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Accelerated BSN Programs in Virginia (VA) – Online & Campus

Ready to turn your degree in another field into a nursing career? Accelerated BSN programs in Virginia can help. Read on for insights into taking the fast track to your future career.

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Author: Bernard Grant
Editor: Mikalee Byerman

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Panoramic view of a city skyline at dusk featuring modern high-rise buildings illuminated against a colorful sky. Green spaces and trees are visible in the foreground, with the Virginia river flowing alongside urban and architectural elements.

Whether you’re intrigued by the prospect of helping patients as a nurse but didn’t realize this passion until after you’d earned your degree in another field or are a current nurse looking to leverage your past education and experience to move more quickly toward a BSN, accelerated BSN programs in Virginia can help you reach your goals.

But how do you know which ABSN programs in VA to apply to? What does an accelerated course of study really look like? And what challenges and benefits can you expect to face? You’ll find answers to these questions and more in this comprehensive guide to accelerated nursing programs in VA, both online and on campus. We’ll spotlight high-quality Virginia ABSN options, discuss the average timeline of these programs, and walk you through the pros and cons of pursuing your accelerated BSN. Keep reading to get started.

Inside Accelerated Online & Hybrid BSN Programs in Virginia

The top accelerated BSN programs in VA deliver academic excellence and outstanding student services. The three ABSN programs we spotlight below can serve as models for your own search, giving you clear insights into what high quality online and hybrid accelerated BSN programs in Virginia look like.

Averett University

Our first spotlight of an accelerated BSN program in VA is offered at Averett University. Both applicants with non-nursing bachelor’s degrees and those with at least 60 non-nursing credits are eligible to apply.

While healthcare experience isn’t required for entry, incoming students must have satisfied prerequisites such as Microbiology, Statistics, Anatomy, and Physiology to qualify for admission.

This 16-month, accelerated program is split across four full-time semesters and offers multiple start dates as well as a rolling admissions process. Though accelerated, this program provides the same nursing education that traditional, on-campus students receive. Online ABSN students engage in online nursing courses, skills and simulation labs, and clinical rotations.

ABSN tuition costs $950 per credit hour. Total annual costs, including tuition and fees, is $68,375. Graduates from this program are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).

George Washington University

This accelerated BSN program at George Washington University offers a fast path to Virginia students who have 60 college credits or a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field. Veterans of the armed forces may qualify for additional credit for service, as this program values students with prior life experience.

This accelerated BSN program located primarily at the Virginia Science and Technology Campus in Ashburn is a degree-completion program that takes only four consecutive semesters to complete and features interactive online modules to help augment in-person instruction. Students gain hands-on experience during clinical rotations in top-rated facilities in the Washington, D.C. area and are exposed to obstetrics, psychiatric nursing, surgical nursing, and other specialties.

Admission requirements include a GPA of at least a 3.0, official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and a current resume. Applicants must also submit a statement of purpose. This program costs $82,400.

Marymount University

At Marymount University’s accelerated BSN program, incoming students can start a new nursing career in 16 months. This accelerated BSN program in VA boasts a 95% NCLEX-RN pass rate. The curriculum includes courses like Introduction to Professional Nursing and Scholarship, Health Assessment, and Mental Health Promotion and Illness Management.

One unique component of Marymount’s ABSN is the on-campus residency — an intensive, immersive experience that engages accelerated Bachelor of Science students in hands-on learning as well as skills training in oxygenation interventions, wound care, and health assessment, among other areas. During these experiences, students have ample time to connect with faculty, classmates, and the communities they’ll serve.

All applicants must have earned a bachelor’s degree in any field from an accredited U.S. institution of higher education. To apply, applicants must also submit transcripts with a minimum GPA of 2.8, one letter of recommendation, and a writing sample. Online ABSN students pay $18,700 per semester for tuition.

Inside Traditional Accelerated Virginia BSN Programs

Decision fatigue can burden your school search, especially if you don’t know what to look for. In the following spotlights, you’ll find in-person program descriptions that offer insight into what you can expect from this degree. You might apply to these programs (using these tips for gaining an edge when applying to nursing school) or use them to assess and compare the quality of schools that most interest you.

East Mennonite University

East Mennonite University’s Accelerated Second Degree Nursing Program can be completed in just 15 months. To be admitted, applicants must have passed prerequisite courses in anatomy and physiology, chemistry, psychology, sociology, microbiology, nutrition, statistics, and speech with a grade of C or higher, most of which students must take before the time of application. Additional admission requirements include a cumulative GPA of 2.8 or higher.

In addition to the abbreviated program timeline, students benefit from small class sizes, personalized mentorship from faculty, clinical rotations across nursing settings, and a high NCLEX pass rate. Once admitted, students are required to pass a criminal background check before being cleared to participate in clinical experiences. Students must complete their nursing courses with a C+ or better to progress through the program and meet the program-specific Intercultural Learning requirement by taking a language course or a class on Power, Systems, and Justice.

EMU offers comprehensive financial aid packages, defraying the cost of attendance for their students. In fact, 100% of EMU students receive some form of financial aid.

George Mason University

George Mason University’s accelerated second-degree BSN program offers students the chance to earn their degree in 12 months. This is a full-time, pre-licensure program for those with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree.

Mason School of Nursing BSN students gain real-world experience in a variety of clinical settings throughout the National Capitol area. The university is located in Fairfax County, Virginia, near Washington D.C. Students work and learn in state-of-the-art facilities — upgraded labs and classrooms in the new Peterson Family Health Sciences Hall. You’ll also have access to the VR/Sim Lab that extends learning opportunities in areas such as OB/GYN, pediatrics, and gerontology.

If you’re a Virginia resident, undergraduate students at George Mason University pay $420.50 per credit hour. Out-of-state tuition is $1,427.50 per credit hour.

Fortunately, this accelerated BSN program offers over two dozen nursing scholarships, including the Bette Burch Nursing Endowed Scholarship and the Carlyn A. Taylor Endowed Scholarship.

Shenandoah University

The innovative Accelerated Second Degree BSN at Shenandoah University lets students with non-nursing degrees earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in just 15 months. The ABSN track is offered in Winchester, Virginia, at the Cecil Pruitt, Jr. Health and Life Sciences Building, and at the Loudoun location just east of Leesburg, Virginia.

Boasting a first-time NCLEX pass rate of 98.56% for the 2022-2023 academic year, the program provides academic support from faculty and hands-on experience at clinical sites. Students benefit from small class sizes and state-of-the-art simulation technology.

Applicants must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 in all science prerequisite courses before applying as well as a 3.0 GPA in all other non-science prerequisite courses. These courses include Human Growth and Development, Statistics, Nutrition, English Composition, and Sociology or Psychology.

Full-time ABSN students pay $17,730 per term plus fees.

Timeline of an Accelerated BSN Program in Virginia

ABSN degree programs are fast paced to allow students to earn their degrees more quickly than traditional programs. This means you’ll have to quickly adapt to a world where coursework must be completed promptly and balanced against clinical rotations and a culminating project. Read on to learn more about the timeline of accelerated BSN programs in VA.

Six Months Before

To enter an accelerated BSN program, you must hold a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field or have earned undergraduate credits in another field. You’ll also need to complete prerequisites, many of which are general education requirements you’ve fulfilled through your bachelor’s program. You may consider working with an admissions counselor who will review your transcript to determine your transferable credits.

Once you’ve finished your bachelor’s prerequisites — often courses in microbiology, statistics, and human anatomy and physiology, among others — you’ll need to find the programs you want to apply to and finish your applications on time. It helps to write the deadline of each program in a spreadsheet, Word document, calendar, or notebook — wherever you like to store information.

First Six Months

Within the first six months of accelerated BSN programs in VA, students usually begin with an orientation session to gain familiarity with the program’s policies, resources, and support services. Orientation also introduces students to faculty and classmates.

You’ll then begin your foundational coursework in core nursing topics that provide critical thinking and decision-making skills.

At this time, you should also learn more about your future clinical rotations. Depending on the program’s structure, you might begin these rotations as early as the first semester, focusing on patient communication and beside care, among other basic nursing skills.

Last Six Months

In the last six months of your ABSN program, you’ll focus on refining your clinical skills. You’ll also prepare for licensure and work to transition to professional nursing practice with the knowledge you’ve gained from your accelerated BSN program.

To accomplish this, you’ll complete advanced clinical rotations, then prepare for the NCLEX-RN exam, participating in mock exams and practice assessments.

You can also rely on faculty and student support to guide you through professional development — building a resume, creating a job search routine, and preparing for interviews. Many accelerated BSN programs incorporate capstone projects. Capstone projects allows BSN students to illustrate the knowledge they’ve gained from the program.

Six Months After

After you’ve completed coursework, clinical rotations, and your capstone in your accelerated BSN program in VA, you’re ready to sit for the NCLEX exam to become a registered nurse. You must pass the NCLEX exam to become a licensed RN (which is why it’s a good idea to search for each program’s NCLEX pass rates when applying to schools).

After you’ve passed the NCLEX exam, you must apply for licensure in Virginia. You may have to submit paperwork, pay fees, and meet additional state requirements outlined by the Virginia Board of Nursing.

You’ll also begin your job search. This may involve joining nursing organizations to find networking opportunities while you apply to hospitals, long-term care facilities, and other healthcare settings, according to your interests.

Benefits & Challenges of Accelerated BSN Programs for Non-Nurses

Higher education can be challenging, especially with an accelerated curriculum. ABSN programs offer both benefits and potential obstacles that you can prepare yourself for before you apply. Below, we’ll identify some positive and negative aspects of ABSN programs to help you navigate your nursing education journey.

Benefit: High Return on Investment

ABSN programs are often more affordable than traditional full-time programs because you won’t have to repeat core coursework. Plus, due to the expedited timeline, you’ll graduate and start earning sooner. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, registered nurses earn $81,220 annually — which is over $39 per hour.

Benefit: Fast Track to Nursing Career

Accelerated BSN programs let you use your non-nursing bachelor’s to cover general education and prerequisite courses, so you can earn your degree in a little over a year. These programs range from 12 to 16 months on average, so you can spend less time in school and more time caring for patients as a BSN-prepared nurse.

Benefit: Preparation for Advanced Degrees

Another great benefit of earning an accelerated BSN in VA is that upon graduation, you’re prepared to pursue advanced degrees in the field. You might pursue a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), choosing a nursing specialty that speaks to your interests or skills. Or you may go even further to earn a PhD in nursing or a DNP. Whereas a PhD in nursing prepares you for careers in scientific research, you may want to consider a DNP if you’re interested in nursing leadership or administration in clinical and non-clinical areas of healthcare.

Challenge: Adaptation to Nursing Culture

Clinical procedures, communication styles, clinical team dynamics — the world of nursing can be startingly foreign to someone coming from a completely different field. You’ll have to adapt to a new culture, which includes a new language and new ways of communicating with patients. And because your patients will come from a range of backgrounds, cultural competence will become an important consideration.

Challenge: Intensive Pace

The fast-paced nature of an ABSN program makes it easy to burn out. Learning self-care techniques will be important, as you’ll likely be finding a balance between your full-time accelerated BSN program and other professional and personal obligations. This means you’ll have a heavy workload, limited time to absorb educational content, and limited time for yourself. You’ll want to be mindful of your time during and after studies, making time management techniques extremely important.

Challenge: Transition & Preparation for Licensing Exams

You may be unfamiliar with the process of transitioning from coursework and clinical rotations to preparing for licensing exams. The best accelerated BSN programs in VA help you prepare for these exams, as your faculty will want you to succeed. However, you must be proactive about preparing for exams. This means studying intensively, taking mock exams, and using NCLEX study resources — like our NCLEX strategy guide — or those offered by your program. Study groups can be helpful, too.