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Online Accelerated BSN Programs

Accelerated BSN programs are for career-changers interested in completing the training required to become a registered nurse. Learn how long it will take to complete an accelerated bachelor's degree in nursing and find out about prerequisites. You can also explore these programs' online course formats and clinical requirements.

What Is an Accelerated BSN Program?

An accelerated BSN degree (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) program is for students who hold a bachelor's degree in a field other than nursing. You focus on courses relevant to nursing and do not take general education courses. This condensed curriculum allows you to complete your BSN degree in as little as 12-15 months. Because the courses progress rapidly and are quite intensive, most programs don't accept students who want to attend part-time. Upon graduation, you will be eligible to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).

Degree Duration Programs typically last 12-15 months
Prerequisites Bachelor's degree, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and completed relevant coursework is required for admission
Learning Environment Traditional classroom and hybrid degree programs are available
Additional Programs Accelerated Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees are available for students who are already registered nurses
Median Salary (2018)$71,730 (Registered Nurses)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)15% growth (Registered Nurses)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Are There Any Prerequisites?

In addition to holding a bachelor's degree, you will need to meet certain course requirements prior to entering an accelerated BSN degree program. Most schools do not allow you to make-up the deficiencies once the program has begun. Some prerequisites may include biology, anatomy, microbiology, chemistry and physiology coursework. You will also likely need to be certified in CPR and will need to maintain that certification during your time in the program.

Can I Complete the Degree Program Online?

A majority of classes can be completed online. You can generally login to the classes whatever time you choose, but you will be expected to complete all assignments before the course concludes. You may need a wireless laptop, digital camera and headset. Some schools may include these items with the cost of your tuition.

The in-person portion of your program is your required clinical rotations. These clinical hours can be completed at a site that is close to you. Each state's nursing board determines what is an acceptable placement for a clinical rotation, and not all online program's clinical placements meet state requirements. If you currently reside in a state that does not approve your program's placement, you can complete your clinical rotation in a nearby state provided you intend to work there upon graduation.

During your clinical rotations, a proctor that is pre-approved by your program will supervise you. He or she oversees your work and reports to the school about your progress. You will likely also be required to check-in with the school yourself during the rotation via phone or online video chat.

Some schools also have a campus residency requirement. These usually last only a few weeks. During these campus residencies, you may attend certain clinical classes for hands-on experience. Toward the end of your program, you will likely have to complete a second residency requirement to demonstrate your proficiency.

Can I Enroll in a Program If I'm Already a Registered Nurse?

There are accelerated Registered Nurse (RN) to BSN degree programs. These programs are generally not as intense as programs for individuals who are not nurses. An RN to BSN degree program takes between 15-20 months to complete and usually allows you to attend part-time. These programs are available online but also have a clinical component that must be completed in-person, possibly at your place of employment.