An accelerated BSN degree, also referred to as a second-degree BSN, is an option to earn a nursing degree in a shorter time frame than a traditional four-year bachelor degree program. Accelerated BSN programs are typically designed for students who have already earned their bachelor’s degrees in disciplines other than nursing. The program usually takes between 12 and 20 months. Accelerated programs take a shorter time to complete than a traditional registered nursing program because the universities that offer accelerated BSNs recognize courses that students have already completed.
The majority of universities offering accelerated BSN program require applicants to have already earned bachelor’s degrees. The previously earned bachelor’s degree does not have to be in a health or nursing field, but it must have been conferred by an accredited university. Many universities require that applicants to accelerated BSN programs have a minimum grade point of 2.5 to 3.0; however, minimum GPAs vary by institution.
Accelerated BSN programs typically require an applicant with a previous discipline to have taken and passed prerequisite courses that are related to the university’s nursing prerequisites. If you did not complete these courses, you may be required to complete some or all of them before being admitted. It is recommended that you speak with your admissions advisor about prerequisites. They vary from one university to another. However, they typically include
- · Nutrition
- · Anatomy and physiology
- · Chemistry
- · Statistics
- · Microbiology
- · Developmental psychology
- · General psychology
- · Human behavior
- Test Scores
Many universities that offer an accelerated BSN program require scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). If the school you are applying to does not require GRE scores, it is highly beneficial to submit these scores as supplemental information with your application. Accelerated BSN programs are extremely competitive. The GRE scores may improve the application and increase your chances for a spot in the program.
Letters of Recommendation
Letters of recommendation are an important part of the application process for an accelerated BSN program. The majority of universities require applicants to submit two or three letters with their applications. A letter of recommendation can be from a previous or current employer, professor, friend and/or relative. All letters of recommendation must be submitted on an official recommendation form provided by the university to which you are applying. It is recommended that you check with the university to verify the type of letter preferred, how many letters are required and to get information on where to find the required form.
Benefits of an Accelerated BSN
The primary benefit of an accelerated BSN degree program is you will be able to finish in a shorter time period because you have already earned the majority of the required general-education credits. The time it takes to complete the program depends on the specific university program and the number of prerequisites you have earned. While students are enrolled in the accelerated BSN program, most universities require that they attend attend full-time. It is highly recommended that students not work at a full-time job while enrolled. After you complete the program you will need to pass the National Council for Licensure Exam (NCLRX-RN) before you can work as a licensed RN.
Applying to an Accelerated BSN Program
If you have made the decision to apply to a BSN program, it is important that you know in advance the amount of time you will have to dedicate to your studies. Accelerated BSN programs require extreme dedication. Because it is an accelerated program, you will be involved in a lot of clinical hours (working at a school-approved medical site), which can interfere with working a full time job. Research the schools that interest you to see if they offer the program.
Review the information for each school to determine which one best suits your needs. Remember to take note of the application due dates, the prerequisites and all information you will need to include with the application. If you are interested in several schools, apply to them all. You will need to send transcripts from previous colleges to each university you are applying to and most, if not all, universities require that transcripts be sent directly from the previous colleges. Once your application has been reviewed, the school may require an interview, so make sure you have all of the information you will need beforehand. Keep in mind you will need to have your letters of recommendation sent to each of the universities you are applying to, so it will be beneficial to contact those you would like to write a letter as soon as possible. It may take a while to contact previous professors or employers, so be prepared to have back-up letter writers in case you cannot contact some people.
Once you graduate from the accredited BSN program you will be able to take the NCLRX-RN and work in a variety of medical settings. Those who receive a BSN are typically in higher demand than those who have received an ASN. Research employment options carefully to choose which field of nursing you are interested in. If necessary, apply to specialized certification programs and complete your certifications as soon as possible before searching for employment.