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Accelerated Nursing Programs Help Nursing Students Graduate Faster

January 19th, 2011

Nursing is such a high-demand profession that hundreds of nursing schools across the nation have developed accelerated nursing programs for individuals returning to school to earn a second degree in nursing after earning a bachelor's in a non-nursing-related area. Also known as fast-track nursing programs, accelerated nursing programs allow nursing students to graduate in a much shorter timeframe. This allows students to get their degree, get licensed and enter the workforce more quickly, helping to put a dent in the persistent nationwide nursing shortage.

Accelerated bachelor's programs can help nursing students earn a bachelor's degree in anywhere from 11 to 18 months and a master's degree in 3 years, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. For students who already hold a bachelor's degree in another area, accelerated nursing programs are the shortest route to nursing licensure possible, the AACN asserts.

While would-be nursing students often savor the idea of graduating more quickly, they should be aware that accelerated nursing programs cram an awful lot of rigorous material into that short timeframe, and there's usually no breaks between sessions. When taking such an intensive course load, nursing students often have to kiss their social lives goodbye to stay on top of it all, and most programs recommend that a student attend school full time without working to stay on top of the massive amount of work required. However, those students who can manage the increased amount of work are rewarded by being able to fast-track their career as well.

Accelerated nursing programs aren't for everyone. Because these programs are so rigorous, the program often requires that students have maintained a 3.0 GPA or higher in all previous coursework. Program administrators must be sure that students have what it takes to succeed in an intensive, accelerated nursing program.

Many accelerated nursing programs are offered fully or partially online by accredited nursing schools. This allows students the flexibility of logging in to their courses at a time that is most convenient to them, and allows them to avoid the daily commute to a campus. The only part of nursing education that is not conducted online is clinicals, hands-on nursing preparation that is arranged at a health care facility near the student.

If you are having trouble getting a job with the degree you have, you may want to return to school to get an accelerated nursing degree. It could be your ticket to better job opportunities and better pay than you're receiving now.