If you have decided to pursue a nursing degree, you may be trying to decide whether or not an accelerated BSN is the right program for you. As its name indicates, an accelerated bachelor’s degree in nursing can be completed more quickly than a traditional degree. While the speed may sound appealing, it may or may not be the right kind of program for your particular situation.
Who Can Benefit from an Accelerated Program
Most accelerated BSN programs are designed with a certain kind of student in mind: one who has already gotten a college degree in an area other than nursing. Obviously not every person who goes into nursing makes that decision right out of high school. With the current nursing shortage, many people are finding nursing an attractive career option. But if you’ve already invested at least four years into a bachelor’s degree in another subject area, it may feel daunting, both in time and money, to consider investing in another four years to get your BSN.
Fortunately, an accelerated bachelor’s program can help you complete that second bachelor’s degree in nursing in less time, usually between a year and twenty months. The exact length of time depends on whether or not you need to take any of your chosen BSN program’s prerequisite classes. These vary from program to program, but may include courses you completed while pursuing another undergraduate degree, such as chemistry, psychology or statistics. Regardless of which courses are required before you start the program, you can generally apply for an accelerated program as long as you’ve completed a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and had a solid GPA (how high will again vary according to program). You may also be required to take the graduate record examination (GRE), submit academic transcripts from your previous degree and submit recommendation letters.
Benefits and Challenges
The benefits of pursuing an accelerated degree may seem fairly obvious. By completing a shorter program, you will likely save money, since you won’t have to pay for as many classes as you would for a traditional degree. By finishing faster, you will also be prepared to enter the workforce sooner so that you can begin your nursing career. Accelerated programs are not without their challenges, however. Because you are attempting to learn a lot of skills in a short time, you may find the pace of your studies intense. It is expected that you will be putting in clinical practice hours in addition to regular classroom hours. You will not likely be able to work full-time in addition to keeping up with an accelerated program, so you will need to have or find some financial resources to help you during your time in the program.
Though these kinds of programs are not for everyone, students who already hold one bachelor’s degree and who are eager to get into nursing, find that they can be an excellent fit. If an accelerated BSN sounds like a good fit for your situation, contact your local nursing schools to evaluate your options.