Nursing Articles What is an Accelerated BSN Degree Program?

The accelerated BSN degree program is another innovative idea to deal with the ongoing nursing shortage. The idea is to send a nurse through nursing school at a faster rate than traditional schooling to increase the number of nurses in the healthcare industry. This has been going on for a number of years and the number of schools that have been offering this program has been growing exponentially.


In order to qualify for the accelerated program, an individual must complete a bachelor's degree in any subject with or without having acquired an RN prior to entering the accelerated program. Many registered nurses looking to advance their career without having to return to school full time have turned to the accelerated BSN degree program. Other RN's that already have a bachelor's degree in another area of study choose the accelerated program to earn their BSN without repeating the basic requirements that typical bachelor degree programs require.

While the accelerated BSN degree program does not require the individual to retake many of the liberal arts requirements that were completed for their prior bachelor's degrees, occasionally they must complete some science requirements before matriculating such as anatomy, physiology, chemistry, and microbiology.

The accelerated BSN program is intense and demands a certain type of individual. The accelerated student is extremely hard working, self-motivated, and focused on goals as they are now entering a program that will demand a tremendous amount of time and effort from them.

Course Requirements

In 1990 there were 31 accelerated baccalaureate programs (BSN) and 12 accelerated master's programs (MSN) in the U.S. Today there are 168 accelerated BSN programs and 50 MSN programs and more than 46 new accelerated BSN programs are still being created (AACN).

The accelerated BSN program lasts approximately 12 to 18 months compared to 3 to 4 years for the standard BSN program. If someone chooses to continue further towards an accelerated MSN, this coursework generally takes three years to complete which is included with the BSN (AACN). From there they can become a nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists, or a nurse midwife.

Many new accelerated students have limited clinical experience before entering the BSN program. When in the program, the student must complete a large amount of credits and be exposed to many hours of clinical experience. In order to be accepted into the program, most schools require a minimum 3.0 GPA from their previous bachelor's degree.

Impact of Accelerated BSN on nursing career

The accelerated nursing program has not just added new nurses to the market, but has also added diversity to an outstanding field of medicine. The accelerated nursing student comes from a diverse background, and each one brings with them knowledge and understanding from their different bachelor degrees and experiences. With these experiences, they bring new elements of leadership, new ideas of patient care, and different ways of working together.

Funding their education

The cost of the accelerated BSN program can cost up to $30,000. Many accelerated nursing students choose to take out student loans. Others may apply for scholarships through the Nurse Reinvestment Act. Another option is to partnership with hospitals. This is done by working for a hospital or other type of nursing facility and offering nursing services for a period of time as stated in a contract in exchange for tuition reimbursement.


The accelerated nursing program is one answer to the nursing shortage. It is also an answer to placing intelligent, hardworking, dedicated, and diverse individuals into the nursing field. Because of its success, we find an ever increasing number of schools offering this program. With new leaders and clinicians graduating from the accelerated program, the field of nursing is moving toward a new front in providing care and leadership in an ever-changing nursing profession.

Copyright 2006 Michael V. Gruber, MPH

About the Author

Michael V. Gruber, MPH is a contributing author to My Nursing Degree Online, providing articles and resources for nurses looking for continuing education online. Find more information about earning your Accelerated BSN degree at:

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