Accelerated nursing programs have been created to allow students to complete their nursing degree or nursing certification in the shortest amount of time. Some also believe that these accelerated programs exist to fill the growing demand for nursing professionals in the United States. While there is currently a nursing shortage, many nursing schools are near capacity with students. If the accelerated programs can cycle students in and out faster they will enable more students to obtain their degrees and fill open positions quickly. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates demand for at least one million new nurses by the year 2016. To even come close to meeting that demand nursing students will have to be given additional options to help them complete their degree programs. In addition to financial aid and online education, accelerated programs are one of the best solutions for this problem.

How Quickly Can an Accelerated Nursing Program be Completed?

The answer depends on the type of nursing degree and the students existing educational achievements. Accelerated BSN programs can be completed in as little as 11 months if the student already holds a Bachelors degree in a different field. If the student holds an Associates degree they can complete an accelerated BSN program in as little as 18 months. Similarly, a student who currently holds a BSN degree can obtain a Masters degree through an accelerated MSN program in 18 months or less. However, if the student holds an Associates degree they will also need to reach a Bachelors degree level before completing MSN course work which will add on additional time to complete the program. Some MSN programs award both a BSN and an MSN degree whereas others only award the MSN degree upon completion.

Advantages of Accelerated Nursing Programs

* Less potential income lost while in school
* Easier to recall information since it is taught in rapid succession
* Less expenses incurred to obtain education
* Quicker entry into nursing work force

How Can I Get Accepted Into an Accelerated Nursing Program?

As with any field, admissions criteria vary between different educational institutions. Some MSN programs accept applicants who only hold a nursing diploma. Other programs might require a certain degree level and a minimum GPA to gain admittance. Many schools require a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA and Associates degree to enter their BSN or MSN programs.

How Much Does an Accelerated Nursing Program Cost?

Most accelerated programs carry the same cost as a non-accelerated degree program. Bachelors and Masters degree programs can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000 depending on the program and institution. There are many forms of financial aid available to help cover the cost. Many students use a combination of funding sources to pay their education bills, such as grants, student loans, scholarships and savings. Some nurses might be able to secure financial assistance towards graduate education through their current employer.

What are the Benefits of a BSN or MSN Degree?

If you are currently working as a licensed registered nurse you might ask yourself, “whats the point of getting a BSN or MSN?” There are three major advantages of having an advanced degree in nursing.

1. Many nursing positions either strongly prefer or require applicants to have at least a Bachelors degree. Even if it is not required, candidates with a BSN will almost always be placed over less qualified candidates who only hold a diploma or ADN. That is why it is important to get as high of an education as possible, whether that be attending graduate nursing programs or an RN.

2. Nurses with advanced degrees have a wider variety of career paths open to them. A registered nurse with an ADN can only practice as a nurse. An RN with a Masters degree can enter more specialized fields of nursing and can also become a nursing manager.

3. Nurses with advanced degrees earn more money because they demand higher salaries due to their level of education. They also make more money because nurses who specialize in more advanced nursing fields (i.e. nurse anesthetist or nurse practitioner) earn much higher average salaries.