such as health assessment, international public health nursing, nursing research, and statistics. Backed by an outstanding regional reputation in the Philadelphia area and beyond, La Salle University ranks #38 in regional universities North and #24 in best value schools by U.S. News and World Report.

#45 – University of Pittsburgh

Online Master’s in Nursing

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Website

University of Pittsburgh - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
Fully ranked and accredited online RN to MSN! University of Pittsburgh!

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $24,480

The University of Pittsburgh offers an RN to MSN online for current registered nurses possessing a nursing diploma or associate’s degree (ADN). Students seeking admission must submit a copy of their current RN license along with a personal statement, resume, transcripts, and three letters of recommendation. In addition, the applicant must have a minimum 3.0 GPA. Once admitted, students can choose from a variety of nursing career paths such as nurse midwife, clinical nurse, nurse practitioner, pediatric nurse, and more. The University of Pittsburgh is a world-renowned institution and ranks #57 in national universities by U.S. News and World Report. Moreover, the institution ranks #26 in best online master’s in nursing programs and in the top six of three other online master’s in nursing program specialties.

#44 – Seton Hall University

Online Master’s in Nursing

South orange, New Jersey

Website

Seton Hall University - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
A top ranked and affordable RN to MSN online program – Seton Hall University!

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $24,350

Seton Hall offers an online RN to MSN bridge program for those with a nursing diploma or an associate degree in nursing along with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. In addition, applicants must have at least one year of nursing experience and a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a scale of 4.0. Other admission requirements include a personal statement, resume, and two letters of recommendation (one professional, one academic). Backed by a solid national ranking of #139, Seton Hall enjoys a sound academic reputation. Additionally, the online master’s in nursing program ranked very well, coming in at #17 out of 1,200 programs ranked by U.S. News and World Report.

#43 – Simmons University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Boston, Massachusetts

Website

Simmons University - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
CCNE-accredited and affordable options! Simmons University’s online master’s in nursing!

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $21,818

Simmons University offers an online master’s in nursing with a focus on family nurse practitioner. Students with a nursing diploma or an associate’s degree in nursing are eligible to apply. A bachelor’s degree is not required. The program is fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and allows students to attend either full- or part-time. The clinical placement team will assist all students in setting up a clinical site and preceptor based on program requirements in location. Students will complete 68 credits and a minimum of 836 clinical hours. The program ranks #11 in best online family nurse practitioner master’s programs by U.S. News and World Report.

#42 – Quinnipiac University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Hamden, Connecticut

Website

Quinnipiac University - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
Nursing specializations available! Quinnipiac University’s RN to MSN online program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $19,730

Quinnipiac University offers an RN to MSN online focusing on operational leadership. As health care services continue to increase in demand, nurses trained in leadership and coordination of day-to-day services is needed. Students can transfer in up to 90 credits upon approval. Individuals transferring in less than 90 credits will be required to take foundational courses before taking MSN curriculum. Courses in the program may include contemporary issues and roles in nursing practice, educational principles for the health care professional, and human factors and patient safety. Quinnipiac was founded in 1929 and enjoys a solid academic reputation throughout the Northeast and ranks #153 in national universities by U.S. News and World Report.

#41 – Frontier Nursing University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Hyden, Kentucky

Website

Frontier Nursing University - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
Ranked by U.S. News! Frontier Nursing University’s online master’s in nursing.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $19,675

Frontier Nursing University offers an online RN to MSN with specialties in nurse-midwife, family nurse practitioner, women’s health care nurse practitioner, and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. Admission to the program requires a student to possess a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing discipline along with an active nursing license as a result of completing a nursing diploma or associate’s degree. Other admission criteria include a 3.0 minimum GPA, one year nursing experience, and nursing portfolio. Frontier Nursing School ranks in multiple categories by U.S. News and World Report, including #64 in best nursing schools master’s and #54 in best nursing schools doctor of nursing practice.

#40 – University of Connecticut

Online Master’s in Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

Storrs, Connecticut

Website

University of Connecticut - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
No GRE required! University of Connecticut’s RN to MSN online program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $19,056

The University of Connecticut offers an online master’s in nursing focusing on neonatal care. The 44-credit program is designed for working nurses and allows full- or part-time coursework. All coursework and programming are online with the exception of three brief visits to campus for orientation and coursework. Courses may include advanced health assessment across the lifespan, health policy and populations-based advocacy for the scholarship of application, and nursing science and patterns of knowing. Admission requires three letters of reference, resume, transcripts, and GPA of at least a 3.0. The GRE is not required. The institution ranks #82 in best online master’s in nursing programs by U.S. News and World Report.

#39 – Southern New Hampshire University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Manchester, New Hampshire

 

Website

Southern New Hampshire University - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
100% online RN to MSN – Southern New Hampshire University!

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $18,810

Southern New Hampshire University’s online master’s in nursing is an accelerated option allowing currently licensed RNs to earn a master’s degree in an efficient manner through engaging coursework taught by caring faculty. Students must have completed a nursing diploma or associate’s degree from an accredited institution and have an unencumbered license. Accepted students are initially enrolled in the RN to BSN program to earn a bachelor’s degree as part of the MSN pathway. Courses include ethical and legal considerations of healthcare, information management and patient care technologies, research and evidence based practice, and systems leadership for continuous quality. SNHU ranks #1 in innovation by U.S. News and World Report.

#38 – Samford University

Online Master’s in Family Nurse Practitioner

Birmingham, Alabama

Website

Samford University - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
Samford University does not require the GRE for admission to the RN to MSN online program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $18,364

Samford University’s RN to MSN online program is housed in the Ida Moffett School of Nursing and prepares graduates for a career as a family nurse practitioner. Admission criteria include an unencumbered nursing license, associate of science in nursing, 3.0 GPA, and a video submission. The GRE is not required for admission. Featured coursework includes clinical prevention and population, healthcare research and introduction, leadership and management, and population health and policy. The program is designed for working nurses and can be completed in just two and a half to three years. The nursing program is ranked #75 in best online master’s in nursing programs by U.S. News and World Report.

#37 – Robert Morris University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Moon Township, Pennsylvania

Website

Robert Morris University - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
Ranked by U.S. News! Robert Morris University’s RN to MSN online program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $18,000

The online RN to MSN program prepares current RNs for career advancement through the completion of a master’s degree where they learn critical care and leadership skills that can be applied to clinical, community, and educational settings. The 37-credit program is housed in the School of Nursing, Education and Human Studies and is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Admission requirements include 2.5 minimum nursing GPA, current resume, transcripts, and an unencumbered nursing license. Sample courses include health policy and economics, health promotion and assessment, and nursing research. The program has a solid academic reputation as evidenced by its #55 ranking in best online master’s in nursing programs by U.S. News and World Report.

#36 – Northwest Christian University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Eugene, Oregon

Website

Northwest Christian University - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
Fully online nursing program! Northwest Christian University.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $17,610

Northwest Christian University offers an online RN to MSN designed for working professionals who desire a graduate education without interrupting their personal and work-related commitments. Once accepted and matriculated, students also earn a bachelor’s of nursing degree near the midpoint of the program. The program can be completed fully online in just 18-24 months and offers concentrations in nurse leadership in health systems and nursing education. The program has an excellent reputation in the industry and is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and is ranked #72 in top regional universities West by U.S. News and World Report.

#35 – University of Maryland

Online Master’s in Nursing

Baltimore, Maryland

Website

University of Maryland - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
Ideal for working nurses! University of Maryland’s online RN to MSN.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $17,038

The University of Maryland at College Park offers an online master’s in nursing with specializations in public health nursing, health services leadership and management, and nursing informatics. The 69-71 credit program can be completed in as little as two years and allows students to continue uninterrupted with their professional and personal lives while earning their degree. Courses may include health informatics for the registered nurse, health promotion and population health, and public health nursing essentials for the registered nurse. In addition to earning a master’s degree, students also obtain their bachelor’s degree in nursing and are able to reap the career benefits of a BSN.

#34 – Franklin University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Columbus, Ohio

Website

Franklin University - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
21-30 months to complete the online RN to MSN at Franklin University.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,080

Franklin University offers one of our top ranked online master’s in nursing due to its quality coursework and affordable education. The entire program can be completed in just 21-30 months, which includes a 12-week bridge course that prepares students for master’s level nursing coursework. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and features a contemporary curriculum designed for today’s nurse. Once the bridge course is completed, students can choose from concentrations in family nurse practitioner and a master’s of science in nursing. The MS degree can be finished in 18 months and is fully online. The FNP program can be completed in 27 months and blends online coursework with onsite clinicals.

#33 – South University

Online Master’s in Nursing Education

Savannah, Georgia

Website

South University - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
A fully accredited program! South University’s online MSN.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,819

South University’s RN to MSN online ranks #33 on our list of affordable RN to MSN programs. The degree prepares current nurses to become nursing educators preparing the next generation of nurses. In addition, graduates are well prepared for careers in direct patient care nursing or nursing administration. MSN core classes include advanced theoretical perspectives for nursing, health policy and health promotion in advanced nursing practice, and role of the advanced practice nurse – transformational leadership in advanced practice. South’s program is fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), which is the premier accreditation commission in higher education.

#32 – Maryville University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Saint Louis, Missouri

Website

Maryville University - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
U.S. News and World Report ranks Maryville’s online RN to MSN!

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,646

Maryville University offers an online RN to MSN with several specialty tracks such as family nurse practitioner, adult gerontology primary care nurse, pediatric nurse practitioner, and more. The program’s coursework is rigorous and flexible with all classes online. Students are not required to visit campus and can complete clinical hours in their own communities. Courses may include adult gerontology acute care diagnosis and management, evidence based practice in nursing, and theoretical foundations of nursing practice. Maryville University has become one of the leading online institutions and ranks in multiple U.S. News and World Report categories including #202 in national universities and #132 in best online master’s in nursing programs.

#31 – Jacksonville University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Jacksonville, Florida

Website

Jacksonville University - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
Ranked by U.S. News! Jacksonville University’s online RN to MSN.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,706

Administered by both the Brooks Rehabilitation College of Healthcare Science and the Keigwin School of Nursing at Jacksonville, the online master’s in nursing prepares current RNs for careers as nurse leaders, clinical nurse educators, or nurse informatics professionals. Students are awarded BSN and MSN degrees at the end of the program after successfully completing all requirements. Admission requirements include unencumbered license, transcripts, GRE composite score of at least 290, three letters of recommendation, resume, and statement of intent. Jacksonville University ranks #66 in best online master’s in nursing programs and #28 in regional universities South by U.S. News and World Report.

#30 – Lourdes University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Sylvania, Ohio

Website

Lourdes University - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs
Accredited and affordable! Lourdes University’s RN to MSN online program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,490

Lourdes University offers one of the most affordable online MSN programs, which can be completed in ten or eleven semesters. Once accepted, students take six bridge courses then begin working on MSN level coursework. Admission requires students to send transcripts, proof of licensure, and recommender information. Admission decisions take 48 hours once all materials are received. Featured undergraduate bridge courses include concepts in leadership and management, concepts in population focused nursing, and foundations for evidence-based practice. Founded in 1958, Lourdes ranks in multiple U.S. News and World Report categories including #117 in regional universities West and #86 in top performers in social mobility.

#29 – MidAmerica Nazarene University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Olathe, Kansas

Website

MidAmerican Nazarene University - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
RN to MSN online in just 36 months! MidAmerican Nazarene University.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,409

Cheap online nursing programs such as the one offered by MidAmerica Nazarene University provide licensed RNs with a convenient pathway to earn a master’s in nursing. Students complete both a BSN and MSN in as little as 36 months. Admission requirements include all general education requirements be completed, an unencumbered RN license, and a 3.0 in pre-licensure nursing program. Students take a wide range of theoretical and practical classes such as community health nursing, future of nursing, quality and safety in nursing, and transition to baccalaureate nursing practice. Located in Olathe, Kansas, MidAmerica Nazarene ranks #92 in regional universities Midwest.

#28 – Olivet Nazarene University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Bourbonnais, Illinois

Website

Olivet Nazarene University - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
30-36 months! Olivet Nazarene University’s online RN to MSN programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,420

Olivet Nazarene University ranks #28 on our list of most affordable RN to MSN online programs. The degree is designed for individuals with an associate’s degree or diploma in nursing who is seeking a graduate degree in a continuous fashion. The degree consists of 54-76 credits, 45 BSN practicum hours and 720 FNP practicum hours. The program length ranges from just 30-36 months. The nursing program boasts a 94% retention rate and is designed to work around the professional lives of working nurses. Admission requirements include an ADN, AAS, or diploma in nursing, 3.0 GPA, and a copy of a nursing license.

#27 – Brenau University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Gainesville, Georgia

Website

Brenau University - Online RN to MSN
Affordability! Brenau University’s online RN to MSN programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,254

Brenau University offers an Online RN to MSN with three concentrations including family nurse practitioner, nurse educator, and nurse leader/manager. The accelerated program can be finished in either two years and one semester or three years and one semester, depending on the concentration chosen. Admission documents and criteria include a 3.0 GPA, nursing license, list of references, resume, and personal statement. Courses may include advanced health assessment and diagnostic reasoning, financial management in health care, nursing leadership and management practicum, and organizational systems in health care. Brenau’s solid reputation has earned them a #38 ranking in regional universities South and #37 in best value schools by U.S. News and World Report.

#26 – University of Arizona

Online Master’s in Nursing

Tucson, Arizona

Website

University of Arizona - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
A fast-paced and rigorous online RN to MSN program! University of Arizona.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,271

The University of Arizona offers registered nurses with an associate’s degree in nursing an online RN to MSN in an accelerated format that can be completed in just 24 months. Students with a BSN can complete the program in just 15 months. Students take courses such as clinical systems leadership immersion, foundations of systems leadership, healthcare environments and care coordination, and health information and patient care technologies. The time to completion varies as students can choose between full- and part-time enrollment. The ADN track has 11 courses and can be completed in just 24 months. The institution ranks #31 in best online master’s in nursing programs by U.S. News and World Report.

#25 – University of North Carolina

Online Master’s in Nursing

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Website

University of North Carolina - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
Ranked by U.S. News among the top 10 best value schools! UNC – top choice for RN to MSN online degrees!

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,522

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers one of our most affordable online MSN programs based on affordable tuition and value. Applicants must be current registered nurses and have completed 51 college-level courses, including pre-nursing courses as identified by the university. Students engage in courses that facilitate accretion in knowledge and nursing skills, such as applied health informatics in complex health care systems, managing human resources in complex health care systems, and population health interprofessional management in a changing health care system. UNC has an outstanding academic reputation and ranks #29 in national universities and #10 in best value schools by U.S. News and World Report.

#24 – Nebraska Methodist College

Online Master’s in Nursing Education

Omaha, Nebraska

Website

Nebraska Methodist College - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
Ideal for RNs! Nebraska Methodist College’s affordable RN to MSN online programs!

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,105

Nebraska Methodist College offers an RN to MSN online for registered nurses hoping to earn a master’s degree with a focus on nursing education. Part of the national nursing shortage is due to a shortage in nursing educators. Graduates from the program should be well positioned to gain employment upon graduation. This online program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and can be completed in just 30 months. Applicants must possess an associate degree or diploma in nursing and have a minimum of a 3.0 GPA. In addition, students should have an unencumbered nursing license. No GRE scores are required to apply.

#23 – Thomas Edison State University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Trenton, New Jersey

Website

Thomas Edison State University - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
A cheap online RN to MSN offered by Thomas Edison State University!

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,024

Thomas Edison State University offers one of our cheap online nursing programs that combines affordable tuition and quality curriculum taught by highly trained faculty. Students can choose from specialties in nurse educator, nurse administrator, or nursing informatics. Students must complete an additional 27 credits beyond the 120 required for the BSN degree. There is no maximum time limit on completing the program, as long as students complete at least three credits of Thomas Edison coursework every 12 months. This scheduling model allows for maximum flexibility and pacing for busy RNs trying to balance school and work, and it also helps spread out the financial cost of the degree.

#22 – Herzing University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin

Website

Herzing University - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
100% online – Herzing University’s RN to MSN online programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,680

Herzing University offers a flexible and affordable online RN to MSN accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education that can be completed in less than two years. Herzing has an excellent academic reputation and ranks #113 in best online master’s degrees in nursing by U.S. News and World Report. The program is delivered 100% online and staff will help students gain placement for their clinicals. Students can choose from specializations in family nurse practitioner, nurse educator, and nursing leadership and administration. Herzing University, located in Madison, Wisconsin is ranked #113 in best online master’s in nursing programs by U.S. News and World Report.

#21 – Clarkson College

Online Master’s in Nursing

Omaha, Nebraska

Website

Clarkson College - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
Ranked and accredited! Clarkson College’s RN to MSN online degree.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,658

Registered nurses looking for cheap online nursing programs may find the program at Clarkson College meets their needs due to its affordable tuition and flexible online scheduling. The program allows those with an associate’s degree or diploma in nursing to earn a bachelor’s in nursing, followed by a master’s. Once students earn the bachelor’s degree, they are able to customize their MSN curriculum according to their career interests. Specialty areas include nursing administration, nursing education, adult gerontology primary care nursing, and family nurse practitioner. Length of the program varies by enrollment. Full-time students can finish in nine semesters, while part-time students can graduate in 12+ semesters.

#20 – Concordia University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Mequon, Wisconsin

Website

Concordia University - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
Affordable online RN to MSN programs offered at Concordia University.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,172

Students searching for affordable online MSN programs may find the RN to MSN program at Concordia University Wisconsin designed for busy registered nurses seeking upward career mobility through completion of a master’s degree. The program offers specialties in family nurse practitioner, adult gerontology nurse practitioner, and nurse educator. The admission requirements include an ADN from an accredited nursing school, minimum 3.0 GPA, current RN license, and current CPR certification. The degree is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and features courses such as advanced evidence based nursing practice, foundations of health care informatics, global perspectives in health care, and role transition for APN.

#19 – The University of Alabama

Online Master’s in Nursing

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Website

The University of Alabama - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
A highly affordable RN to MSN online degree! The University of Alabama!

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,780

The University of Alabama offers one of our most affordable online MSN programs, coming in at #19. Alabama’s program features an accelerated format for experienced RNs who possess a nursing diploma or associate’s degree. Required nursing courses include advanced financing and strategic planning in health care, community health for registered nurses, and U.S. health care systems and quality and safety. To be considered for the MSN program, students must have completed all undergraduate coursework and have an unencumbered RN license and a GPA of at least 3.0. The institution ranks in several U.S. News and World Report categories including #153 in national universities and #129 in best value schools.

#18 – University of Missouri

Online Master’s in Nursing

Columbia, Missouri

Website

University of Missouri - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
CCNE-accredited and affordable! RN to MSN online programs at University of Missouri.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,478

Cheap online nursing programs such as the one offered by the University of Missouri provides students with quality coursework and flexible distance classes accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Administered through the Sinclair School of Nursing, graduates are eligible for the nurse educator certificate from the National League of Nursing. All courses are offered online with only one or two campus visits required. Students can transfer in up to 40 of the 120 required credits. Classes may include advanced health assessment and promotion, clinical management of acute and critical care problems, public health and sociocultural issues, and theoretical basis for advanced nursing.

#17 – University of Texas

Online Master’s in Nursing

Arlington, Texas

Website

University of Texas - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
Highly affordable options for RN to MSN online programs – University of Texas Arlington!

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,248

Institutions offering affordable online MSN programs like the University of Texas at Arlington prepare current registered nurses for career advancement through graduate coursework and additional time learning skills in the field. The program prepares students to implement evidence based care in a wide variety of primary care settings. The program is structured so that students earn their BSN and MSN in less time than doing the programs separately. Applicants must complete the application and have an active RN license and a 3.0 GPA. Students that do not have a license but graduated within one year of an ADN program can still apply.

#16 – Oklahoma Baptist University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Shawnee, Oklahoma

Website

Oklahoma Baptist University - online RN to MSN
No GRE! Oklahoma Baptist University’s online RN to MSN program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,900

Oklahoma Baptist University offers current registered nurses who possess a two-year nursing degree or diploma with an RN to MSN online program accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The program is administered through the College of Graduate and Professional Studies and mandates that potential students submit a current resume, statement of purpose, transcript, and two recommendation forms in order to apply. The GRE is not required. If admitted, students take advanced nursing courses such as community and population health, health care and nursing informatics, and philosophical foundations of professional nursing. The institution has garnered an excellent regional reputation and ranks #7 in regional universities West by U.S. News and World Report.

#15 – Ohio University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Athens, Ohio

Website

Ohio University - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
Fully accredited by the CCNE! Ohio University’s online RN to MSN.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,720

Ohio University offers an RN to MSN online for individuals with a BSN degree from an accredited nursing school. The program’s coursework is offered online and gives students the option to choose from four different concentrations including family nurse practitioner, nurse educator, adult gerontologic acute care nurse practitioner, and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. Depending on the program, students will engage in 2-4 on-campus intensives. Ohio University ranks very well among its peers by U.S. News and World report including #185 in national universities, #92 in top public schools, and is fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

#14 – Wheeling University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Wheeling, West Virginia

Website

Wheeling University - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
Wheeling University’s online master’s in nursing costs less than $10,000 per year.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,710

Wheeling University offers one of our top cheap online nursing programs for individuals with an ADN or nursing diploma from an accredited nursing school. The program is designed for working RNs, with all coursework conducted online. Clinicals are completed in the student’s own community. Students must possess a valid nursing license and either a nursing diploma or associate’s degree. In addition, students must have a 3.0 minimum GPA (GRE or MAT scores required for those who do not meet the threshold), and successful completion of an undergraduate statistics course. Students must also dictate what specialty track they want (nursing administration, education specialist, or family nurse practitioner), and submit three letters of recommendation.

#13 – Carson-Newman University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Jefferson City, Tennessee

Website

Carson-Newman University - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
No test scores required for admission to the RN to MSN online program at Carson-Newman University.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,227

Carson-Newman University offers one of the top affordable online MSN programs due to its affordable tuition rates and quality curriculum. The institution is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Moreover, Carson-Newman is ranked #293 in national universities and #119 in top performers on social mobility. All courses are online (except for clinical practicum and residency) with a completion time of four years. The residency is one three days and students are able to continue full-time work when conducting clinical hours. No test scores are required to apply.

#12 – University of Central Florida

Online Master’s in Nursing

Orlando, Florida

Website

University of Central Florida - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
Affordable and accredited! University of Central Florida’s RN to MSN online program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,872

Students searching for cheap online nursing programs with quality curriculum and highly trained faculty may find the RN to MSN program at UCF a plausible option. Students with a nursing diploma or nursing associate’s degree along with a non-nursing bachelor’s are eligible to apply. In addition to the general coursework, students can choose from specialties in nursing leadership and management, nurse educator, and nursing and healthcare simulation. The nursing and healthcare simulation major is for nurses seeking new career opportunities as subject matter experts in evaluating the effectiveness of nursing simulation programs. The program ranks #31 nationally in best online master’s in nursing programs by U.S. News and World Report.

#11 – University of Mississippi

Online Master’s in Nursing

University, Mississippi

Website

University of Mississippi - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
Several nursing tracks available! University of Mississippi’s online RN to MSN.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,828

The University of Mississippi’s RN to MSN online is housed within the institution’s School of Nursing and is designed for those with a nursing diploma or associate’s degree and a valid nursing license. Students can choose from several career tracks including nursing administration, nursing education, and four practitioner tracks. The program offers flexible enrollment options and is designed for working RNs to continue their careers in an uninterrupted fashion while working towards a graduate nursing degree. Students may take courses such as concepts of professional nursing practice, finance and leadership in health care systems, portal to organizational leadership and communication, and research design and methods for advanced nursing practice.

#10 – Lamar University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Beaumont, Texas

Website

Lamar University - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
Ideal for working RNs! Lamar University’s online RN to MSN.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,264

Lamar University offers an online RN to MSN for those with an unencumbered RN license and a diploma or associate’s degree in nursing from an accredited institution. In addition to earning an MSN upon successful completion, students also earn a BSN as they progress through their coursework. Students can choose from concentrations in administration, education, acute care adult gerontologic nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, and several other specialties. Coursework may include advanced nursing issues, evidence based project I&II, and healthcare policy and finance. Lamar University ranks #293 in national universities and #111 in best online master’s in nursing programs by U.S. News and World Report.

#9 – Spring Arbor University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Spring Arbor, Michigan

Website

Spring Arbor University - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
A top-ranked RN to MSN online program! Spring Arbor University.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,176

Spring Arbor University ranks as one of our top ranked cheap online nursing programs, featuring rigorous curriculum and career tracks in family nurse practitioner and adult gerontology and primary care nurse practitioner. The course scheduling follows a 7-1-7 model with seven-week courses followed by a week off to rejuvenate and recharge. Students are also able to continue working full-time in their current nursing careers. Graduates go on to successful and fulfilling career,s along with increased earning potential. The average annual salary for nurse practitioners is $107,460, which is 60% higher than the average RN salary. Students with a nursing diploma or associate’s degree are encouraged to apply.

#8 – University of South Alabama

Online Master’s in Nursing

Mobile, Alabama

Website

University of South Alabama - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
20 specialties! University of South Alabama’s online RN to MSN programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,156

The University of South Alabama offers one of the most affordable online MSN programs for registered nurses with an unencumbered RN license and a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. The program offers an astounding 20 specialties and sub-specialties for individuals seeking a specific career. Provisional admission is based on a minimum 2.75 GPA and resume demonstrating at least two years of experience in an appropriate area. Students must also pass background checks, health screenings, and drug screenings. Courses include evidence-based practice and quality improvement in health care, health care policy and finance, and organizational and systems leadership, and scientific underpinnings of advanced nursing practice.

#7 – Stevenson University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Stevenson, Maryland

Website

Stevenson University - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
CCNE-accredited and fully online! Stevenson University’s RN to MSN online.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,040

Stevenson University offers cheap online nursing programs for registered RNs with convenient online sessions for working nurses. Once accepted, students can choose from concentrations in nursing education, nursing leadership and management, and population-based care coordination. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and requires students to have a current nursing license in good standing, 3.0 minimum GPA, official transcripts, and completion of ENG 151 or equivalent. Students may transfer up to 70 credits of approved coursework from community colleges or baccalaureate institutions. Stevenson ranks #75 in regional universities North and #106 in best online master’s in nursing programs by U.S. News and World Report.

#6 – Appalachian State University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Boone, North Carolina

Website

Appalachian State University - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
A fully online RN to MSN program! Appalachian State University.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,976

Students vetting affordable online MSN programs may consider the program offering at Appalachian State University, which is designed for working registered nurses with a bachelor’s in nursing or a diploma or associate’s in nursing and a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field. Other admission requirements include a current and unrestricted RN license, C grade or higher in undergraduate statistics and research courses, and an acceptable GRE score (waived for those with a 3.5 GPA). In addition, students are expected to have at least one year of experience as a registered nurse. Appalachian State ranks #6 in regional universities South by U.S. News and World Report.

#5 – Western Governors University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Raleigh, North Carolina

Website

Western Governors University - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
Cheap and accredited! RN to MSN online program at Western Governors University.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,790

WGU North Carolina offers one of the top ranked cheap online nursing programs for individuals seeking to become nurse educators where the main function of the job is to teach and train the next generation of nurses. The program is online and also features exciting and cutting-edge virtual reality training and immersions. Nearly 85% of students completed the degree in just 24 months with 97% recommending the WGU program. To be considered for the program, applicants must possess an unencumbered RN license and have earned a nursing diploma or associate’s degree. They must also be actively working as an RN at the time of application.

#4 – Ferris State University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Big Rapids, Michigan

Website

Ferris State University - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
A program designed for full-time nurses! Ferris State’s online RN to MSN program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,608

Ferris State University ranks as one of our most affordable online MSN programs that include bridge classes that prepare students for MSN coursework. The accelerated format means students engage in rigorous curriculum in an efficient manner. The program allows students to attend full- or part-time with a maximum time to completion of five years. In addition, students can also take a semester off, should they need to, which is rare because the program is designed for full-time nurses. The program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. In addition, the institution ranks #293 in national universities by U.S. News and World Report.

#3 – University of North Alabama

Online Master’s in Nursing

Florence, Alabama

Website

University of North Alabama - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
Ranked by U.S. News! The CCNE-accredited RN to MSN online program at University of North Alabama.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,200

The University of North Alabama’s RN to MSN online is designed for current nurses with a diploma or associate’s degree in nursing from an accredited institution. The North Alabama program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) to confer bachelor and master’s degrees in nursing upon successful completion of all requirements. Students should possess a minimum 3.0 GPA and have a diploma or associate’s degree in nursing. After completing 12 course hours, the student will earn a bachelor’s degree, then work with their academic adviser to receive permission to take MSN level coursework. UNA is ranked #43 in regional universities South by U.S. News and World Report.

#2 – American Military University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Charles Town, West Virginia

Website

American Military University - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
Ranked and accredited – American Military University’s RN to MSN online program is highly affordable.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,005

American Military University ranks second on our list of cheap online nursing programs. The institution welcomes those who are diploma- or associate degree-prepared in nursing to apply to the program where, if accepted, they will earn an accelerated MSN degree in nurse education or nurse leadership. Major course requirements include emerging trends and scholarship in healthcare, integrated pathophysiology and clinical pharmacology, and science of evidence-based practice. In addition to a diploma or associate degree, students must have a minimum 3.0 GPA, current resume, personal statement, and unrestricted RN license. AMU is part of the U.S. News and World Report cohort of top regional universities South.

#1 – American Sentinel University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Aurora, Colorado

Website

American Sentinel University - Top 50 Affordable RN to MSN Online Programs 2020
#1 most affordable RN to MSN online program – American Sentinel University!

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,840

American Sentinel University ranks number one on our list of affordable online MSN programs based on its streamlined delivery and affordable tuition. The program features 19 courses administered in an 8-weeks-per-class format. People are eligible, provided they possess a nursing diploma or associate degree from an accredited program and have an active unencumbered RN license. Students typically finish the program in approximately three years, which results in both a bachelor’s and master’s in nursing. Students can choose from a wide variety of specialties depending on their career goals. Specialties include nursing management, case management, nursing education, nursing informatics, and infection prevention and control.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I earn an online RN to MSN degree?

Current RNs with a nursing diploma or associate’s degree have several reasons to pursue admittance to an RN to MSN online degree. For most, the main consideration is the increase in salary when completing the program, which can be substantial. Most programs also confer a bachelor’s in nursing at approximately the mid-point of the curriculum. This means students get two significant salary bumps as they continue working toward the end goal of the MSN. According to data collected from compensation research firm PayScale, the average RN with a diploma or two-year degree earns 65K per year compared to RNs with a bachelor’s degree who earn an average annual salary of 83K. Moreover, those with MSN degrees make approximately 92K per year. These figures show that MSN degrees offer an excellent return on investment, with the advantage of earning a raise on two separate occasions. In terms of lifetime earnings, data shows MSN holders with 10-20 years of experience earn 105K-110K per year.

In addition to increased pay, nurses with advanced degrees enjoy higher levels of job satisfaction because of increased job flexibility and autonomy. As with other occupations, individuals with more education often have seniority over those with less education – nursing is no different. MSN level nurses often have priority when it comes to their work setting and shift placements.

How much money can I earn with one of these RN to MSN online cheap programs?

According to our research, individuals who go on to earn an RN to MSN degree typically see a major increase in their earning in both the short- and long-term. Looking at May 2018 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows nurse anesthetists, nurse practitioners, and nurse midwives make $103,770-$167,995 per year for an average of $113,930. When disaggregated, the data shows nurse anesthetists earn a median wage of $167,995 compared to $107,030 for nurse practitioners and $103,770 for nurse midwives. For context, the average annual earnings for all occupations are $38,640, making an online MSN degree an excellent investment.

When looking at the industry, state, local, and private hospitals pay these three professions an average of $120,540, which is the highest among the health care industries. Educational services at the state and local levels pay the lowest average of $104,310.

A popular career option for individuals graduating from RN to MSN programs is the nurse practitioner specialty. These professionals diagnose and treat health-related issues as part of a team or individually. When looking at geographical data for this occupation, the data shows California pays the highest median wage of $133,780 per year followed by Alaska and Massachusetts that pay $122,880 and $122,740 respectively. Rounding out the top five states are New Jersey and New York, which pay $122,100 and $120,970.

What courses will I take in an RN to MSN online program?

An RN to MSN pathway includes substantial coursework, as it takes individuals with a diploma or an associate’s degree to the graduate level. It’s common for these programs to confer a bachelor’s degree as part of the pathway to the master’s degree. So when we look at coursework and credits, a bachelor’s degree in nursing requires 120 credits while a master’s degree can be anywhere from 30-50 additional credits. Coursework is wide, ranging from the general education courses required for nearly all bachelor’s degrees such as English composition, natural sciences, social sciences, communications, and mathematics.

In addition to general education courses, students must also complete specific math and science courses as part of their nursing curriculum. These courses typically include classes such as microbiology, anatomy and physiology, statistics, and chemistry. These courses are generally laid out in a year-long sequence that requires either two to three classes depending on what type of course calendar the institution follows (quarter or semester).

Once students get into MSN coursework, they will take core master’s level nursing classes along with specialty courses preparing them for a specific career. Core classes may include courses such as research for evidence based practice, pathophysiology, healthcare finance, and advanced disease prevention. Coursework differs by program although many schools follow guidelines and recommendations set by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

How much time does it take to earn an RN to MSN online degree?

Online RN to MSN programs vary in scope, causing completion timelines to vary due to programmatic structuring. Some programs allow students to matriculate with just a nursing diploma or associate’s degree, while others require the former, along with a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field. Another type of program requires students to have a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

In addition to program structure, enrollment levels play a major factor in time to completion. Programs often allow students to attend full- or part-time, depending on their preference.

Programs that require a nursing diploma or associate’s degree only will take the longest to complete, as students must complete general education requirements, BSN requirements, and then master’s level nursing courses. It’s common for these types of programs to establish what are called nursing bridge courses that help students bridge the academic gap, along with general education courses. These types of programs generally take between 3-4 years to complete.

Current RNs with a diploma or associate’s degree in combination with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree can generally finish in 2-3 years through a series of bridge coursework and MSN classes. Because these students have already met general education requirements through completion of a bachelor’s degree, their pathway is shorter.

What is the job outlook for individuals with an RN to MSN online cheap degree?

Overall the expected job growth rate for individuals with an online RN to MSN degree is projected to be 26% from 2018 to 2028. The 26% job growth is an exceptionally strong number, given the overall job growth rate for all occupations will be 5%. Growth among nurse anesthetists, nurse practitioner, and nurse midwives will be driven by an increase in demand for health care services. Demand for health care services will increase as the population continues to age and an increased emphasis is placed on preventive care. Moreover, nurse practitioners provide a cost-saving basis for health care services, as they can perform many of the same duties as medical doctors at a lesser cost to consumers and the overall healthcare system.

In particular, nurse practitioners specializing in acute or long-term geriatric care should see an increase in demand as the baby boomer population continues to age and will need more medical assistance. In addition, to combat increasing health care costs, many states are attempting to pass new legislation allowing nurse practitioners to perform even more services, which allows the public to view them as a source of primary care. Nurse anesthetists and nurse midwives should also see similar increases in demand for their services.

BCO Staff
March 2020

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This concludes our list of 50 cheapest RN to MSN online programs of 2020.