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Length of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) Degree Program

Majors Overview March 25, 2015

It would typically take a student about four years of full-time study to complete a BSN degree program. A student may, however, take fewer than two years to earn an Accelerated BSN degree. An RN-to-BSN program is open for enrollment to students that have already earned an Associate Degree in Nursing (A.D.N.). Individuals with a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing can also take advantage of accelerated BSN programs.

A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and Its Time-frame

A BSN is a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program. There is a greater emphasis placed in a BSN than in the Associate Degree in Nursing (A.D.N.) program on communication, critical thinking, and leadership, in addition to clinical experience in a non-hospital environment.

RN-to-BSN programs often attract registered nurses with an ADN that wish to complete a bachelor’s degree program catering to a broader range of nursing practice. Applicants to BSN programs may include individuals that have already earned a bachelor’s degree in another field, but seek a transition to a nursing career. Schools typically offer these programs that span for 12 – 18 months duration in an accelerated format.


Coursework in BSN programs includes courses in nutrition, microbiology, psychology, physiology, chemistry, and anatomy. Liberal art courses are also available in BSN programs. Supervised clinical training is completed in hospitals by students enrolled in the program.

Students may train in numerous departments, including psychiatry, pediatrics, surgery, and maternity. Training may also be imparted to students in numerous other settings, including home health agencies, ambulatory centers, health departments, and nursing homes.


Licensure requirements vary from state to state; however, common requirements include graduation from an approved nursing program and passage of the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN).

The state boards of nursing administer the exam that tests students on the skills they are deemed to need in order to seek entry-level nursing occupations. The examination covers patient care topics such as health promotion and maintenance, basic care, pharmacological therapies, safety, and physiological and psychosocial integrity. The District of Columbia and all 50 states administer the same exam.

Career Choices

Those who successfully earn a BSN degree can seek numerous occupations, including the following:

•Nursing Director
•Emergency Room Nurse
•Nursing Manager
•Nurse Case Manager
•Registered Nurse
•Clinical Nurse Manager

Job and Wage Outlook

A 19% job growth rate has been predicted for registered nurses over the 2012 – 2022 decade (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). The optimistic prediction is based on the expectation of increased demand for patient care owing to an aging population and technological advancements in the field. Rapid growth is expected in freestanding emergency and ambulatory surgical centers as well as physicians’ offices, while slower growth is deemed likely in outpatient and nursing care facilities and hospitals.

In February 2014, registered nurses brought in an average annual wage of $57,635; during the same period, nurse case managers, emergency room nurses, clinical nurse managers, nursing directors, and nursing managers earned respective average annual wage packets of $67,100, $62,173, $76,402, $79,452, and $80,465.

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