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Accelerated BSN Programs
(found programs from 251 schools)

If you already have a non-nursing degree, and are now considering entering the world of nursing, you've come to the right place. Thousands of people, just like you, are choosing nursing as a second career, for a variety of reasons.

BestNursingDegree.com has compiled a comprehensive list of all the accelerated nursing programs that build upon your previous education. We've done the leg work, compiling a list of accelerated BSN programs so you can focus on selecting the program that will best meet your educational goals.

Whether you are looking to enhance your earning potential, or if you simply desire a more satisfying career, obtaining a second degree in nursing can be a very rewarding decision. Additionally, nursing students who already possess a non-nursing degree are highly regarded, by both schools and prospective employers.

As the nursing shortage continues to grow, schools have responded by developing programs that build curriculum around the degree you already have, infusing the workforce with new nurses faster than traditional programs can. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), one of the most rapidly expanding segments of nursing education is the Accelerated or Second Degree Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN). This option is the fastest route to move from a non-nursing career to full licensure and practice as a Registered Nurse (RN).

We have already investigated the options for accelerated nursing programs, and recommend that you request information from each one of the featured schools below. These schools offer fast-track BSN programs that utilize both online and classroom curriculum, which is built upon the fact that you already have a degree. They accept students from all over the United States, and by submitting your information to the schools you can help kick start your path to earning your second degree, leading you to enter the nursing workforce in as little as 11-18 months.

Below is the most comprehensive listing on the web of accelerated nursing programs, for non-nurses with bachelor's degrees who want to become nurses. If you’re an RN looking for bachelor's completion programs, the page you want is either our RN to BSN program directory or our list of online RN to BSN programs Keep in mind that even online accelerated BSN programs do have clinical requirements, so it’s important to thoroughly explore all your options..

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Characteristics of Second Degree Nursing Students

According to an AACN Fact Sheet, accelerated nursing programs tent to attract students that are highly motivated learners that demonstrate a maturity level and ability to incorporate clinical knowledge that is prized by both educators and employers. The background that non-nursing degree holders possess leads to well-rounded students and nurses that are able to incorporate past career and scholastic strengths into their nursing practice. Many people that are looking to nursing as a second degree often find themselves drawn to the role of Nurse Educators as well, building upon the solid base of education and experience they possess. If this sounds like you, you may want to explore options for Direct Entry MSN programs as well.

As a general rule, nursing students that choose an Accelerated BSN Program are willing and able to make a full time commitment to school. Just as it sounds, these nursing programs are intense in nature, compressing clinical and classroom work into a shorter time period than traditional programs, while building upon the solid educational foundation you already have. If you are excited about learning new skills, and possess the resources to attend classes full time, this route into the profession of nursing may be the perfect fit for you.

"The design of an accelerated second degree program of study is not just a faster version of the traditional program of study, but rather a unique program of study that recognizes and values the previous education, experience, knowledge, and abilities the second degree students bring with them” (Raines, 2010, ¶ 22).

The below featured schools were selected as they offer online components for degree completion, in addition to offering multiple locations to meet the clinical requirements of the programs. It’s recommended to request information from multiple schools, keeping in mind that these programs may allow for clinical components to be completed off campus, and may even partner with healthcare facilities near you. Online accelerated BSN programs offer a direct route to obtaining your BSN quickly, without sacrificing the quality of your education, as adding nurses to the ranks is the most effective way to remedy the urgent and increasing nursing shortage.

What are the Benefits of an Accelerated BSN Degree?

According to the 2010 HRSA Report on the Registered Nurse Population, the percentage of nursing students who possess an earned degree prior to beginning nursing school has been rising steadily over the last decade. (See Table 1.1 below)

Nurses with Degrees Prior to Initial Nursing Education (Table 1.1)

2000 2004 2008
13.3% 16.2% 21.7%
**Source: Data derived from 2000-2008 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses

Considering the diverse opportunities within the field of nursing, along with the widely publicized, and ever growing nursing shortage, it is no surprise that many degree holding adults are leaving their current professions to become nurses. For adults considering a career change, minimizing the time spent training for a new job is of utmost importance. That is why many adults choose to enroll in an Accelerated or Second Degree BSN Program, taking advantage of programs that build upon previous learning experiences.

One of the major benefits of Accelerated BSN programs is the speed with which you can obtain your nursing degree. Most programs offer completion in less than two years, which is half of the traditional time needed to earn a BSN. The fact that you already have a degree, though it may not be healthcare specific, means that you have taken many of the general studies and elective courses required of traditional nursing students. What could be better than building upon the education you have already invested in, while expanding your knowledge to enter one of the fastest growing job sectors in the nation?

We welcome you to join the thousands of students who are already expanding their career opportunities by obtaining a second degree in nursing! The accelerated nursing programs listed on this site are a great way to fast track into the diverse and ever-changing profession of nursing. If you have additional questions about nursing as a second degree, please request information from any of the schools listed on the Accelerated BSN or Direct Entry MSN pages, or email us at info@bestnursingdegree.com.

Expert Advice: Opinions on Second Degree Nursing & How Life Experience Can Enrich a Nursing Career

Nurse Teeny is a community health nurse for aging and disability services in her county. Before going into community health, she was a Critical Care RN Resident on a Progressive Care Unit. She is currently working on her MSN in Clinical Nurse Leadership and will graduate in May 2012. Nurse Teeny also maintains the blog, the Makings of a Nurse.

I had my entire medical career planned in junior high school, from the college I would attend - Stanford - to the academic track I needed for admission to medical school. I even knew my specialty: pediatric oncology. The greatest gift I have ever received, though, is a life that didn’t go as planned. I am not a pediatric oncologist, nor did I attend Stanford. I am a second-career nurse.

In high school, I was able to shadow a physician. My mentor had a warm bedside manner, but she admitted a sense of frustration over her limited time for hands-on patient care. The nurses I met, on the other hand, seemed to have much more contact with patients and families on an ongoing basis. I began to wonder whether nursing might be a better fit for me. Ultimately, I decided that I still had plenty of time to figure out my future, and when it came time to choose a college, I picked one for what it would offer me right then and there - an education that celebrated critical thinking and a love of learning.

I chose cultural anthropology for my major and gender studies for my concentration. For four years, I studied topics ranging from southern religion to the migration patterns of Homo erectus. I learned how to respectfully and intelligently disagree with those whose political or religious beliefs differed from my own. I realized that to successfully relate to people, I had to open my eyes and my mind and learn how to put aside personal differences in pursuit of mutual goals. This education has served me well in the multidisciplinary health care field, in which finding common ground requires collaboration, cooperation and often a healthy dose of humility.

After graduation I moved overseas on a postgraduate fellowship to observe the role of faith in West African health care settings. I came home and attended seminary on a challenge scholarship and explored my place in this world from the perspective of vocation. I worked in family support for individuals with developmental disabilities. All of these experiences resurrected that nagging voice from high school that I might belong in health care after all.

I realized I belonged specifically in nursing when I moved home to care for my father during the final months of his life. Throughout our family’s trials, my father’s nurses consistently advocated for us, coordinated care, and communicated with us. Through them I realized what a pivotal role a nurse could play in transforming a discouraging, terrifying experience, into a journey that was both tragic and life-affirming.

Had I attended nursing school as an undergraduate student, I would have eight years of clinical experience under my belt. I would most likely have landed my first job with less effort. Instead, I submitted 166 applications as a new grad last year in the midst of an economy that was unkind to new nurses. Do I regret it? Not on your life.

I have learned for the sake of learning, traveled, and explored my own faith. I have lived the role of family advocate. I have learned what it means to grieve and express genuine empathy.

There are many ways to become a nurse and to practice nursing - that is the beauty of this profession. But, nursing is a serious responsibility that requires technical, critical thinking and interpersonal skills. Was I ready at age 22 to shoulder the responsibilities of this career?

I certainly could have learned on the job - as many nurses have done successfully - but would I have loved it and appreciated it as much as I do now? Not a chance. Nor would I have developed the courage to challenge the status quo, the education and intellectual curiosity to seek out opportunities for continued learning, and the life experience to understand and appreciate the vulnerable human moments that I am invited into on a daily basis.


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