shortcut to becoming a nurse

What is the Quickest Way to Get a Nursing Degree and Become an RN?

Registered nursing is an essential, exciting field where you can make a difference. However, like any healthcare career, becoming a registered nurse (RN) takes time and training. Registered nurses have the important responsibility of caring for patients who are sick, injured, disabled, and seeking medical help. Their career can sometimes involve life or death situations. Therefore, RNs must have the proper education, experience, and practical skillsets needed to help their patients in times of need.

All RNs are required to complete a nursing education and earn their license to practice. However, there is good news – this process does not require many years in medical school. Unlike other top medical professions, registered nurses only need an associate degree in Nursing to qualify for their RN licensing exam. This level nursing degree can be achieved in about two years’ time.

Still, like many prospective nurses, you may want to get into the field fast. You may wish to start helping people as soon as possible, or simply start earning a salary stat. So, you may be asking, “What is the quickest way to get a nursing degree?” You’ll be happy to know that you have several options.

RN Nursing Degree Options

Today, most states require that aspiring RNs complete their associate degree in Nursing, at minimum. However, this is not the only type of nursing degree available. Today, hopeful registered nurses have the option to pursue their:

  • Associate degree in Nursing (ADN) – two years to completion

The associate degree in Nursing is best for entry-level students looking to achieve their nursing degree fast. In just a couple of years, they can accomplish the fundamental nursing courses and practice needed to be successful in their field. Some ADN programs can be completed more quickly, and in part-time formats, such as the one at Goodwin. Overall, this degree makes nurses eligible to pursue their licensing exam and become an RN quickly.

  • Bachelor’s degree in Nursing (BSN) – four years to completion

Some aspiring RNs will choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Nursing (BSN), which traditionally takes about four years to complete. This is a good option for those who are brand-new to college, have the ability to commit to a four-year degree, and who wish to achieve a high-level nursing position with a bachelor’s in hand. Some nursing careers seek candidates with their BSN degree.

  • Accelerated BSN degree (ABSN) – two years or less to completion

The accelerated BSN degree is a great option for those who are changing careers to nursing, and who have a bachelor’s degree in another, non-nursing field. The ABSN pathway is a fast-track nursing degree designed so that bachelor’s degree holders do not need to spend many years in nursing school. They can take full-time nursing coursework and complete their bachelor’s in Nursing in just two years or less. At Goodwin University, the ABSN program can be completed in 16 months.

  • LPN to RN Bridge programs – two years or less to completion

When talking about the fastest way to get a nursing degree, the Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) path comes to mind. Becoming an LPN only requires a diploma, taking just about one year to complete. However, an LPN is not the same as a registered nurse. LPNs work under the supervision of RNs, and have less autonomy in their careers. If you are an LPN but looking to expand your role and qualify for more nursing positions, you may consider an LPN to RN Bridge program. An LPN to RN Bridge can lead to an associate degree in Nursing and your RN licensure, taking about one to two years to complete.

Ultimately, the right type of nursing degree for you will depend on your previous education and your future goals. Now the question remains, which is the fastest nursing degree option for you?

What is the Quickest Way to Get a Nursing Degree?

The quickest route to a nursing degree will vary depending on your previous education and experience.

If you are brand new to nursing and looking to become an RN quickly:

The associate degree in Nursing is the best step forward. This nursing degree offers flexibility to new nurses and can be completed in about two years’ time. At Goodwin University, the associate degree in Nursing can be completed in 16 months part-time, after the completion of any prerequisite science courses. For added convenience, most nursing classes are offered days and evenings for ADN students. Clinicals are also offered during the days, evenings, and weekends as needed.

The beauty of an associate degree is that you can qualify for your nursing license fast. You can become an RN, start working in the field, and gain experience in just a couple of years. If and when you are ready, you can always go back to school for a bachelor’s degree. As employers value the BSN, some may help support the costs or the flexibility you need to pursue a bachelor’s in Nursing degree. Today, licensed RNs can pursue their BSN quickly through an RN-to-BSN program. RN-to-BSN programs take about one year to complete, and are offered in part-time formats. You cannot become an RN through an RN-to-BSN program. However, you can advance your knowledge and gain new skills through this path. At Goodwin University, the RN-to-BSN degree can be completed in 12 months part-time.

If you have a bachelor’s degree in another field, but wish to become an RN:

The quickest and most valuable nursing degree will be the accelerated BSN path. While you have the option to pursue an associate degree in Nursing, the ABSN will enable you to earn a higher-level degree in about the same amount of time. ABSN programs award students for their previous degree program, allowing for faster degree completion. At Goodwin University, ABSN students are automatically granted 38 credits in recognition of attaining their first bachelor’s degree. This allows them to complete their bachelor’s in Nursing degree in just 16 months full-time (versus the traditional, four-year BSN).

Is There a Faster Track to Become an RN?

While some nursing programs out there will advertise as the “fast-track”, it is worth investigating. Aspiring RNs need a certain amount of hours in the classroom and in the clinicals before being qualified to earn their license. Different states have varying requirements.

As much as you want to find the quickest way to become an RN, you cannot simply speed up or skip out on classes in your nursing program. It is important to dedicate the time and effort into your coursework. The more you do this, the more likely you will be to retain knowledge, hone your skills, and succeed as a nurse. As the famous saying goes, “There are no shortcuts to success.”

However, there are ways you can accelerate the trajectory of your nursing degree:

  • Take full-time coursework.

If you have the ability to complete your courses in a full-time format, you will be able to complete your degree fast. However, the part-time format is a great option for those who need to continue working while going to nursing school.

  • Consider taking classes year-round.

While the traditional college experience offers summers off, those looking to finish their degree fast can take advantage of this time. Some nursing schools, like Goodwin University, offer several academic sessions per year for faster degree completion. At Goodwin, you can take classes during three different academic sessions, versus the traditional two semesters.

  • Transfer prior credits.

If you are transferring schools or going back to school, but have some education under your belt, you may be able to apply previous credits towards your nursing degree. Speak with an admissions specialist about your options. Transferring credits can allow you to check off prerequisite courses and in turn reduce the time needed to complete your nursing program. At Goodwin, students may transfer credits from previous college coursework, work experience, professional development training, military training, and/or volunteer experiences. Learn about transferring credits here.

Becoming a Registered Nurse Quickly

Now, more than ever, the world is in need of registered nurses who can meet the growing demand for healthcare services. There are an estimated 194,500 job openings projected for RNs each year, on average, over the 2020-2030 decade. The field is in need for dedicated, qualified workers with the right education and experience under their belts.

Like many aspiring nurses, you may be looking to land a job fast. The best way to do this is to find a nursing school you love – one that aligns with your needs, goals, and schedule – and then start your classes as soon as possible.

If you are looking to become an RN quickly in Connecticut, consider Goodwin University for your nursing studies. At Goodwin’s nursing school, there are no wait lists for enrollment. Not to mention, nursing applications are accepted three times per year, and close to 200 nursing students are accepted annually. If you are looking to get started in your nursing career, we can help accelerate that journey.

Learn more about our flexible nursing programs by visiting us online. You may also call 800-889-3282 to speak with an admissions specialist about the nursing degree path.