The Best Accelerated BSN Programs

February 25, 2022 , Modified on March 8, 2022 · 5 Min Read

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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The Best Accelerated BSN Programs
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If you already hold a bachelor's degree and want to earn a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), an accelerated BSN (ABSN) program can help you complete a nursing degree in two years or less. This guide will help you find accelerated BSN programs that suit your career path, educational background, and learning style.

We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best accelerated nursing programs, making it easier for you to find an option that works for you. Our methodology is based on metrics that we believe matter most to students, including academic quality, affordability, reputation, and program offerings.

Keep reading to learn more, or go straight to our list of the best accelerated BSN programs.

What Can You Do With a BSN?

You must complete a BSN or an associate degree in nursing (ADN) to become a registered nurse (RN). A BSN is typically more valuable, and a growing number of employers prefer to hire BSN-holders for advanced positions. A BSN curriculum also prepares candidates to earn a master of science in nursing.

Nursing is one of the nation's fastest-growing and most lucrative careers that requires only a bachelor's degree. Common roles for BSN-holders include:

Registered Nurse

ADN or BSN required

RNs work in facilities such as hospitals, physicians' offices, residential care facilities, and clinics, or in home healthcare. They perform tests, administer medications, monitor patients' vital signs, and educate patients and their families on health conditions.

Learn more about Registered Nurses

Neonatal Nurse

ADN or BSN required; BSN with certification often preferred

These nurses care for infants before, during, and after birth. They work in hospital maternity wards, ICUs, and birthing centers. They also educate and assist new parents.

Learn more about Neonatal Nurses

Nurse Advocate

ADN or BSN required; BSN with certification often preferred

Nurse advocates teach patients about their options and rights. They represent the patient before payers, especially insurance companies, and ensure that patients receive ethical and culturally competent care.

Learn more about Nurse Advocates

What To Look For in an Accelerated BSN Degree Program

The best accelerated nursing program for you depends on:

  • Your professional experience and academic background
  • Your learning preferences
  • Program schedule and format
  • Program curriculum

Some students find ABSN programs stressful, because they are taking advanced courses without necessarily having completed that school's foundational courses. Candidates must adapt to a new school while taking higher-level courses. If you can, talk to alumni from the accelerated BSN program to learn about their experiences, and consider factors like:

An ABSN program's admission requirements participants tell you what kind of students are likely to succeed, and how likely you are to gain admission. Most accelerated BSN programs maintain course prerequisites, and your performance in those classes can also suggest how well you may do in a program. Did your undergraduate education prepare you for the ABSN program curriculum? Does the curriculum include courses in your chosen specialty? A program's clinical component should fit your schedule and graduation timeline. If you are attending an online ABSN program, can you fulfill your clinical experience in your community, or is travel necessary? Most employers prefer to hire graduates of accredited programs, and nursing boards typically reserve certification for individuals who complete accredited programs. Few graduate schools accept applicants from non-accredited programs. Read more about accreditation. While ABSN programs are designed to help you graduate quickly, the best accelerated nursing programs operate at a pace that lets students succeed. Consider streamlined options that offer courses at a manageable speed. The National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN) pass rate suggests how well-prepared graduates are for RN careers. A school's graduation rate indicates how satisfied and successful students are. It is especially valuable to consider in the context of the NCLEX pass rate. A high pass rate and a lower graduation rate indicate that a program may not work for all students, while high graduation and pass rates are positive signs.

Featured Online RN to BSN Programs

Applying to an Accelerated BSN Degree Program

Applying to an ABSN program requires time and preparation. Along with your application, you should submit an essay or personal statement, and confirm that you have passed all prerequisite courses with a sufficient GPA.

Admission Materials

Common admission materials include undergraduate transcripts and at least two academic or professional references. Some schools request results from the Health Education Systems, Inc. (HESI) exam.

GPA Requirements

Most accelerated BSN programs require a cumulative 3.0 GPA or higher, and at least a 3.0 in prerequisite coursework. Some may admit candidates with borderline GPAs and high HESI scores.

Other Requirements

Prerequisites vary among ABSN programs, but generally include biology, microbiology, anatomy, physiology, chemistry, and statistics. Some schools require applicants to have taken prerequisite courses within a certain number of years so that the material is current.

Why Is Accelerated BSN Degree Program Accreditation Important?

This guide includes only accredited accelerated BSN programs. Program accreditation is a vital sign of program quality. It is important for many reasons:

  • Many employers do not hire graduates of unaccredited programs.
  • Most nursing certifications are available only to graduates of accredited programs.
  • Master's programs are unlikely to admit applicants who graduate from unaccredited programs.
  • Because independent organizations of academics and nursing professionals award accreditation, it indicates that both teachers and professionals believe the program prepares students to work as nurses.

Paying for Accelerated BSN Degree Programs

Are you wondering how to pay for your accelerated BSN program? Potential costs include tuition, fees, room and board, books and supplies, and travel expenses. You may not be able to work while studying, or you may be working fewer hours.

Fortunately, there are many sources of financial aid for nursing students. Professional associations, nonprofit organizations, corporations, and government agencies offer many grants and scholarships. Some government programs cover full tuition and other costs, or offer loan forgiveness for candidates who agree to work in underserved areas after graduation.

Learn More About the Top Accelerated BSN Degree Program & Schools

Frequently Asked Questions About Accelerated BSN Degree Programs

How long is an accelerated BSN program?

An accelerated BSN program usually lasts 1-2 years, provided you complete all prerequisite coursework beforehand. Most candidates need between four months and a year to fulfill their prerequisites, depending on their educational background and schedule.

What is the fastest BSN program?

Accelerated BSN programs or bridge BSN programs are the fastest, typically taking two years or less to complete. Accelerated programs are intended for students with a bachelor's in another subject, while bridge programs are for ADN-holders. If you need to take prerequisite classes, it may take you more than two years to complete an ABSN.

Are accelerated BSN programs worth it?

While accelerated BSN programs cost less and take less time than traditional bachelor's programs, they're fast paced and best suited to individuals who have completed some courses related to nursing. If you need to complete many prerequisite courses, a regular BSN or an ADN-to-BSN bridge program may be better options.

Can you get a BSN in 1 year?

Candidates who have previously completed prerequisite coursework can finish some accelerated BSN programs in one year or less. These programs are very demanding, and many schools discourage or prevent students from working while enrolled in a one-year BSN program.

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