Updated: December 10, 2021
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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 9 Accelerated BSN (ABSN) Programs in California

California State University-San Marcos

  • 333 S Twin Oaks Valley Rd, San Marcos, CA - 92096-0001
Your nursing journey to an ABSN starts here. SCUSM School of Nursing a a dynamic leader in the art and science of nursing. It seeks to educating ethically and culturally-sensitive nursing students with the goal of alleviating suffering while promoting, preserving, and restoring dignity for all patients. The mission of
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Samuel Merritt University

  • 3100 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, CA - 94609
Samuel Merritt University prides itself on preparing nurses for more than a century since 1909 with current undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and nursing certificate programs at its four campuses. The mission of the Nursing School is to provide compassionate and skilled clinicians and nurse leaders. The faculty is known for its
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San Diego State University

  • 5500 Campanile Dr, San Diego, CA - 92182-0001
San Diego State University’s nursing students are unique. They train in state-of-the-art facilities, study and travel all over the world, and participate in research. Many elect to join the SDSU-SNA – Student Nurses Association. Among the academic programs are a BS in Nursing, an RN to BSN track, an MS
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Mount St Mary’s University-Los Angeles

  • 12001 Chalon Rd, Los Angeles, CA - 90049-1599
It is a picturesque drive up the hill to Mt. Saint Mary’s University in Los Angeles. Students at this women’s college will enjoy the scenic vistas as they prepare for their degree in nursing. They can choose the traditional BSN track, the RN to BSN format, or the fast-paced accelerated
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National University

  • 11255 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA - 92037-1011
National University is a veteran-founded, San Diego-based nonprofit. Since 1971, the mission of the school has been to provide accessible, achievable higher education to adult learners. It educates students from across the U.S. and around the globe, with over 180,000 alumni worldwide. National University is proud to expand the candidates
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Concordia University Irvine

  • 1530 Concordia West, Irvine, CA - 92612-3203
Concordia University, a noted Christian institution, believes in caring, compassionate, and competent nursing. Toward this end, the Nursing Program is a contemporary, comprehensive program that has been uniquely designed for students to learn the requisite information and acquire the advanced skills for excellent nursing care. The Department of Nursing is committed
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California State University-Northridge

  • 18111 Nordhoff St, Northridge, CA - 91330
California State University Northridge is conveniently located in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles. Students chose it for its long history of commitment and dedication to nursing. CSUN offers innovative programs geared specifically to the needs of the local community. The mission of the CSUN Bachelor of Science in
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California State University-Stanislaus

  • One University Circle, Turlock, CA - 95382-0299
Turlock, a scenic town in Central California, is home to Stanislaus State University that operates as an open university with two campuses. While well known for business administration, teacher education, the School of Nursing offers an accelerated BDSN at the Stockton location. All have had positive learning outcomes. The pre-licensure
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California Baptist University

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

List of 8 Accelerated MSN (AMSN) Programs in California

University of San Francisco

  • 2130 Fulton St, San Francisco, CA - 94117-1080
The School of Nursing and Health Professions follows the University of San Francisco’s mission to provide a liberal arts education rooted in the Jesuit tradition of diversity, justice and global perspectives. Students will participate in the most progressive healthcare delivery in the nation, serving as knowledgeable, innovative and experienced practitioners.
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Samuel Merritt University

  • 3100 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, CA - 94609
Samuel Merritt University prides itself on preparing nurses for more than a century (since 1909). The mission of the Nursing School is to provide compassionate and skilled clinicians and nurse leaders. The faculty is known for its large number of graduates who enter all levels of the field from clinical
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University of San Diego/Hahn

  • 5998 Alcala Park, San Diego, CA - 92110-2492
The University of San Diego Hahn School of Nursing is an academic culture build on belonging and compassion. Throughout all graduate programs, the next generation of nurse scientists, leaders, advanced clinicians and informaticists are ready to meet humanity’s most urgent needs—with compassion and intellectual rigor. Following its long heritage of
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San Francisco State University

  • 1600 Holloway Ave, San Francisco, CA - 94132
The San Francisco State University School of Nursing has the noble mission to motivate and educate undergraduate and graduate nursing students to meet the healthcare needs of patients, families, and communities. The faculty is known for using a rich variety of educational methods. The school is accredited by the Commission
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University of California-Los Angeles

  • 405 Hilgard Ave, Los Angeles, CA - 90095-1405
The UCLA School of Nursing Prelicensure program for undergraduate study leading to the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Nursing graduated its first class in 1954.When it is time to pursue a master’s in nursing, UCLA offers an accelerated option. Located in the heart of trendy Westwood, the school attracts students
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California State University-Dominguez Hills

  • 1000 E Victoria St, Carson, CA - 90747-0005
California State University Dominquez Hills in the city of Carson in southern California currently offers an accelerated nursing programs for students who are either registered nurses or are currently enrolled in a Community College Nursing program. The School of Nursing’s (SON) Nursing Program began in spring of 1981 with two
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Azusa Pacific University

  • 901 E Alosta, Azusa, CA - 91702-7000
Azusa Pacific University’s nationally ranked and accredited School of Nursing prepares nurses to lead the way in modern healthcare. The focus is on a deeper level of compassionate care in clinics, hospitals, schools, and beyond. Through the innovative programs, APU’s expert nursing faculty serve as mentors and guides. Opportunities for
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California Baptist University

  • 8432 Magnolia Ave, Riverside, CA - 92504-3297
California Baptist University College of Nursing in sunny Riverside is one of the best private Christian nursing schools in the state of California. It is known to prepare students at any starting point to become highly qualified nurses in a demanding field, where the need has never been greater due
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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
Concordia University Irvine Campus, OnlineIrvine, CA
California State University-Northridge CampusNorthridge, CA
California State University-Stanislaus Campus, OnlineTurlock, 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-Dominguez Hills Campus, Hybrid, OnlineCarson, CA
Azusa Pacific University Campus, Hybrid, OnlineAzusa, CA
California Baptist University Campus, OnlineRiverside, CA

FAQs for California Accelerated Nursing Schools

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.

Discover schools with the programs and courses you’re interested in, and start learning today.

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