What is an Accelerated Nursing Program?

An accelerated nursing program is a way for people with bachelor’s degrees in non-nursing field to earn their BSN quickly. With the nursing profession projected as one of the fastest growing professions in the Arizona, it is no wonder that people from all backgrounds are considering nursing as a career change, and an accelerated nursing program is one such option.  Not only does it offer job stability and a sustainable salary, but it is also highly rewarding and challenging.  However, for the career-changer who has already completed a Bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field, or even for the LVN who has completed some level of training, the idea of obtaining a second Bachelor’s degree, can be daunting and deter people from entering the field. Fortunately, many universities in Arizona offer accelerated nursing programs and LPN to BSN degree programs for just such populations.

Online Nursing Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Why Should I Complete an Accelerated Nursing Program In Arizona?

Accelerated nursing programs are specifically geared toward students who have already earned a bachelor’s degree in something else.  If you have already proven you ability to manage time, study effectively and retain knowledge, and are hoping to become a nurse, this may be the program for you. If you have your bachelors you likely already taken most foundational courses in a bachelor’s degree program.

This means that if you complete a 4 year BSN program, you will repeat a lot of classes. While there may be some science pre-requisites to complete, almost all courses in an accelerated nursing program are focused specifically on the skills needed to be an RN. When you finish the program you will have your BSN and be a highly sought after nurse. You will have the training and skills to complete the NCLEX-RN exam and work in almost any clinical setting.

In a standard BSN, students spend at least the first year, and sometimes the first two years, taking only foundational bachelor’s degree courses; nursing courses do not typically begin until the sophomore or junior year, and even  then, they are often mixed in with other college courses.  The student in an accelerated nursing program takes only the nursing courses, significantly shortening the time it takes to complete the degree.  Most programs take between 11 and 18 months.  A key component of any BSN degree is the clinical.  Students in accelerated programs receive the same number of clinical hours as do their standard BSN counterparts.

Additionally, if you are an LPN and are hoping to earn your BSN you do not need to take 4 years of classes. There are accelerated programs for you too! These are called LPN to BSN programs, but unlike the accelerated programs we’re discussing here you DO NOT need to have your Bachelor’s degree to enter them, but you do need to be licensed as an LPN. These programs are shorter than 4 years but slightly longer than RN to BSN programs. During 4-5 semester program you will complete the foundational courses to earn your BSN as well as additional nursing courses. 

List of 3 Accelerated BSN (ABSN) Programs in Arizona

Northern Arizona University

  • 1900 S. Knoles Dr, Babbitt Administrative Center, Flagstaff, AZ - 86011-4132

Grand Canyon University

  • 3300 W Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ - 85017

Arizona State University-Downtown Phoenix

  • 411 N Central Avenue - Ste 520, Phoenix, AZ - 85004

List of 1 Accelerated MSN (AMSN) Programs in Arizona

University of Arizona

  • 1401 E University, Tucson, AZ - 85721-0066

Entrance Requirements for a Arizona Accelerated Nursing Program

  • Bachelor’s degree: You need to have your bachelor’s degree to be eligible for accelerated nursing programs, but it can be in any subject!  
  • GPA: You do not need to take a test for eligibility but most schools will require that you have a minimum GPA of 3.0. These can vary by school so check before applying!
  • Complete pre-requisites: While your bachelor’s degree can be in anything, you may need to complete certain courses before you can apply to an accelerated nursing program. Usually these will be science courses such as biology, anatomy and physiology, chemistry, and more.
  • Letters of recommendation: Like any application you need letters of recommendation. Make sure to reach out ahead of time to the people you want to write your letters so that you are not scrambling at the last minute. 
  • Submit applications: You should look over the applications in advance so you know how much time you will need to complete them. In addition to demographics and basic questions, you may have essays to write. You will also need to collect past transcripts, submit and updated resume, and possibly additional paperwork.
  • Interview: Most schools will not require an interview but it always helps to check!

How Long Does it Take to Complete an Accelerated Nursing Program in Arizona?

This all depends on the school of course so take some time to shop around. In general you will be able to earn your BSN through an accelerated nursing program in 18 months or less. Some of these programs will be non-stop year round, while others may factor in a break. You will complete not only course work but also required hands on clinical experiences during this time so that you can master your new nursing skills. 

What Will I Study in My Arizona Accelerated Nursing Program?

Curricula will vary a little but they are all designed to prepare you to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam.  Most schools will have course lists available online of what you will take during your program. In general you can expect to take courses similar to the following curriculum:

  • Transitions into the Nursing Profession
  • Foundations of Health Assessment
  • Pathophysiology
  • Pharmacology 1 and 2
  • Introduction to Perioperative Nursing
  • Nursing Practice and Clinical Reasoning 1: Adult and Aging Acute and Chronic Illness
  • Nursing Practice and Clinical Reasoning 2: Advanced Adult Medical-Surgical
  • Nursing Practice and Clinical Reasoning 3: Psychiatric Mental Health
  • Nursing Practice and Clinical Reasoning 4: Maternity/Women Health
  • Nursing Practice and Clinical Reasoning 5: Children and Families
  • Nursing Practice and Clinical Reasoning 6: Epidemiology and Community Health
  • Patient Safety and Health Care Quality
  • Health Information and Technology
  • Evidence-Based Practice for Health Care Researchers
  • Global Health for Healthcare Professionals
  • Health Policy, Quality, Political

What Are the Clinical Requirements for an ABSN in Arizona

The number of supervised clinical hours you will be required to complete will depend on the state you live in. In general however, most states require about 500 clinical hours for you to earn your BSN and sit for the NCLEX RN exam. Clinical hours are experiences where you are paired with an experienced nurse (called your preceptor) and get to practice your clinical skills on real patients. Having someone to supervise you as you master these skills helps you be prepared to be a safe new nurse when you become licensed. 

4 Steps To Register for the NCLEX

Be sure to talk to your school about the requirements for signing up for the NCLEX. They can help you with timing and steps. The process can take some time, so don’t wait until the last minute. Here are some important steps you need to take to register for the big day:

  1. Check out your state’s Board of Nursing (BON) website to sign up so that you are eligible to take the NCLEX. The NCBSN website has information you need on your state’s BON.
  2. Your NCLEX eligibility requirements can be found through your BON.
  3. After this you should register for the test through Pearson VUE. Don’t forget to find your program code when doing this! If you’re not sure where to find it, contact your school.
  4. The last step is to use our NCLEX tips and practice exams to study!

Guide to ABSN and MSN Accelerated Nursing Programs

List of Accelerated BSN Nursing Programs in Arizona

University Offered asCity/State
Northern Arizona University Campus, OnlineFlagstaff, AZ
Grand Canyon University Campus, Hybrid, OnlinePhoenix, AZ
Arizona State University-Downtown Phoenix Campus, HybridPhoenix, AZ

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Sources: 50 State Boards of Nursing, University Websites, U.S. Department of Education, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Ranking Methodology.