Accelerated BSN Programs


One of the most effective tools that are now used to up the number of nursing graduates is the accelerated degree programs for non-nursing graduates. The Accelerated BSN program is not new as it has been around for the past two decades. In 1990, 31 accelerated BSN was offered throughout the country. To date, there are 237 accelerated baccalaureate nursing programs that are being offered across the US.

What is an Accelerated BSN?

The second degree BSN program is one of the innovative accelerated nursing programs that have become popular as an entry into the nursing field for students with non-nursing degrees.  The program is designed to allow students with baccalaureate degrees in non-nursing majors to complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing

How Long does an Accelerated BSN Take?

Accelerated BSN programs take between 12 and 18 months of full-time study to complete.

The accelerated BSN allows students to compress four years of nursing education in a shorter period of time by allowing them to transfer credits for general education courses to prepare students for the National Licensing Examination for Registered Nurses. Accelerated BSN program combines bridge courses as well as core contents. The instruction is much more intense, with every student required to attend full-time, without breaks in between the sessions. Each student still receives the same number of clinical hours as those that study in traditional settings.

Online programs that offer accelerated second degree BSN program are not widely available. Those programs that do offer online programs still require students to spend large amounts of time on campus to fulfill clinical and practical requirements.


Generally, students are required to complete about 120 credit hours to graduate from the ABSN program. Out of 120 credit hours, half of it must be completed in prior education. The curriculum of the program slightly varies from college to college but the general outline is fundamentally the same. 

Below is a sample curriculum you can expect to complete when enrolled in the program.

Semester 1

  • Introduction to Professional Nursing/Professional Nursing Practice (2 credit hours)
  • Health Assessment (3 credit hours)
  • Pathophysiology (4 credit hours)
  • Fundamentals of Clinical Nursing (5 credit hours)

Semester 2

  • Pharmacology (3 credit hours)
  • Adult Nursing I (4 credit hours)
  • Mental Health Nursing (4 credit hours)
  • Evidence-Based Practice & Nursing Research (3 credit hours)

Semester 3

  • Maternal-Newborn Nursing (4 credit hours) 
  • Aging Adult Nursing  (3 credit hours)
  • Pediatric Nursing (4 credit hours)
  • Adult Nursing II (2 credit hours)

Semester 4

  • Professional Issues & Trends (3 credit hours) 
  • Community & Public Health Nursing (4 credit hours)
  • Nursing Leadership & Management (3 credit hours)
  • Adult Nursing: Internship (4 credit hours)
  • Role Transition (2 credit hours)

If you have completed the CNA program or LPN program already, you can shave some credits off from the mandatory 60-70 credit hours that most colleges require for graduation.

In the final semester, some colleges offer NCLEX preparation/reviews to give you some boost for the licensure exam. 

ABSN Admission Requirements

As an applicant to the accelerated BSN program, you will be expected to meet all the requirements for entry in theoretical and practical nursing courses. Requirements for clinical components include immunizations, laboratory tests for contagious diseases, physical examination, CPR certification, drug screening, and a criminal background check prior to the start of clinical enrollment.  

The prerequisites for the accelerated program are no different than those required for BSN applicants including a minimum of 2 semesters of physiology and anatomy, as well as some credits in biology, microbiology, psychology, developmental psychology, statistics, biostatistics, chemistry, organic chemistry, and biochemistry.

A basic nursing skill course usually designated as health assessment, nursing research, adult care courses, community health, family health and/or some nursing experience is also required by most nursing programs.

Most programs arrange to offer a range of pre-requisite courses back to back just prior to enrollment to allow students to meet those requirements they may not have completed in their previous undergraduate coursework.

Applicants to the program will need to present transcripts for prior college work with a minimum GPA of at least 2.8 for most programs and 3.0 for the more competitive ones. You will also be required to sit for and pass standardized nursing entrance examinations such as the TEAS or the HESI.

You may be required to attend a personal interview as part of the rigorous screening process that is mandated by the intense nature of the accelerated program. 

What are the Prerequisites for Accelerated BSN?

Here are the common prerequisites that must be completed prior to joining the ABSN program. Each course must be completed with a grade C or higher (Some colleges require you to complete the science subjects with a minimum of B-) and you must have at least 2.7 GPA when you complete the prerequisites.

  • English Composition I & II
  • College Algebra or Math for Liberal Arts
  • Chemistry or Biochemistry  (with lab)
  • Statistics
  • Microbiology (with lab)
  • Nutrition
  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Anatomy and Physiology I & II (with lab)
  • Human Growth & Development through the LifeSpan

Please also keep in mind that prerequisites courses have an expiration date. Most colleges won't accept prerequisite course completed more than 7 years ago. Again, most colleges require these courses to be completed in an accredited institution. 

How much does an ABSN Degree Cost?

The costs of the accelerated program vary on the basis of the number of credits required by the institution for graduation and tuition fees it levies. Remember that as a nursing student you will have additional costs in the form of medical equipment, uniform and licensure examinations cost in addition to tuition and living costs.

Financial aid for accelerated baccalaureate program enrollees is limited. This is why legislators, federal and state levels, are being persuaded to increase grants and scholarships for such programs. 

Sample tuition and fees for ABSN program for academic calendar year 2018-2019:

  • Duke University School of nursing charges $20,721 per semester and around $2,000 in various fees.
  • Roseman University's tuition is $54,800 and total fees reach up to $4,000
  • Loyola University  School of Nursing tuition is $54,100 and the total fee is less than $2,000
  • Xavier University tuition is $53,550, which comes $850 per credit hour for their 63 credit ABSN program.

Is an Accelerated Nursing Program Worth It?

Many employers value the varied range of skill and knowledge that graduates from accelerated nursing programs bring to their careers. In most cases, employers note that graduates from accelerated programs tend to be more mature, possess stronger clinical skills and are flexible in the work environment.

A range of different employers across the country are entering into a partnership with schools to offer a scheme whereby they repay graduates the cost of tuition in a bid to attract graduates from accelerated programs.

Visit our nursing career resource section to learn more about various career pathways in Nursing.