For those looking to become a registered nurse as a second career, an accelerated online bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree can be a great option. These types of online degrees are specially designed for individuals who already have a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field. By enrolling in an accelerated online BSN program, you can skip over the vast majority of the general education requirements. But how exactly do these online BSN programs work? How long do they last? Can any of the coursework be completed online? Let’s answer these questions and dive deeper into some of today’s best fast-track bachelor’s degree opportunities.
Types of Accelerated Online BSN Programs
Because the terms “accelerated” and “fast-track” are rather general, it’s common to see several different types of accelerated online BSN programs available. Some of these programs are intended for those who are already practicing as registered nurses. Others are designed for those who want to become registered nurses, and still others are tailored for those who want to take the next step in their registered nursing career. Let’s take a look at the three most common types of online BSN programs offered in an accelerated format.
Should You Earn an Accelerated BSN Online?
Earning a degree in less time seems like a no-brainer, but there is a trade-off. Accelerated programs save time because they have much more demanding and rigorous curricula and learning schedules. While this can allow graduates to start working as a registered nurse sooner, it means there will be less time available during the program for students to take care of other personal or professional obligations. Before applying to an accelerated program, make sure it’s right for you.
- An accelerated online BSN might be a great fit if…
- …you have a successful academic record: Because accelerated programs pose greater academic challenges than traditional programs, admissions committees look for applicants who can demonstrate past academic success. Students with an excellent GPA in their prior bachelor’s degree will usually feel at home in an accelerated program.
- …you want to work as a registered nurse as quickly as possible: For anyone looking for a new career as a registered nurse, there is no faster way to that professional goal than the BSN as a second degree accelerated option. In fact, graduates could be working as registered nurses as little as 18 months after beginning the program.
- …you have excellent time management and organizational skills: The biggest challenge of an accelerated program is being able to complete the coursework at a faster pace. This requires a special level of organizational skills that not every student will have. But for those who have strong focus, are goal-driven, and can multi-task effectively, the accelerated BSN online degree option is a great opportunity to learn as efficiently as possible.
- An accelerated online BSN might be a poor fit if…
- …you have significant non-academic responsibilities: Enrolling in an accelerated program means your education becomes your number one priority. For those with substantial personal or professional responsibilities such as families, young children, or full-time jobs, completing an accelerated online BSN program may not be feasible.
- …you have financial difficulties: An accelerated program may save money in the long-run, but in the short-term, students can expect to pay more in tuition than they would if they enrolled in a traditional program. This higher expense comes into play because students are usually taking classes year-round and taking more credits at a time.
- …you really care about your GPA: For perfectionist students who want a perfect GPA, taking courses at an accelerated level will not make that task any easier. And for those who aren’t as particular about their grades, a high GPA may still be important if they hope to apply to graduate school in the future. So students who want the best BSN GPA possible might want to consider a more traditional track for their nursing degree.
Inside the Accelerated Online BSN
A BSN program for those who already have a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing area of study is essentially a bachelor’s degree program with the first two years cut out. With general education credits out of the way, the remaining curriculum focuses on major-related courses.
What makes an online BSN program accelerated is the fact that these two years are condensed into 12 to 18-month time period. The program will begin with foundational courses about nursing practice and medicine, and clinicals will begin quickly, sometimes as early as the first semester. For an idea of what accelerated BSN nursing students can expect, check out the following timeline.
|Semester 1||Introduction to Profession Nursing, Nursing Practice I (including clinical), Diversity in Healthcare, Nursing Practice II (including clinical)||15|
|Semester 2||Pathophysiology I, Pathophysiology II, Adult Nursing Care I (including clinical), Pharmacology I, Pharmacology II, Nursing and Mental Health I (including clinical), Nursing and Mental Health II (including clinical)||16|
|Semester 3||Adult Nursing Care II (including clinical), Adult Nursing Care III (including clinical), Women’s Heath (including clinical), Pediatric Nursing (including clinical) Healthcare Research||16|
|Semester 4||Complex Adult Nursing Care I (including clinical), Complex Adult Nursing Care II (including clinical), Community Health I (including clinical), Community Health II (including clinical), Professional Nurse Leadership and Management||16|
Can You Get Into an Accelerated Online BSN?
Though there are many nursing programs out there happy to provide aspiring students with a chance to prove what they can do, the accelerated online BSN programs are a bit different. Given the program’s challenging nature, along with the fact that incoming students will have little to no background in nursing, admissions committees are extra careful in who they select. The highly competitive applications process requires that students find some way to stand out from the pack.
Keep in mind that admissions committees often look for students who will be the best bet to uphold the school and program’s reputations. When a student has to drop out, it’s a losing proposition for not just the student, but the school as well. For example, it can potentially affect accreditation, ranking, and standing in the professional community. This doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get into without a 4.0 GPA, but it does mean applicants need to be serious about the application process and do everything they can to present themselves in the best light possible. Here are some points that can help.
How Much Does an Online Accelerated BSN Cost?
Earning an accelerated BSN degree online is a substantial financial investment. Compared to traditional accelerated BSN programs offered on campus, the cost of obtaining an online BSN degree at an accelerated rate is about the same. However, compared to traditional BSN programs that aren’t accelerated, online accelerated BSN degrees tend to be more expensive, at least in the short term. To give prospective nursing students an idea of what to expect in tuition, we’ve compiled the following short list of programs and their tuition rates.
It’s important to keep in mind that the bottom line can be affected by a wide variety of factors, such as financial aid, scholarships, or fees.
|1||1. Xavier University, Accelerated BSN||$41,580/year or $880/credit.|
|2||2. Emory University, Distance Accelerated BSN||$69,900/year or $1,487/credit.|
|3||3. University of Rochester, Accelerated Bachelor’s Program for Non-Nurses||$69,600/year or $1,420/credit.|
|4||4. UMass Dartmouth, Second Degree Accelerated BS in Nursing||$31,633/year or $679/credit.|
For information on how to pay for your fast-track BSN, check out the following pages: