accelerated nursing programs degree guide

Accelerated Nursing Programs: A Complete Degree Guide

The accelerated bachelors of science in nursing (ABSN) degree will help you advance your professional career to allow you to become a registered nurse. In this article, we will go over who accelerated nursing programs are designed for, the benefits of taking an ABSN program and what to expect in an ABSN course.

What are Accelerated Nursing Programs?

Accelerated nursing programs are specifically created for students who already hold a bachelor’s degree in another field. ABSN programs are intended to be completed in a shorter amount of time than a traditional undergraduate bachelor’s degree, therefore can require more intensive coursework.

Who are ABSN Programs Designed for?

ABSN programs are designed for adult learners who already hold a bachelor’s degree in another field. There are numerous scenarios in which someone may find themselves interested in pursuing an ABSN degree.

These include inviduals who: 

  • Are looking for a fulfilling career to help others.
  • Want to make a quick career change.
  • Are ambitious and extremely motivated.
  • Would like to be employed as a nurse as soon as possible.

Benefits of an Accelerated Nursing Program

Accelerated nursing programs are very popular among adult learners because of the great benefits they offer. For instance, prior healthcare experience is not a requirement, degree completion time is rather short, and the programs provide extensive flexibility while providing a quality education.

•    Prior healthcare experience is not required
•    Accelerated degree completion time
•    Flexibility
•    Quality education

Prerequisites for Accelerated Nursing Programs

Accelerated nursing programs are readily available often require prerequisites for enrollment. For example, prerequisite courses may be required if you graduated from your first bachelor’s degree program more than five years ago, your nutrition course was not taught by a Registered Dietitian or if your major did not include laboratory science courses.  

Prerequisites that may be required include:

  • Nutrition
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Statistics
  • Microbiology
  • Anatomy & Physiology I
  • Anatomy & Physiology II
  • Chemistry I (Only necessary for students who did not take an undergraduate chemistry course)
  • Chemistry II (Organic Biochemistry)

These additional courses also have the benefit of being offered online and they include in-home laboratory experiences.

Accelerated Nursing Program Career Outcomes

A BSN will leads to greater positive outcomes in your career by opening the door to more opportunities within the nursing field that require an undergraduate nursing degree. In addition, a BSN may become a requirement for the future of professional nursing. Only 50% of nurses currently hold a BSN degree and so,the Institute of Medicine advocates that 80% of the nursing workforce have a BSN by 2020 in order to improve the quality of patient care.

BSN vs RN/ADN: What’s the Difference?

The advantage of a BSN vs. RN/AND is that with a BSN you have more education, are better trained, and will have more job opportunities. More and more hospitals are requiring that their nurses hold a BSN. Earning your BSN will increase your competitive advantage in the workplace. Learn more about the differences by reading this RN vs. BSN article.

Coursework for RN/ADN Degree:

The coursework required to achieve an RN/ADN degree can be completed in as little as two years and includes courses such as:

•    Anatomy
•    Physiology
•    Biology
•    Nutrition

Careers for RN/ADN Degree:

There are several careers in healthcare as a nurse if you only hold an RN/ADN degree.


Job Title



Registered Nurse (RN)


26% by 2020

Outpatient Care Nurse


26% by 2020

Personal Care Nurse


26% by 2020

Physician’s Office Nurse


26% by 2020


Coursework for BSN Degree:

The coursework required to achieve a BSN degree can be completed in 4 years and includes courses in:

•    General Education
•    Professional Nursing
•    Nursing Practice
•    Pharmacology
•    Pathophysiology
•    Genomics
•    Health and Illness
•    Global Health & Health Policy
•    Nursing Research

Careers for BSN Degree:

A BSN degree will lead you to some of the most highly paid nursing occupations in the healthcare industry.


Job Title



Surgical Nurse


26% by 2020

Pediatric Nurse


26% by 2020

ICU Nurse


26% by 2020

Obstetric and Gynecological Nurse


26% by 2020


Average Salary: BSN vs RN/ADN

An individual who earns their BSN will generally make more money than an individual with their RN/ADN degree due to the longer degree program, coursework, and training. With that said, an ABSN program is a great way to do just that because it offers flexibility, a shorter time length, and a rich education that will set you up on the best path possible for your career.  

Online Accelerated Nursing Programs

Online Accelerated Nursing Programs are becoming more and more popular for adults interested in the healthcare field, who want to expand their knowledge past their bachelor’s degree but need the flexibility and convenience of an online education. With that in mind, many institutions have implemented online ABSN programs to help adult learners earn their second degree while still being able to manage their every day obligations, such as family and work. These programs offer most theory classes online to cut down the amount of time spent on campus however, clinical experiences and lab work are in-person requirements.

One of the great things about online Accelerated Nursing Programs is that they do not just consist of video lectures and PowerPoints that require heavy reading and note taking. Institutions have found a way to develop and incorporate interactive simulations online that expose students to situations they could encounter as a nurse.

This section should be 2-3 paragraphs discussing how online programs have grown in popularity and become a vital way for us to enhance our workforce (that’s an assumption I’m making, please confirm and expand on this general idea). Here is a good piece of content to reference.

Accelerated Nursing Program FAQs

How long do accelerated nursing programs take?

Accelerated nursing programs can typically take anywhere from 12-18 months to complete. An individual’s time frame will depend on whether or not prerequisite courses are required.

Can I get a BSN without being an RN?

Yes, a BSN can be obtained without an RN certification.. An individual who would like to obtain their BSN will typically enroll in a 4-year degree program or an ABSN (Accelerated Bachelor of Nursing in Science) program after they have already obtained a bachelor’s degree in another field.

Will a BSN be required in 2020?

By the year 2020, it is projected that a BSN degree will be a major requirement for most nurses, bringing the national average from 50% to 80% of working nurses in the United States.

Glossary of Accelerated Nursing Terms

  • ABSN - Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Accelerated - Increased speed in time or amount
  • RN - Registered Nurse
  • BSN - Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • ADN - Associates Degree in Nursing
  • Fast Track - A course or program that is completed more quickly than traditional courses/programs
  • Second Degree - Earning another educational degree when you have already obtained one degree, possibly an Associate or Bachelor’s degree.