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Accelerated Track Programs for Nursing Degree Holders

Accelerated nursing degree programs are designed for those who hold degrees in fields other than nursing and want to earn a second degree in nursing, or for current nurses wishing to upgrade their education.

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Essential Information

Accelerated program options for those with nursing degrees are available as Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) programs and Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs.

Current registered nurses who enroll in accelerated bachelor's degree programs in nursing can earn their BSN in as little as 15 months. Some schools offer this program entirely online. Depending on the school, online programs can usually be completed in about the same time, but students can also study at their own pace if they prefer.

Accelerated master's degree programs in nursing are intended for students who have career aspirations beyond a BSN. Many programs are designed for registered nurses who are currently enrolled in BSN programs since they are able to take some courses that satisfy the requirements for both programs. MSN programs often require students to choose a concentration area, such as nurse educator, nurse administration, nurse informatics or nurse practitioner. All tracks include clinical practice as part of the training.


Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing

These programs provide a highly focused, intensive course of study covering concepts of patient care and nursing leadership.

Bachelor's degree candidates in the accelerated nursing track take a combination of general education and core nursing courses. The following is a list of common course topics covered in the programs:

  • Health assessment
  • Nursing theory and practice
  • Pathophysiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Nursing research
  • Public health nursing

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Clinical Nursing
  • Critical Care Nursing
  • Direct-Entry Midwifery - LM, CPM
  • Licensed Vocational Nurse Training
  • Mental Health Nursing
  • Neonatal Nursing
  • Nurse Anesthetist
  • Nurse Assistant or Patient Care Assistant
  • Nurse Midwife
  • Nurse Practitioner or Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Nursing Administration
  • Nursing for Adults and Seniors
  • Nursing Science
  • Occupational Health Nursing
  • Operating Room and Surgical Nursing
  • Pediatric Nursing
  • Public Health Nurse or Community Nurse
  • Registered Nurse

Accelerated Master of Science in Nursing

Courses in an accelerated master's degree program in nursing depend on the specialty track a student chooses. Below are some course topics a student might encounter in an accelerated MSN program:

  • Advanced nursing practice
  • Advanced physiology and pathophysiology
  • Health information management
  • Nursing leadership
  • Nursing ethics
  • Global health care
  • Nurse education

Popular Career Options

Although the need for nurses is high, demand for each nursing specialty is variable. Family practitioners typically have the most opportunities overall. Below are career options for those holding a master's degree in nursing:

  • Nursing administrator
  • Nurse educator
  • Acute care nurse
  • Psychiatric nurse
  • Family nurse practitioner
  • Pediatric nurse practitioner

Licensure and Continuing Education Information

Students who earn bachelor's degrees in nursing can consider enrolling in a master's degree program for further training. Master's degree programs allow students to prepare for leadership and advance practice nursing roles, such as nurse practitioner, nurse midwife or nurse anesthetists, depending on the program. Registered nurses also need to maintain their licensure by meeting state-specific continuing education requirements.

Graduates of a MSN program are prepared for leadership or advanced practice nursing roles. Besides an RN license, most advanced practice roles require both national and specialty certification. Certification requirements vary by state and specialty. Students could also consider enrolling in a doctoral-level nursing program to prepare for research or teaching careers.

Salary Info and Employment Outlook

Even in a climate of recession, job prospects for nurses have been favorable due to growing demand for medical services. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 16% job growth for registered nurses between 2014 and 2024. According to the BLS, the median wage of registered nurses was $32.45 per hour, or $67,490 per year, as of 2015.

The BLS predicts good job opportunities for advanced practice registered nurses from 2014-2024 due to increases in demand for healthcare services. It predicts a 31% growth for nurse practitioners, nurse midwives and nurse anesthetists during that time. As of 2015, nurse practitioners earned a median salary of $98,190, while nurse anesthetist earned $157,140, and nurse midwives earned $92,510.

Registered nurses interested in furthering their education or individuals with degrees in other fields who would like to earn a degree in nursing can take an accelerated degree program at both bachelor's and master's degree levels. Bachelor's programs focus on core nursing courses where master's programs are geared toward the student's specialization.

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