If you have already completed other university courses that are not directly related to nursing, you may be able to get an accelerated nursing degree through which work already done will be credited and you will be able to complete your nursing training in a shorter period of time. These degree programs are better for individuals who have the time to commit to the intense nature of the program. In addition it is wiser for you to already have a basic understanding of nursing concepts as you will not be given much time to really digest any new ideas that you have not come across before.
Accelerated Nursing Program Requirements
Non-nursing Bachelor’s Degree
The first requirement for entering an accelerated nursing program is that you hold a bachelor’s degree in a subject not related to nursing. Generally speaking it does not matter what discipline this degree is in. however if the degree is too specialized you will most likely not be accepted. In addition it is not enough to simply hold a degree; you must have graduated from the degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher (generally speaking) although this does depend on the school you are applying at to a large degree.
As with many degree programs you need to have completed a number of prerequisite courses in order to complete an accelerated nursing degree. There are a number of prerequisite courses that you will need to complete, including:
- Anatomy and physiology with lab
- Microbiology with lab
- Introductory chemistry with lab
- Basic statistics
- Two to three introductory social sciences, such as sociology, psychology or anthropology
Usually it is assumed that you completed at least some of these while working towards your original bachelor’s degree, but if you have not you will have to attend a community college or another educational institute in order to get the necessary prerequisite courses.
Personal Statement Of Intent
This is a short essay of about 1 or 2 pages in length that expresses your desire to study nursing through an accelerated program and describes your reasons and intentions for doing so. This is your chance to make yourself stand out from the rest of the crowd and will greatly improve your chances of entering an accelerated nursing degree program if you take the time to tailor your essay specifically for each school that you are potentially interested in attending.
Letters Of Recommendation
In addition to your own letter of intent you will also usually need to provide letters of recommendation from credible sources. These sources can include:
- Your current and/or former supervisors
- Your professors
- Your mentors
Entrance exams are not required by all schools that offer accelerated nursing degree programs, but in some cases you may need to prove that you have the basic academic skills necessary to complete a degree program of this intensity. The most common entrance exam that students are required to write is the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS).
Patient Contact Experience
This is not usually an actual requirement for entering an accelerated nursing degree program, but it is strongly recommended that you take the time to volunteer your services when possible. This will help you for a number of reasons:
- Some schools will consider first those applicants that have completed voluntary patient contact hours.
- Your supervisors at the facility where you volunteered are often excellent resources for those letters of recommendation and they can give you a foot up in terms of entering this highly competitive educational domain.
Applying For An Accelerated Nursing School
In summary, there are three basic steps to applying for accelerated nursing programs:
- Create a list of the schools that offer this program and that you will be able to attend. Your list should take into account your personal preferences and needs as well as the quality of each of the schools in your area. A comprehensive list of all the programs available in each state is available at bestnursingdegree.com. Create a short list of schools.
- Find out what prerequisite courses are required in order for you to enroll in the various programs on your list, and complete them by attending a community college or other educational facility that offers the subjects in question. Two things are important here: different schools may have different prerequisite course requirements, so make sure that you know exactly what courses you need to do; and completing the prerequisite courses before applying at the school will increase your chances of being accepted as it shows that you are really serious about completing an accelerated program.
- There will be a large amount of paperwork that will go hand in hand with your application, including an application form and letters of recommendation, among other things. Find out exactly what paperwork is needed for each course you are interested in applying for and complete it adequately. Remember that different schools may have different such requirements.
Top Accelerated Nursing Degree Schools
The school that you choose is very important as it will affect the rest of your career as a nurse. Potential employers always look at the school that you attended as an indication of your suitability or expertise and, consequently, you want to attend the best school possible. Some of the better schools to consider when looking into starting an accelerated nursing degree are the following:
Johns Hopkins University
School of Nursing
525 N. Wolfe St.
Baltimore, MD 21205
Goldfarb School of Nursing
4483 Duncan Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63110
School of Health Professionals
2807 N. Glebe Rd.
Arlington, VA 22207
University of Washington
1959 NE Pacific Street,
Seattle, WA 98195
University of Pennsylvania
3451 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6243
University of Texas Health and Science Center Houston
Houston, TX 77030
2200 North Squirrel Road
Rochester, MI 48309
University of Missouri
1201 Rollins Street
Columbia, MO 65211
2500 California Plaza
Omaha, NE 68178
Accelerated Nursing Degree Programs By State
When considering an accelerated program it is important to look into accelerated nursing programs by state. This is because each state has its own set of rules governing the nurses that work within that state, and completing a program within that state is the best way to ensure that you meet all of the necessary requirements. However, some states simply do not offer as many options as others when it comes to finding accelerated nursing programs. In Arkansas, for example, there is only one school offering an accelerated nursing program, namely Arkansas State University. Other states also have very few options on offer, including Rhode Island (Rhode Island College) and South Carolina (Medical University of South Carolina). New York, on the other hand, has numerous options, including Adelphi University, American University of Beirut, the College of Mount Saint Vincent, Columbia University, Concordia College New York, Dominican College of Blauvelt, Hartwick College, LIU Brooklyn, New York University, Niagara University, Pace University, State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, Stony Brook University, SUNY-Binghamton, The College of New Rochelle, The Sage Colleges, University at Buffalo, University of Rochester, and Wagner College, making it a far better state to live in if you would like to jumpstart your nursing career by completing an accelerated program. The programs mentioned here are specifically for BSN degrees.
Although there are stet by state differences in accelerated nursing programs, the average program length is about 15 months, with the longest accelerated program being about 18 months. This is an incredibly intensive education regime to commit to, especially if you consider that the four years that your counterparts will spend on becoming qualified nurses will be condensed in to no more than a year and a half for you. Consequently these accelerated nursing degree programs cannot be completed online or in your spare time because the sheer intensity of the program makes it a full time matter. You should also be careful as completing an accelerated degree may into allow you to properly digest and comprehend all of the subject matter that will come up during the course. Perhaps the most worrying factor is that the amount of hands-on training will be significantly decreased in an accelerated nursing degree program, which means that you may not be as well equipped for the job as other nurses. The basic idea is that an Accelerated second degree BSN gives you credit (often referred to as “general education” or “lower division” credits) for non-nursing classes you already took in college. Then it puts you through a sequence of nursing theory and clinical classes to prepare you to sit for the national licensing exam for Registered Nurses, called the NCLEX. There are a few online schools available in order to complete an accelerated nursing degree, bit these are few and far between. In any case, for an intensive program like this it is generally better to attend campus-based lessons.
Accelerated Nursing Program Scholarships
Students often of not pursue their educational dreams simply because they cannot afford to. However there are scholarships available for accelerated nursing degree programs that you may be able to benefit from.
Each state will have its own specific scholarship options. The state of Illinois, for example, administers a Nursing School Grant Program, which provides between $29,000 and $44,000 to students pursuing an associate degree in nursing and a baccalaureate degree in nursing (BSN).
Because minority members in the US have, for so long, been deprived of educational benefits as well as the financial resources required to pay for education, there are a number of scholarship options for minorities who feel that that they would like to attend an accelerated nursing degree program. Minority Nurse, which is an online publication, offers scholarship opportunities to minority nurses.
Private Organization Scholarships
If you have no luck at state level there are also a number of private organizations that offer scholarship opportunities for accelerated programs. For example, the Army Nurse Corps Association (ANCA) provides scholarships of $3,000 to students enrolled in accredited schools.
Nursing School Scholarship
Many actual nursing schools, such as the University of Miami, actually offer scholarships in order to entice student nurses to their facility. This is well worth looking into and you can find out more from the financial aid department of your school.
Examples of Specific Scholarships
Minnesota State University Accelerated Nursing Program Nursing Faculty Scholarship
- Have a GPA of 3.3 or higher
- Are enrolled in the School of Nursing
- Are in need of financial aid
Interested parties can apply on the School of Nursing scholarship site: http://ahn.mnsu.edu/nursing/scholarships/undergraduate/scholarshiplist.html.
William Randolph Hearst Endowed Scholarship for Accelerated Nursing
This is a scholarship opportunity for students enrolled in an accelerated program at the University of Missouri. For additional information, students should contact:
Office of Student Affairs
S235 School of Nursing
Columbia, MO 65211
AfterCollege / American Association Of Colleges Of Nursing Scholarship
This is a scholarship that all nursing students can apply for, but higher grade point averages will be considered first. The award amount is $2,500. Two winners are announced each time the scholarship is offered. More information on the scholarship can be found at the AfterCollege website: aftercollege.com/content/article/aftercollege_aacn_scholarship/76107013/.
Completing an accelerated nursing program can certainly help you jumpstart your career, but you will need to first determine if it is worth the time and effort involved or not. If you think that you will not be able to devote the required amount of attention to the program, you may want to consider going through a regular four year nursing program. However an accelerated program is perfect for people who already have an idea of what is going on in terms of nursing theory and practice, and can be a great way to save time and money.