Nursing is an increasingly popular career choice for young professionals. And fortunately, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 3,130,600 job openings for nurses in 2021. With the aging baby boomer population and the rise of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, the demand for nurses is only going up.
Many nursing graduates can land jobs right out of school, but if you are looking to get ahead in your career, there is a way to do it even faster – accelerated nursing programs. These condensed programs allow students who already have their bachelor’s degrees to complete their required coursework more quickly than traditional baccalaureate programs while earning both a BSN and MSN in just two years or less.
What Is an Accelerated Nursing Program?
An accelerated nursing program is a unique undergraduate degree that allows students to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) quickly. It is beneficial because, according to the American Nurses Association, there will be a need for 3.44 million nurses by 2022.
In most cases, students can complete an accelerated BSN program within two years instead of the traditional four years. These programs are designed to give future nurses a head start on their careers and provide them with more job options when they graduate.
They are no less rigorous than the traditional programs, though. They require just as much coursework and clinical hours during both semesters. Accelerated BSN programs are also very similar to standard BSN schools in terms of curriculum. The only real difference is that there’s more content crammed into fewer weeks or months.
Who Can Apply for an Accelerated Nursing Program?
You must meet specific requirements to apply for an accelerated nursing program. You will need to be a high school graduate and a US citizen or permanent resident. In addition, your GPA must be at least 2.5 on a 4-point scale, and you will need at least one year of college coursework before applying.
If these requirements are too challenging for you right now, do not worry. You can also opt for an accelerated bachelor’s degree program instead of the accelerated master’s degree program.
How Long Do Accelerated Nursing Programs Take?
It’s natural to wonder how long are accelerated nursing programs. The length of an accelerated nursing program will depend on your chosen program. Some are one year, some are two years, and some are three years. The length of the program depends on the curriculum and how many credits you need to graduate.
Accelerated nursing programs usually offer 60-90 credits per year, which means that if your accelerated nursing program is two years long, it’ll require at least 120 total credits for graduation. A 3-year accelerated nurse program requires 180 total credits for graduation, so you could take two 1-year accelerated programs back-to-back to achieve this goal.
What Will Your Coursework Be Like in an Accelerated Nursing Program?
The coursework in an accelerated nursing program will be similar to a traditional degree, but it will be condensed into a shorter period. You will complete anatomy, physiology, microbiology, pharmacology, and more courses. You may also choose to specialize in gerontological or palliative care nursing.
Not only will you complete your classes on-campus at night and on weekends, but you’ll also have to take some online classes during the day to keep working or studying full-time while earning your accelerated degree.
Which Accelerated Nursing Degree Is Right for You?
When you are choosing between accelerated nursing programs, you should be thinking about the type of degree that will best suit your career goals. Here are some of the most common degrees offered by accelerated nursing programs:
- Registered Nurse (RN) – It is the traditional degree that most associate with being a nurse. RNs provide hands-on care in various settings, including hospitals and home health agencies.
- Nurse Practitioner (NP) – NPs work independently but are not licensed to practice medicine or surgery. They often work in community settings such as clinics or physicians’ offices.
It allows them to develop skills in diagnosing illnesses and prescribing treatments for patients with minor conditions who do not necessarily require more immediate attention from a physician.
Depending on their specific needs and interests, they can specialize in areas like family medicine or pediatrics, as well as trauma care, geriatrics, and other specialties.
- Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) – CNMs focus on assisting women before, during, and after birth while providing preventative healthcare services throughout pregnancy.
Accelerated Nursing Programs Are Intense, but They Can Put You on the Fast Track to a Great Career
With 85% of senior adults having at least one chronic disease, according to the National Council on Aging, nursing is a lucrative career. You might be ready to start your nursing career but not have the means to complete a traditional degree program. Accelerated programs are designed for students with bachelor’s degrees who want to pursue advanced degrees to enter their chosen fields quickly.
Accelerated nursing programs are intense and fast-paced because they’re designed with one goal, getting students into the workforce quickly and efficiently. They typically take between 12-18 months to complete, so students should expect long days filled with rigorous training and study sessions inside and outside the classroom.
As you can see, accelerated nursing programs are a great way to kick-start your career. They can also help you further your education and provide a solid foundation for future studies in medical school or other healthcare fields. The decision to pursue an accelerated program should be based on your interests, goals, and needs as an individual and a professional.