How Does an Accelerated Nursing Program Work

Wondering how does an accelerated nursing program work? We go over some of the most common ABSN questions, including how to get into a program, what to expect with prerequisites, the differences between hybrid and in-person learning modalities, and how we can help in your nursing program search.

woman standing outside looking at a cross-roads

Today, accelerated BSN programs are popping up at nursing schools across the country. Yet, there’s still some confusion as to what these programs are all about. That’s why we’re providing you with answers to the most common ABSN program questions.

But before getting into our list of FAQs, it’s important to make the distinction between a BSN program and an accelerated BSN program. A BSN program is a traditional four-year nursing education that most students apply to after high school. An accelerated BSN program caters to a very distinct type of student—one who has already gone to college and studied a field other than nursing.

But how does an accelerated nursing program work? Both programs feature the same type of nursing curriculum, only accelerated nursing students complete their professional nursing courses within a compressed timeframe. So, what makes the accelerated path to nursing possible for qualified applicants?

Accelerated BSN programs build on a student’s non-nursing college education, allowing him or her to jump right into professional study on the first day of nursing school.

The Transition to Nursing

ABSN programs give college graduates and career changers the means to quickly transition into the nursing profession. ABSN students come from diverse academic backgrounds, ranging from biology to psychology and everything in between. These individuals are highly mature and extremely motivated to earn a BSN. Employers report them as possessing strong clinical skills and being quick studies on the job.

Now that you know the basics of the answer to, how does an accelerated nursing program work, let’s go over some more ABSN program FAQs.

Nurse walking through hallway

ABSN Program FAQs

What is an accelerated BSN program?

It is an accelerated learning path for individuals who have a non-nursing college education and want to transition into the nursing profession.

How do I get into an accelerated nursing program?

Every accelerated nursing program has different admission requirements. While most nursing schools require a non-nursing bachelor’s degree to apply, there are some willing to accept students who have between 54 and 65 non-nursing college credits.

Are accelerated nursing programs easy to get into?

Not in terms of academic requirements. You can, however, increase your chances of getting accepted by applying to an ABSN program that has an online learning component, multiple start dates a year and a lesser-known school brand. These programs tend to have the highest enrollment capacities of them all.

Can I get into an accelerated nursing program with a low GPA?

Most accelerated nursing programs require a cumulative GPA of 3.0. However, some schools accept applications from students with 2.7 and 2.8 cumulative GPAs.

Smiling nurse talking with a woman outside

If you are concerned that your GPA may impact your nursing school admission decision, learn more about how to get into nursing school with a lower GPA.

What are the prerequisites for accelerated BSN programs?

Prerequisite requirements vary by program. Some schools require 10 courses, while others four. Among the most common ABSN prerequisites are microbiology, anatomy, physiology, chemistry, psychology and statistics. Depending on your past education, you may be able to apply some of your past coursework toward prerequisite requirements. Be sure to check with the admissions staff of your program of interest.

How can I finance an accelerated nursing education?

Some accelerated nursing students don’t qualify for federal, state or university grants and scholarships. While you should absolutely do some research to see if you qualify for grants or scholarships, you will likely also have to find additional funds to pay for nursing school. The next step would be to see if you are eligible for a federal and/or private loan. It’s also worth researching third-party scholarships.

calculator and stethoscope sitting on desk

Learn more about the different expenses that come with nursing school.

How long does it take to complete an ABSN program?

It depends on the program. The length of an accelerated nursing program can range from 12 to 24 months. The most common ABSN program length is 16 months. However, these lengths do not include the time it takes to complete the required prerequisite courses, so be sure to account for that when planning your educational timeline.

What do I need to look for in an accelerated BSN program?

You want to make sure both the school and program you apply to maintain the proper accreditations and have state board of nursing approval. It’s also important to consider first-time NCLEX-RN pass rates and student retention rates. NCLEX pass rates are available on the National Council of State Boards of Nursing website.

Is an accelerated nursing program right for me?

It depends on your academic history and daily lifestyle. You not only need to meet the admission requirements but also have the time to be able to commit to full-time nursing study. Essentially, it’s about being a good academic fit and having the means to be a successful nursing student.

Can I Earn a BSN Online?

It’s impossible to earn a BSN 100% online. Some nursing schools offer online-based accelerated BSN programs (hybrid formats). Students complete their fundamental coursework online and then apply that knowledge during hands-on nursing skills labs and clinical rotations.

nurse using laptop at desk

What is it like being an accelerated nursing student?

Accelerated nursing students can spend between 40 and 60 hours a week on their education, which consists of fundamental coursework, nursing labs and clinical rotations. It’s a rigorous learning path that requires serious commitment.

Is an accelerated nursing program worth it?

If you’ve always wanted to become a nurse, you probably shouldn’t let the cost of an accelerated nursing education keep you from living your purpose. Plus, nursing is a high-demand, fast-growing profession that pays well, so you’re bound to get a good return on your educational investment. Not to mention, we can connect you to a quality nursing program that fits your needs.

Can I work while in an accelerated nursing program?

Given the rigorous nature of the curriculum, most nursing schools recommend that you focus on your education full time. If you must work, it’s best to do so on a part-time basis. Also, your employer needs to be flexible because your school schedule will vary from week to week.

What is rolling admissions?

Nursing schools that use rolling admissions for their ABSN programs review applications as they come in, instead of waiting for the submission deadline to pass. Thereby, potential students can expect a decision within a few weeks of applying. Plus, the sooner you submit your application, the better your chances of getting a spot in your preferred term.

What is the difference between a hybrid and an on-ground ABSN program?

A hybrid ABSN program teaches students the fundamentals and theories of nursing online, whereas an on-ground ABSN program does so in a traditional classroom setting. Both programs involve hands-on nursing labs and in-person clinical rotations. When deciding between these two modalities, it is important to take into account your schedule, lifestyle, and learning style.

nurse walking to clinicals

Career Opportunities for ABSN Program Graduates

After earning your BSN and passing the NCLEX-RN exam, you’ll have opened yourself up to a world of opportunities. You can pursue a job in any number of practice areas and health care settings.

You can also go on to earn your MSN, which affords access to some of the highest paying nursing jobs, which include certified nurse anesthetist, certified nurse midwife and general nurse practitioner.

Find an Accelerated BSN Program

Now that you have the answer to the question, how does an accelerated nursing program work, it’s time to get started with your nursing school search today. If you have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree or at least 60 college credits in a non-nursing field, we can connect you with an accelerated BSN program that aligns with your criteria. All you have to do is complete our quick online form. This is a free service and you are not obligated to attend any of the nursing schools that contact you.

FNS logo texture wallpaper

Ready to start your nursing journey?