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Key Infor­ma­tion:

  • Accel­er­at­ed nurs­ing pro­grams are designed for indi­vid­u­als who already have a bach­e­lor’s degree in anoth­er field but wish to pur­sue a career in nursing.
  • Accel­er­at­ed BSN pro­grams enable stu­dents to com­plete their nurs­ing degrees in sig­nif­i­cant­ly less time than tra­di­tion­al pro­grams, typ­i­cal­ly with­in 12 to 15 months.
  • The arti­cle high­lights some of the most cost-effec­tive pro­grams avail­able for obtain­ing a Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence in Nurs­ing (BSN).

Most of the cheap­est accel­er­at­ed Nurs­ing pro­grams are designed for stu­dents who have com­plet­ed a Bachelor’s degree in anoth­er field but want to obtain an accred­it­ed Nurs­ing degree to become a Reg­is­tered Nurse.

Orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished in April 2018, this arti­cle was revised and updat­ed in Jan­u­ary 2024.

Accel­er­at­ed degrees allow stu­dents to take larg­er cred­it loads to grad­u­ate in the fastest amount of time. This can be a dif­fi­cult amount of work for some peo­ple, but if you have decid­ed that you want to become a nurse, and are ready to push your­self hard. You can become a Reg­is­tered Nurse in as lit­tle as 12 to 15 months.

To help you decide whether an accel­er­at­ed pro­gram is right for you, check out our guide that goes into detail about Accel­er­at­ed Bachelor’s Degree Pro­grams: The Advan­tages and Dis­ad­van­tages.

Requirements for Becoming a Registered Nurse

The require­ments for becom­ing a Reg­is­tered Nurse (RN) are dif­fer­ent depend­ing on the state that you live in, though the stan­dard require­ments are: 

  • the com­ple­tion of an accred­it­ed Reg­is­tered Nurse degree program
  • pass­ing the NCLEX-RN exam
  • obtain­ing a state license

In addi­tion to study­ing gen­er­al health­care, nurs­ing pro­grams will help pre­pare stu­dents to pass their NCLEX-RN exam, giv­ing them addi­tion­al val­ue. As the Baby Boomer gen­er­a­tion gets old­er the demand for nurs­es in the Unit­ed States will con­tin­ue to grow. Because of this demand, an asso­ciate degree in Nurs­ing will often suf­fice to start nurs­ing, though all nurs­es will be encour­aged to fin­ish their Bachelor’s of Sci­ence in Nurs­ing (BSN) by com­plet­ing an RN to BSN degree. 

For some of the cheap­est online Bachelor’s degrees, check out our list of the 30 Cheap­est Online Bachelor’s Degrees. In addi­tion to afford­able gen­er­al edu­ca­tion cours­es, these schools also offer some of the cheap­est accel­er­at­ed nurs­ing pro­grams, let’s take a clos­er look at a cou­ple of these great deals.

What’s an Accelerated BSN Program?

A typ­i­cal bachelor’s degree takes 4 years to com­plete, but if you already have an RN license and clin­i­cal expe­ri­ence, nurs­ing stu­dents can get their Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence in Nurs­ing in two years or less (study­ing full-time). That’s an accel­er­at­ed bach­e­lor of sci­ence pro­gram. You’ve already got­ten your pre­req­ui­site cours­es out of the way, and your trans­fer cred­its can make an RN-to-BSN pro­gram quick.

In some accel­er­at­ed pro­grams, you can even take spe­cial­ties, like pedi­atric or men­tal health nursing.

You’ll need the usu­al evi­dence-based nurs­ing cours­es, like

  • Micro­bi­ol­o­gy
  • Health Sci­ences
  • Phar­ma­col­o­gy
  • Patho­phys­i­ol­o­gy

You’ll also need hands-on expe­ri­ence in clin­i­cal rota­tions for a fast-track bac­calau­re­ate degree, but if you’re already work­ing in pro­fes­sion­al nurs­ing, you can usu­al­ly get that at your work­place. Your eli­gi­bil­i­ty for the licen­sure exam­i­na­tion doesn’t mat­ter, because you already went through it. Many accel­er­at­ed pro­grams are accred­it­ed by the Com­mis­sion on Col­le­giate Nurs­ing Edu­ca­tion (CCNE).

Some things you should look for in a school of nurs­ing ABSN pro­gram include NCLEX pass rate, start date, finan­cial aid, and enroll­ment and admis­sion require­ments. You should also look for a full-time pro­gram if you want to fin­ish quick­ly. The field of nurs­ing is wide open!

Arkansas State University

arkansas state university

Arkansas State Uni­ver­si­ty is a pub­lic research uni­ver­si­ty based in Jones­boro, Arkansas. For stu­dents who have already fin­ished their bachelor’s degree, but want to go back to school to become a Reg­is­tered Nurse, Arkansas State Uni­ver­si­ty offers an online Accel­er­at­ed BSN that allows stu­dents to com­plete their degree in one year. 

For $276 per cred­it hour, the uni­ver­si­ty offers the most afford­able path for bach­e­lor’s degree hold­ers to obtain their BSN. This qual­i­fies them to become reg­is­tered nurs­es. Their accel­er­at­ed degree requires the com­ple­tion of 67 cred­it hours in just 15 months. Nor­mal­ly this would take stu­dents two years or more to complete. 

Central Methodist University

central methodist university

Cen­tral Methodist Uni­ver­si­ty is a pri­vate lib­er­al arts uni­ver­si­ty locat­ed in Fayette, Mis­souri. For stu­dents who have already obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in anoth­er field, CMU offers an accel­er­at­ed Nurs­ing pro­gram that allows stu­dents to gain the knowl­edge that they need to become RNs. 

Their accel­er­at­ed degree pro­gram is more selec­tive than their nor­mal pro­grams. Stu­dents are required to main­tain a min­i­mum cumu­la­tive GPA of 3.0 for all of their col­lege course­work. CMU’s accel­er­at­ed BSN degree requires the com­ple­tion of 55 cred­it hours in one year. 

At the com­pet­i­tive cost of $285 per cred­it hour, CMU offers an afford­able stream­lined route for bach­e­lor’s degree hold­ers to become full-fledged RNs in a lit­tle bit over one year, in 14 months.

If you’re inter­est­ed in an MSN or doc­tor of nurs­ing prac­tice, your nurs­ing career could go even fur­ther! Unlike a non-nurs­ing doc­tor­ate, the DNP can take as lit­tle as 2 years. You can be doing patient care as a nurse prac­ti­tion­er in all kinds of care facilities.