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What Are the Required Courses of an Accelerated BSN Program?

If you have already earned a bachelor's degree but now you want to become a nurse, you might pursue an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. The courses you will take will depend upon your previous academic experience. Read on to find out more about the required coursework in an accelerated BSN program.

Accelerated BSN Defined

An accelerated BSN program is designed to build on the knowledge you've acquired from previous bachelor's-level education, helping you transition into a new career in nursing. Thus, this type of program is only open to you if you have already earned a bachelor's degree. Programs are full-time and typically last 12-18 months. You must fulfill prerequisite courses before applying. Upon completion of the program, you will have earned a second bachelor's degree.

Many schools require an undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 for admission and a minimum grade of C in your prerequisite courses. You may also have to acquire a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification for infants and adults.

Important Facts About an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program

Prerequisites Background check and drug screening will likely be required to participation in clinical experiences
Online Availability Fully available, but clinical experience is required
Possible Careers Nursing director, chief of nursing, consultant, policy developer, health and planning developer
Continuing Education Mandatory licensure in all states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories; potential nurses must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCELX-RN)

Prerequisite Courses

Depending on your undergraduate major, you might have already fulfilled some of the general education prerequisites for an accelerated program. If you haven't, or if your grades were low, you may need to take several courses before you can qualify for admission to an accelerated BSN program. In general, prerequisite courses might include:

  • Chemistry
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Microbiology
  • Statistics

Required Core Coursework

A 4-semester accelerated BSN program might cover core topics such as health assessment, nursing practices, nursing pharmacology and fundamentals of human health. Through the coursework, you could gain clinical experience in caring for patients at every stage of life, including pediatrics, gerontology, family care and women's health.

Your required coursework will vary, but most programs might focus on the teaching of practical nursing skills while providing an overview of health care management. Required courses may include the following topics:

  • Pathophysiology
  • Nursing research
  • Human development
  • Psychiatric nursing
  • Pediatric nursing
  • Community health
  • Medical ethics

Employment Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of registered nurses between the years 2016-2026 was expected to increase at a rate of 15%, which was considered faster than average for all professions (www.bls.gov). Opportunities were expected to increase due to the need for nurses to care for those with chronic ailments as well as an increase in the population of older patients needing treatment. The BLS noted that nurses who held bachelor's degrees and had some measure of work experience were expected to have better job prospects than those who had only earned diplomas or associate's degrees. The BLS also reported the median salary for all registered nurses to be $71,730 as of May 2018.