Accelerated nursing programs are a great option for those looking for fast advancement. Of course, it’s a huge commitment, as the workload will be higher and many students are already working full time.
Accelerated online programs are typically offered for practicing nurses (LPNs and RNs) who want to take their career to the next level with a bachelor’s or master’s degree. However, there are accelerated programs for first-time nursing students, but don’t expect to find those online – hand-on clinical training is a big part of those programs.
Why Accelerated Nursing Programs Are Needed
There’s a big hole in the nursing profession. According to the United States Department of Labor, more than one million registered nurses will be needed through 2018 to meet the rapidly expanding shortage.
Accelerated programs are helping to fill the gap a little bit faster. Most of the programs are bachelor and master-level degree that build on previous learning experiences.
With an increasing population of senior citizens, who live longer today and require more personalized care, more qualified nurses are needed to ensure everyone gets proper care. The role of nurses is also changing. To meet a growing shortage of physicians, nurses are being given more responsibilities than ever before, which also requires a higher level of education and credentialing.
How Accelerated Nursing Programs Work
In accelerated nursing programs, students complete the required coursework in a shorter period of time. This often requires longer hours of study and year-round schooling. Often, students will perform the same amount of clinical hours as a typical student, but within a shorter period of time.
- Bachelor Degree Programs: 11-18 Months
- Master’s Degree Programs: 2-3 years
To successfully complete and accelerated nursing program takes a high level of drive and dedication. It’s a challenging period, but one that can reap great rewards in the long run, improving salary potential and opportunity for advancement.
Admissions standards for accelerated nursing programs are often much higher, to ensure students can live up to the challenge of completing complex coursework in a shorter period of time.
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing accelerated programs typically look for students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Administrators work hard to seek out students who will work well and succeed in a high-pressure educational environment.
Average Accelerated Nursing Programs Student Profile
The AACN reports that most students who enter these programs are a bit older, highly motivated and held to higher academic expectations than an entry-level nursing student. Those who graduate such programs are highly sought after by hospitals, nursing homes and other major employers.
Graduates have proved they handle the pressure and academic rigor and are well-suited for a career in the ever-changing and fast-paced world of healthcare. These employers are known to actively recruit graduates into high-paying positions with excellent benefits.
Funding an Accelerated Education
Another advantage of accelerated nursing programs is the level of funding available to students. To recruit intelligent students with high academic standards, scholarship and grant opportunities are abundant.
Universities, private organizations, hospitals and the government offer generous grants and scholarships to help students pay for their education. Someone with a high enough GPA and exemplary educational record may be able to obtain a quality education without paying any out-of-pocket costs.
Hospitals and schools often form partnerships to help students not only pay for their education, but find work after graduation. In exchange for a continuing influx of qualified nursing school graduates, these partners will help students by taking away much of the financial burden associated with accelerated programs.