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Starting Accelerated Nursing Programs At A Nurse College

Updated on December 5, 2010

Most people who are interested in becoming a registered nurse choose to get their training from two-year colleges or four-year universities.  A 2-year program confers an associate's degree while a four-year program awards a bachelor's degree.  Graduates from both programs are able to take the same NCLEX-RN licensing examination, however, nurses who hold bachelor's degrees have more career advancement and specialization options.  They are also more qualified to hold higher nursing job positions such as department supervisors, administrators, directors, and professors.  A bachelor's degree is also a minimum requirement for nurses who want to pursue a master's or doctorate degree.

Some people find the two-year and four-year RN programs too lengthy and time-consuming.  With the growing shortage of nurses in the country, many schools started to offer special programs for individuals who want to get their license faster.  Some schools offer an accelerated bachelor's degree in their nursing programs which cater to individuals who hold a non-nursing bachelor's degree and have completed the required nursing core prerequisites.  The accelerated nursing degree uses credits from the general or lower division courses that non-nursing degree holders have already completed.  Some prerequisites, mostly science courses, must be taken within a specific number of years prior to admission to the accelerated program.  Prerequisites typically include chemistry, human anatomy, human physiology, microbiology, nutrition, lifespan and general psychology, oral communication, English, and mathematics.  In most schools, students applying for an accelerated nursing program must possess a grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0.  Compared to traditional schools, accelerated programs have higher admission standards.

These accelerated nursing programs are extremely demanding and they usually take one year to complete.  Because the nursing curriculum is condensed into three to four semesters, students should expect intense training and a heavy workload.  Before going into an accelerated program, it is important for students to realize that they will barely get any time to relax since the normal 3-year program is compacted into 3 semesters.  Students must also physically and mentally prepare for this kind of curriculum.  It is highly recommended that students do not work during their course of study since they will have limited time outside of the program.

A small number of schools offer accelerated nursing programs and there is a limited number of accelerated programs online.  Students who want to pursue an accelerated curriculum online are advised to verify the school's accreditation.  It is important for prospective nursing students to check the authenticity of an online program before enrolling.

Accelerated nursing programs are also available to nurses with associate's degrees who want to earn their bachelor's degree and master's degree concurrently.  Nurses who possess a bachelor's degree in nursing and want to pursue advanced education may also enroll in an accelerated Master of Science degree in nursing.  Fast-track MSN programs usually takes three years to complete.

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