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Guide to Accelerated Online Nursing Programs in Arizona (AZ)

Do you already have a bachelor’s degree and want to enter the nursing field in Arizona? An accelerated BSN program can help you get there in as little as 12 months. Find a list of top programs and other essential information to get started in this guide.

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Panoramic aerial view of a sprawling cityscape at sunset, showcasing high-rise buildings, bustling streets, and distant mountains.

Arizona’s attractive weather and beautiful scenery make it a top destination for people of all ages and stages, including students and retirees. This diverse population requires a range of health and wellness services provided by skilled and experienced RNs. With demand for nurses soaring (jobs for RNs in Arizona are projected to increase by nearly 40 percent between 2020 and 2030), well-paying work is available now and on the horizon in this fast-paced industry.

But maybe you’re in another field, are just now discovering your interest in becoming an RN, and your undergrad degree has little to nothing do with nursing. If so, accelerated nursing programs in Arizona can get you the training you need to get licensed fast. These bachelor’s degree programs can be completed in as little as a year and are typically more flexible than traditional nursing programs — making them a great option for working adults and other busy students.

If you’re ready to start your search for an accelerated BSN (ABSN) program in Arizona, you’ve come to the right place. This guide showcases top-rated programs, breaks down what you’ll learn, and provides other key information that can help you make a confident, informed decision.

Inside Popular ABSN Programs in Arizona

If you’re searching for accelerated BSN programs in Arizona, these stand out as exceptional options. All are state-approved, and all have student support resources available for non-traditional students and those with busy lives. They offer a range of financial aid options while being accredited so that, when you graduate and pass your nursing exams, you can hit the ground running in your chosen nursing position.

To get you started as you search for the best ABSN program in Arizona for you, here are three high-quality options.

Northern Arizona University

If you have a bachelor’s degree, the accelerated nursing program at Northern Arizona University can be accomplished in as little as 12 months through courses on the Flagstaff campus. Thirty students per year are admitted to the program, which is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

You’ll earn at least 52 units of nursing major requirements and 27 units of preprofessional requirements. Courses include Microbiology, Developmental Psychology, Introduction to Statistics in Psychology, Communication and Mental Health Nursing, Research Applications to Nursing and Healthcare, and Nursing Informatics and Health Care Policy.

Students will pay standard tuition and fees at $979 per credit hour for in-state students and $1,615 for out-of-state students/non-residents. This school had a 94.34% pass rate for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in 2021.

Arizona State University

Another full-time, 12-month program is the one offered at Arizona State University, which starts two times per year. The spring semester begins in January at the Downtown Phoenix campus, and the fall semester begins in August at the ASU at Lake Havasu campus. There are limited spots for this competitive program, which is offered to those who already have a bachelor’s degree in another area.

The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and meets licensure requirements for the state of Arizona. Courses include Human Anatomy and Physiology, Human Nutrition, Nursing Concepts for Childbearing Family, Nursing Concepts for Complex Care, and Clinical Immersion. This program requires at least 30 hours to come from the accelerated studies program at ASU and has an NCLEX-RN pass rate of 88.39% (which is higher than state and national averages.)

Creighton University

This Nebraska-based Creighton University is a health education leader and has opened a new 195,000-square-foot campus in Phoenix. There are two start times: January and August. The program can be completed in just 12 months and is fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

It’s a 58-credit-hour program that includes courses like Human Pathophysiology Concepts, Population-Based Health I, Care Management Concepts I, and Foundations of Pharmacology for Nursing. The blended learning experience combines on-campus classroom work, pre-class online lectures, and in-person clinicals to give students a flexible and engaged learning experience. Each term is between two and eight weeks.

The accelerated program does not offer financial aid but is competitively priced and works with local hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and community partners to give nursing students a wide range of real-world learning experiences. Students had a 91% NCLEX-RN pass rate in 2021.

Curriculum Components for ABSN Programs in Arizona

Earning a degree in nursing requires a combination of classroom work, practical application, and research — giving you the skills you’ll need to provide exceptional care, with a solid educational foundation provided by knowledge and theory. Most accelerated nursing programs in Arizona will contain the following types of curriculum.

1. Nursing Classes

These are often the degree-specific science, math, and health courses of the program that are unique to the nursing program. Arizona State University’s program offers these courses, for example:

  • NUR 311: Pharmacology in Nursing
  • NUR 330: Professional Nurse Attributes
  • NUR 356: Nursing Concepts: Fundamentals and Adult Health
  • NUR 366: Nursing Practice: Adults and Elders
  • NUR 416: Nursing Concepts: Community/Public Health
  • NUR 418: Nursing Concepts: Complex Care
  • NUR 419: Leading and Managing Nursing in Organizational Systems

2. Clinical Training

Hands-on experience is a major component of any good nursing program, and while you’re performing your clinical hours, you’ll be out in the field working in healthcare settings to observe, learn, and practice good nursing techniques. Common locations for clinical training include hospitals, clinics, and public health groups.

Creighton University offers a clinical course called “NUR 489 Capstone Practicum” where students combine the concepts learned in the classroom with skills in a both a clinical setting and with simulated care scenarios in the lab.

3. General Education Coursework

A well-rounded education includes coursework from outside the nursing discipline like composition, literature, math, history, or other core academic subjects. These courses are generally transferred in from the bachelor’s degree program you completed prior to enrolling in the accelerated nursing program.

You’ll also need to have the basic science coursework completed before being accepted to the nursing program. At Arizona State University, these include:

  • BIO 201: Human Anatomy and Physiology I
  • CHM 101: Introductory Chemistry
  • HCR 220: Introduction to Health Professions and the U.S. Health Care
  • PSY 101: Introduction to Psychology
  • STP 226: Elements of Statistics (CS)

FAQs About Accelerated BSN Nursing Programs in AZ

How long is an accelerated BSN program in Arizona?

Most accelerated nursing programs in Arizona take one year to complete, but they may require you to attend during the summer. The degree at Northern Arizona University is one program that you can complete in as little as 12 months with a full-time course load.

Otherwise, expect 18-24 months to finish the program. Accelerated programs are designed to be taken full-time, although the hours may be flexible.

How many credits can be transferred to my Arizona ABSN program?

While every school differs slightly, expect to be able to transfer between 40 and 60 credit hours from your previous degree program into most accelerated nursing programs in Arizona.

Creighton University is a one-year program, and if the student has already completed the prerequisites from their first bachelor’s degree, Creighton will credit them with 96 semester hours to the academic record toward the 128 needed for the nursing degree.

Arizona State University, on the other hand, requires you to take at least 30 credit hours at their school. With a total of 50 credit hours required to earn an Accelerated BSN, this means you can transfer up to 25 credit hours into the program. Some credits may not transfer, and each school may ask that you take courses unique to their school, so factor that in when planning your education.

How much do ABSN programs in Arizona cost?

Program costs vary widely and depend on many factors, including how many credit hours you need to take, the length of the program, and whether coursework is completed in-person or online. Students may pay more if they aren’t considered residents of Arizona, since they may pay the higher out-of-state tuition and fees. Here are three sample program costs to help you estimate.

What are the admission requirements for accelerated nursing programs in Arizona?

Nursing school has stricter requirements than other degree programs, and you may need to have taken some basic science and health courses to be admitted — in addition to your general education requirements (which should have been fulfilled by your first undergraduate degree.)

Each school will have different prerequisites and limited spots that can be filled. The state nursing board lists out the requirements for each program; for example, requirements for Grand Canyon University are as follows:

  • Non-nursing bachelor’s degree or 60 non-nursing college credits from a regionally accredited institution
  • 3.0 GPA or higher (3.25 for the prerequisite science and math courses)
  • Minimum score of 80% in Math and Reading/Grammar and 75% in Human Anatomy/Physiology on the Health Education Systems, Inc. Admission Assessment (HESI A2) entrance exam
  • A passing background check and fingerprint clearance card

How do I know if an accelerated Arizona BSN program is of high quality?

Each program should be accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, as well as be recognized by the Arizona State Board of Nursing. Courses should be taught by experienced instructors and include a blend of classroom activities, hands-on experience, and clinicals. The NCLEX-RN passing rate should be higher than the state and national average, if possible.

Can I get financial aid to help pay for my accelerated nursing program in Arizona?

Many scholarship programs are limited to students who have not already received their undergraduate degree, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t an opportunity to get help paying for college. While our nursing scholarship guide gives you plenty of ideas for how to search for nursing-specific scholarships, each school may have additional opportunities for grants and gift aid from the institution itself.

If you’re looking for financial assistance specifically for accelerated nursing programs in Arizona, the Arizona Foundation for the Future of Nursing (AzFFN) has a full page of scholarship and grant opportunities for those pursuing nursing education opportunities in the state. Our financial aid guide also includes more general information about how to budget and pay for school, no matter what field you decide to pursue.

If you haven’t used the full amount of available grant and loan money from the federal government for your first degree, you may be eligible for financial aid opportunities for your second. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each October to be considered for this assistance.

Inside Look at Online Arizona ABSN Programs

While not every part of a nursing degree can be completed online, hybrid programs allow busy students to do at least some of their coursework remotely using technology, in the comfort of their home or office. Courses may be asynchronous (can be completed on your own time) or synchronous (must be attended virtually during a set time), and this depends greatly on how the school handles online learning.

Blended programs often allow for the bulk of classroom work to be conducted online, but some in-person clinical work will be required. This is where you get into the field at your local healthcare setting and practice what you’ve learned. Most schools will work with you to find a clinical place and time that’s convenient for you. More information on how blended learning works can be found on our online accelerated BSN programs page.

Examples of Quality Online Accelerated BSN Programs in Arizona

Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University is a popular online school that also happens to be based in Arizona. Their accelerated BSN program is designed to be at least partially completed through online learning, including their coursework on Probability and Statistics, Human Anatomy and Physiology, Microbiology, and Population Health.

Students will be in-person at the Phoenix or Tucson campuses to do their exams, labs, and hands-on training, as well as do clinical through local healthcare facilities. The school is Board Certified and CCNE accredited. It has an NCLEX-RN passing rate of 90.37%.

If you have a bachelor’s degree or 60 transferable credits, you can complete the program in as little as 16 months. There are three start times per year for this program.

What’s Next After Your Accelerated Nursing Program in Arizona

Earning your ABSN is a big accomplishment, but it’s just the first step to becoming a practicing registered nurse. According to the Arizona Nursing Board, to get your RN license in Arizona, students who graduate from an accredited BSN program must then:

  • Apply for licensure ($150 fee)
  • Take and pass the NCLEX exam, plus pay the $150 NCLEX fee
  • Send transcripts to the Arizona State Board of Health
  • Provide proof of citizenship or nationality
  • Submit a fingerprint card ($50 fee)

It can take six to eight weeks just to get the fingerprint card, so start the process early. Once you have completed all steps, you will receive your licensure and can then apply for RN jobs in your area.

Keeping on top of any continuing education requirements is your responsibility, as well as renewing your nursing license as needed. If you want to practice nursing out of state, consider a multi-state license. More information can be found on the Arizona State Board of Nursing’s website.

Career & Salary Outlook for BSN Nurses in Arizona

You may love helping people or have an interest in bettering community health, but it’s important to know if new RNs will also be able to find jobs and make enough to thrive. Here’s what the numbers show for job growth and salary over the next 10 years.

Are BSN registered nurses in high demand in Arizona?

According to the U.S. Department of Labor employment projections database, the job market for nurses nationwide shows a higher-than-average job growth rate compared to other career areas, with 9% growth and a total of over 194,000 new job openings each year. Arizona is projected to have much more growth than this, with a 39.3% job growth rate for RNs in the state and a projected total of 5,930 jobs per year. For nurses getting a degree in the state, the outlook appears very promising.

Job Outlook for Registered Nurses in Arizona (2020-2030)

New JobsJob Growth RateAverage Annual Openings
United States 276,7009% 194,500

Source: Projections Central

How much do nurses with a BSN make in Arizona?

There are many factors that go into compensation for nurses, including salary, benefits, hiring bonuses, and special incentives. According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary for RNs in Arizona who hold a bachelor’s degree is $93,763, or $45.08 an hour. The average salary for RNs in Arizona (regardless of the degree they hold) is $91,430 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

With a nursing shortage projected over the next few years, this may be an excellent time to ask for the rate you want. Hiring bonuses have also increased the amount nurses can make in their first year.