Top Accelerated BSN Degree Programs

by NurseJournal Staff

ABSN programs are a great option for aspiring nurses who already hold a bachelor's degree in another field. Learn more about fast-track BSN degrees and find the top online programs.

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Top Accelerated BSN Degree Programs

Projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicate a 7% job growth rate for registered nurses (RNs) from 2019-29, a rate much faster than average. RNs also enjoy a median annual wage about $73,300.

Aspiring RNs must hold an associate degree or bachelor of science in nursing (BSN). For those who already work in another field, returning to school for four years represents a considerable time commitment.

An accelerated bachelor of science in nursing (ABSN) program admits individuals with a bachelor's degree in a non-nursing field. Incoming students can easily transfer credits, bypass general education requirements, and dive straight into nursing coursework. Some learners graduate in 1-2 years.

If an accelerated BSN appeals to you, check out the best ABSN programs below.

Top Accelerated BSN Programs of 2021

Featured Online Programs

Applying to an Accelerated BSN Degree Program

Accelerated nursing programs usually maintain different admissions guidelines from traditional BSN degrees. Applicants should already possess a bachelor's degree and have completed general education courses. ABSN programs may require higher GPAs than BSN programs, generally a 3.0 GPA or better.

Applicants usually need to write an essay explaining their educational and career goals. They are often asked to submit letters of recommendation.

Some students may prefer to apply to online accelerated BSN programs, which offer more flexibility. Online ABSN programs share the same admission requirements as on-campus programs, with the addition of reliable internet access.

Explore the Best Accelerated BSN Programs and School Info

University of Washington-Seattle Campus true View School Profile $ Seattle, WA 84% 26% 9% Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

UW boasts Nobel Prize winning faculty members and a campus situated in the heart of Seattle. The UW School of Nursing offers students one of the best ABSN programs in WA. This fast-track program is available to students with a bachelor’s degree. Students acquire basic nursing skills in a learning lab, before practicing in a supervised clinical environment. Theory is taught in person.

The program is taken over four quarters and comprises 79 credits. Some of the courses for the first quarter include health assessment and foundational skills for nursing practice and an introduction to research. Successive quarter courses include practicums on pediatric nursing, nursing care of ill adults, and transition to clinical practice.

  • Program: Accelerated bachelor of science in nursing
  • Campus: Seattle, Washington
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $11,474 per quarter
  • Admission Requirements: College level cumulative 2.8 GPA, a non-nursing bachelor’s degree
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 12 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 94% first-time pass rate
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
California State University-Fullerton true View School Profile $ Fullerton, CA 68% 28% 35% Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

CSUF has 41,408 students and ranks top in the United States for bachelor degrees conferred to underrepresented students. It boasts one of the best fast-track BSN programs. Students are eligible for a California RN license upon completion of this full-time program. The program is taken over five semesters.

Curriculum courses include health assessment, concepts of professional nursing, evidence-based practice nursing, and population health nursing. Students must also complete a clinical nursing capstone. This is a supervised practicum where students focus on applying learned theory. The practicum prepares students to plan and evaluate patient care. Applicants must submit two applications and transcripts from colleges they’ve previously attended.

  • Program: Accelerated bachelor of science degree
  • Campus: Fullerton, California
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
  • Tuition: $3,588 per semester
  • Admission Requirements: Cumulative average 3.25 GPA, IB/AP score reports, a regionally accredited bachelor’s degree in any specified field
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 97% first-time pass rate
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
University of Central Florida true View School Profile $$ Orlando, FL 73% 39% 57% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

UCF was founded in 1963 and has over 17,000 degrees and 335 national merit scholars. The College of Nursing here offers one of the top ABSN programs. Students who obtain this degree are able to write their NCLEX-RN examination, so they can become licensed as a RN in Florida.

The program covers 60 credits for completion. Its general curriculum consists of courses such as social and science foundations, communication foundations, and mathematical foundations. The program also has a 30-hour residency requirement. Students who don’t have a research course listed on their transcript are also required to enroll for course NUR 3165. The program is approved by the Florida State Board of Nursing.

  • Program: Accelerated bachelor of science in nursing second degree
  • Campus: Orlando, Florida
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Tuition: $212 per credit (in-state), $749 per credit (out-of-state)
  • Admission Requirements: Minimum overall 3.0 GPA, a bachelor’s degree, standardized test
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 16 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 97% first-time pass rate
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
University of Wisconsin-Madison true View School Profile $$ Madison, WI 87% 32% 17% Higher Learning Commission

Founded in 1848, UW boasts one of the best in-person ABSN programs. Students are supervised by clinical experts and obtain hands-on experience on family, individual, and community health care. Students also use high-end technology to simulate healthcare scenarios.

Students must complete 49 credits for this program. Curriculum core concepts for this degree includes health and illness, healthcare context and systems, and scholarship for evidence-based practice. Students must also complete courses related to person, family, community, and system-centered care and professional nursing leadership.

  • Program: Accelerated bachelor of science in nursing degree
  • Campus: Madison, Wisconsin
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Tuition: $45,000 per program (in-state), $60,000 (out-of-state)
  • Admission Requirements: A bachelor’s degree, a minimum college-level cumulative 2.75 GPA
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 12 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 99% first-time pass rate
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
Western Carolina University true View School Profile $$$ Cullowhee, NC 62% 59% 35% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Located in Cullowhee, North Carolina, WCU is ranked within the top five universities for undergraduate research. WCU offers students one of the top accelerated BSN programs in the state. The course is conducted in four consecutive semesters.

Some of the core courses for this curriculum include foundations of nursing, nursing ethics and health policy, concepts of maternal-child nursing, and the concepts of adult nursing. Applicants must submit a transfer application if they want to ascertain whether they qualify for transfer credits. They must also submit their official TEAS scores from the ATI to the WCU.

  • Program: Accelerated bachelor of science in nursing
  • Campus: Cullowhee, North Carolina
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $19,295 per program (in-state), $28,085 per program (out-of-state)
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited body, a minimum 3.0 GPA derived from three completed science prerequisites
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 16 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 92% first-time pass rate
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill View School Profile $$ Chapel Hill, NC 89% 27% 14% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

UNC was founded in 1789. It boasts one of the best ABSN programs in North Carolina. Students who already have a bachelor’s degree may apply to this program. The program spans over four semesters. Students wanting to apply need to complete five key science courses before registering.

Applicants must also not be banned from any institutions attended before. The North Carolina Board of Nursing requires that students provide proof of their fitness prior to applying. Students must also have access to a car, as they would have to visit clinical locations and facilities frequently. New students must attend a compulsory orientation session one working day prior to the commencement of courses.

  • Program: Accelerated bachelor of science in nursing degree
  • Campus: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Tuition: $25,039 per program (in-state), $66, 961 per program (out-of-state)
  • Admission Requirements: Minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA, bachelor’s degree
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 16 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 92% first-time pass rate
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
Truman State University View School Profile $$ Kirksville, MO 72% 39% 12% Higher Learning Commission

Located in Kirksville, Missouri, Truman has more than 4,600 students currently. The institution also offers one of the top ABSN programs to students who have a bachelor’s degree in another major. The program is completed over five semesters and comprises 48 credits. Some of the courses learned include adult health nursing, an introduction to nursing research, community mental health, and rural public health.

Application is two-fold, as applicants must apply via the Truman application and the Truman Department of Nursing. Courses commence in summer and admissions are subject to space availability. Applicants must also complete some prerequisite courses beforehand. These include among others, subjects on biology, chemistry, microbiology, human nutrition, and pathophysiology.

  • Program: Accelerated bachelor of science in nursing
  • Campus: Kirksville, Missouri
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Tuition: $7,975 per program (in-state), $15,335 per program (out-of-state)
  • Admission Requirements: Official college transcripts, a 1-3 page essay, resume
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 18 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96% first-time pass rate
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
Texas A & M University-College Station View School Profile $$$ College Station, TX 82% 32% 8% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Texas A&M was founded in 1876 and is a space, land, and sea grant institution. It offers students one of the best fast-track BSN programs in the state. Applicants may register for this program if they have a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing major. However, if they have no background in nursing, they will need to complete 59 credits before enrolling for the program. The BSN itself requires 61 credits for completion.

Prerequisite course credits must be earned in biological, behavioral, and physical sciences, as well as the humanities. Courses are delivered in a hybrid format. Applicants also need to submit a personal statement and proof of community service and leadership in some form of extramural activity.

  • Program: Bachelor of science in nursing
  • Campus: College Station, Texas
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Tuition: $2,278 per semester (in-state), $7,746 per semester (out-of-state)
  • Admission Requirements: A GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, HESI exam score
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 15 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 99% first-time pass rate
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
Stony Brook University View School Profile $$ Stony Brook, NY 74% 38% 17% Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Situated in New York, Stony Brook offers more than 100 master’s degree programs, 50 doctoral programs, and more than 200 undergraduate programs. It also offers one of the best fast-track BSN programs. Once completed, students can write their NCLEX-RN exam to qualify as a RN. The program comprises 69 credits.

Before admission, students are required to complete three prerequisite science courses. These include subjects on lifespan development, chemistry, anatomy and physiology, and English composition. Applicants need to submit proof of health insurance and student malpractice insurance, as well as official transcripts from previous colleges attended. One of the course requirements includes a nursing practicum capstone.

  • Program: Accelerated bachelor of science in nursing program
  • Campus: Stony Brook, New York
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Tuition: $295 per credit (in-state), $1031 per credit (out-of-state)
  • Admission Requirements: Three letters of recommendation, application fee or a waiver, bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 12 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 93% first-time pass rate
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
University of South Florida-Main Campus View School Profile $$ Tampa, FL 73% 39% 54% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

USF is located in Tampa and has produced the most Fulbright Scholars in the United States. The institution has one of the best ABSN programs in Florida. It is a program tailored toward students with a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Courses are taken over four semesters. The entire program comprises 62 credits.

Some of the core courses here include patient-centered care, pharmacology in nursing practice, complex health nursing, and evidence-based practice. Successful applicants must also participate in an official interview with the College of Nursing. Students must also obtain a “C” aggregate or higher in didactic courses.

  • Program: Accelerated second degree bachelor of science in nursing
  • Campus: Tampa, Florida
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Tuition: $105 per credit (in-state), $211 per credit (out-of-state)
  • Admission Requirements: A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, completion of seven nursing prerequisite courses, transcripts from previous colleges
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 16 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 94% first-time pass rate
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
University of California-Irvine View School Profile $$$ Irvine, CA 83% 35% 14% Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

UCI was founded in 1965 and enrolls more than 37,000 enrolled students annually. It offers 87 bachelor’s degrees, 84 master’s degrees, and 53 doctorates. It offers a master's program in nursing that enables students who have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree the chance to gain entry into a MSN degree.

When completed, students are ready to write their NCLEX-RN exam. They can also venture into researching or become a clinician. Some of the courses of this program include health policy and advocacy, organization and systems leadership, and the integration of scholarship into practice. Applicants need to submit three letters of recommendation and a personal history statement beforehand. Applicants also need to apply via the Online Graduate Application portal.

  • Program: Master’s entry program in nursing
  • Campus: Irvine, California
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
  • Tuition: $11,442 per year (in-state), $15,102 per year (out-of-state)
  • Admission Requirements: Statement of purpose, a CV, and unofficial transcripts including the GPA for existing bachelor's degree
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 91% first-time pass rate
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
CUNY Hunter College View School Profile New York, NY 56% 10% 5% Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Located in NYC, Hunter boasts over 170 academic programs and has 23,000 students. It offers one of the top accelerated BSN programs in New York. The program is geared towards students who already have a bachelors' degree in a non-nursing field. This nursing program has 51 credits. It melds professional education with liberal arts in a comprehensive manner. Courses span over five successive semesters.

The program is hosted by the HBSON, the institution's flagship nursing school. Besides being able to sit for the NCLEX-RN licensing exam, graduates can also study further towards master's and doctoral nursing studies thereafter. The school has a range of prerequisite courses students need to do, prior to applying. Some of these courses include a genetics course, nutrition, general psychology, and an introduction to statistics. Prior to clinical practice, students must also submit documentation such as immunization and health insurance records.

  • Program: Accelerated second degree nursing program
  • Campus: NYC, New York
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $6,930 per year (in-state), $18,600 per year (out-of-state)
  • Admission Requirements: Minimal cumulative GPA of 3.2, a bachelor's degree
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 18 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 90% first-time pass rate
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities View School Profile $$$ Minneapolis, MN 80% 39% 29% Higher Learning Commission

UMN was established in 1851 and enrolls over 50,000 students annually. Here, students can complete one of the best fast-track BSN programs in the country. Students must apply to the School of Nursing for this program and freshman students must complete prerequisite coursework for one year.

They must also successfully complete introductory courses NURS 1030 and NURS 1031, prior to completing their core coursework of three years. Besides theoretical courses, students must also conduct placements in practical settings. This program is only available during spring and fall semesters. Successful applicants must display leadership skills, and have a high GPA in high school.

  • Program: Bachelor of science in nursing
  • Campus: Twin Cities, Minnesota
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition:$13,318 per year (in-state), $31,616 per year (out-of-state)
  • Admission Requirements: ‘A’ grades in preparatory coursework
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 48 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 98% first-time pass rate
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
Northeastern University View School Profile Boston, MA 88% 36% 9% New England Commission on Higher Education

Northeastern was founded in 1898. It has nine interdisciplinary institutions dedicated to research, more than 2,900 global business partners, and one of the best accelerated BSN programs. The delivery format here is online with some in-person requirements.

The ABSN program is for students already in possession of a bachelor’s degree in another field, wanting to complete a degree in nursing. Students must complete online courses on subjects such as ethical practice and drug therapy. Students are taught how to apply skills in nursing labs and must do clinical rotations at hospitals. Courses span over four semesters and the program has 67 credits.

  • Program: Accelerated bachelor of science in nursing
  • Campus: Boston, Massachusetts
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
  • Tuition: $1,186 per credit
  • Admission Requirements: A minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA, three recommendation letters, a personal statement
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 16 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 87% first-time pass rate
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid

Frequently Asked Questions

true What is an accelerated BSN program?

An accelerated BSN allows individuals who possess a bachelor's degree in another field to pursue a bachelor's degree in nursing. Candidates can transfer their general education requirements toward their BSN and take nursing courses online. Degree-seekers usually graduate more quickly, often within 1-2 years.

What is accreditation and why is it important?

Any degree you pursue should hold accreditation. The accreditation process ensures that students receive a quality education. Employers, graduate schools, and state licensing boards seek candidates with an accredited degree. Nursing accreditation agencies include the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

Is an ABSN the same as a BSN?

Yes, although the two programs use different formats. A traditional BSN requires 120 credits, lasts four years, and includes general education courses. An accelerated BSN allows students to transfer previous undergraduate credit, which cuts down on requirements. Students pursuing an accelerated BSN take nursing courses exclusively.

How fast is an accelerated BSN program?

The AACN states that many accelerated or fast-track BSN programs can take 11-18 months to complete. Many programs discourage students from working while studying so they can enroll full time and graduate on an accelerated timeline.

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