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How to Become a Registered Nurse with a Bachelor’s Degree

Nursing student smiling at camera with text become an rn

If you already have a degree but want to change careers, you may be wondering how to become a registered nurse with a bachelor’s degree. Lucky for you, the process is actually a lot simpler — and can happen a lot sooner — than you might think, especially if you decide to pursue your second degree in nursing through Marian University’s Accelerated Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program. 

Designed with career changers and second-degree seekers in mind, it follows a rigorous 16-month curriculum comprised of online theory courses, in-person skills and simulation labs, and clinical experiences with leading healthcare providers in Indianapolis, Nashville and Oklahoma City. 

The online component makes our program an ideal choice for career changers like you because you can listen to lectures and complete assignments from anywhere, at any time. Plus, because it’s a program tailored for adult learners in similar situations as yourself, you’ll find plenty of support built right in — your whole cohort may even be professionals seeking a second career just like you! 

Ready to learn more about how to become a registered nurse with a bachelor’s degree through the Marian University online-based ABSN program? Below we outline the qualifications you’ll need and additional factors to consider before enrolling. 

Nursing as a second degree is not easy and serious commitment is required

Hear from Marian ABSN program graduates as they share their nursing school experiences.

Find a Second-Degree Nursing Program to Fit Your Lifestyle 

Pursuing a BSN degree can be challenging, and make no mistake, you will need to adjust your lifestyle in order to succeed as a nursing student. However, you should try to find the best program possible while taking several factors into account. In addition to meeting admissions requirements and completing your ABSN prerequisites, it’s also important to bear in mind other aspects of our accelerated nursing program when mapping out your nursing school schedule if you want to become a registered nurse with a bachelor’s degree. 

Program Speed

Going back to school to pursue a second career can be a wise move, but many people might not have the time to spend on getting a second traditional four-year degree. The 16-month span of an ABSN program appeals to so many because it means entering the working world sooner. 

Whether or not they have a science background in their previous field of study, many prospective students choose to earn their nursing degree through Marian University’s ABSN program because they can enroll in and complete the program quickly. 

Marian ABSN student Shelbi

Since Marian has an accelerated nursing program, it really fit into my schedule. I already have another degree and I didn’t want to spend another four years going through school.

-Shelbi Auman, ABSN Class of December 2017 

Having three start dates a year — in January, May, and August — means you get to start working on your nursing degree as soon as you’re ready. Not to mention, once you begin your first day in our program, you’ll be roughly 16 months away from qualifying to take the NCLEX licensure exam! 

Time Commitment

Many people plan on working full-time as they go back to school to pursue a second degree, but when it comes to accelerated BSN programs, that may not be feasible. Because it packs a traditional BSN curriculum into 16 months of course study, many students compare our program to working a full-time job. It’s important you keep in mind that accelerated nursing school is a major time commitment. Evaluating your lifestyle and needs is crucial. 

You’ll also want to consider the type of student you are. If you’re disciplined, organized, and like the ability to study at your own pace, the Marian University ABSN program may be a great fit for you. Our instructors are always accessible and ready to answer any questions you have about course material, and you’ll find plenty of willing study partners among your cohort. 

 Meet Necessary Nursing School Qualifications 

To qualify for the Marian University ABSN program, you must hold a non-nursing bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. If you do have a degree in another field, then your next step would be to contact an admissions advisor who will work with you to make an admissions plan unique to your needs. They will also determine if your past credits and GPA meet Marian’s eligibility requirements and determine what prerequisites you may need to take. 

Once you meet these requirements and complete the prerequisites listed below, you can successfully enroll in the program. However, academics aren’t everything. Marian is based on strong Franciscan values, teaching future nurses to respect the dignity of each individual and practice holistic care, taking the entire person into account beyond just their symptoms. If you align with our mission and meet our admissions requirements, though, you can complete the program and earn your BSN degree in as few as 16 months. 

The Nursing School Admission Requirements You’ll Need

  • Hold a non-nursing bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. 
  • Cumulative college GPA of 2.8 or a 3.0 for the last 60 credit hours completed 
  • Complete all ABSN prerequisite courses within the GPA requirements 

The Nursing School Prerequisite Courses You’ll Need 

  • Introductory Microbiology 
  • Human Anatomy 
  • General Human Psychology 
  • Elements of General and Biological Chemistry 
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Human Growth and Development 
  • 12 Hours in Humanities 
ABSN Prerequisites: The student perspective

Prepare yourself to succeed in your nursing education, and discover how long nursing prerequisites take before enrolling as a Marian ABSN student.

Ask the Right Nursing School Questions

If you’re thinking about pursuing a nursing degree, you probably have some questions. Your previous education could potentially impact how long it takes to earn a nursing degree, as well as how many prerequisite courses you may need to take before entering into an ABSN program like Marian’s. See if any of the questions below are relevant to you, and take the answers into account when planning for your future.

I Have a Bachelor’s Degree. How Long Will It Take to Become a Nurse? 

If you already have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, online-based accelerated options like the one Marian University offers allow you to earn a BSN in as few as 16 months. After earning your degree you’ll be eligible to take the NCLEX exam, which will determine if you become a registered nurse. All in all, with help from an ABSN program you could become a practicing nurse within a two-year span. 

As mentioned above, to qualify for the Marian University ABSN program you must complete a set of prerequisite courses. It’s important to factor how much time it may take you to complete those into your overall estimated program length, which can vary depending on the type of bachelor’s degree you already have. 

Can I Become a Nurse with a Liberal Arts Degree? 

If you have already earned a previous bachelor’s degree before applying, even if it was in no way tied to the sciences, you will be at an advantage. It is likely with a bachelor’s degree that you have already met many or all our ABSN program’s general education prerequisites, allowing you to jump right into the science prerequisites. 

If you lack a science background, you’ll have to take a handful of science-specific prerequisite courses before applying to our ABSN program to ensure that your educational background is at a level where you can handle the course material you’ll be taking on. 

We highly encourage prospective students take these courses through Marian’s Adult Programs (MAP), which allows you to complete all of your ABSN prerequisite courses in an exclusively online, accelerated format. MAP offers courses in five-week terms nine times a year, and in eight-week terms six times a year. 

Another benefit of completing your ABSN prerequisites through MAP? Doing so grants you provisional acceptance into the program, provided you meet the minimum grade requirements. 

Can I Become a Nurse with a Previous Bachelor of Science Degree? 

Having a previous science degree is probably the fastest track to enrolling in Marian University’s second-degree ABSN program. Not only will you have likely already completed your general education prerequisites, but you may also be able to skip some of your science prerequisites as well. 

While your admissions advisor will walk you through the exact number of prerequisite courses you’ll have to take, those who hold previous bachelor’s degrees in sciences such as biology, chemistry, or organic chemistry should be able to move through the admissions process relatively quickly. So long as you earned your degree within the last seven years, your science prerequisite credits should transfer. 

Going from Bachelors in Biology to Nursing - Why a nursing career makes sense

See how you apply a bachelor’s in biology toward earning your BSN degree.

Contact an Admissions Advisor

Now that you understand how to become a registered nurse with a bachelor’s degree, if you’re still wondering if accelerated nursing school is the right choice for your lifestyle, we encourage you to reach out to one of our dedicated admissions advisors for more information. Start by completing the form on this page or calling us today! 

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