Accelerated Nursing Programs and Schools

Accelerated nursing programs enable people with bachelor's degrees in other fields to pursue careers in nursing. Find out what nursing-specific coursework these programs include and the prerequisites for enrolling in an accelerated undergraduate or graduate nursing program. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Accelerated nursing programs are designed for adults who currently have an undergraduate degree in a non-nursing field, but wish to work in the nursing field. In addition to a bachelor's degree, these programs generally look for strong academic records and prerequisite coursework, and some will require the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). You can choose to do an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in as little as 12 months, or you can choose an Accelerated BSN to Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) that allows you to complete both undergraduate and graduate nursing coursework in around three years. You can expect your coursework to include classes that cover theoretical knowledge and practical skills, and you will be expected to complete clinical hours.

Programs Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Accelerated BSN to MSN (Both options require applicant to have existing bachelor's degree)
Training Theoretical classes, practical knowledge classes, clinical hours; specialty area courses for the BSN to MSN
Licensing Upon graduation, you qualify to take National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN)

What Will an Accelerated Nursing Program Prepare Me For?

Accelerated nursing programs are geared toward adults who have earned an undergraduate degree in a field other than nursing, but wish to enter the profession. These intensive full-time programs cover the curriculum for a traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in as little as 12 months. Upon graduation, you can qualify to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).

Accelerated BSN to Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs are also available to students with a bachelor's degree in another field. The advantage of these programs is that you can complete both undergraduate- and graduate-level nursing coursework in about three years. Upon graduation, you'll be prepared to work as an advanced practice nurse in an area such as geriatric or neonatal nursing.

What Are Accelerated BSN Programs Like?

Accelerated BSN programs give students the theoretical knowledge and practical skills necessary to work as a nurse. You'll study course topics in nursing fundamentals, health care management and patient care techniques. Other courses you're likely to take include:

  • Health assessment
  • Pathophysiology
  • Adult and elder nursing
  • Community nursing

You'll also complete clinical hours under the supervision of nursing professionals. Some schools require you to go through a clinical simulation experience in a controlled environment before you work with patients in critical care, home care or outpatient care settings. You may also complete a preceptorship to prepare for the transition into professional practice.

What is an Accelerated BSN to MSN Program Like?

In an accelerated BSN to MSN program, you'll spend an additional 3-5 semesters taking courses in the specialty area of your choice, such as mental health nursing, women's health care and neonatal intensive care. It is likely that you'll take courses addressing clinical nursing skills and nursing leadership. You'll also need to complete clinical rotations and practicums.

Which Schools Offer these Programs?

Many colleges and universities with traditional nursing programs also offer accelerated options. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, there were 293 accelerated nursing baccalaureate programs in 2013 (www.aacn.nche.edu). Accelerated graduate programs are less common. Only 62 were in existence in the same year. However, many schools are in the process of developing accelerated programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels in order to meet the high demand for nurses.

Some schools that offer accelerated BSN or BSN-to-MSN programs include the following:

  • University of Pennsylviania
  • Emory University
  • University of South Alabama
  • Wilmington University
  • Duke University
  • University of Rochester
  • Loyola University Chicago
  • New York University

What Are the Admission Requirements?

You need to have an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution to begin an accelerated nursing program. Most programs prefer applicants with a strong academic record, and some programs require that you take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) prior to admission. You will also need to complete prerequisite coursework, which generally includes the following:

  • Human anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Microbiology
  • Nutrition
  • Statistics
  • Developmental psychology

Some BSN to MSN programs may also require you to submit letters of recommendation and an essay. You might also need to prepare a resume.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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