Accelerated nursing programs are designed to produce graduates at a faster-than-average rate in an effort to combat the growing nursing shortage. Although there are over 135,000 nursing openings currently in the United States, there simply aren’t enough nursing schools and instructors to meet the demand. By allowing students with the time and dedication needed to graduate faster (but with the same level of education), the nation hopes to avoid giant lapses in the quality of care.
Accelerated Nursing Program Requirements
Most accelerated nursing programs are designed to accommodate students who have some background in the medical field. Whether you have a CNA designation or have been working as an LPN for years, you probably have the basic nursing experience necessary to qualify for the accelerated program. In fact, if you have most of the core nursing courses already completed and out of the way, you can have a BSN in as little as 11 months or a Master’s degree in 3 years. And if you are an RN with an Associate degree, there are some nursing programs out there that will get you your BSN is as little as 3 months.
The top nursing schools also want to ensure that you’ll be able to handle the heavy course load without getting overwhelmed or falling behind in your grades (accelerated programs can have dropout rates of up to 75 percent). That’s why most of them require that you have a 3.0 GPA or higher in order to qualify for the accelerated program…and you may be expected to maintain that in order to remain in the program.
Why Choose an Accelerated Nursing Program?
It might seem daunting to undertake a program that has such stringent requirements and such a high dropout rate, but it is a great choice for many individuals. One of the perks of accelerated programs is that there are nursing scholarships and federal grant money dedicated solely to the faster-paced courses.
Accelerated programs are also great for professionals who don’t want to take on basic nursing classes that are below their current skill level. For example, traditional BSN programs start at the beginning and work you up to the Bachelor’s level. But if you’ve already been working as an LPN or RN for years, it’s a waste of both your time and your money to start all over again.
Nursing programs in the accelerated format aren’t available everywhere, and many of them take advantage of the online learning platform in order to reach a wider audience and to allow students to learn at their own pace. If you’re interested in learning more, look at online nursing schools and schools in your area with non-traditional class times and options to see if they have a program you qualify for.