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Accelerated BSN Programs in Massachusetts (MA) - Online & Campus

Discover top online and onsite accelerated BSN programs in Massachusetts. Learn about their features and what non-nurses can expect with these programs.

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Author: Jenna Tidd
Editor: Kari Scare

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A historic building with a large dome and columns stands surrounded by lush green trees in Massachusetts. The words "Massachusetts Institute of Technology" are inscribed on the facade above the columns. The lawn in front is well-manicured, enhancing the grand appearance.

Whether you’re a college graduate interested in changing gears and entering the Massachusetts nursing field without retaking general education courses or a working nurse who wants a fast-track to their Bachelor of Science in Nursing, accelerated BSN programs in Massachusetts could be just what you’re looking for.

Accelerated healthcare programs condense their curriculums into a shorter timeframe that requires students to absorb critical information much more quickly than standard BSN programs. Accelerated BSNs (ABSNs) allow students to earn their degrees, enter the workforce, and start earning higher wages as soon as possible.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore top online and onsite accelerated BSN programs in Massachusetts by examining their features and the benefits of online and campus learning. We’ll also address the steps you need to take before, during, and after your accelerated BSN program as well as the pros and cons they pose for non-nurses.

With this foundation, you’ll be equipped to sort through the best accelerated BSN programs in Massachusetts and choose the right one for you. Keep reading for valuable insights and tips on how to navigate your search for online and campus programs that meet your needs.

Inside Accelerated Online & Hybrid BSN Programs in Massachusetts

The flexibility of online and hybrid programs makes them more accessible to working professionals and those with family obligations. This list of quality schools gives good examples of what to look for in online accelerated BSN programs in Massachusetts. They aren’t ranked but instead act as a starting point for your search.

Northeastern University

Logo of Northeastern University featuring a large red "N" with a small crest inside it, accompanied by the full name of the university in white text on a dark green background inspired by North Carolina.

Northeastern University’s Burlington location offers non-nurses a full-time, hybrid ABSN Program that combines online coursework with hands-on learning. Those with non-nursing bachelor’s degrees or transfers with 62 college credits are eligible. This program consists of four semesters totaling 67 credit hours that can be completed in 16 months. The online curriculum includes simulations, 3-D graphics, and chat sessions with instructors as well as a discussion forum to interact with other students. Clinicals take place in a variety of settings both within and outside of the Boston metro area.

Program tuition is $1,263 per credit hour, and the university gives each incoming student a $12,000 scholarship to be dispersed in increments of $3,000 each semester. Prospective students must fill out an application, pay the $75 application fee, and submit a goal statement, resume, official school transcripts, and two professional or academic letters of recommendation.

UMass Boston

One of the shortest, most affordable accelerated BSN programs in Massachusetts is found at UMass Boston. This hybrid Accelerated BSN program is designed for students with bachelor’s degrees in other fields. The 12 courses and 52 credits can be completed in as little as 12 months with full-time study or longer on a part-time schedule. Incoming students must have completed a minimum of 68 credits from their previous bachelor’s degrees. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and has a 95% completion rate and 100% job placement. It also has a 95% first-time pass rate for the National Council Licensure Exam to become a registered nurse (NCLEX-RN).

Tuition is $600 per credit hour. Application requirements include attending an Accelerated Information Session, completing an application, writing two short essays, and submitting two letters of recommendation and official school transcripts. Scores from the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) test are optional.

UMass Dartmouth

UMass Dartmouth offers non-nurses a full-time, hybrid Second Degree Accelerated BSN program that’s accredited by the CCNE. Students can complete the program’s 59 credits in 17 months after passing five prerequisite courses with a 3.2 GPA or higher through UMass or another accredited institution. This BSN’s curriculum includes courses in pathophysiology and pharmacology, community health nursing, family health, psychiatric/mental health, and care of adults with acute and chronic illness. Online coursework combined with in-person labs and clinicals in varying settings provide a well-rounded education that prepares students for the NCLEX-RN. As of 2020, the program had a 95% pass rate.

The university offers additional support to students through one-on-one personal advising and a free online and in-person tutoring and writing center. Independent study in clinical community nursing is also available.

Inside Traditional Accelerated BSN MA Programs

For those who want to attend on-campus classes and capitalize on face-to-face interaction with faculty and friends, traditional accelerated BSN programs in Massachusetts may be a good fit. The three schools below, listed in no particular order, offer noteworthy programs that enable you to earn a BSN as fast as possible on campus.

MGH Institute

At the MGH Institute, students can earn their BSN in just 12 months. This Accelerated BSN program consists of four semesters that can be completed on a full-time or part-time schedule. For full-time students, the entire 54-credit program costs $85,000 while part-time tuition costs $1,574 per credit hour. The program has a 95% graduation rate, a 91% NCLEX pass rate, and a 96% employment rate. Students receive individual attention from professors and work in small groups during clinicals. Each student meets with a faculty advisor during orientation, and that same advisor stays with them throughout the entire program.

The MGH Institute has state-of-the-art facilities, including acute-care rooms, a functional living lab, and simulators for a variety of health situations. In addition to clinicals, students complete 180 hours of direct-care experience while working one-on-one with an RN. Clinicals are completed at several local facilities, including Boston Children’s Hospital, Massachusetts General, and Brigham & Women’s Hospital.

Salem State University

Logo of Salem State University featuring the word "Salem" in large, white serif font above "STATE UNIVERSITY" in smaller capital letters, all set against a dark green background with a stylized blue feather graphic on the right.

Salem State University’s Accelerated Second Degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing is a full-time, 15-month program that begins in May and ends in August of the following year. The 53-credit curriculum gives students a foundation in the latest healthcare skills and knowledge, so they can effectively care for people of all ages. Classes and clinicals take place on days, evenings, and weekends. Clinicals begin early in the program to complement coursework, but students work one-on-one with a preceptor during their last semester.

Seats are limited, so all prerequisites must be completed with at least a B- average before enrollment. Application requirements include a bachelor’s degree with a 3.0 GPA, official transcripts, and proof of immunizations. Tuition for in-state students is about $12,000 and about $19,000 for those who live out of state. Salem State offers merit-based aid in the form of scholarships as well as need-based aid like loans, grants, and work-study programs.

UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst has an onsite Accelerated BS in Nursing designed for non-nurses with bachelor’s degrees in other fields. It consists of 58 credits and takes 16 months of full-time study to complete. Clinicals take place twice a week on days, evenings, and weekends for greater scheduling flexibility. The curriculum includes subjects like assessment skills, decision-making strategy, comprehensive nursing, pathophysiology and pharmacology, maternal and newborn care, nursing care of children, and psychiatric mental care. Students have regular NCLEX preparation assessments to ensure they’re ready to sit for the exam upon graduation.

Tuition is $695 per credit, and students are eligible for federal aid and private loans as well as scholarships that UMass Amherst awards specifically to nursing students. Applications along with the $75 non-refundable application fee and required paperwork must be submitted by January 8th. Prerequisite courses must also be completed with a grade of C or better and a minimum 3.0 GPA by then.

Timeline of an Accelerated BSN Program in Massachusetts

Wondering what’s involved before, during, and after accelerated BSN programs in Massachusetts? The section below splits up what to expect into six-month increments to give you an overview of when courses, clinicals, and paperwork must be completed to become eligible to practice as a registered nurse.

Six Months Before

Before beginning an accelerated BSN program, you must first complete your non-nursing bachelor’s degree and prerequisite courses with a minimum GPA (usually 3.0). After choosing a school, fill out applications and submit all required paperwork, such as letters of recommendation, resume, and official school transcripts in addition to completing an admissions interview if necessary. Finally, work out how much financial aid you’ll need, fill out a FAFSA, and research what school scholarships are available.

First Six Months

The first six months of an accelerated BSN program are an intense, immersive experience during which you go through orientation and onboarding and gain a foundational knowledge of nursing principles and practices. Simulations and labs typically begin right away, followed soon after by clinicals. Professional development, along with collaboration and effective communication, is prioritized. Faculty members regularly assess your progress through exams, clinicals, and skills tests to ensure you’re adequately and quickly prepared to become a registered nurse.

Last Six Months

During the last six months, you study more advanced nursing courses and specialties such as community health and psychiatric mental health. You may have the opportunity to choose specialized clinical rotations – such as labor and delivery, pediatric, geriatric, or critical care – that align with your career goals. You also refine your professional skills like job search strategy and interviewing while preparing to take the NCLEX.

Six Months After

The six months after graduating from an accelerated BSN program is an exciting time that begins with taking the NCLEX-RN to be eligible for licensure in Massachusetts. After passing the exam, you must begin the application process for your nursing license, which enables you to legally practice as a nurse. Job hunting also becomes a primary focus and may involve career fairs, networking in-person and online, and applying to the types of facilities where you’d like to work.

Benefits & Challenges of Accelerated BSN Programs for Non-Nurses

There are some important factors – finances, study schedules, and transitioning to a new career, for example –non-nurses should consider when deciding to enroll in an accelerated BSN program Although difficult, the challenges are surmountable with preparation. With a plan of action in place, you can enjoy the significant financial and professional benefits of becoming an RN.

Benefit: High Return on Investment

Because accelerated programs are much shorter than their traditional counterparts, they tend to be much more affordable. Also, less time spent in school means you can begin working and earning sooner. Online programs are especially cost-effective since students don’t have to pay for housing on or near campus.

Benefit: Fast Track to Nursing Career

Instead of spending two to four years earning a nursing degree, accelerated BSN programs allow non-nurses to begin their nursing careers in as little as 12 months. For those who want to jump right into the medical field as soon as possible, this option provides a direct route that saves both time and money.

Benefit: Preparation for Advanced Degrees

A BSN degree is noteworthy on its own, but it also lays a solid foundation for pursuing more advanced nursing degrees like a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a nursing doctorate (DNP). Even though ABSN students may not have plans that far down the road, the door is always open to furthering their education because of what they’ve already achieved.

Challenge: Adaptation to Nursing Culture

Nursing has its own terminology, methods of communication, and procedures that may be challenging to adopt when coming from a completely different field, and students may initially feel awkward when immersed in a new professional environment. Practicing a learning mindset, asking questions, and building relationships with faculty members can aid in this process.

Challenge: Intensive Pace

Accelerated programs follow a much more intense pace than traditional programs because the curriculum must be covered in a fraction of the time. The workload is heavier, and students must learn and absorb the information much more quickly. This fast-paced format and demanding schedule can easily lead to burnout without proper time management.

Challenge: Transition & Preparation for Licensing Exams

Non-nurses may not know how best to go about finding a job, nailing a nursing interview, or where to get study resources for the NCLEX. Although ABSN programs assist in all these areas, students must still be proactive in getting ready for the exam, networking, and searching for suitable positions.