Demand for registered nurses (RNs) is on the rise as healthcare organizations grapple with a growing patient population and an aging workforce. According to projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for registered nurses will increase by 15 percent from 2016 to 2026, adding more than 438,000 new jobs.
Due to its reputation as a high-demand and high-growth field, nursing has become an attractive second career option for a growing number of adults. A career in nursing offers job stability and room for advancement, as well as the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others.
To accommodate individuals who are making the switch to a career in nursing, colleges and universities have rolled out accelerated programs that offer a fast track to a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) for students who already hold a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field.
Here’s why these programs are game-changers for aspiring nurses:
1. Fastest path to becoming a bachelors-level registered nurse
While a traditional BSN degree program can take between three and four years to complete, students who have already completed their bachelor’s degree can earn their BSN in as little as 20 months through an accelerated program.
Students enrolled in an accelerated BSN program can receive transfer credit for general education courses they completed during their previous undergraduate studies. This allows students to begin their nursing classes faster, gaining practical skills and knowledge that will prepare them for the nursing workforce.
A BSN is quickly becoming the new educational standard for registered nurses. More and more medical organizations are encouraging and sometimes requiring nurses to get their bachelor’s. You’ll also have a better chance at making a higher salary (see the average BSN salary by state). If you're considering a second career as a nurse earning your BSN should be a top priority.
2. Ready to support your journey
Changing careers can be a costly and time-consuming endeavor. An accelerated BSN program provides a quick path to a degree.
“Completing the accelerated program was difficult but very rewarding,” said Nabeela Rehan, who graduated from Herzing University – Brookfield in 2015, just two years after enrolling the accelerated BSN program.
“The small classroom sizes allowed me to develop close relationships with my professors, who were very supportive and truly made an effort to get to know me. They went above and beyond by making themselves available to each student to ensure our success in the program and on the NCLEX (state board exam).”
3. Advance more quickly
Earning a BSN is the first step to becoming a registered nurse, but it also opens the door to advanced educational opportunities and career growth. Through Herzing University’s accelerated BSN program, students can also earn credits toward their Master's of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. This dual credit option allows students to begin their nursing careers and plan for career advancement at the same time, saving time and money.