How to Get a Nursing Degree if You Already Have a Bachelor’s

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Are you considering a career change and wondering how to get a nursing degree if you already have a bachelor's? Madonna's accelerated nursing program makes it possible. To accomplish your goal, you first need to meet the admissions requirements and complete prerequisites before enrolling and working toward your nursing degree.

nurse wearing white coat

Traditional BSN programs can take up to four years to complete, but Madonna University’s accelerated nursing program offers those with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree to earn a nursing degree in as few as 16 months. So, if you’re asking, “How to get a nursing degree if you already have a bachelor’s?”, 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 in Nursing (BSN). How do you become a nurse with a bachelor’s degree without starting over? Madonna University’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program in metro Detroit allows you to leverage your previous degree or prior non-nursing college credits so you can earn your BSN in as few as 16 months.

Many accelerated nursing students who have existing bachelor’s degrees in non-nursing fields choose 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?

Become a Nurse Sooner by Using Your Bachelor’s Degree in an Accelerated BSN

Traditional BSN programs can take up to four years to complete, but Madonna’s ABSN allows those with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree to earn a nursing degree much sooner, making this a perfect opportunity for students with a degree in a non-nursing field wanting to change careers.

Our ABSN in metro Detroit uses a comprehensive blended learning model that combines:

Madonna ABSN student working with sim manikin

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, so you may need to relocate.

older nurse talking to patient in hospital bed

A second career as a nurse is waiting for you, and it’s doable! Learn more about how to switch careers and go into nursing.

Meeting the ABSN Requirements

Now that you have an overview of how 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's degree is only one part of the admissions requirements.

To apply to the Madonna University ABSN program, you must:

  • Have a confirmed bachelor’s degree with a minimum cumulative 2.8 GPA or at least 60 non-nursing credits with a cumulative 3.0 GPA from an accredited institution.
  • Complete an application to the university and submit all official transcripts from all colleges or universities you have attended.
  • Submit a letter of intent to the College of Nursing and Health.
  • Successfully complete all prerequisites.
  • Successfully pass a criminal background check.

It is best practice to send your transcripts to your admissions representative early in the process, so they can develop an academic plan. This plan will detail which of your credits transfer, and which courses you still need to complete before enrolling.

Even though the list of requirements may feel overwhelming, your admissions officer and success coach will be there to advocate for you and walk you through every step of the way. You will not be on your own as you navigate admissions and beyond.

Consider how long it takes to complete prerequisites.

To find out how to get a nursing degree if you already have a bachelor’s, it is important to look at the timeframe of Madonna’s ABSN. How soon you can start depends on how many prerequisites you will need to complete.

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. In Madonna’s ABSN program, there is no expiration date on ANY prerequisite course credits except nutrition courses.

students sitting in a lecture room

Wondering what prereqs you may need to take? Read more to learn all about our prerequisite requirements.

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

Becoming a nurse with a bachelor’s in another field, such as a liberal arts degree, is possible through Madonna’s ABSN. However, with a liberal arts degree, you’ll likely 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 the ABSN program and give you a chance to sharpen 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, some ABSN students may be required to take additional support and signature courses that help provide a more holistic view of the nursing profession. The support and signature courses can be taken before you start the nursing program. We suggest taking all prerequisites and support and signature courses prior to enrollment in the nursing program so you can concentrate on the nursing courses once accepted.

What happens after I earn my BSN degree?

Madonna nursing students sitting in class

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. 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.

Madonna’s ABSN also makes becoming a nurse practitioner with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree possible. A BSN opens many doors for your career down the line, such as pursuing an advanced degree. After earning your BSN and registered nurse license and accumulating clinical experience, you can enroll in a Master of Science in Nursing program and work towards becoming a nurse practitioner.

Madonna ABSN student in blue scrubs posing and smiling

Learn more about becoming a nurse practitioner with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree here!

I’m ready, so how do I begin?

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.