What is an Accelerated Nursing Program?

What is an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree (ABSN) or Second Degree Nursing Degree? ABSN Programs are specifically designed for students who have already earn a bachelor degree in another discipline and want to earn their second bachelor degree in nursing.

Within 9 to 14 months, students can leverage the credits they’ve already earned in their first bachelor’s degree, apply them toward a Bachelor Degree in Nursing by taking only nursing degree courses and clinicals.

ABSN programs provide knowledge and experience needed to function as an effective professional nurse, including critical thinking, decision making, communication, leadership skills and high tech competence.

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.

Why Should I Complete an Accelerated Nursing Program In North Carolina?

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. 

Entrance Requirements for a North Carolina 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 8 Accelerated BSN (ABSN) Programs in North Carolina

Duke University

  • 103 Allen Bldg, Durham, NC - 27708
  • 919-684-8111
Nurse Admin: Yolanda Neal, DNR RN, NEA-BC
Title: President, Watts College of Nursing

The Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program is a second degree program for students who have completed an undergraduate degree and the required pre-requisites. This full-time, campus-based program lasts 16 months.

Studying nursing is the fastest way to become a nurse. Students conceive of health care and preventative measures, leadership skills, evidence-based practices in nursing and culturally relevant care. The faculty practice dynamic teaching-learning techniques including simulations as well as virtual patients.

The Center for Nursing Discovery is the only accredited simulation education facility in North Carolina, giving nursing students access to a valuable resource.

As an ABSN student, you’ll complete 58 credit hours of study and receive nearly 800 hours of clinical experience. You will have the advantage of clinical experiences at multiple sites in the Duke University Health System as well as around the world.

The accelerated baccalaureate degree in nursing at the Duke University School of Nursing is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Gardner-Webb University

  • Main St, Boiling Springs, NC - 28017-0997
  • 704-406-2361
Nurse Admin: Tracy Arnold, DNP, RN
Title: Dean, Hunt School of Nursing

North Carolina A & T State University

  • 1601 E Market St, Greensboro, NC - 27411
  • 336-334-7500
Nurse Admin: Tiffany Morris, DNP, MS, MS-Ed, CNE
Title: Program Director

Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degrees are specifically designed for second-degree students who have already achieved a degree and then want to pursue a nursing career. The curriculum is delivered over the course of 12 months (January through December.)

The course work is challenging and demanding. This entry option of the Bachelor’s degree in Nursing is designed for full-time study Monday through Friday and may also include nights and weekends. Students expect to not work during this year of study, so they can devote their time fully to exam preparation with a goal toward taking the NCLEX-RN, which is required to become a registered nurse.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • 103 South Bldg Cb 9100, Chapel Hill, NC - 27599
  • 919-962-2211
Nurse Admin: Valerie Howard, EdD, MSN, RNI CNE, ANEF, FAAN
Title: Dean

The UNC School of Nursing’s ABSN program is for those who already have a bachelor’s degree in another subject but would like to obtain their ABSN faster.

The ABSN program is a shorter undergraduate degree in nursing. It typically takes 15 months from start to finish, with clinical training starting in the first semester.

Clinical rotations are held at various health care locations in Orange County as well as all counties contiguous to Orange.

The UNC’s baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees in nursing—as well as the post-graduate APRN certificate program offered by the UNC School of Nursing—are accredited by CCNE.

North Carolina Central University

  • 1801 Fayetteville Street, Durham, NC - 27707
  • 919-530-6100
Nurse Admin: Yolanda VanRiel, PhD, RN
Title: Chair

Accelerated Option, B.S.N. program offered by North Carolina Central University is designed to allow students to obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing in about 14-15 months assuming they already have another four year undergraduate degree. Throughout the curriculum, the student will learn the skills and knowledge needed for professional nursing practice in a variety of health care settings. The curriculum provides knowledge and skills needed to function as an effective professional nurse, including critical thinking, decision making, communication, leadership, and high-tech procedure competencies.

Students who have completed a minimum of 126 semester hours with an average GPA of 80 on all nursing courses are eligible for our accelerated bachelor’s degree. Students who do not meet the requirements and fail a nursing course will have one opportunity to retake it before they are terminated from the program.

Queens University of Charlotte

  • 1900 Selwyn Ave, Charlotte, NC - 28274-0001
  • 704-337-2200
Nurse Admin: Sheryl Cornelius, EdD, MSN, RN, CNE
Title: Director and Associate Professor

Queens University of Charlotte offers two pre-licensure tracks for students to earn their BSN– the traditional track and the accelerated ABSN.

Their baccalaureate degree program in nursing and the master’s degree program are both accredited by The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

The Accelerated BSN program is open only to students who currently hold a bachelor’s degree, this program starts in the summer (mid-May) and takes three semesters to complete – summer, fall and spring (one year). The degree program is accredited by The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Students enrolled in the traditional undergraduate nursing track and the ABSN track will take 58 hours of nursing courses and about 450 clinical hours in the areas of basic and advanced medical-surgical nursing, maternity, pediatrics and community health nursing. All courses take place on campus during daytime hours.

Queens Presbyterian School of Nursing has many opportunities to learn from industry leaders, and with close proximity to two of the state’s premier healthcare systems, students have access to state-of-the-art healthcare facilities. The on-campus, Hunt Nursing Simulation Center offers cutting-edge technology for students to hone their practice while gaining knowledge from school faculty.

Winston-Salem State University

  • 601 Martin Luther King Jr Dr, Winston-Salem, NC - 27110-0001
  • 336-750-2000
Nurse Admin: Leslee H. Battle, RN, MSN, EdD
Title: Professor and Dean

The accelerated bachelor of science in nursing degrees at Winston-Salem State University enable non-nurses with a four-year degree to graduate with a bachelor of science in nursing degree as well.

The Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) degree is a full-time program and students should not work during matriculation. The option provides a rigorous experience, with every opportunity to participate in practical clinical, inter-professional, and collaborative experiences. ABSN follows the same curriculum as Traditional timeline, but completed within 13 months.

Applications to the Accelerated BSN program are submitted August 1 – September 1 each year for January (Spring semester) start date. Students are notified via email by mid-October regarding admission decisions.

Western Carolina University

  • Highway 107, Cullowhee, NC - 28723-9646
  • 828-227-7100
Nurse Admin: Terrica Durbin, DNP, PhD, CRNA, APRN
Title: Director

The Western Carolina University ABSN program is meant for those who have already obtained a bachelor’s degree and are seeking entry into the nursing field.

In contrast with the Traditional BSN, Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees are structured to provide successful graduation in a four-semester (fall, spring, summer, fall) or less timeframe.

ABSN degrees provide students the opportunity to advance their careers without having to sacrifice a career in order to further their education. Courses are held at our Biltmore Park Instructional site in Asheville, NC.

Cohorts begin annually, each Fall (August) and graduate the following year during the month of December. Class schedules vary each semester but typically include classes two days per week and clinical one to two days per week.

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

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. 

Enrollment Prerequisites

ABSN schools applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an approved university before applying. A Typical list of prerequisites for admission to the Accelerated BSN at NCCU as follows

  • College Algebra and Trigonometry
  • Molecules and Cell Functions
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology I
  • Physical Science Related to Chemistry
  • Chemistry and Human Life
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology II
  • Introduction to Human Nutrition
  • General Psychology
  • Introduction to Microbes and Disease
  • Elementary Statistics

What Will I Study in My North Carolina Accelerated Nursing Program?

Curricula will vary a between programs, but each program is 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 The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in their full-time, four semester, 60-credit program:


  • Foundations of Relationship-Centered Care and Diversity and Inclusion | Carolina Core I (3:3:0 credits)
  • Clinical Nursing Skills and Health Assessment I | On Campus Clinical I (2:0:2 credits)
  • Pathophysiology/Pharmacology Across the Lifespan I (3:3:0 credits)
  • Nursing Care of Adults 1 (4:3:1credits)*
  • Family Focused Genomic Health Care (1:1:0 credit)

(13 total credits)


  • Foundations of Research, Ethics and Health Innovation | Carolina Core II (3:3:0 credits)
  • Clinical Nursing Skills and Health Assessment II | On Campus Clinical II (2:0:2 credits)
  • Pathophysiology/Pharmacology Across the Lifespan II (3:3:0 credits)
  • Mental Health Promotion and Psychiatric Care Across Populations and Settings (4:2:2 credits)
  • Reproductive Health and Nursing Care of the Childbearing Family (4:2:2 credits)

(16 total credits)


  • Integrating Principles of Leadership, Quality and Safety, and Informatics into Nursing Practice | Carolina Core III (3:3:0 credits)
  • Clinical Nursing Skills and Health Assessment III | On Campus Clinical III (2:0:2 credits)
  • Nursing Care of Adults II (5:3:2 credits )*
  • Family-Centered Nursing Care from Birth through Adolescence (4:2:2 credits)
  • Public Health Nursing in Community Settings (4:2:2 credits)

(18 total credits)


  • Foundations of Population Health and Global Health | Carolina Core IV (2:2:0 credits)
  • Clinical Nursing Skills and Health Assessment IV | On Campus Clinical IV (2:0:2 credits)
  • Capstone: Transitions in Care & Practice (6:2:4 credits)
  • Nursing Elective** (3 credits)

(13 total credits)

What Are the Clinical Requirements for an ABSN in North Carolina

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. 

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 North Carolina

University Offered asCity/State
Duke University Campus, HybridDurham, NC
Gardner-Webb University Campus, Hybrid, OnlineBoiling Springs, NC
North Carolina A & T State University CampusGreensboro, NC
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Campus, Hybrid, OnlineChapel Hill, NC
North Carolina Central University Campus, OnlineDurham, NC
Queens University of Charlotte CampusCharlotte, NC
Winston-Salem State University Campus, OnlineWinston-Salem, NC
Western Carolina University Campus, Hybrid, OnlineCullowhee, NC

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 North Carolina ?

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 North Carolina

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