It is never too late to become a nurse. If you desire a second shot at your career, and truly wish to make an impact in people’s lives, rest assured that a nursing career is within your reach – no matter how old you are, and no matter how little healthcare experience you have. For aspiring nurses with a bachelor’s degree in a different area of study, a BA/BS to BSN program will be the best path for you.
What is a BA/BS to BSN Program?
In literal terms, a BA/BS to BSN program involves moving from a bachelor’s degree to a Bachelor’s in Nursing (BSN). Also known as a second degree BSN, it is designed for aspiring nurses who have already completed their bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field. BA/BS to BSN programs offer an accelerated pathway for these students to pursue their Bachelor’s in Nursing, without having to commit to another 4+ years of college or nursing school.
BA/BS to BSN programs facilitate career change for those who have had a change of heart or purpose, who now wish to go back to school and become a nurse. Because the BA/BS to BSN is an accelerated, second degree program, it is intensive in nature. BA/BS to BSN programs are meant for mature and seasoned students with clear professional goals. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) notes that BA/BS to BSN nursing students are typically older and more motivated than younger, entry-level students, because they have already experienced college and know just what they want to achieve.
How Long Does it Take to Complete a Second Degree BSN?
BA/BS to BSN programs are also referred to as accelerated BSN programs, because of the short time commitment required to obtain the bachelor’s degree. In general, BA/BS to BSN programs take between 12 to 18 months to complete. At Goodwin College, students can earn their Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in as few as 16 months full-time. As you may recall, this is a fraction of what it takes to complete a standard bachelor’s degree.
How Do BA/BS to BSN Programs Work?
BA/BS to BSN programs are more rigorous than your typical, entry-level nursing program. They follow a concentrated curriculum and full-time schedule, so that students can complete their ABSN degree fast.
The accelerated pace of BA/BS to BSN programs does not mean less nursing classes or a lesser educational experience overall. Instead, students are awarded credit for their previous college education, cutting the commitment of their BSN in half.
In a second degree BSN program, you do not need to revisit basic prerequisites such as English and Math. More than likely, you have already fulfilled those general ed courses in your last degree program. And if so, you can expect them to count towards your ABSN degree! At Goodwin College, students in the BA/BSN to BSN program are automatically awarded 38 credits in recognition of their prior college education.
You can also transfer previous credits earned for prerequisite courses such as Anatomy and Physiology with labs, Microbiology with lab, Chemistry with lab, Growth and Development, and Statistics. If you have completed any of these courses prior to enrolling in Goodwin’s nursing school (with a C+ or better), you can work with an admissions counselor to ensure those are also counted towards your ABSN degree.
What are the Typical Requirements for a BA/BS to BSN Program?
Admissions requirements will vary depending on the ABSN program of choice. Generally, it is required that you have already earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree (in another area of study), from an accredited institution. Most BA/BS to BSN programs will require a list of science prerequisites (such as the ones listed above), and a minimum GPA for enrollment. At Goodwin College, for example, applicants must have completed their past degree with a 3.0 or higher. Most prerequisite courses must have been completed with a C+ or better. To learn about the full ABSN requirements at Goodwin, please click here.
What Types of Classes are Covered in BA/BS to BSN Programs?
BA/BS to BSN programs are completely nursing-focused. With basic prerequisites out of the way upon entering the program, students can home in on developing their nursing skills. In a second degree BSN program, you can expect to take courses such as:
- Health Assessment and Skill Development
- Foundations of the Nursing Profession
- Principles of Pathophysiology
- Nursing Research and Evidence-Based Practice
- Mental Health Nursing
- Pharmacology for Nurses
- The Wellness Continuum (for Adults, Women, Children, Newborns, and Families)
- Public Health Nursing
- Nursing Leadership
Accelerated BSN courses are usually offered on-campus, though some classes may be available online for added flexibility. And as with all foundational nursing programs, BA/BS to BSN students will need to fulfill both classroom and clinical credits. At Goodwin College, nursing students are placed in active and esteemed healthcare facilities across Connecticut for their clinical rotations. This gives them the opportunity to work with real patients, with real nursing equipment, alongside real doctors and RNs in the field. We believe it’s this hands-on experience that helps nurses prepare for a successful career.
What is the Outcome of a BA/BS to BSN Program?
As a pre-licensure nursing program, the BA/BS to BSN program is designed to prepare you for professional nursing practice, by equipping you with general knowledge and versatile skills that can be applied in any healthcare setting. ABSN graduates qualify for an array of advanced nursing careers, and with a Bachelor’s of Nursing in hand, you can find work in hospitals, health clinics, private practices, specialized care settings, home health care, and more. Explore some of the many BSN career options available here.
Once you complete your ABSN degree, your next step will be to pursue your Registered Nurse license. This is required to practice in every state today. To earn licensure, you must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) – a standardized, credentialing exam administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. From there, you can launch your career in the field.
On top of a nursing degree and eligibility to practice, ABSN graduates walk away with a strong ability to design, manage, and coordinate patient care – for individuals, for families, and for entire populations. In addition, you can expect to gain competencies in nursing theory, evidence-based practice, ethical decision making, and research, and further apply those to your daily nursing career. BSN graduates are not just nurses, they are also nursing leaders, patient advocates, and lifelong learners. With a BSN in hand, you will also qualify to pursue an advanced nursing degree (such as an MSN) down the road.
To learn about the Accelerated BSN program at Goodwin College – open to aspiring nurses who already have a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing major, from a regionally-accredited institution – contact us at 800-889-3282 or visit us online to learn more. You can also see our video for three unexpected skills you gain as a nurse.
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.