How Do I Choose – Accelerated or Traditional BSN?

In the rapidly growing field of nursing, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the employment of Registered Nurses will increase nearly 20% by the year 2022. As the number of RNs increase, the number of opportunities for bachelor’s-level nurses and advanced practice registered nurses can only increase as well. Given the opportunity for those holding a BSN to specialize in their specific area of practice, the incredible job security, the many job advancement opportunities, as well as the bump in pay, there has never been a better time to go for your BSN. With all of these great reasons to do it, all you have to decide now is which route is right for you. Evaluate your individual situation and choose wisely! If you need help choosing- check out our updated Top 15 Best Online/Hybrid Accelerated BSN Programs for 2017.

Should I Choose a Traditional BSN?

For those dedicated nurses who know they want to be in this field when they start a bachelor’s program, the traditional BSN is the most common way to achieve this goal. In 4 or 5 years, traditional BSN students engage on-campus in a dynamic clinical and didactic experience learning how to care for patients, getting a chance to explore their potential contribution to a variety of medical fields. Nearly 700 colleges and universities offer residential BSN programs in the United States and with the number of diverse, comprehensive, hands-on, and theoretical learning opportunities available to students, there is no doubt you will find a school that is a perfect fit for you.
At the end of a BSN degree, student nurses are able to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam, the same exam that meets associate’s degree RN students at the end of their program. Clearly, the extra 2-3 years of hands on training, theoretical and evidence-based instruction, and clinical research that the BSN offers, makes the NCLEX-RN exam that much more accessible than what the 2 year ASN/ADN programs can provide.

Should I Choose an Accelerated BSN?

If your scholarly path has taken you thus far in a direction that isn’t nursing related, never fear, you have options. The online or hybrid accelerated BSN degree is a simple way for second-degree seekers to apply the classes they have taken already, and get a shiny new career, in half the time. Don’t be fooled that the online accelerated (or even a residential accelerated) BSN is any easier than the traditional 4 years of study, that couldn’t be farther from true. It is exactly because of the fast paced nature of the science and medicine-heavy accelerated BSN that these oftentimes under 2 years of intense study might be indeed the hardest yet.

In the past 25 years, the number of accelerated BSN programs in the country have multiplied 8 times. Part of this extraordinary growth is due to the nursing shortage this country has been in, and another part is a result of non-traditional students not having another 4 years to put into a degree, when they have already completed many of the classes that make a bachelors degree so well-rounded, like non-nursing courses in the humanities and arts. With so many older and second degree seeking student pursuing the online accelerated BSN, these programs can be very competitive to get into and require a huge amount of focus to get through. Mastering the skills needed to complete the online accelerated BSN degree, however will prepare you for the necessary components to being an amazing nurse, with rewarding experiences and salary increases to prove it! Now that you know the difference between the two, check out some of the prerequisites for the online accelerated BSN program.