Get matched with vetted scholarships and enter our
I’m a high school student I’m a college or graduate student
100% Free. No Spam.
Start typing in the text field above
Load More
Advertiser disclosure

Student-centric advice and objective recommendations

Higher education has never been more confusing or expensive. Our goal is to help you navigate the very big decisions related to higher ed with objective information and expert advice. Each piece of content on the site is original, based on extensive research, and reviewed by multiple editors, including a subject matter expert. This ensures that all of our content is up-to-date, useful, accurate, and thorough.

Our reviews and recommendations are based on extensive research, testing, and feedback. We may receive commission from links on our website, but that doesn’t affect our editors’ opinions. Our marketing partners don’t review, approve or endorse our editorial content. It’s accurate to the best of our knowledge when posted. You can find a complete list of our partners here.

What is an Accelerated Nursing Program?

By Cait Williams

Cait Williams is a Content Writer at Scholarships360. Cait recently graduated from Ohio University with a degree in Journalism and Strategic Communications. During her time at OU, was active in the outdoor recreation community.

Full Bio

Learn about our editorial policies

Edited by Maria Geiger

Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

Full Bio

Learn about our editorial policies

Posted: March 14th, 2024
What is an Accelerated Nursing Program?

An accelerated nursing program is just what it sounds like! It is a nursing degree that you complete within a shorter time frame. Instead of spending four years in school, students may spend anywhere from 15 to 24 months to complete their bachelors of science in nursing. In this article, we will talk about all things accelerated nursing and give you all the information you need to pursue one!

What is an RN to BSN program?

In your search for accelerated nursing programs, you may come across a lot of programs that state that  you can finish your BSN in as little as one year. However, these programs are meant for individuals who may already be registered nurses (RNs). Take a look at the difference below between RN to BSN programs and accelerated BSN programs.

Accelerated BSNRN to BSN program
Typically for individuals looking to change careers
Require no previous experience
Usually require applicants to already hold a bachelor’s degree
Typically for individuals who are already RN’s, but do not hold a BSN
Programs may require certain clinical experience
Don’t usually require individuals to already have a bachelor’s degree

For the purposes of this article, we are not talking about RN to BSN programs, but rather,  about accelerated BSN programs. While some of the policies, requirements, and time frames may be similar, these programs are not interchangeable. 

What are the requirements for accelerated nursing programs?

Because of the rigor of most accelerated nursing programs, they will typically require you to already have a bachelor’s degree in something as well as have completed certain prerequisite courses. You may also need to have:

However, those requirements may vary between schools, so make sure you check with each program that you are seriously interested in.

How much do accelerated nursing programs cost?

The cost of programs can range quite a bit depending on the location, duration of the program, scholarships, and financial aid you may receive. For example, George Washington University of Pennsylvania is a 15 month program that costs around eighty thousand dollars, while Baldwin Wallace University’s 15 month program costs forty thousand dollars. Don’t let the dollar sign scare you though. There are plenty of funding opportunities out there! Don’t forget too, that while tuition may be expensive, the nursing field can offer a vast range of well paying salaries immediately upon graduation. 

How long are accelerated nursing programs? 

The length of accelerated nursing programs can vary. They usually range anywhere from 15 to 24 months if you are completing a full BSN from start to finish. During this time, you’ll likely have little time off and will follow a schedule that includes lab work, class work, and clinical rotations. 

Are accelerated nursing programs hard?

Accelerated nursing programs are no joke. They pack all the knowledge of a bachelor’s degree into a program that’s two years or less. Students must typically maintain a certain GPA as well as certain grades. Some programs may even have rules about how many Bs or Cs you’re allowed to get throughout the entirety of the program. You may also be required to attend every class, lab, and clinical without many exceptions aside from being sick. 

Part of the difficulty of this program also comes through the schedule you’ll follow. Instead of semesters, you may use a 7-8 week class system and will study all year round with short breaks in between instead of long summer or winter breaks. 

What is the difference between normal and accelerated nursing programs?

The real difference between these programs is the time it takes to complete them and the requirements for each. Accelerated BSN programs typically require you to already have a bachelors in something and have completed all the proper prerequisite course work. However, for students who complete traditional four year nursing degrees, you should be able to enter with no prerequisite course work and you certainly do not need to have another bachelors completed.  

What is the fastest way to become an RN?

Becoming a registered nurse is not an easy process. Nurses are highly trained medical professionals that serve as an integral part of the healthcare system. If you want to become a registered nurse, there are ways that you can finish an associate degree and then take the proper exams to become an RN. However, it’s important that you understand the weight of having a bachelors in this field over having an associates. 

While those with associate degrees are able to be hired, having a BSN may make you much more marketable and desirable to certain employers. In fact, some states and healthcare facilities are moving towards putting laws in place such as ‘BSN in 10’, which would require all RNs to complete their BSN within ten years of becoming licensed. This law is currently in effect in New York. 

What classes do nurses take? 

Nurses take a wide variety of classes that focus on everything from anatomy and physiology to patient care and relations. Nurses often perform much of the bedside care in hospitals. Therefore, it is critical that they know not only how to perform procedures, but that they also can perform high quality patient care. Such care includes making patients feel at ease, heard, and cared for in the hospital. Some general classes nurses take are listed below. Most programs will have a list of classes on their website that you can view when exploring their program.

  • Pharmacology
  • Ethics in nursing 
  • Psychology and mental health
  • Chemistry 
  • Microbiology

How do you know if an accelerated nursing program is right for you?

Let’s ask a couple questions to answer this question: 

First, what is your goal with attending an accelerated nursing program?

It’s important to know why you’re doing something before you do it. These programs are a lot of work and will be difficult. Have a reason for doing this program, whether it’s because this is the field you’re passionate about, you are looking to switch careers, or you’re looking for a better job to support yourself and your family. 

Second, what does your financial situation look like?

An accelerated BSN program is pretty much a full time job. You may be able to squeeze in a part time job on weekends and late nights, but don’t forget that you also have homework to do and that you’ll need some time to recharge as well. Many programs recommend that students do not work during this time. Assess your finances on your own and with the help of someone you trust. Don’t forget that you’ll also have to pay tuition during these programs too. 

Other questions to consider

Below are just a few more questions that might help you further assess whether an accelerated program is right for you!

  • Do you enjoy studying science?
  • Do you enjoy caring for patients and working with people?
  • Will you need to move for the program?
  • What previous education or experience do you have?

Accelerated Nursing Programs

Before we close out, we just want to leave you with a few examples of some accelerated BSN programs that are available. Below are three programs from across the United States. 

Metropolitan State University of Denver

  • Cost: $40,000
  • Duration: 17 months
  • Location: Denver, Colorado

Baldwin Wallace University

  • Cost: $40,000
  • Duration: 15 months
  • Location: Berea, Ohio

Duke University

  • Cost: $100,00
  • Duration: 16 months
  • Location: Durham, North Carolina

Key Takeaways

Key Takeaways

  • Accelerated BSN programs are designed for individuals who would like to complete their bachelors of science in nursing in a condensed time frame
  • Accelerated BSN programs and RN to BSN programs are actually not the same type of programs and you should pay close attention to this distinction when searching for programs
  • These programs typically have strict requirements that dictate if you need to already hold a bachelors in something and what prerequisite courses you need to complete
  • While rewarding, accelerated nursing programs are a big commitment, which means you should take time to assess whether you are fully prepared both academically and financially before moving forward with one
Key Takeaways

Frequently asked questions about accelerated nursing programs

What is the lowest GPA accepted for nursing school?

There is no standard GPA that you need in order to get into nursing school. Each program has their own standards. Some may accept GPAs as low as 2.8, while others may have minimums as high as 3.5. As a general rule of thumb, it’s a good goal to keep your GPA at at least a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. For more competitive programs you may need to keep your GPA above the minimum standards to be able to compete with other applicants.

How many classes can you fail in nursing school?

How many classes you can fail in nursing school depends on the school you attend. Some schools may allow you to fail a class (or two) and retake them to earn a better grade. However, some programs, especially those that are accelerated, may have strict guidelines that prohibit students from being able to fail any courses.

What is the quickest nursing program?

Accelerated nursing programs are the quickest way to earn your nursing degree. You should still plan on it taking about a year and half to two years to obtain your degree if you include the application time. Don’t forget that you may also need to complete some prerequisite courses beforehand as well. They can usually be done online or at a local community college, but they’ll still likely add at least a few months to the process.

3 reasons to join scholarships360

  • Automatic entry to our $10,000 No-Essay Scholarship
  • Personalized matching to thousands of vetted scholarships
  • Quick apply for scholarships exclusive to our platform

By the way...Scholarships360 is 100% free!

Join For Free