Did you earn your bachelor’s degree in a completely different field only to realize that nursing is where your true passion lies? Applying for an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program is a smart, business-savvy decision.

Online programs make it even easier to pursue this full-time educational path, without the added stress of commuting. Read on to learn more about the best accelerated BSN online programs!

 

What is an Accelerated BSN Program?

Accelerated BSN—sometimes referred to as ABSN—programs allow those non-nursing bachelor’s degrees to more quickly earn the qualifications of a four-year BSN program for non-nurses but on a compressed timeline. Upon graduation you will be eligible to sit for the RN licensure exam (NCLEX-RN).

Rather than starting over with an all-new, four-year degree, these programs are designed to bridge the gap between your current level of education and where you need to be to take the next step as a nurse. This usually includes more responsibility, new and more advanced job possibilities, and increased opportunities for career advancement.

Nurses with BSN degrees may also choose to attend graduate nursing school, and generally tend to earn better wages and work in higher-ranking positions than associate degree prepared RNs.

 

What Does an Accelerated BSN Program Entail?

Each school will create its own unique curriculum, but most ABSN programs follow a similar model to ensure the requisite information is being taught. This type of nursing program will typically focus on the following core subjects:

  • Introduction to Nursing
  • Pharmacology
  • Pathophysiology
  • Mental Health
  • Nursing Research 
  • Med-Surg (Medical-Surgical) Nursing
  • Pediatrics 
  • Community Health
  • Women’s health—focusing on caring for women before during and after pregnancy

 

What Are the Prerequisites for an ABSN Program?

Every ABSN program, just like every university or college, will set its own application requirements and standards for admission. Generally speaking, students should expect to meet a minimum GPA requirements and provide the following materials with their application:

  • Higher education transcripts
  • Completion of prerequisite courses (typically introductory science classes, such as chemistry, microbiology, anatomy, and physiology)
  • Letters of recommendation
  • A written statement outlining your career goals

Despite any differences in application requirements, the ideal candidates for these programs usually share many key characteristics. They’re dedicated, passionate students who want to join or advance in the medical field as soon as possible.

After obtaining their BSN degree, graduates will have to pass the NCLEX-RN to receive licensure from a state to practice. From there, they’ll be able to pursue nursing jobs, specializations and graduate-level programs (depending on their specific career goals).

 

The Best Online Accelerated Nursing Programs

The basics are consistent across most ABSN programs—nursing is, after all, a highly standardized field—but there are plenty of individual differences within programs and schools. It’s time to weigh your options and find an ABSN degree that will actually work for you.

We’ve compiled the best distance accelerated BSN programs currently available in 2024, along with their unique advantages and application requirements.

 

 

 

Baylor University Logo

Baylor University

Baylor is an esteemed, private university located in Waco, Texas. Their Louise Herrington School of Nursing is ranked as the #1 nursing school in Texas, and #25 for the United States’ Most Innovative Schools. This accelerated nursing program is flexible, remote and perfect for students looking to begin their nursing careers.

Prerequisites for this nursing degree program are as follows:

  • Microbiology
  • Anatomy and Physiology I & II
  • Chemistry
  • English Composition I & II
  • English Literature
  • Federal Government
  • Bible-Based Religion
  • World Religion
  • History
  • Nutrition
  • Statistics
  • Intro to Psychology & Developmental Psychology
  • Intro to Sociology

This program didn’t earn such esteemed rankings without offering a few highly-valuable advantages. Just to name a few, here are some of the benefits of this online ABSN program:

  • Assistance with clinical placement – Baylor’s faculty assists online students in finding appropriate healthcare facilities to fulfill their required clinical hours. Not only are these hours necessary for credit completion, but they also ensure graduates of the program are prepared for a career outside of nursing school.
  • Practical skills – Baylor students emerge with more than just technical knowledge of the medical field. They learn the ins and outs of the job through practical skill development in addition to textbook studying. You’d cover such topics as professional nursing, fulfilling patient needs, clinical care for all life stages and healthcare issues and policies.
  • Experienced faculty – Classes are taught by some of Baylor’s finest faculty, including nationally recognized leaders in the medical field.

 

CSU Logo

 

Cleveland State University 

Cleveland State University’s online Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program prepares engaged and passionate aspiring nurses for practice through an affordable, fast-paced degree pathway. This program will prepare you to work as a bedside nurse, caring for patients in various healthcare settings. 

Admission requirements for CSU's online ABSN program include: 

  • Bachelor’s degree  
  • 2.50 Cumulative GPA, 3.0 Prerequisites GPA  
  • Completion of prerequisite courses  
  • Resume  
  • Interview  
  • Essay  
  • Two letters of recommendation  
  • Transcripts from all institutions attended  

Prerequisites*  

  • Anatomy & Physiology I & II with lab  
  • Chemistry I & II with lab  
  • Microbiology with lab  
  • Introduction or General Psychology  
  • Statistics  
  • Health Care Ethics or General Ethics  

 

Elmhurst Logo

 

Elmhurst University

Elmhurst University is a private liberal arts college located in the suburb of Elmhurst, Illinois. The school not only offers in-person classes, but also an online ABSN program. Requirements for this program include:

  • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university
  • A minimum 3.2 GPA
  • 25 credit hours in the following prerequisite courses:
    • Anatomy and Physiology I & II
    • Microbiology with Lab
    • Statistics
    • Chemistry with Lab
    • Lifespan Psychology
    • Abnormal Psychology

Just a few advantages of this unique program include:

  • Award winning – The distance ABSN program at Elmhurst is the only one of its kind in Illinois, and U.S. News ranks it the #3 Most Innovative School in the Midwest and the #7 Best Undergraduate Teaching in the Midwest. The program is also accredited by the CCNE.
  • Full time and fast paced – This full time program can be completed in as little as 16 months. Elmhurst also accepts a large variety of credits from other programs, allowing graduates to complete their core requirements with greater ease.
  • Support – Every student will have full access to a staff of advisors. Your advisor will be there to help every step of the process, from application to graduation.

 

Holy Family Logo

 

Holy Family University

Holy Family University is a private Catholic institution that embraces diversity and inclusion, ensuring a welcoming and accessible learning community for everyone. Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, their core values encourage students to pursue a holistic path that emphasizes family, respect, integrity, service and responsibility, learning, and vision. Holy Family's mission is to immerse students in the tradition of service so they can lead with purpose.

Admission requirements for Holy Family's second-degree hybrid ABSN program are as follows:

  • Bachelor’s degree in any field
  • 3.0 cumulative GPA 
  • (2.75 GPA in math and science prerequisite courses)
  • Personal statement 
  • 1 letter of recommendation from a supervisor or academic professor

Benefits of Holy Family's Second Degree Distance Hybrid ABSN program include the following:

  • 100% online coursework – Flexible learning with Synchronous and Asynchronous sessions make it easier to balance school responsibilities with life responsibilities.
  • 1 on-campus residency – Build hands-on clinical skills in Holy Family's high-tech simulation lab help students translate theory into practice during the one on-campus residency visit.
  • 14-month program – The degree can be completed in just 14 months, which is faster than many hybrid ABSN programs.
  • Exam preparation – Holy Family's NCLEX-RN pass rates are above the national average.

 

Marymount Logo

 

Marymount University

Located in Arlington, Virginia, Marymount University is a private institution that U.S. News ranks as #31 for Regional Universities South. Requirements for this program include a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field, and successful completion of the following prerequisite courses:

  • Anatomy and Physiology I & II
  • Chemistry
  • Developmental Psychology 
  • Microbiology with Lab
  • Nutrition
  • Sociology
  • Statistics

If you meet the admission requirements, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of this ABSN program, including:

  • NCLEX preparation – Over the past 5 years, Marymount graduates consistently pass the NCLEX at a high rate of 90%. Students at Marymount are thoroughly prepared for their licensing exam, and learn a well-rounded curriculum that covers all elements of nursing.
  • Mentorship and support – Every student is appointed their own Success Advisor during their time at Marymount. Advisors help students choose the right classes, provide mentorship within the department and keep them on track for efficient program completion.
  • Flexible GPA requirements – While most ABSN programs have a minimum GPA requirement of 3.0, Marymount allows admission with a 2.8 or above. This flexibility is proof that Marymount is concerned with your aptitude and passion for nursing, rather than focusing on your performance in a previous major.

 

 

Rockhurst Logo

Rockhurst University

Rockhurst is a Jesuit University located in Kansas City, Missouri. Their Saint Luke’s™ College of Nursing and Health Sciences is committed to preparing the health care workforce of tomorrow by offering undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate programs for adult learners with an emphasis on the education of the whole person. Rockhurst's hybrid accelerated nursing is a full-time program that prepares you to become a skilled nurse in just 16 months.

Admission requirements for this nursing degree program are outlined below:

  • Bachelor’s degree in any field
  • 2.7 cumulative GPA or higher
  • Resume
  • Completion of prerequisite courses with a minimum grade of C, including:
    • Anatomy & Physiology I & II with lab (8 credits)
    • Microbiology with lab (4 credits)
    • General Chemistry or Organic Chemistry with lab (4 credits)
    • Nutrition (3 credits)
    • Statistics (3 credits)
    • Life Span/Developmental Psychology (3 credits)

Some of the many benefits of Rockhurst's online ABSN program include the following:

  • Clinical placement services – Rockhurst's clinical placement team works closely with you to provide a seamless placement experience, ensuring your rotations meet University and national guidelines. Based on your goals and where you live, your placement coordinator will identify an appropriate site and preceptor for you within a reasonable driving distance.
  • Holistic nursing education – Guided by Jesuit values, Rockhurst University prepares advanced practice nurses to care for the needs of the whole person through rigorous academics, rich and varied clinical experiences, and a spirit of inquiry and reflection.
  • Proven academic excellence – Rockhurst’s BSN program boasts a 100% graduate employment rate. 

 

 

St. Joseph's College of Maine Logo

Saint Joseph’s College of Maine 

Saint Joseph’s College of Maine’s Hybrid Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) is a full-time and highly respected program driven by a belief that learning best occurs in a community built on mutual respect. As an ABSN student, you’ll receive close supervision, mentoring, and individual attention from a team of passionate and experienced educators.  

Admission requirements for SJC's second-degree hybrid ABSN program are as follows: 

  • Bachelor’s degree in any field 
  • 3.0 minimum cumulative GPA 
  • (Science courses must be completed within 10 years.)  
  • Transcripts 
  • The following prerequisites: 
    • Introduction to Psychology (C- or better)  
    • Microbiology with in person lab (C or better)  
    • Anatomy & Physiology I & II with in person lab (C or better)  
    • Chemistry or Gen Chem or Organic Chem with in person lab (C or better) 
    • Nutrition (C+ or better)  
    • Statistics (C or better) 

Benefits of SJC's hybrid ABSN program include the following:  

  • Experts in distance education – The program draws from expertise gained since 1976, when SJC first began offering industry-relevant distance education. 
  • 2 on-campus residencies – Visit SJC’s beautiful campus on Sebago Lake to build hands-on clinical skills at the state-of-the-art SIM lab opened in September of 2023. 
  • 15-month program – This full-time program can be completed in just 15 months (4 semesters). 
  • Exam preparation – SJC’s first-time NCLEX-RN pass rates exceed the national average. 

*Students may apply to the program before having all prerequisites completed. 

Program overview:  

  • #1 in Ohio – CSU is the #1 public university in Ohio for social mobility (U.S. News & World Report) 
  • Two residencies – Refine your skills and learn face-to-face at our state-of-the-art nursing resource laboratory in downtown Cleveland, Ohio 
  • 16-month program – You can complete this program in 4 semesters/16 months (full-time). 
  • NCLEX preparation – Preparation is integrated throughout the program, and extra study tools are provided upon completion. 

 

 

Wilkes Logo

Wilkes University

Wilkes University is a privately owned college in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Students looking to earn their BSN in a short amount of time can enroll in Wilkes’ online ABSN program, so long as they meet the school’s admission requirements, which include:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited university
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0 GPA
  • A written statement of nursing career goals
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Five pre-requisite courses 

Advantages of this program include:

  • A Legacy of Nursing Excellence – Wilkes University offered one of the earliest online ABSN programs and credits its many graduates with helping to continuously refine and improve the program.
  • Competitive tuition – Your total cost of tuition at Wilkes University will fall between $60,000 and $70,000, a competitive rate for a private university with such a rigorous program.
  • Excellent NCLEX pass rates – Wilkes University consistently garners above-average passing rates for graduates of their ABSN program. The online coursework prepares you well by covering a large number of topics, including foundations of nursing, evidence-based care, leadership skills, and cultural and economic diversity among patients.
  • Clinical placement assistance – Members of Wilkes’ Placement Team are trained to help all students find clinical placement sites within their community, ensuring graduation requirements are met and enough practice is done to prepare students for a career in healthcare.

 

 

FAQ About Accelerated BSN Programs

Making the right career choice can be difficult if you don’t have all the necessary information. Read up on some of the most common queries and concerns to find an ABSN program that works for you—or to decide if an ABSN degree is right for you at all.

Can you really earn a nursing degree online?

For the most part, the answer is yes! Many universities offer their ABSN coursework 100% online. Beyond coursework, however, all ABSN programs require on-campus residency to fulfill clinical hours and prepare for a career in nursing. 

How long is an accelerated BSN program?

Every program is different, but the purpose of this path is to provide a quicker degree option. To that end, ABSN programs usually take between 11 and 18 months to complete.

What jobs require a BSN degree?

Compared to an associates degree in nursing, a BSN provides a wider range of job opportunities in the nursing field. This is because BSN programs include coursework in leadership, population health, and evidence-based practice. Additionally, BSN educated nurses are more likely to be promoted within healthcare organizations, based on the skills taught in these advanced programs.

How much do BSN nurses make?

BSN nurses will typically earn higher starting salaries than those with associate’s degrees. The average salary for a BSN-educated nurse is about $86,000 per year, which is well above the national average for all RN nurses, $67,000 per year.

 

Earn Your Accelerated BSN From a Distance

Remote education is becoming increasingly popular, particularly when it comes to online ABSN programs.

Many universities are striving to make higher education more accessible. Non-nursing bachelor’s graduates can earn an esteemed BSN degree at a number of accredited universities, oftentimes within a single year. It really is easier than ever to begin a career in nursing, without having to upend your life to do it.

The future is waiting—advance your education today!
 

Sources:

Nurse.org. Guide to Accelerated BSN (ABSN) Programs 2021. https://nurse.org/articles/accelerated-bsn-programs-fast-track-into-an-rn-car/ 

AACN Nursing. Accelerated Baccalaureate Programs. https://www.aacnnursing.org/Nursing-Education-Programs/Accelerated-Programs 

PayScale. Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Degree. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Degree=Bachelor_of_Science_in_Nursing_(BSN)/Salary