What is an Accelerated Nursing Degree?

There are several choices to consider when pursuing a degree in nursing, including associate’s, bachelor’s, and an accelerated nursing degree. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing the U.S. is expected to experience a shortage in registered nurses, meaning that there is no better time than now to think about making a career change.

What is an Accelerated Nursing Degree?

Accelerated nursing degrees are designed to assist graduates with a bachelor’s degree in another discipline with the opportunity to complete the entirety of a bachelor’s degree in nursing in a shortened period of time. Often times these programs will condense the classroom experience and place a greater emphasis on clinical and experiential training. Accelerated nursing programs may take anywhere from 12 to 24 months to complete, depending on the program and the licensing requirements in your state. After completion of your degree, you will be awarded with a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing, and will be eligible to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses or other licensing exams pertinent to your particular state’s licensure requirements, according to the National Council of the State Boards of Nursing.

What is Required to Apply?

While every accelerated nursing degree is a little different, there are several factors that you should prepare for when looking for potential degree programs. Like traditional nursing programs, accelerated nursing degree programs typically have small class sizes, meaning that they can be competitive. It is not uncommon to see minimum grade point average requirements of a 3.0 to apply, while a competitive applicant may boast a 3.4 grade point average or higher. You may also need to take some basic prerequisite coursework. While the courses will vary based on the program, you can expect to take introductory biology, chemistry, microbiology, and anatomy & physiology courses. You may also have to take some general education coursework including classwork in English composition, psychology, sociology, general arts and humanities courses. If you plan to complete your your prerequisite coursework at a university other than the one offering the accelerated nursing program, you will also want to verify the equivalency and compatibility of any coursework taken prior to applying to the accelerated nursing program.

After Graduation

After completing your accelerated nursing degree, you are equally as employable and competitive in the workforce as students graduating from traditional associates and bachelors level nursing programs. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing many employers value the fact that graduates of accelerated nursing degrees are typically older, more motivated, and have higher academic expectations placed on them than traditional nursing graduates.

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If you are considering making a career change, an accelerated nursing degree might make the most financial and practical sense when compared to traditional nursing programs. Accelerated nursing programs are designed with non-traditional, returning students in mind, and tailor your educational experience to suit your career needs. As the need for nurses grows, so too will the need to recruit new employees into the profession, both from traditional and accelerated nursing degree programs.