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Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) Overview

Earning an ABSN prepares you to become a registered nurse (RN) and helps you develop critical thinking and decision making-skills. Most programs require a bachelor’s degree, which can be in a non-nursing field.

Are you ready to find a school that's aligned with your interests?

Opportunities with an ABSN

partial online offering
clinical hours required
Good career mobility
Most administrative and supervisory positions require a BSN.
Path to advancement
Grants entry to master’s or doctoral nursing programs, leading to career advancement and higher salaries.
Job potential
With a BSN, a range of specialized nursing jobs outside of the traditional floor nursing is available.
Skills Learned
  • Clinical and leadership skills
  • Case management
  • Community participation
  • Nursing care of children and adults
A young African American nursing school student is discussing class material with his instructor. The student is wearing teal green scrubs, and is taking notes and smiling as he listens to his instructor explain. The instructor is kneeling next to him and showing him something on a notepad. Other students are studying in the background.

Image: SDI Productions / E+ / Getty Images

Featured ABSN Specialties

adn or bsn Required

Registered Nurse

RNs focus on health promotion and patient education. RNs may check vital signs, take patient histories, administer diagnostic tests, and perform procedures such as drawing blood, performing skin and wound care, and monitoring IV medications.
Salary $73,300*
Job Outlook 7% increase from 2019-2029
Learn More About Registered Nurses
adn or bsn Required

Geriatric Nurse

Geriatric nurses provide patient care that addresses the unique needs of the aging population. They care for patients with medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, dementia, osteoporosis, and mobility limitations.
Salary $64,870*
Job Outlook Positive Growth in Coming Years
Learn More About Geriatric Nurses
adn or bsn Required

OB/GYN Nurse

OB/GYN nurses work with expectant mothers before, during, and after labor and delivery. They assist obstetricians and gynecologists to provide a variety of patient services for females during the childbearing years.
Salary $60,000*
Job Outlook 7% increase from 2019-2029
Learn More About OB/GYN Nurses
asn or bsn Required

Travel Nurse

Travel nurses perform general RN duties in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare sites across the United States, often providing services in underserved areas. Most U.S. placements run between 1-3 months; overseas contracts require a 1-2 year commitment.
Salary $79,000*
Job Outlook 7% increase from 2019-2029
Learn More About Travel Nurses
adn or bsn Required

Neonatal Nurse

Neonatal nurses provide care to critically ill newborns, monitor premature or sick infants, and educate and comfort parents and families. Working in neonatal intensive care units, these RNs take care of newborns for a few days to several months.
Salary $60,797*
Job Outlook 7% increase from 2019-2029
Learn More About Neonatal Nurses
*SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, PayScale

How Much Will I Make With an Accelerated Bachelor's Degree in Nursing?


$32.78*
Hourly Salary

$7,141*
Monthly Salary

$85,700*
Annual Salary

*SOURCE: PayScale.com


Learn More About RN Salaries and Careers

How To Get an ABSN

Decide Type of ABSN Program
There are several types of ABSN programs, including traditional, bridge, and online. Figure out what works best for you.
Find ABSN Program
After deciding which factors are important to you in a school, use our degree finder to find programs that fit your criteria.
Apply to ABSN Programs
Common application requirements include GPA, essay, references, CV or resume, volunteer experience, and prior coursework.
Secure Funding for ABSN Programs
There are many ways to finance your degree, including financial aid, grants, scholarships, and loans.
Attend ABSN Classes
Complete the required courses and obtain clinical hours to get hands-on experience. Learn how to work independently with your own patients.
Graduate with an ABSN
Congrats on earning your degree! Now you can take the NCLEX-RN and become a registered nurse (RN), or continue your education and get your MSN.

Featured Online Programs

Types of Bachelor's Degrees in Nursing

Admission Requirements for an ABSN Program

Admission to an ABSN program requires each applicant to hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited school. Programs may require prerequisite courses, including chemistry for healthcare professionals, anatomy, physiology, or microbiology. Admission requirements vary among schools, but most programs require the following:

  • A 2.5-3.0 GPA
  • Official transcripts
  • Up to three letters of recommendation
  • A personal statement or essay
  • An entrance interview
  • A criminal background check
  • Drug screening
  • Resume

Schools value candidates with diverse backgrounds and experiences. Candidates should provide additional details that reflect their motivation or eligibility for pursuing nursing to stand out among other applicants.

Core Concepts in an ABSN Program

Accelerated nursing programs provide conceptual knowledge, reinforced by applied experiences. Many programs emphasize these topics:

  • Scholarship for evidence-based practice
  • Professional nursing leadership
  • Health and illness
  • Healthcare context and systems
  • Patient-centered care

The best programs teach students how to provide education and quality care for patients' families as well. While each school maintains a distinct curriculum, most programs explore other health-related issues including the following:

  • Health assessment and foundational skills for nursing practice
  • Foundations of interpersonal practice
  • Community and public health nursing

Program outcomes also apply theories for proper intervention, collaborate with healthcare teams, and evaluate research. Enrollees graduate with multiple soft skills, such as strong discipline, effective communication, time management, and critical thinking. Successful completion of an accelerated BSN also allows graduates to qualify for the National Council Licensure Examination for RNs.

Clinical and Lab Components in an ABSN Program

Clinicals and labs comprise a critical component of ABSN programs. These practical experiences allow students to apply conceptual knowledge in real-world environments. Students should expect to perform these tasks:

  • Work in multiple healthcare settings
  • Complete background checks
  • Follow all protocols and policies
  • Work under licensed RNs

Schools may require immunization records, documentation of negative test results for tuberculosis, and a current basic life support certification. Students can also take charge by asking questions and volunteering for additional tasks.

What To Expect From an Online ABSN Program

Online ABSN programs accommodate learners who require flexible hours to earn their degrees. Distance courses may follow an asynchronous format, allowing students to complete assignments at any time before deadlines. Students engage with classmates and instructors through discussion boards, private chats, and email.

However, programs may also use a synchronous format, which requires enrollees to attend live classes through their webcams. While online ABSN programs allow students to complete courses remotely, clinical rotations and labs require in-person attendance.

Should I Get an Accelerated Bachelor's Degree in Nursing?

Accelerated BSN programs offer a pathway for professionals to transition into new careers. However, students should ensure that ABSN programs meet their needs.

Pros to an Accelerated BSN

  • Professionals can quickly transition into lucrative, rewarding careers.
  • BLS projections indicate a 7% increase in demand for RNs from 2019 to 2029.
  • Graduates can eventually advance to leadership roles, unlike associate-level students.
  • Accelerated students benefit from practical learning experiences that accurately reflect the demands of professional environments.

Cons to an Accelerated BSN

  • ABSN programs typically do not allow a student to have outside employment while enrolled. Students may have to rely on savings and/or financial aid.
  • Students need to complete the same amount of clinical hours as enrollees in traditional programs in less time.
  • An accelerated pace may require enrollees to spend more time per week studying than they would in traditional programs.
  • Condensed timelines require more careful time management.

Frequently Asked Questions


How competitive are ABSN programs?

Accelerated nursing programs rigorously cover a significant amount of material in a short amount of time, so students should anticipate a competitive admissions process. The best candidates possess a proven track record for success.

Are ABSN programs hard to get into?

ABSN programs vary in competitiveness. For instance, schools may not offer a highly developed nursing program, making their admission requirements less restrictive. Contrastingly, a school with a larger department, technology, and resources may set high expectations for applicants. Students should research admission requirements before formally applying to any program.

Who offers accelerated nursing programs?

Aspiring RNs can find accelerated nursing programs in any state. More schools also offer online ABSN programs to accommodate professionals. Students can contact local universities to identify programs or research the best accelerated BSN programs that meet their needs.

Explore BSN Programs

Reviewed by:

Elizabeth Clarke (Poon) is a board-certified family nurse practitioner who provides primary and urgent care to pediatric populations. She earned a BSN and MSN from the University of Miami.

Clarke is a paid member of our Healthcare Review Partner Network. Learn more about our review partners.


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