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The 7 Must-Have Features of a BSN Bridge Program

BSN Program

Whether you're a paramedic, an LPN, or even an ADN-qualified RN, you've probably thought about getting your Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. If you haven't, you might consider it.

 More and more employers are requiring their nurses to have a BSN, so it's worthwhile for the job security alone. According to the Bureau of Labor Standards, BSN-qualified RNs make nearly twice as much on average as LPNs or paramedics[1][2][3]. On top of that, a BSN opens the door to a broader range of career paths. You could become a nursing instructor, you could get into insurance or pharmaceutical work, or you could stick to nursing but become a manager or supervisor. Your options for career growth are vast—and they often come with higher salaries to boot.  

Clearly, choosing to get your BSN is a huge, career-altering decision. However, once you've made it, you have another huge decision to make: Where should you go to get your BSN?

The 7 Most Important Features of Any BSN Bridge Program 

  1. Credit-by-Exam is an option
  2. Prices are reasonable - and - inclusive
  3. It has a schedule, a structure, and a support system
  4. Its schedule fits yours
  5. Class sizes and meeting requirements are reasonable
  6. Classes are live and so are the instructors
  7. Financing is available

It sounds cliché, but all BSN bridge programs are not created equal. Some take longer than others, some have more rigid schedules—and don't even get us started on the differences in price from one program to the next. Choose the wrong program, and you may end up graduating far later and with a much larger bill—or you might not graduate at all.

But don't worry. We' dove into this checklist to help you sort through the sea of options. Find a BSN bridge program that boasts these seven features, and you can be confident you've found a good one.

You've found a top-tier BSN bridge program if:

  • Credit-by-Exam is an option

When you're pursuing your BNS degree—most likely while still working, possibly also juggling family obligations—speed is of the essence. Enter Credit-by-Exam, which enables you to test out of entire semesters' worth of prerequisite courses by attending a handful of review sessions and taking a single test.

 For example, you could take two semesters of Anatomy and Physiology, or you could take a 10-week review class and be done. Not tough to choose between those two options, is it?

 Credit-by-Exam is far more affordable than traditional classes, too, which brings us to our next item:

  • Prices are reasonable—and inclusive

Education is expensive. As of 2019, in-state tuition and fees at a typical four-year public school average more than $10,000 per year[4]. Then you pay hundreds more for textbooks and other random materials—and Heaven help you if you choose an out-of-state school. 

The best BSN bridge programs charge less—much less—than 10,000 per year and include the cost of books and materials in the tuition fee. Thus, your costs are easier to fit into your budget.

  • It has a schedule, a structure, and a support system

There's a growing trend toward “self-paced” education, in which the student reads the material at their own speed, completes the course work when they get around to it, and generally chooses their own timeline toward graduation.

It sounds great. Liberating, even. But there's one problem: Self-paced students rarely graduate.

It's not their fault. It's just that, given the choice between settling down with a 500-page textbook or dealing with whatever other urgent matter life has thrown their way, people tend to choose the non-textbook option (even if they define “urgent” as binge-watching a TV show before the weekend ends). It's human nature. People need deadlines. We need structure.

Also, we need a support system. For instance, if we have a question, we need someone to answer it. If we still don't get it, we need someone to walk us through it until we understand.

A structured program that provides support from qualified instructors is the most reliable way to actually graduate. That's why it's exactly what the best BSN bridge programs offer.

  • Its schedule fits yours

While it's important that your program has a schedule, it's also crucial that its schedule syncs up reasonably well with your own. For example, if you work the day shift and your BSN bridge program offers classes only from 1:00-3:00pm on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, it might not be the right program for you. The best BSN bridge programs minimize conflicts with your existing work schedule by offering classes in the evenings, on weekends, or at multiple times throughout the week. 

  •  Class sizes are meeting requirements are reasonable

Class size has a direct impact on student success. Classes with 20 students (or fewer) give you the most opportunity to interact with your fellow students and get individual attention and guidance from the instructor.

Moreover, some programs require class attendance 3-4 times a week, which can become too great a burden. The most ideal programs meet once a week, but still cover the necessary material.

  • Classes are live and so are the instructors

Many teaching institutions now use pre-recorded instructional videos and presentations for their classes or self-study sessions. The student has no interaction with living, human instructors. This obviously makes it much more difficult to ask questions or seek clarification or support with concepts you don't quite understand.

In contrast, the best BSN programs have real, human instructors who teach class live and in real time—though they might teach that class online in a streaming virtual classroom—and those instructors are available to provide individual support.

  •       Financing is available

Even the world's greatest BSN bridge program is useless if you can't work out a way to pay for it. Strong BSN bridge programs offer financing opportunities that enable students of all financial situations to attend. For many students, available financing is the difference between achieving their goals or giving up on their dreams.

Now that you know what to look for, you should be able to find your perfect BSN bridge program. For more guidance—or even information on Achieve Test Prep's own BSN bridge programs, contact us today!

Speak to a consultant to learn more!

*This blog has been updated and republished. 

[1] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm#tab-5 
[2] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/licensed-practical-and-licensed-vocational-nurses.htm#tab-5
[3] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/emts-and-paramedics.htm#tab-5
[4] https://trends.collegeboard.org/college-pricing/figures-tables/average-published-undergraduate-charges-sector-2018-19

 

 

 

Topics: BSN Programs

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