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Accelerated BSN Programs in Houston, TX - Online & Campus

Explore the features of accelerated BSN programs in Houston, Texas. Learn about the basic program timeline along with the challenges and benefits non-nurses can expect.

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Author: Jenna Tidd
Editor: Kari Scare

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Did you earn a bachelor’s degree before deciding you wanted a nursing career? Accelerated BSN programs in Houston allow you to transition from your original field of study to nursing by earning your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in as few as 12 months. The condensed curriculum in these fast-track programs allows you to work and earn in the medical field as soon as possible. The shortened time frame of accelerated healthcare programs gives you the knowledge and skills you need at a much faster rate than traditional programs.

As you search for the best accelerated BSN programs in Houston, you may wonder what to look for in a quality school. In this guide we spotlight some accelerated BSN (ABSN) programs as examples of quality online and campus learning. We also explore their features and give you an overview of what to expect before, during, and after your program. Finally, we look at the benefits and challenges that non-nurses experience with accelerated BSN programs in Houston. Keep reading for the critical information you need to choose the right program for you.

Inside Accelerated Online & Hybrid BSN Programs in Houston

The section below highlights three accelerated BSN programs in Houston that feature an online or hybrid format. They aren’t ranked but instead serve as a starting point in your search for the best program for you.

University of St. Thomas Houston

Logo of the University of St. Thomas in Texas featuring a maroon and gold shield with a cross, flanked by the text "University of St. Thomas" in green and gold.

Non-nurses can earn their nursing degrees in just 12 months through the Accelerated Nursing Program at the University of St. Thomas Houston. This full-time program is for students with prior bachelor’s degrees or a minimum of 60 non-nursing credits. The curriculum consists of online nursing theory and onsite labs, simulations, and clinicals completed over three semesters for a total of 58 credits. Prerequisite courses include anatomy and physiology, microbiology, and algebra or statistics. Although not required, nutrition is highly recommended. The program has start dates in January, May, and August.

Tuition is $450 per credit for prerequisite courses and $1,100 per credit for the ABSN program. Combined with prerequisites and additional fees, the estimated cost of this ABSN program is $66,495.

UTHealth Houston

Approved by the Texas Board of Nursing, UTHealth Houston’s Pacesetter Accelerated BSN program is one of the state’s most affordable nursing programs with tuition of just $273 per credit hour for Texas residents and $1,111 for out-of-state students. The 15-month program can be taken online or on campus with start dates in the spring, summer, and fall. It takes four semesters of full-time enrollment to complete the 60 credits and 900 clinical hours. The first three semesters focus on nursing theory, and the clinical-heavy fourth semester prioritizes essential hands-on skills.

UTHealth Houston has a wealth of scholarship options, including ones specific to the ABSN program. Students who accept their ABSN admissions offer within 10 days are automatically considered for a $1,000 early decision scholarship. Other scholarships are awarded according to academic merit and financial need. Students only need to fill out one application to be considered for all available university scholarships.

Inside Traditional Accelerated Houston BSN Programs

Traditional accelerated BSN programs in Houston offer many benefits — personal interaction with professors and onsite resources, for example — to those who want to attend on-campus classes. Below are three quality schools with ABSN programs that you can use to start your program search and understand what to look for in a quality campus-based program.

Texas A&M University

Logo of Texas A&M University, featuring the initials "ATM" in large, white stylized font on a maroon background.

The Second Degree BSN track at Texas A&M University is a 15-month, four-semester program for prospective nurses who already have bachelor’s degrees in other fields. Before enrolling, students must complete 59 credits of prerequisite courses in the humanities and behavioral, physical, and biological sciences. While in the program, all classes, video lectures, and simulations take place at the Round Rock campus, and students are not allowed to switch campuses during the program.

To apply, fill out a nursing application, pay a fee, and pass the Health Education Systems Incorporated (HESI) exam. Then complete a Texas A&M application, pay another application fee, do an online review and written assessment, and submit school transcripts showing you passed the prerequisite courses with a GPA above 3.0.

Tuition for fall and spring semesters is $12,340 for Texas residents and $39,750 for out-of-state students. Summer semester tuition is $2,605 for residents and $8,182 for non-residents.

Texas Lutheran University

Logo of Texas Lutheran University featuring a stylized flame above the letters "TLU" in black, with the full name "Texas Lutheran University" alongside, near San Antonio.

Texas Lutheran University offers those with bachelor’s degrees in other disciplines an Accelerated BSN that can be completed in 16 months. Accredited by the Commission for Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), the program consists of 60 credits and 945 clinical hours. It features small classes, advanced patient simulators, and clinicals in a variety of local facilities ranging from clinics to hospitals. Graduates can give competent, safe care to people of all ages using critical reasoning, research, and effective communication.

The first two semesters focus on nursing fundamentals and research. During the third and fourth semesters, students study advanced nursing concepts and specialized areas such as OB-GYN, emergency room nursing, intensive care units, geriatrics, pediatrics, medical-surgical acute care, pediatrics, behavioral health, and community health. They also complete a capstone nursing leadership practicum. Tuition is $875 per credit, and the university offers a $6,000 scholarship for new ABSN students.

University of Houston

For those with bachelor’s or master’s degrees in other fields, the University of Houston’s 12-month Second Degree BSN provides an intense but direct route to a nursing career. It gives a foundation in the physical, biological, and social sciences as well as nursing fundamentals. Students learn critical thinking and analysis, communication skills, and professional ethics. The 60-credit curriculum also teaches evidence-based practice, scientific inquiry, and nursing leadership.

To apply for this ABSN program, complete your non-nursing bachelor’s degree and all prerequisites before August 1st with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Then take the Test for Academic Skills (TEAS) entrance exam. Applicants should submit all documents six weeks before August 1st to ensure timely processing. Tuition is $484.82 per credit hour for Texas residents and $1,004.82 per credit hour for non-residents. Admissions applications also serve as scholarship applications for all university scholarships.

Timeline of an Accelerated BSN Program in Houston

When considering accelerated BSN programs in Houston, it’s important to understand the timeline for the application process, the program itself, and your post-graduation plans. The timeline below looks at what takes place before, during, and after earning an accelerated BSN in six-month increments to provide an overview of what must be completed and when.

Six Months Before

The six months before beginning classes is an important time. You must complete your first bachelor’s degree and any prerequisite courses with the minimum GPA. You also fill out program applications, submit necessary paperwork, and set up an admissions interview, if required. Another essential part of this preparation period is developing a plan to pay for your BSN program. This includes filling out a FAFSA and exploring federal, state, and other financial aid options.

First Six Months

In an accelerated BSN program, the first six months may feel intense as you complete orientation and onboarding before immersing yourself in the foundational principles of nursing. Simulations and labs usually begin early in the program and are followed by clinicals for hands-on experience. In addition to teaching technical skills, experienced faculty members also focus on professional development, communication skills, and collaboration among members of the healthcare team. They also regularly assess your progress to make sure you’re ready for the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX).

Last Six Months

The last six months of your program involve advanced nursing skills courses and courses in various specialties like labor and delivery, psychiatric mental health, pediatrics, geriatrics, or critical care. You may be able to choose clinical rotations according to your preferences and career goals. Preparing for the NCLEX and honing your professional skills become priorities at this point, too. Some schools provide guidance on how to successfully navigate job interviews and find a suitable position.

Six Months After

Immediately after graduation, there are two priorities: passing the NCLEX-RN and finding a job. According to the Texas Board of Nursing, you must first pass the state’s nursing jurisprudence exam before being authorized to take the NCLEX. Other requirements include completing an application, paying the $200 fee, passing a background check, and submitting proof of graduation from an accredited nursing program. Upon passing the NCLEX, you can apply for your nursing license and find a job, a process that may involve networking events, multiple applications, and interviews.

Benefits & Challenges of Accelerated BSN Programs for Non-Nurses

An accelerated BSN program has unique benefits and challenges for non-nurses, including an intense schedule, a novel work culture, and a sudden transition. These are explored in greater detail below. With some good planning, you can navigate the challenges and enjoy the benefits for years to come.

Benefit: High Return on Investment

Accelerated programs, especially online ones, are typically more affordable thanks to a shorter timeframe that allows students to begin working and earning a higher salary in as little as 12 months instead of taking years to graduate. This greater return on investment may appeal to students on a budget.

Benefit: Fast Track to Nursing Career

Accelerated BSN programs offer students the shortest path to a nursing career. A traditional BSN degree takes four years to complete, but an accelerated BSN can be completed in just one. ABSN programs also allow students to get valuable work experience as soon as possible.

Benefit: Preparation for Advanced Degrees

Students who want to advance their nursing career by eventually earning a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a nursing doctorate (DNP) can also benefit from completing an accelerated BSN degree. ABSNs provide the foundation needed to transition to more advanced programs. They also open doors to other accelerated or bridge programs that can further speed up your career progress.

Challenge: Adaptation to Nursing Culture

When entering the nursing field, students must learn new terminology, communication, and procedures, and put them into practice in real-life situations. This can be stressful, resulting in over 30% of nursing students experiencing high levels of anxiety. Asking questions is a great way to mitigate this while adapting to a foreign environment.

Challenge: Intensive Pace

The curriculum in an accelerated BSN program is condensed to fit into a much shorter timeframe than a traditional program. This means students must learn and absorb the same amount of information at a more rapid rate. A fast-paced study schedule results in a greater workload that requires effective time management to avoid burnout.

Challenge: Transition & Preparation for Licensing Exams

Students may have difficulty transitioning from school to the workforce due to a lack of confidence in their skills while preparing for the NCLEX-RN. Most schools prepare students by honing their professional skills and doing NCLEX assessments. However, each student must take a proactive approach to get ready for their exam.