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What are Accelerated Registered Nurse Programs?

Majors Overview March 25, 2013

Becoming a registered nurse (RN) may be an excellent option for those who want to go back to work after being out of the job market for an extended period of time or looking at switching to another career. An accelerated registered nurse program is one option to receive the required training.

RNs Job Outlook

In May 2010, the average annual salary for registered nurses was $64,690, or $31.10 per hour, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). During this time, there were 2,737,400 registered nurses. There will be a need for an additional 711,900 registered nurses by 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is a higher-than-average growth rate among United States occupations. Registered nurses can work in various settings, including correctional facilities, schools, military settings, summer camps, home health care facilities, nursing care facilities, doctors’ offices, and hospitals.

Why Accelerated Registered Nurse Programs Exist

The traditional route to becoming a RN requires at least an associate degree. Several aspiring nurses may choose to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Individuals who are interested in teaching usually go on to earn their Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing program has been extremely competitive for the last several years. Nursing colleges and universities are looking for creative ways to train more students since there is a growing demand for registered nurses. One of the most popular ways is through an accelerated program.

According to the AACN (American Association of Colleges of Nursing), taking an accelerated program is the quickest way to complete the training and get out into the workplace, but individuals will need to possess an undergraduate or graduate degree in a discipline other than nursing. Accelerated programs are available for both Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Master of Science in Nursing.

Accelerated Program Basics

It generally takes a student twelve to eighteen months to complete the BSN accelerated program. It usually takes three years to complete the MSN program. Students complete Bachelor of Science in Nursing work as part of their Master of Science in Nursing program. Students will take bachelor-level nursing courses during their first year. According to the AACN, graduate courses make up the coursework during the last two years. There were over 14,000 students who enrolled in these programs during 2011.

Guam and the District of Columbia, along with forty-one other states offer accelerated nursing programs. During 2011, nursing colleges and universities offered 235 undergraduate programs and 63 graduate programs. Students will be able to find a list of schools that offer accelerated baccalaureate programs through the American Association of Colleges and Nursing website (www.aacn.nche.edu).

The basis of accelerated registered nurse programs is to quickly accomplish program goals by building on previous learning experiences. Individuals will earn the same amount of clinic hours as those in traditional nursing programs, and the instructions are intense.

The typical accelerated student has higher educational expectations, more motivated, and much older compared to entry-level nursing students. A majority of them are eager to participate in clinical training. They are described by faculty members as highly competitive. The American Association of Colleges and Nursing reported that students who are enrolled in an accelerated nursing program usually pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) on their first try.

Through the accelerated nursing programs, students are building on their experiences and prior learning. The requirements are exceedingly intense and involve the same amount of clinical hours as the regular program. However, the students in these programs are older and more motivated. They also have a degree and are eager to engage in clinical training. The instructors praise them as being highly competitive, and the AACN says that a high percentage pass the certification exam the first time.

Admission Standards

The majority of accelerated nursing program requires a detailed pre-screening process and students must maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average (GPA). Nursing colleges and universities will review candidates’ transcripts to determine how many prerequisite courses are required and which courses (generally liberal arts) they do not need to take. Students who have earned a degree in social sciences or arts are required to complete prerequisite courses like microbiology or anatomy. Usually, these classes are available before the start of the regular academic term. Students who apply to graduate degree programs usually have various employment and academic background, from horticulturists to attorneys.

Disadvantages of Accelerated RN programs

There are challenges that students should consider in the accelerated programs, such as:

•The program is intense. The majority of undergraduate programs take twelve to eighteen months to complete. Typically, there will not be any breaks between academic terms.
•Colleges and universities may require prerequisites. Individuals who do not have degrees related to science usually have to complete prerequisite courses before enrolling in the registered nurse program.
•The accelerated program is extremely competitive. Several colleges and universities require over a 3.0 grade point average, and many applicants have it.
•Financial aid is scarce for accelerated nursing program, so finding funds to pay for school tuition may be difficult.

Even though, an accelerated registered nurse program requires a high level of dedication and commitment, it still remains an excellent option for individuals who want to re-enter the workforce as a nurse or change careers.

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2 Program(s) Found
  • There's still time to apply to Grand Canyon University and pursue your education. Learn more today!
  • Study on your schedule - GCU offers many programs 100% online to fit your busy lifestyle.
  • GCU offers a variety of opportunities to reduce the cost of furthering your education. Campus students may qualify for scholarships, while online students can take part in limited special offers.
  • A regionally accredited university, GCU also holds specialized accreditations and approvals for some of our core program offerings.
  • Degrees in business, education, nursing, humanities and social sciences, theology and more. Find the degree that fits you.
  • Talk to us today to learn more about financial aid and start dates!
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
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  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
2 Program(s) Found
  • Average class size is 25, allowing for more one-on-one time with instructors.
  • Has a 97% employment rate among available graduates.
  • All  graduates receive Lifetime Employment  Assistance—free and forever.
  • Michigan's largest independent college.
  • Most instructors are working professionals in the fields they teach.
  • Programs are continuously updated to ensure classes are career-relevant and in sync with what's needed in the industry
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
2 Program(s) Found
  • Ranked among top Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Ranked 37th among the Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Stands as the largest private, nonprofit university in the nation with 100,000+ students.
  • Offers over 230 programs online, from the certificate to the doctoral level.
  • Has a student-faculty ratio of 25:1, and 42.3% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
1 Program(s) Found
  • Designated a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media for the 4th consecutive year.
  • Listed on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in 2013, for the sixth consecutive year
  • Links students to hundreds of training opportunities (beyond their traditional internships and practicum) at their many “partner agencies” in each of their local communities.
  • Accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WUSCUC).
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
1 Program(s) Found
  • Designated as a 2015 Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, publishers of G.I. Jobs®.
  • Each program is designed to instill the knowledge, ethical values, and interpersonal skills of professional practice and to foster values of social responsibility.
  • Offers several flexible learning options, including a blended format that combines campus and online learning.
  • Several scholarship opportunities are available for students who qualify.
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
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  • Transferable Credits

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