ABSN Programs: Who Can Enroll in These BSN Acquisition Courses?

By Sarah Collins

07/3/2022

Are you considering a degree in nursing?

An Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program may be an excellent way to achieve this dream.

Various accredited institutions offer this program and they’re available online, too, for flexibility purposes.

Aspirants without nursing backgrounds and already working nurses can take these courses.

However, is an ABSN program the ideal path for you? Discover the potential cost, job prospects, and salary outlook for this option for an informed choice.

Key Takeaways

  • An ABSN is one of the numerous paths that lead to a nursing degree.
  • Securing an ABSN degree has unique benefits, such as higher salaries, a healthy job outlook, improved quality of care, and more specialization freedom.
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the employment rate for registered nurses to increase by 9% through 2030.

What Is an ABSN Program?

The ABSN (Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing) program is an education plan to secure a nursing degree within sixteen months, even without prior credentials.

Traditional BSN programs last four years, so we can agree that ABSN courses speed up the process for full or part-time workers, nursing candidates, or any interested persons.

What Classes Can I Expect in an ABSN Program?

ABSN programs are similarly structured across the USA. Therefore, below is the course content for Pacific College ABSN (RN to BSN) program to provide you with real-time information.

NUR 330 – Principles of Nursing

Learning how to recognize patient needs, analyze information, communicate well in writing, and supervise caseloads.

NUR 340 – Health Assessment, Education, and Promotion

Learning how to analyze and interpret health status data. This course teaches how to use clinical assessment tools, apply health promotion techniques, and work with organizations to educate others about their health.

NUR 430 – Transformation Leadership

Teaching nurses how to become leaders and practice ethics in all types of healthcare settings. Strong in problem-solving and critical thinking from a leadership point of view.

NUR 450 – Pharmacology

Pharmacology is the study of drugs, drug side effects, drug interactions, and the nurse’s role in administering these medications and keeping errors low.

How Is a Typical ABSN Program Structured?

Maryland University Nursing School’s Notre Dame 15-month ABSN program has 120 credit structured as follows:

Semester I

NUR 301 Holistic Health Assessment

NUR 303 Nursing Informatics

NUR 305 Foundations of a Caring Profession

NUR 310 Pathopharmacology

Total Credits:15

Semester II

NUR 304 Healthy Aging

NUR 307 Nursing Research

NUR 308 Professional Nursing Care: Psychiatric/Mental Health

NUR 311 Professional Nursing Care of the Adult I

Total Credits:14

Semester III

NUR 408 Professional Nursing Care: Maternal & Newborn Nursing

NUR 409 Professional Nursing Care of the Adult II

NUR 417 Professional Nursing Care: Children & Families

Total Credits:12

Semester IV

Course Description Credits

NUR 431 Community Health Nursing 5

NUR 441 Caring Approaches in Nursing Leadership and Practice 4

NUR 461 Clinical Practicum 6

Total Credits:15

Here’s another sample 15-month ABSN curriculum by Barry University’s School of Nursing for 63 credit hours:

Year 1

Spring

NUR 205 Introduction to Nursing Science (2T)

NUR 313 Pathophysiology (4T)

NUR 319 Foundations of Nursing Care (3T, 1.5C, .5L)

NUR 323 Health Assessment and Health Promotion (3T, 1L)

NUR 329 Pharmacology (3T)

Total Credits:18

Summer

NUR 383 Patient-Centered Care: Behavioral Health Nursing (3T, 1C)

NUR 335 Patient-Centered Care: Adult/Elderly Nursing I (3T, 2C)

NUR 337 Research and Evidence-Based Practice (3T)

NUR 416 Family-Centered Care: Mother/Baby & Women’s Health Nursing (2.5T, 1.5C)

Total Credits:16

Fall

NUR 343 Patient Centered Care: Adult/Elderly Nursing II (3T, 3C)

NUR 418 Family Centered Care: Parent/Child Nursing (2.5T, 1.5C)

NUR 422 Population Centered Nursing & Healthcare (3T, 2C)

Total Credits:15

Year 2

Spring

NUR 432 Patient Centered Care: High Acuity Nursing (3T, 2C)

NUR 438 Nursing Leadership & Management (3T)

NUR 456 Professional Role Transition (3C)

NUR 458 Senior Seminar (3T)

Total Credits:14

What Are the Benefits of Securing a Nursing Degree Through ABSN?

Enrolling in an ABSN path program has the following advantages:

Faster Pace

A 16 to 24-month ABSN program allows nursing students to enter the field faster than traditional four-year programs. With this option, you can start practice years before your former equals.

Clinical Experience

ABSN programs immerse students in real-world experience. Expect nursing simulation labs and clinical service hours to cover all skills essential in a hospital or health care setting, such as checking vitals, administering medications, inserting catheters, and dressing wounds.

Excellent Earnings Potential

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2021 RN average salary was $77,600. However, this figure differs according to experience, employer, and location.

Review this ZipRecruiter’s table of highest-paying states for BSN nurses for more perspective.

StateAnnual Salary
Washington$93,772
New York$87,488
New Hampshire$84,739
California$83,471
Vermont$80,022

In addition, here’s a verified breakdown of average BSN salary by state, including average annual and hourly wages:

StateAnnual SalaryHourly Salary
Alabama$69,016$33.18
Alaska$73,176$35.18
Arizona$73,256$35.22
Arkansas$30.76$63,981
California$83,471$40.13
Colorado$68,123$32.75
Connecticut$74,978$36.05
Delaware$67,994$32.69
Florida$66,604$32.02
Georgia$70,668$33.97
Hawaii$76,879$36.96
Idaho$78,592$37.78
Illinois$63,634$30.59
Indiana$72,786$34.99
Iowa$68,102$32.74
Kansas$68,489$32.93
Kentucky$65,167$31.33
Louisiana$69,294$33.31
Maine$77,249$37.14
Maryland$72,753$34.98
Massachusetts$79,179$38.07
Michigan$63,925$30.73
Minnesota$71,452$34.35
Mississippi$64,166$30.85
Missouri$67,643$32.52
Montana$74,017$35.59
Nebraska$71,585$34.42
Nevada$72,601$34.90
New Hampshire$40.74$84,739
New Jersey $73,703$73,703$35.43
New Mexico$67,721$32.56
New York$87,488$42.06
North Carolina$58,250$28.00
North Dakota$72,671$34.94
Ohio$70,923$34.10
Oklahoma$66,532$31.99
Oregon$69,488$33.41
Pennsylvania$74,740$35.93
Rhode Island$73,736$35.45
South Carolina$68,357$32.86
South Dakota$70,549$33.92
Tennessee$71,443$34.35
Texas$76,258$36.66
Utah$69,916$33.61
Vermont$80,022$38.47
Virginia$70,647$33.96
Washington$93,772$45.08
West Virginia$76,026$36.55
Wisconsin$71,264$34.26
Wyoming$78,178$37.59

Source: Pacific College

You can maximize your earnings as an ABSN nurse by specializing, securing a CCRN/CNOR certificate, and participating in the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC) to earn the multi-state license. This program qualifies you to work interstate (in about 35 states) using a single license.

 

ABSN nurses with experience spanning a decade are likely to earn as high as $120,000.

Solid Jobs Outlook

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the employment rate for registered nurses will increase by 9% from 2020 to 2030, equating to about 195,000 new openings annually.

 

With such projection, nursing could be an excellent career path for stability and a gradual increase in earnings over time.

Different Settings

ABSN-dedicated nurses can perform in various health care settings, including hospitals, outpatient care centers, physicians’ offices, and schools. Note that some healthcare setting nurses (e.g., hospital or outpatient care centers) earn higher than nurses working in other settings (e.g., home health care or physician’s offices).

Quick Line to Healthcare Employers

All ABSN schools have tight networks with existing healthcare employers. For example, Barry University ABSN students enjoy clinical experiences at Florida’s most prestigious health institutions, including Memorial Healthcare, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, and the Baptist Health System.

How Do I Choose the Ideal ABSN Program?

The following three are vital considerations when deciding on the right ABSN program for you:

Accreditation

Look for nursing programs accredited by the National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission (NLNAC) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. This status ensures that you can sit for the NCLEX-RN after completing the program.

Remember, you must pass the NCLEX-RN before securing your nursing license.

In addition, choosing nursing programs accredited by either organization also lets employers know your education is of a high standard, which is critical when comparing job candidates against one another.

NCLEX-RN Passing Rate

The NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Examination) is an assessment nursing graduates must pass to gain their practicing license. Therefore, it’s essential to evaluate an institution’s records in this exam before your application. The recommendation is to look elsewhere if the school’s average rate is below 80%.

Cost

ABSN programs can cost as low as $8000 and as high as $100,000. Luckily, many scholarships and financial aid sources can fill the void, such as the Pay It Forward CRNA Scholarship for students interested in nurse anesthesia programs.

Complete the Free Application or Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to qualify for these aids.

What Are the Job Prospects for Nurses With an ABSN Degree?

Nurses with an ABSN degree can work as specialists in over a dozen areas. They include:

      1. Registered Nurse ($78,000)

Role: To provide patient care alongside physicians by performing everything, from checking vital signs to administering medications and follow-up.

      2. Critical Care Nurse ($71,694)

Role: To assist patients in emergency and life-threatening situations with heavy wounds and life support work in a pressure cooker operating room.

     3. Emergency Room Nurse ($62,010)

Role: To evaluate and stabilize patients before and after emergency surgery, including administering medication and dressing wounds.

     4. Mental Health Nurse ($64,500)

Role: To diagnose and treat psychological disorders in patients from toddlers to the elderly. Strong focus on addressing emotional and mental issues.

     5. Nurse Manager ($80,707)

Role: Administrative role that oversees nurse recruitment, scheduling, and departmental budgets for a smooth-running operation. It’s an excellent career path for nurses looking to manage a team.

     6. Nurse Practitioner ($103,880)

Role: Nurse practitioners work as primary and specialty care experts, providing complete nursing services to patients of every age, from newborns to the elderly. This role entails prescribing medications, performing diagnoses, and ordering lab work. Depending on the state, some nurse practitioners can work independently without the direct supervision of a physician. Therefore, nurse practitioners are as close to actual physicians as possible.

      7. Orthopedic Nurse ($76,282)

Role: To treat patients with musculoskeletal issues and diseases, including joint pain, broken bones, and advanced stage conditions such as osteoporosis. Heavy emphasis on pain medication and treatment of bone issues.

     8. Public Health Nurse ($56,111)

Role: Strong work with teaching communications about disease presentation and treatment options. It is geared towards nurses that prefer to work with groups, not individual patients.

     9. Travel Nurse ($109,000)

Role: Working as a registered nurse or with specializations from location to location, working contracts as short as six weeks and as much as 52 weeks. Good opportunity to work in understaffed areas and earn a higher than average weekly salary than registered nurses working in a single location.

     10. Pediatric Nurse ($64,600)

Role: Working with newborns, toddlers, infants, and young adults to perform physical exams, treat illness, prescribe medications, and monitor healthy growth.

     11. Nursing Administrator ($96,540)

Role: Higher in rank than nurse managers, nursing administrators manage large nursing teams. Strong focus on budget and organization management to ensure a hospital or unit runs smoothly without staffing or budget hiccups.

     12. Oncology Nurse ($65,470)

Role: Extensive work with cancer patients to monitor progress, prescribe medications, and minimize pain throughout the hospital journey.

      13. Nurse Midwife ($63,000)

Role: Specializing in pregnant women, including all aspects of childbirth, from prenatal appointments to delivery. There is a heavy emphasis on patient education and teaching mothers how to take care of their newborns.

     14. Nurse Educator ($68,450)

Role: Pure teaching role teaching nursing students best practices on all patient management aspects, including general subjects and specific areas, such as dressing wounds, administering medications, and checking for symptoms.

How Much Does an ABSN Program Cost?

The cost for an ABSN program depends on the institution, your residency status, and your preferred enrollment type. Nevertheless, the consensus ranges from $8,000 to $100,000.

For instance, Barry University’s 15-month ABSN program charges $28,000, while the Florida Atlantic University and the University of Florida charge $21,564 and $40,000 for their 12-month programs.

Other factors that may affect your nursing education cost are the cost of living and financial aid eligibility.

What Are the Best BSN Programs in the USA?

In the Fall of 2020, the US News Bachelor of Science in Nursing graded nursing schools on a 1-5 scale derived from nursing school official surveys. The schools below made the cut, in the order of their ranks.

1. School: University of Pennsylvania

Location: Philadelphia, PA

Tuition and Fees: $61,710

Undergraduate Enrollment: 9,872

 

2. School: Duke University

Location: Durham, NC

Tuition and Fees: $60,489

Undergraduate Enrollment: 6,717

 

3. School: University of Washington

Location:Seattle, WA

Tuition and Fees: $39,906 (out-of-state) and $12,076 (in-state)

Undergraduate Enrollment: 35,582

 

4. School: Emory University

Location: Atlanta, GA

Tuition and Fees: $55,468

Undergraduate Enrollment: 7,010

 

5. School: University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Location: Ann Arbor, MI

Tuition and Fees: $53,232 (out-of-state) and $16,178 (in-state)

Undergraduate Enrollment: 31,329

 

6. School: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Location: Chapel Hill, NC

Tuition and Fees: $36,776 (out-of-state) and $8,992 (in-state)

Undergraduate Enrollment: 19,399

 

7. School: New York University

Location: New York, NY

Tuition and Fees: $56,500

Undergraduate Enrollment: 27,444

 

8. School: University of Pittsburgh

Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Tuition and Fees: $34,124 (out-of-state and $19,092 (in-state)

Undergraduate Enrollment: 19,197

 

9. School: Case Western Reserve University

Location: Cleveland, OH

Tuition and Fees: $54,020

Undergraduate Enrollment: 5,433

 

10. School: The Ohio State University

Location: Columbus, OH

Tuition and Fees: $35,019 (out-of-state) and $11,936 (in-state)

Undergraduate Enrollment: 46,984

All schools on this list have the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education approval.

Are There Scholarships or Financial Aid Programs for ABSN Participants?

Yes, there are many scholarships and financial aid awards for ABSN students. Here’s a small sampling of what’s available.

Conclusion

Pursuing an ABSN is one of the most lucrative endeavors you can undergo from a personal and professional perspective. It qualifies you for high salaries, excellent job prospects, improved care quality, and the opportunity to specialize in any desired subfield. All while helping others in their most pressing time of need.

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