Nursing is a rewarding field but one that doesn’t have nearly enough participants. And the demand for nurses is expected to grow by at least 7% over the next eight years, creating approximately 175,900 jobs per year. If you have a Bachelor’s degree and are looking to switch careers, you can get an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing in as little as one year.
What Is An Accelerated BSN Program?
An accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, or ABSN, is a baccalaureate degree program for people who already have a Bachelor’s degree in another field. For example, let’s say you originally received a bachelor’s degree in business but decide later that you want to swap careers.
An ABSN is designed for situations like this. It builds on the bachelor’s degree you already have, meaning that you do not have to start from scratch. And because students do not have to take as many courses, they can complete an ABSN in 12 to 16 months. It does require a lot of work in a short time, but it is a quick avenue for breaking into nursing care.
What Are the Requirements to Enter An Accelerated BSN Program?
If you’re ready to step into a new career, an accelerated Bachelor’s degree in nursing is a great way to do it. The following are the most common requirements you’ll need to meet to enter a program.
The main requirement is that you have a Bachelor’s degree or a Master’s degree in a non-nursing field. This is the only requirement you’ll find consistent across all programs. The rest vary, depending on which school you choose
Most programs require at least a 2.5 GPA. The minimum requirement will vary, but this is an important factor for admissions departments. Your GPA shows how well you handle academic challenges. Since an accelerated BSN program can be quite challenging, your GPA is a good indicator of success.
The higher your GPA, the better, but lower GPAs do not necessarily disqualify you. You can still show your capabilities through other requirements on this list.
You’ll need to have completed prior science and mathematic coursework, typically with at least a “C.” The exact prerequisite courses required will depend on the program, but they typically fall into the general education courses you’ve already taken with your prior degree.
CPR Certification and Active CNA or LPN License
These are certainly not required for every program. However, they can look great on your application. They can also give you more options for accelerated BSN programs.
Resume, Statement of Purpose, and Recommendations
Again, these are not always required, but they definitely don’t hurt. You have the chance to outline exactly how good of a candidate you are for the program. Even with no prior nursing experience, showing your skills, why you want to make this career change, and providing letters from people who believe in you are great ways to show how valuable you can be.
A personal interview with an admissions specialist can really help you shine among other candidates. It gives you the opportunity to lay out your dedication to the field and explain in detail how excited you are to begin this rewarding career.
Can An Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing Be Done Completely Online?
For the most part, yes. Many programs offer the ability to complete all coursework online. However, you still have to complete any clinical hours or practicums on-site at a health care location.
Other nursing programs allow you to complete most coursework online but require you to be on-campus for labs and similar elements. However, this is often limited to a couple of times a semester or throughout the whole program.
You can choose which route you want to go. If you opt to do it completely online, you’ll want to speak to your program’s administrator about your clinical hours. Often, these can be completed in health care settings close to you. If you choose a program that requires you to be on-campus at all, it’s easier to find one close to your home.
Benefits of An Accelerated BSN Program
Online accelerated BSN nursing programs provide several benefits. The first, of course, is the ability to successfully complete your nursing school degree in a short time. It prepares nurses not just for the field but also to take their nursing license exam in half the time.
Additionally, most online ABSN programs get nursing students out doing clinical rotations early on. This gets you professional nursing experience, but it goes a bit farther. It also exposes you to the head nursing staff at the clinical sites where you do your training hours. Most often, these head nurses hire familiar faces, so it gives you a leg up when it’s time to get to work.
Can I Get Financial Aid for An Online Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing?
Financial aid is available for accelerated online programs, but there are some things to consider. Pell Grants typically only provide a specific amount toward a specific degree level. In other words, there is basically a capped amount that you can get toward’s a Bachelor’s degree. That cap increases if you choose to move onto a graduate degree, but it doesn’t increase for another baccalaureate degree program.
If your prior degree took all or most of that amount, you’ll likely end up covering some of the tuition yourself. You can speak to the financial department at your chosen school about this. They’ll be able to look at what’s available to you and let you know if you’ll need additional funds.
There is also something called the Pell Grant Lifetime Limit. It only allows you to receive Pell Grants for six years. In other words, whether or not you get Pell Grants for your accelerated Bachelor of Science program will depend on how long you’ve received Pell Grants and how much you have used.
None of this means you shouldn’t aim for financial aid. You can still apply for other grants, student loans, and even scholarships. Your school’s financial aid department can help you explore options.
How Do I Know An Accelerated BSN Program is Right for Me?
An accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program can offer a lot of benefits, but it might not be the right move for everyone. Below are some of the most common ways to tell if a Bachelor of Nursing online fast track program is a good idea for you.
You Should Consider An ABSN If:
You want or need to work as a nurse quickly. Most ABSN programs can be completed in 12 to 18 months. A traditional bachelor’s degree takes about four years to complete. If you are itching to start your new career in health care, an accelerated nursing program can help you do it.
You are good with time management and organization. The word “accelerated” means getting something done quickly. As an accelerated BSN student, you’ll be learning years of information in a fraction of the time. If you do not have good time management and organizational skills, you likely won’t do well in an accelerated nursing program.
Your academic record is in good shape. Due to the increased challenges of an accelerated program, admissions departments look for applicants with strong academic records. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just needs to show that you can handle academic demands.
You Probably Shouldn’t Consider An ABSN If:
You have a lot of obligations. Most schools that provide an accelerated nursing degree suggest that if you have a family or other obligations, you might not want to apply. That’s because when you do, you are going to have a lot of demands, and your nursing program will have to be your number one priority. It’s hard to make this happen when you have a family to care for.
Finances are tight for you. An accelerated program can affect you financially in two ways. The first is that there are usually higher program expenses and tuition. If you do not get enough financial aid, you’ll be responsible it.
The second way it impacts you is similar to the fact above. Most schools suggest you not work while trying to complete an accelerated program. If you do, it needs to be minimal hours. So if you or your family needs you to work, an accelerated program might not be the best idea.
Your GPA is important to you. Accelerated programs can negatively impact anyone’s GPA. That’s because it can be difficult to keep up and do your best work. If your GPA is an important factor, whether as a personal accomplishment or because you hope to enter graduate school later, you should know that an accelerated nursing program is a potential risk.
6 Top One Year Accelerated BSN Programs Online
There are several options to choose from, but the following schools offer some of the top Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs. Each is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
University of Wyoming School of Nursing
Another great option for an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing is the University of Wyoming. It’s Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing offers a 58 credit accelerated BSN degree program that takes 15 months to complete. The program start date is in May of each year, meaning that accelerated BSN students graduate the following August.
The University of Wyoming ABSN is a mixture of online learning and hands-on clinical hours. However, they allow students to do their clinical training in pretty much any hospital or health care setting in Wyoming. Therefore, you do not have to be close to their Laramie campus.
Thomas Edison State University School of Nursing and Health Professions
The accelerated Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing at Thomas Edison State University‘s School of Nursing is a hybrid program. It requires a total of 60 credits, 25 of which can be completed online. The other 35 are in-person courses, labs, and clinical experiences. You’ll want to live in close proximity to ease this journey.
The entire nursing practice program can be completed in as little as 15 months. And, if you plan to advance your career later, you can transfer nine of these credits to your Master’s degree program.
University of Wisconsin College of Nursing
The University of Wisconsin offers one of the shortest Bachelor of Science accelerated programs for aspiring nurses. It is a 12-month program that is completed mostly online. There are, however, times you’ll be required to be on-campus, such as for orientation, clinical requirements, and a capstone project.
The program runs year-round, meaning there are no academic breaks. And to complete it on time, you’ll need to finish at least one credit hour per week. This means students should be prepared to dedicate eight or more hours a day to their nursing courses.
Emory University School of Nursing
The Emory University School of Nursing has added an online option for its accelerated Bachelor of Science degree program. It requires a total of 47 credits that can be completed in as little as 54 weeks. Students can choose a program start date in January, April, or September.
There are two areas of note with this program. The first is that the school requires you to sign an agreement that you will not work either full or part-time during your program so you can focus solely on your coursework. The second is that, though the coursework is online, you’ll have to be on campus for orientation and for two nursing practice labs that last two weeks each.
Xavier University has an accelerated Bachelor of Science program that can be completed in 16 months or less. It is a blend of online nursing education coursework and training at clinical sites. There are also some on-campus nursing practice labs to help give you more experience.
Xavier makes it easier to attend these labs by offering three separate locations in Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus. Sites for nursing clinical practice will typically be in one of these cities, as well.
Through Mercer University, accelerated BSN students can complete their nursing degree in as little as 12 months. Nursing coursework can be completed online, but you will want to live close if you choose this program.
It provides nursing students the opportunity to sharpen their nursing care skills in the school’s impressive lab. Additionally, they get to complete clinical rotations at one of the top health care settings in Georgia.
Does becoming a nurse sound like a rewarding career to you? Would you like to help meet the growing need for nurses and make a difference in people’s lives? If you already have a Bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field, you can reach your dream with an accelerated Bachelor’s degree in nursing program.