What is an Accelerated Master’s in Nursing Program?

An accelerated Master’s in Nursing program is a graduate program designed for students with an educational background in a non-nursing field. Though most students assume that the program goes much faster than a traditional program, it can still take up to three years or longer for students to graduate with their degree. Students who have completed advance studies, can use credits they previously obtained to cover some of the required courses, which will help them obtain their degrees faster.

Who is in an Accelerated Program?

The students enrolling in accelerated nursing programs typically fall into one of two categories: those with no nursing education or experience and those with an undergraduate degree in nursing. Students who have an undergraduate nursing degree from an accredited university, and have work experience in the field, can apply for admission. However, the program is also open to those with a graduate degree in another field and those who have an undergraduate degree in a non-medical topic. These non-medical students usually spend one year working on the prerequisite undergraduate courses before taking upper level classes. They can earn a Master’s in Nursing and a BSN in three years.

Can You Choose a Concentration?

Some programs are general programs that let graduates work in hospitals and other medical settings. Other programs give students the option of choosing a concentration, which requires that students take a certain number of courses relating to that concentration. An acute care concentration prepares students for working in intensive care units, hospices and other settings that accept critical care patients. A pediatric program helps students prepare for working with sick and injured children. Other concentrations may include psychiatric or elderly care nursing.

Do These Programs Offer Financial Aid?

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), accelerated Master’s in Nursing only offer a small amount of financial aid. These programs often don’t qualify for federal students loans or grants, but you can still find financial aid available. Private and alternative lenders offer loans based on your credit history, and some schools have work study opportunities available. The AACN points out that some schools now have partnerships with local hospitals and clinics. Those facilities agree to pay for the tuition of nurses enrolled in the program with the agreement that those students will work for the facilities later. The government also has several similar programs in place.

What Can You Do with a Degree?

With a degree from an accelerated program, you can do anything that you would with a traditional nursing degree. Most nurses find that they can earn more with an advanced degree than they would with an undergraduate degree. You can work in a community health center, a local hospital, for a specialized doctor’s office, a substance abuse clinic or even a public or private school. Those who studied a concentration in mental health or psychiatry can also seek employment with psychiatrists and mental hospitals. Your degree also qualifies you to work as a traveling nurse after passing your board examination.

Accelerated programs are a good option for those who want to work as nurses but lack the necessary requirements. Non-medical students even have the opportunity to earn both and undergraduate and graduate degree in just a few short years. An accelerated Master’s in Nursing program may be the best path to nursing if you are interested in a career change and believe you have what it takes to be an excellent nurse.