With the near-constant barrage of news stories touting the life-changing work of nurses, growing demand for nurses, and respectable pay BSN-educated nurses can earn — it is not surprising there is so much interest in the nursing profession right now. This has many highly motivated career changers wondering how they can become an RN in one year.
While some articles may give the impression it is possible to become an RN in a year, the claim is nonetheless misleading. We should know. As one of the few universities to offer a 12-month Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program for non-nurses, we can understand why prospective students might be confused.
This blog post will help to separate fact from fiction, so you have a better (and more realistic) understanding of the process and timeframe for becoming a registered nurse.
Earning a BSN Degree is Not the Same as Becoming an RN
Chances are that when you hear someone talking about becoming an RN in just a year, what they are talking about is earning a BSN degree in one year, which is possible assuming you meet all of the prerequisite course requirements (more on that later). With Mercer University’s Accelerated BSN program in Atlanta, Georgia, you can graduate ready to sit for the NCLEX in as few as 12 months. However, notice that we said “ready to sit for the NCLEX.”
Unlike many fields, where you are free to start a job immediately following graduation (or in some cases, before you even finish school), graduating from a reputable, accredited nursing program is but one part of becoming an RN — albeit a significant part. In order to earn RN licensure, following graduation, you must register for (and subsequently pass) the National Council Licensure Examination for RNs (or NCLEX-RN). Keep in mind that you will be given a test date within 30 days of scheduling your appointment; however, should you wish to have extra time to study, you may opt to take the test at a later date.
Depending on your state, you may be able to get your “unofficial” results within two business days of taking the NCLEX. However, be aware that it can take up to six weeks to receive your official results, which will also be sent directly to your state board of nursing. Only then will you receive licensure (assuming you passed).
So Can You Become an RN in One Year?
As you can see from doing the math, while it is accurate to say that you can earn a nursing degree in a year, achieving licensure can take an additional few months, making it inaccurate to say that you can become an RN in one year.
Still, when you consider that students in traditional, campus-based BSN programs spend up to four years in school prior to taking the NCLEX, or that even many accelerated nursing programs take at least 16 months, earning a BSN degree in as few as 12 months is quite impressive.
How Prerequisites Play into the Time it Takes to Earn a BSN Degree
Another issue that could impact the time it takes to become an RN is completing prerequisites. While traditional BSN programs include prerequisite coursework in their curriculums, Accelerated BSN programs do not include these courses, and for good reason.
ABSN programs allow students to earn their bachelor’s in nursing sooner because they leverage your previous education — in the case of Mercer ABSN, a previous non-nursing bachelor’s degree. However, because these prerequisites are foundational courses (for example, anatomy, statistics, pathophysiology) that many applicants already have, they are not built into the program curriculum.
As a general rule, applicants with a bachelor of science degree tend to fulfill more of the required coursework than do prospective students with a bachelor of arts degree. That is because many science degrees, such as biology, share the same foundational courses — nursing included.
Of course, there is one other consideration when it comes to prerequisites: when you earned your previous degree. Certain prerequisites courses play an especially important role in your understanding of nursing concepts. As a result, these courses must have been taken within the past five years in order to apply.
Do not worry if you have not taken all of the prerequisites or some are out of date, though. When you talk to a Mercer ABSN enrollment counselor, he or she can help you develop a plan for completing any outstanding prerequisites.
Earn Your BSN Degree in as Few as 12 Months with Mercer ABSN
If you are considering switching careers to nursing and already hold a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, Mercer University’s Accelerated BSN program could be your path to a life-changing career in nursing. To prepare you for this fast-paced and in-demand profession, our Atlanta-based second-degree nursing program features an academically rigorous blend of:
- Online coursework designed to teach you the fundamentals of 21st-century nursing theory while affording you the flexibility to learn and study when and where it is convenient for you.
- Hands-on skills and simulation labs set up to give you the skills, confidence, and clinical reasoning necessary to succeed in professional practice.
- Clinical rotations specifically chosen to help familiarize you with a variety of healthcare settings and situations, all under the close supervision of an experienced clinical instructor.
Because you must pass the NCLEX-RN to practice as a registered nurse, Mercer ABSN features built-in test prep throughout the program. Every test you take during the program was written in the style of the NCLEX to help you prepare.
Ready to Make a Difference as a Mercer Nurse?
Give us a call at (844) 347-2108 today, or fill out the form to have an enrollment counselor contact you, to find out if Mercer ABSN is right for you.