What is an Accelerated Nursing Program?

Accelerated nursing programs are designed for individuals who already have a bachelor’s degree in another field. This might be the program for you if you have shown your ability to manage time, study effectively, and retain information while enrolled at university. If you already have a bachelor’s degree, most of the foundations courses should be completed.

Accelerated BSN (ABSN) programs, like traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs, provide a strong foundation for a successful nursing profession.

ABSN programs achieve this by leveraging your prior academic experience, allowing you to focus only on nursing-specific coursework rather than electives and general education courses. “Previous academic experience” may refer to a particular quantity of college credits or a non-nursing bachelor’s degree depending on the program.

ABSN programs generally take 9 to 15 months. There is a catch, however. Most accelerated nursing programs demand that you have previously completed specific prerequisites before enrolling. These courses are generally focused on the field of nursing (for example, anatomy and physiology), although they may also encompass elements important to a school’s core values or purpose. 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.

Online Nursing Programs That Might Interest You

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

Entrance Requirements for a California 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!

List of 12 Accelerated BSN (ABSN) Programs in California

California State University-San Marcos

  • 333 S Twin Oaks Valley Rd, San Marcos, CA - 92096-0001

Samuel Merritt University

  • 3100 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, CA - 94609

San Diego State University

  • 5500 Campanile Dr, San Diego, CA - 92182

Mount St Mary’s University-Los Angeles

  • 12001 Chalon Rd, Los Angeles, CA - 90049-1599

National University

  • 11255 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA - 92037-1011

Loma Linda University

  • 11139 Anderson Street, Loma Linda, CA - 92350

Concordia University Irvine

  • 1530 Concordia West, Irvine, CA - 92612-3203

California State University-Long Beach

  • 1250 Bellflower Blvd, Long Beach, CA - 90840-0115

California State University-Northridge

  • 18111 Nordhoff St, Northridge, CA - 91330

California State University-Stanislaus

  • One University Circle, Turlock, CA - 95382-0299

Azusa Pacific University

  • 901 E Alosta, Azusa, CA - 91702-7000

California Baptist University

  • 8432 Magnolia Ave, Riverside, CA - 92504-3297

List of 10 Accelerated MSN (AMSN) Programs in California

University of San Francisco

  • 2130 Fulton St, San Francisco, CA - 94117-1080

Samuel Merritt University

  • 3100 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, CA - 94609

University of San Diego/Hahn

  • 5998 Alcala Park, San Diego, CA - 92110-2492

San Francisco State University

  • 1600 Holloway Ave, San Francisco, CA - 94132

University of California-Los Angeles

  • 405 Hilgard Ave, Los Angeles, CA - 90095-1405

California State University-Long Beach

  • 1250 Bellflower Blvd, Long Beach, CA - 90840-0115

California State University-Los Angeles

  • 5151 State University Dr, Los Angeles, CA - 90032

California State University-Dominguez Hills

  • 1000 E Victoria St, Carson, CA - 90747-0005

Azusa Pacific University

  • 901 E Alosta, Azusa, CA - 91702-7000

California Baptist University

  • 8432 Magnolia Ave, Riverside, CA - 92504-3297

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

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 Prerequisite Science Courses Will I Need for an ABSN Program in California

First applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an approved university. The typical list of prerequisites for admission to the Accelerated BS in Nursing program at California State University, Northridge is as follows:

  • BIOL 211/212: Human Anatomy and Lab (2/1)
  • BIOL 215/L: Introductory Microbiology and Lab (2/2)
  • BIOL 281/282: Human Physiology and Lab (3/1)
  • CHEM 103/L: Introductory Chemistry I and Lab (3/1)
  • MATH 140: Introductory Statistics (4)

What Will I Study in My California 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 as offered by California State University, Fullerton in their full-time, cohort style, and five semester program where summers are required.


  • Health Assessment
  • Health Assessment Lab
  • Concepts of Professional Nursing
  • Integrated Pathophysiology/Pharmacology
  • Foundations of Nursing Practice
  • Foundations of Nursing Practice Lab


  • Evidence Based Practice Nursing
  • Cultural Diversity in Health & Illness
  • Mental Health Nursing
  • Mental Health Nursing Lab
  • Management of Medical-Surgical Adult & Older Adult Clients
  • Management of the Medical-Surgical Adult & Older Adult Clients Lab


  • Reproductive Health Nursing
  • Reproductive Health Nursing Lab
  • Child Health Nursing
  • Child Health Nursing Lab


  • Population Health Nursing
  • Population Health Nursing Clinical
  • Management of the Adult with Complex Health Alterations
  • Management of the Adult with Complex Health Alterations Lab


  • Leadership/Management in Professional Nursing
  • Leadership/Management in Professional Nursing Lab
  • Nursing Capstone
  • Nursing Capstone Clinical

What Are the Clinical Requirements for an ABSN in California

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 between 500 to 800 clinical hours for you to earn your BSN and sit for the NCLEX RN exam. Check with the California Board of Nursing to see the latest requirements. 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. 

Learn More About ABSN and MSN Accelerated Nursing Programs:

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!

List of Accelerated BSN Nursing Programs in California

University Offered asCity/State
California State University-San Marcos Campus, Hybrid, OnlineSan Marcos, CA
Samuel Merritt University Campus, HybridOakland, CA
San Diego State University CampusSan Diego, CA
Mount St Mary’s University-Los Angeles CampusLos Angeles, CA
National University Campus, Hybrid, OnlineLa Jolla, CA
Loma Linda University Campus, Hybrid, OnlineLoma Linda, CA
Concordia University Irvine Campus, OnlineIrvine, CA
California State University-Long Beach CampusLong Beach, CA
California State University-Northridge CampusNorthridge, CA
California State University-Stanislaus Campus, OnlineTurlock, CA
Azusa Pacific University Campus, Hybrid, OnlineAzusa, CA
California Baptist University Campus, OnlineRiverside, CA

List of Accelerated MSN Nursing Programs in California

University Offered asCity/State
University of San Francisco Campus, Hybrid, OnlineSan Francisco, CA
Samuel Merritt University Campus, HybridOakland, CA
University of San Diego/Hahn CampusSan Diego, CA
San Francisco State University Campus, HybridSan Francisco, CA
University of California-Los Angeles CampusLos Angeles, CA
California State University-Long Beach CampusLong Beach, CA
California State University-Los Angeles CampusLos Angeles, CA
California State University-Dominguez Hills Campus, Hybrid, OnlineCarson, CA
Azusa Pacific University Campus, Hybrid, OnlineAzusa, CA
California Baptist University Campus, OnlineRiverside, CA

Accelerate Nursing Schools FAQ

Can I Work During My ABSN?

Students are expected to not work during their year of nursing study and clinicals so that they can devote all their time fully towards exam preparation and gaining experience in nursing with a goal of taking the NCLEX-RN, which is required to become a registered nurse.

How Long Are Accelerated Nursing Programs in California?

The typical duration for an Accelerated BSN program is 11 to 18 months, depending on the prerequisites. Master’s degrees in accelerated programs generally take around three years.

Are There Accelerated Nursing Programs for LPNs or RNs?

Yes. These are generally call LPN to RN or RN to BSN programs and are designed for nurses who already nurses but want to earn an advanced degree.

How Hard Is an Accelerated Nursing Program?

Since ABSNs are only 11-18 months long, ABSN students often struggle with staying ahead of their coursework as well as keeping up with clinical rotations . The need to balance academics while working towards practical experience can place great strain on ABSN students who want to excel academically but also maintain a high standard during clinical rotations. Therefore it is often advised for ABSN students not to work while attending school.

What Are the Best Ranked Nursing Programs in California

Find a list of merit-based best ranked nursing programs in California.

Take the next step toward your healthcare future with online learning.

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