Considering a Bachelor’s in Nursing program, but worried about the time investment? Discover how long it takes to get a BSN degree.
Nursing is the largest healthcare profession in the nation. There are over 3.8 million registered nurses in the nation, and nearly 85% are employed in the field. However, there is still a nationwide scarcity of nursing staff. It’s predicted that employment for nurses will continue to grow from 3 million to 3.3 million in the next ten years. This makes now the perfect time to investigate whether a nursing degree is right for you.
The path to becoming a nurse is different for everyone. Depending on your educational background, you may start your education from the ground up by pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Nursing. If you’ve decided to change career paths, you might want to consider an accelerated degree program. Of course, if you’ve already been working as an RN, earning a Bachelor’s in Nursing (BSN) can set you up for career advancement, higher pay, and leadership positions. All this to say, there is not one, single way to become a nurse. One thing is true, though: earning a BSN can set you up for success. But, how long is a BSN program? Is it worth the time investment? Read on to learn about the various BSN degree options and their time commitment.
BSN Degree Options
As noted above, there are different types of BSN degrees available to those who are interested in a bachelor’s program. At University of Bridgeport, students interested in earning a BSN have the opportunity to complete a traditional, entry-level BSN, an accelerated BSN, or an RN to BSN program. Each varies in time commitment.
Entry-Level Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing
Timeline: Four years
The traditional Bachelor’s in Nursing (BSN) path is a great choice for students who have not yet enrolled in college and who wish to enter the field of nursing with the education they’ll need to become a highly-skilled RN. Typically, the traditional BSN program is entry-level, meaning it is your first degree.
Of course, the timeline of a BSN degree will vary by school. However, most entry-level BSN programs take four years to complete. At University of Bridgeport, students in the BSN program must complete 120 credits, taken over the course of 8 semesters. Of the required 120 credits, 55 are in general education and 65 are specific to the nursing major. In addition to learning by attending lectures, students will gain skills by completing clinical hours on-site in local hospitals, schools, medical offices, and more. These clinical hours will also include laboratory and simulation experiences. This four-year degree prepares students to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), which they will need to become a certified Registered Nurse.
Accelerated BSN Degree
Timeline: 15 months
The accelerated BSN program is designed for those students who desire a career change. These students already hold a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field, but wish to now become a nurse.
While students will need to complete prerequisite courses in science and math before matriculating into the ABSN, the actual degree program itself can be completed in a mere 15 months. During the 15-month program at University of Bridgeport, students complete 56 credits in nursing coursework that prepares them for the NCLEX-RN licensing examination, as well as clinical practice. This makes the ABSN program a wonderful solution for students who are making the choice to change career paths.
RN to BSN Program
Timeline: As little as one year + one semester
Registered nurses who have earned their associate degree in Nursing (ADN) have the opportunity to expand their career opportunities, increase their skills and knowledge, and improve the quality of care they provide by pursuing a BSN. Fortunately, this type of BSN program does not require four years in school. An RN to BSN program is a flexible pathway designed for seasoned nurses looking to advance their skillsets, online and in a shorter period of time.
In an online RN to BSN program, RNs can transfer their previously earned nursing credits from other institutions, helping to limit the amount of time needed to complete their BSN degree. Students in the RN to BSN must complete credits in general education, basic nursing, upper-level nursing, leadership, management, community health, and more. They must also complete a capstone project in order to graduate.
The time it takes to complete this program is entirely up to the student. For example, you may choose to take courses in a part-time format, or take a specific number of courses per semester, in order to balance your career and school. The timeline also depends on the number of general education course credits you transfer in. At University of Bridgeport, you may transfer up to 90 credits from an accredited institution. Doing so will enable you to complete the RN to BSN program in one academic year, plus a summer semester.
Why You Should Pursue a BSN
There are a number of reasons why prospective nurses should consider earning their BSN over an associate degree. Though it is true that an associate degree offers graduates a quick, two-year pathway to becoming an RN, graduates of bachelor’s degree programs can earn higher pay, expect more job opportunities, and career advancement. In many cases, hospitals and public health agencies will only hire new nurses who hold a BSN. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) also advocates for nurses to earn a BSN as it guarantees a higher level of care to patients. This advocacy has led to legislation being passed in New York, mandating that new RNs earn a BSN and that existing RNs earn their BSN within 10 years of their initial licensure. It’s likely that this legislation will become a trend, making it a great idea to earn a BSN.
Becoming a nurse in Connecticut requires that you complete your education in a state-accredited program. In other words, you’ll need to attend an accredited BSN program in Connecticut. Earn your BSN and enter the nursing profession with the skills you’ll need to provide high quality, evidence-based care, and eventually become a leader in your field. And, do it on a timeline and schedule that works best for you! At University of Bridgeport, we prioritize students’ needs and flexible course schedules. We can help you find a BSN path that works for your individual needs and goals.
Interested in earning your BSN degree at University of Bridgeport? Find out more about our programs here.