As you try to determine the best path toward earning your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, you likely have many questions running through your head. You may be wondering, are accelerated nursing programs worth it? After all, going back to school for nursing is a major commitment, and you want to be sure it’s right for you before you start.
At Concordia University, St. Paul, we focus on making our 16-month Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program worth it for our students. After earning a BSN, students go on to pursue fulfilling careers and achieve their professional goals while also earning a competitive salary.
Is an ABSN Worth It for You? 6 Factors to Consider
We’ll cover several topics that will help you determine whether an accelerated program is worth it for you: ABSN eligibility, benefits of a BSN, timeline, flexibility, experiential learning opportunities and career goals.
1. Your Eligibility for an ABSN Program
The first consideration for whether to pursue an ABSN program like ours at Concordia St. Paul is evaluating whether you have the necessary educational background.
To be eligible for the ABSN program, you’ll need at least 54 non-nursing college credits or a non-nursing associate or bachelor’s degree, and you’ll need to have earned a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00. You’ll also need to take some prerequisite courses, some of which you may have already taken during your prior college experience. Students will also need to pass the ATI Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) with a score of at least 65% within the year prior to starting the ABSN program.
At CSP, we are committed to helping students with a heart for nursing achieve their goals. Before enrolling at CSP, ABSN graduate Stephanie Hollingworth spent time on waitlists and received rejections due to lack of capacity at other nursing programs.
If you’re able to meet CSP’s admission requirements, and you’re looking to earn a BSN quickly so you can start a new career as a nurse, the Accelerated BSN program may be worth it for you.
2. A BSN Degree Offers Many Career Benefits
The next consideration when you’re evaluating if accelerated nursing programs are worth it is how a BSN will propel your career. In nursing, there are several clear advantages to earning a bachelor’s degree rather than an associate degree. A few of these advantages include:
- More job opportunities with healthcare employers
- Job stability and long-term career growth
- Higher salary
- Improved patient outcomes
- Advancement and leadership roles
- Options for competitive nursing specialties
- Ability to work in Magnet hospitals and U.S. military
- Eligibility to pursue advanced nursing degrees
As you can see, the advantages of earning a BSN are numerous. We could go on and on. The great part of earning a BSN is that you make the investment now, and then it pays off every year as you reap the benefits of a successful nursing career.
3. ABSN Programs Help You Graduate Sooner
The next consideration regarding whether an accelerated nursing program is worth it for you is timeline. How much time do you want to spend in school? Is it important to you to graduate and start your career as soon as possible?
If you value finishing your degree soon, take advantage of one of the top accelerated nursing program benefits: time. When you choose an accelerated program like the ABSN at CSP, you’ll optimize your time, meaning you can graduate in as few as 16 months. You’ll spend less time in school and more time out in the workforce earning an income.
The other way the ABSN program helps you get your degree sooner is that we offer three start dates per year — in January, May and September. You won’t have to wait an entire year to begin nursing school. By starting sooner, you’ll also be able to graduate sooner.
4. ABSN Programs Offer Online Learning
Many students pursuing a nursing career prefer nursing programs that offer an online component. That’s because online learning allows students to implement self-directed learning. Because CSP offers online learning as a mainstay of the curriculum, students can study at the time of day and location that works for them.
With online classes, you can also adjust your study techniques to your unique study needs. You want a quality education, but you don’t want to spend eight hours a day in a lecture hall. We get it, and that’s why the ABSN program at Concordia St. Paul offers a mix of online classes, which teach the didactic nursing curriculum, and skills labs and clinical experiences, which provide experiential learning.
5. ABSN Programs Provide Experiential Learning Opportunities
Along with the added accessibility provided by the online curriculum, experiential learning experiences give students knowledge, skills and abilities that make them into better nurses.
Nursing Skills Labs
Skills labs take place at our ABSN sites in either St. Paul, Minnesota, or Portland, Oregon. During the skills lab experience, you’ll get the chance to practice your learned skills and techniques on your own with the supervision and input of your nursing instructor.
“Some of the skills we practice in the skills lab included giving injections, monitoring blood sugar, performing a comprehensive physical assessment and more,” says Stephanie.
Clinical Learning Experiences
Clinical experiences allow you to prepare to practice in simulation and clinical settings. At Concordia University, Accelerated BSN students begin experiential learning during their first semester.
Through clinical learning experiences, you’ll gain confidence as a student nurse and become more prepared to practice as a professional nurse.
6. ABSN Programs Help You Achieve Your Goals
Investing in a high-quality ABSN program like ours at CSP will set you up to achieve your professional goals. A rewarding, successful career as a nurse with the opportunity to take on leadership roles makes the 16 months of nursing school worth it.
Passing the NCLEX
The final step in becoming a registered nurse is passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN), and a great ABSN program will give you the knowledge you need to excel on that exam and receive your nursing license.
Stephanie says she left the Accelerated BSN feeling well prepared to take the NCLEX, thanks to the structure of the ABSN curriculum. “When I sat down to take the NCLEX, it felt like I was taking another practice test — but it was real. When it turned off at 75 questions, I was feeling pretty good that I had passed,” she says.
“When I found out that I had actually passed and had my license… It’s been so many years working towards this dream, and it just felt incredible,” says Stephanie.
Pursuing Advanced Opportunities
Though it may seem far in the future, another reason accelerated nursing programs are worth it is because they allow nurses to go back to school to earn an advanced nursing degree. There may come a time when you want to become a nurse practitioner or a nurse anesthetist; to enter one of these master’s or doctorate-level nursing programs, you’ll need a BSN first.
Furthermore, if you’re interested in growing into a leadership role as a nurse through becoming a nurse manager or executive, a BSN will keep that door open.
Begin Your Nursing Journey with CSP
For our ABSN students, the accelerated nursing program is worth it because it gives them an impactful career through which they can support their families and contribute to the care of their community. With the ABSN, you can access a quality nursing education in less time.
Through online learning, nursing labs and clinical learning experiences, students can develop their skills and become practice-ready nurses in as few as 16 months.
If you’re ready to start your future as a registered nurse, reach out to our team of admissions counselors today.