Registered nurses are in high demand, with an estimated of more than one million needed by the year 2018. Many schools are offering a variety of nursing programs to help educate qualified individuals to become RNs. Students interested in nursing programs may ask what is an accelerated nursing degree. Accelerated nursing degrees are typically intended for individuals who already have a degree in another field other than nursing. The programs are offered at both the bachelor’s and master’s degree levels and build on previous education and experiences to transition into the nursing field. Both degree levels prepare students to take the NCLEX-RN examination to become licensed RNs.

Basics of Accelerated Nursing Programs

Accelerated nursing programs at the bachelor’s degree level offers the fastest route to become a licensed registered nurse for those who have a bachelor’s or graduate degree in another discipline. The accelerated bachelor’s degree programs typically take between 12 and 18 months to finish, and this includes core courses as well as prerequisite courses. Accelerated master’s degree programs in nursing usually take around three years to finish. The admission requirements for accelerated nursing degree programs are usually competitive, with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 or higher. The curricula for the programs are rigorous and include classroom instruction and clinical hours. Students are generally required to enroll on a full-time basis and maintaining employment is usually not recommended based on the rigor of the programs.

Bachelor’s Degree Details

Accelerated bachelor’s degree programs in nursing involve completing the requirements for nursing in a shorter amount of time in contrast to traditional four-year nursing programs. The programs commonly involve a combination of core courses and bridge classes. Students participate in the same number of clinical hours as those in traditional programs. In general, students with a previous bachelor’s degree are not required to complete liberal arts courses, but accelerated degrees do require prerequisite courses that must be completed before or shortly after starting the program. The prerequisite courses usually include anatomy and physiology, nutrition, microbiology, and human growth and development. Students usually receive credits for their previous bachelor’s degree. The programs involve a large course load and intensive clinical experiences.

Master’s Degree Details

Accelerated master’s degree nursing programs are typically intended to enhance current education and professional experiences to meet new career goals in nursing. The degree is commonly geared for individuals seeking to make a career change into nursing with a particular specialization. Many programs offer specialization areas, such as health systems administration, family nurse practitioner, and mental health. Students must have a bachelor’s degree in a different field than nursing. They must also complete the prerequisite courses before entering the program. Some programs involve students completing classroom courses then clinical components and others offer both parts simultaneously.

Accelerated nursing degrees are gaining more popularity around the country and this type of degree is ideal for non-nursing graduates. Whether choosing a bachelor’s or master’s degree program, it is essential that the institution is accredited by an authoritative organization to ensure high quality education.