Accelerated vs. Traditional BSN Programs: Which Is Right for You?

Accelerates vs. Traditional BSN Programs
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Athina Hansen

Content Writer at Gradehacker

Updated on November 30, 2022

Accelerated vs. Traditional BSN Programs

So, you found this article in hopes of finally getting a clear understanding of what are the differences between accelerated vs. traditional BSN programs.

In other words, it would be safe to say that you want to embark on a career in nursing!

Well, you’ve made a great choice, as the U.S. News & World Report ranks registered nurse (RN) as #12 out of 100 best jobs. And if this doesn’t further inspire you to pursue that career, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that RN employment will grow 6% from 2021-2031.

This expected change in employment surpasses the average for all occupations, which is 5%.

Here at Gradehacker, we are the non-traditional adult student’s most trusted resource. We have years of experience helping nursing students with their essays and online classes to finish their nursing degree program sooner.

We know how important it is to plan your nursing career in advance and understand that it’s key to know the difference between accelerated and traditional programs. Luckily, because we’ve helped so many undergraduate students with both of them, we know exactly how both work.

So, put your questions related to accelerated BSN programs aside because, in this article, we will help you understand how these two types of programs work and which one will be the best fit for you!

Why is a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree Important?

Okay, so first, let’s cover the basics. Why should you get a BSN degree in the first place? Why is it important?

To become an RN, you can either earn an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), but you must pass the NCLEX-RN exam.

You can learn more about it in our updated blog post, or if you are more of a visual person, watch our YouTube video:

So, you may be wondering, can’t I just opt for an ADN degree?

Of course you can! But bear in mind that a BSN degree is more valuable nowadays as it dramatically increases your job opportunities.

A nursing bachelor’s allows you to attain better-paying jobs and better positions! In fact, most hospitals prefer to hire RNs with a BSN degree rather than an ADN degree.

In 2021, a survey conducted by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing found that 40.6% of hospitals and other healthcare settings required new hires to have a BSN degree. Whereas a whopping 77.4% of employers expressed a preference for nurses with a BSN degree.

Why a BSN Degree Is Important in Nursing

What is a Traditional Nursing Program?

Let’s start by talking about traditional BSN nursing programs.

A traditional program generally lasts 4-5 years. Due to its length, it is an option that tends to be chosen by those who have not previously pursued a bachelor’s degree.

Students in a traditional BSN nursing program endure a didactic and clinical nursing curriculum. These education courses prepare the student to become an RN by teaching them how to care for patients in different healthcare facilities.

And the best part is that, in the U.S., there are over 670 traditional BSN degree programs that you can choose from! Also, you can decide which modality will work best for you, whether online or on-campus.

So what happens after finishing a BSN degree? Well, the daunting NCLEX-RN exam awaits you…

Isn’t this the same exam that those with an ADN degree sit? Yes, it is! However, a BSN program better prepares you for the exam as it covers areas that an ADN degree does not.

For example, a BSN degree covers skills related to:

By choosing an RN-BSN track, you will be exposed to clinical research related to evidence-based nursing care.

What is an Accelerated BSN Nursing Program?

Okay, so now that we know what a traditional BSN program entails, what about accelerated programs?

Well, one big difference between the two is that not everyone is eligible for an accelerated BSN nursing program. Unlike traditional programs, an accelerated track is considered a second-degree program.

What does this mean? It means this type of program is meant for second-degree students who have already pursued a non-nursing Bachelor’s degree.

Another difference is the length of this program, which is much shorter!

An accelerated BSN program lasts anywhere from 12-24 months, depending on the prerequisites and requirements of that particular program.

After learning about this program’s length, you might be led to believe that this type of program is easier than a traditional BSN program. However, that could not be farther from the truth!

Even though this type of program is shorter, the nursing courses covered remain the same as in a traditional BSN program.

Both types of programs both cover topics such as:

In fact, due to the quick-paced nature of this program, it can be considered more difficult than a traditional BSN program. So, don’t be fooled that because it is shorter, it is any easier!

Again, there are several programs which you can choose from. According to the AACN, there are 318 accelerated BSN nursing programs in the U.S.

Accelerated BSN

Which Type of BSN Program is Best For You?

A traditional BSN program will suit you if:

An accelerated BSN program will suit you if:

We understand that deciding which professional nursing program will be the best fit for you can be difficult.

But after reading this article, we hope that you better understand the differences between a traditional and accelerated BSN program and are closer to choosing the right match for you!

We wish you the best of luck in your nursing education journey, and remember that if you ever need assistance with any assignment or simply want to finish your classes sooner, you can count on Gradehacker.

We especially recommend checking out our Degree Accelerator subscription if you end up becoming an accelerated nursing student!

 And if you want to learn more tips for nursing students, check out these related blog posts: