How to Get A Nursing Degree If You Already Have a Bachelor's

Your timeline to becoming a nurse - Madonna ABSN student smiling

Traditional BSN programs can take up to four years to complete, but an accelerated nursing program offers those with previous college experience to earn a nursing degree in 16 months, making this a perfect opportunity for students who already have a degree in a non-nursing field. So, if you’re wondering, “I already have a bachelor's degree how can I become a nurse?” you’ve come to the right place.

You’ve already earned a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field, but now you want to change direction and become a registered nurse with a bachelor of science degree in nursing. How do you become a nurse with a bachelor’s degree without starting over? There are accelerated nursing programs out there that allow you to leverage your previous degree so you can earn a bachelor’s in nursing in as few as 16 months, like the Madonna University Accelerated BSN program in metro Detroit.

Many accelerated nursing students who have existing bachelor’s degrees in non-nursing fields choose programs like Madonna University's ABSN because it allows them to earn their BSN sooner, without having to start from scratch. How does it work? How long will it take to become a nurse with a non-nursing degree?

Traditional BSN programs can take up to four years to complete, but an accelerated nursing program offers those with previous college experience to earn a nursing degree in 16 months, making this a perfect opportunity for students who already have a degree in a non-nursing field.

Madonna ABSN students in classroom

Many accelerated nursing programs, like Madonna University’s ABSN program in metro Detroit, use a comprehensive blended learning model that combines:

In as few as 16 months, Madonna ABSN’s model will provide you with the knowledge and hands-on experience you need to graduate and can prepare you to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), which you must pass before you can practice as a registered nurse.

Because Madonna University’s ABSN program includes online and on-site learning, you must live in or near the metro Detroit area in order to enroll.

Now that you have an overview of how an accelerated nursing program like Madonna University’s ABSN works, it is time to find out if you are qualified to enroll in nursing school. Having a non-nursing bachelor degree is only one part of the admissions requirements.

In order to apply to the Madonna University ABSN Program, you must:

  • Have a confirmed bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
  • Complete an application to the university and submit all official transcripts of coursework from all colleges or universities you have attended.
  • Submit a letter of intent to the College of Nursing and Health.
  • Successfully complete all prerequisites.
  • Possess an acceptable HESI (Health Education Systems Incorporated) entrance exam.
  • Successfully pass a criminal background check.
  • Complete the Madonna Writing Assessment.

In order to find out how to become a nurse with a bachelor’s degree, it is important to look at the timeframe of an ABSN program like Madonna’s. How soon you can start depends on how many prerequisites you will need to complete.

nursing students studying together with whiteboard

Here is where your existing bachelor’s degree can come into play and speed things up during the admissions process by fulfilling your course requirements. Most nursing programs have an expiration date on transferrable credits, especially when it comes to science credits. The nice thing about Madonna’s ABSN program is that there is no expiration date on ANY prerequisites except nutrition courses.

That means if you have taken any of the above courses, successfully passed them all, and the credits can be transferred, then all you have to take are the nutrition courses, and you can start the ABSN program. This means your previous degree could save you weeks, even months, in Madonna’s ABSN program!

Becoming a nurse with a liberal arts degree

If you already hold a liberal arts degree, it’s likely you’ll have to complete more ABSN prerequisites — specifically microbiology, anatomy and physiology and statistics. The good news is these prerequisite courses will give you a good benchmark of how you’ll do in your ABSN program and give you a chance to sharpen up your understanding of key math and science concepts that will be vital to your success as a nurse.

Becoming a nurse with a science degree

Leveraging your science degree to become a nurse puts you in a great position. If you already hold a science degree, such as a bachelor’s in biology, you might be ready to jump into your ABSN coursework sooner than someone who doesn’t hold a science degree. That’s not to say you won’t have to take any prerequisites, but you’ll be a step ahead.

In addition to prerequisites, ABSN students are required to take additional support and signature courses that help provide you with a more holistic view of the nursing profession. The support and signature courses can be taken before you start the nursing program. We would suggest all prereqs and support and signature courses be taken prior to getting enrolled in the nursing program for you to be able to only concentrate on the nursing courses once accepted.

You transferred your credits and successfully completed your prerequisites, support, and signature courses. Now it is time to begin the nursing course sequence that starts the ABSN program.

During Madonna University’s Accelerated BSN program, you will complete 53 credit hours. Those credit hours are broken down into four, full-time semesters that include a combination of online curriculum, hands-on lab experience, and in-hospital clinical rotations.

Madonna nursing instructor with student and equipment

Once you successfully complete the 53 credit hours and graduate earning your BSN degree, there is still one last step before you can work as a registered nurse. As with any nurse education program, you must pass the NCLEX exam, which can be taken any time after graduation. It is up to you to figure out how soon you want to take it, but know you have only three tries to pass the NCLEX each year, so you want to be as prepared as possible.

Madonna’s ABSN program has practice exams throughout its 16 months so you can be as prepared as possible to sit for the exam.

Now that you know how to get a nursing degree if you already have a bachelor's and how long it will take through the Madonna ABSN program, don’t let any more time pass you by. Contact our admissions team today and find out how you can get started on your accelerated path to nursing.