How to Get a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing: 4 Steps

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Utica ABSN student smiling

If you’re considering a transition from your current career or field of study to become a nurse, you’re likely already well-versed on the merits of earning a bachelor’s of science in nursing. But you may still be wondering: Can I get a B.S. in Nursing without being an RN or having any nursing experience?

The answer is simple: Yes, no matter your age or where your career or education has taken you to this point, you can get a B.S. in Nursing. Your next questions might center on the logistics of how to make it happen. If you’re looking to change careers or educational paths, an accelerated B.S. in Nursing program like the one offered through Utica University may be what you’re looking for.

The primary advantage of an Accelerated B.S. in Nursing program is that it allows you to use prior college credit toward a degree so you can earn your nursing degree in an accelerated manner — and ultimately return to the workforce quickly in your new career. To take on a challenging program such as this, you’ll need support and resources to see it through. Fortunately, a hybrid curriculum, like the one offered through Utica, could be the perfect option, offering the support and flexibility you need to earn your nursing degree and begin this exciting new career.

We’ve put together an easy-to-follow guide to break down exactly how to get a bachelor’s degree in nursing. By following these steps, you can successfully get a bachelor’s degree in nursing through an ABSN program and begin your career as a nurse.

1. Ensure You Meet All Admissions Requirements

Before you can start nursing school, you must make sure you meet your desired school’s admissions requirements. To qualify for admission to the Utica University Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program, for example, you must have completed at least 65 credits from a regionally accredited college or university, although no prior nursing experience is required. Students who have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree or a conferred associate degree from accredited institutions are also accepted into the program. Additionally, we expect our applicants to hold a GPA of at least 2.8 as well as complete several prerequisite courses.

Complete Online ABSN Prerequisites

The rigors of nursing school demand you have a strong aptitude in science and biology. Don’t worry if you lack a science background — we require all Utica ABSN students to complete a series of six general and natural science-based prerequisite courses.

Two ABSN students studying together at desk with their laptops

Even with our prerequisite course requirements, many go from student nurse to professional nurse within two years because of our PREP program. Through Utica’s Prerequisite Priority (PREP) program, you can take your prerequisite courses online in a matter of weeks. PREP courses are available 100% online in an accelerated format so you can take them whenever and wherever works best for you, provided you still meet course deadlines and pass within the minimum grade requirement.

An added benefit of completing your prerequisites through PREP? Doing so grants you provisional acceptance into our ABSN program.

Speak with an Admissions Representative

If all of this seems overwhelming at first, there is no need to worry. Our admissions representatives make themselves available as soon as your first inquiry into the program and can answer any questions or concerns you may have. They can also help you determine if the Utica ABSN program is a match for your personal and professional goals. If together you decide that it is, they will help you navigate the entire admissions process — all the way from determining what prerequisites (if any) you need to complete and when to begin on your target date to helping you gather materials for and submit your accelerated nursing school application.

2. Apply to the ABSN Program

Once you meet all admissions requirements, it is time to send in your application. At Utica, we offer three start dates per year — in January, May, and August. That means you can start classes when you’re ready, not just when there’s an opening. It’s also important to note that you do not need to worry about being placed on a waitlist when applying to Utica’s ABSN program. Because we use hybrid learning and have multiple start dates per year, and because our program is designed to be completed in as little as 16 months, there are always available start dates.

If you are applying to Utica’s ABSN program, you also must decide which location you want to attend. Our ABSN program originally launched in Syracuse, New York, as a satellite location to the main campus. Our hybrid learning model proved so successful that we launched another satellite location in Albany, New York. With these locations, we make our quality ABSN curriculum more accessible to more qualified students and increase the number of practice-ready nurses with the skills healthcare employers are looking for.

3. Successfully Complete the Program

Now that you’ve sent in your application and been accepted into nursing school, it’s time to focus on your studies so that you can graduate with a B.S. in Nursing. Our ABSN program can be broken into three components: online coursework, in-person skills and simulations labs, and clinical rotations. Although our curriculum is rigorous and fast-paced, with hard work and determination, you can successfully complete the program.

Online Nursing Coursework

This portion of the program will teach you the basics that you will later apply in your skills and simulations labs, clinical rotations, and ultimately in your career as a nurse. At Utica University, we understand not everyone has the time or desire to sit in a physical classroom for several hours each day. Our dynamic e-Learning platform allows students to complete their nursing theory courses anytime, anywhere. While you still have to adhere to assignment deadlines and attend on-site labs, the flexibility of studying when works best for you makes online-based education an ideal option for many busy adults. Even though the online portion of the curriculum isn’t in a classroom, students still have the support of their instructors and classmates through chat rooms, email and other forms of communication.

Skills and Simulations Labs

During your in-person skills and simulations labs, you will get to practice those nursing theory concepts in a risk-free, yet life-like setting. Students at Utica will get to interact with real hospital equipment and high-tech medical manikins to practice both specific nursing skills as well as run through realistic simulations so that they can practice treating their “patient.” Through these labs, students will also learn how to collaborate and work as a team.

Wisdom - ABSN Program student - Class of December 2019

Clinical Rotations

The clinical rotation portion of the program allows students to see what they learned in their coursework and practiced in lab play out in real life. Clinical rotations, while being a fantastic learning opportunity, also provide a chance for you to network with healthcare professionals and potentially even line up a job for after graduation (and after passing the NCLEX, of course). Utica’s ABSN students enjoy the benefits of our partnerships with several healthcare facilities around the Syracuse/Liverpool and Albany areas, where they will get to experience a variety of specialty areas.

4. Take the NCLEX-RN® Exam

Congratulations! At this point you will have graduated from your ABSN program with a B.S. in Nursing. Now it is time to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN®) so that you can officially become an RN. This exam is meant to test candidates on a wide range of nursing knowledge, ensuring that those who pass are qualified to practice full-time on real patients. Luckily, if you have graduated from Utica, your education will have prepared you well for the exam. In addition to teaching our students the material they need to know for the test, we integrate Kaplan testing throughout our ABSN program. This will familiarize you with this style of exam and practice your test-taking skills before you take the real thing.

Ready to Get Your Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing?

Utica ABSN student, Lester

Now, with the knowledge of how to get a bachelor’s degree in nursing, whenever you decide to take the leap, we’re here for you. Your nursing journey begins when you reach out to an admissions representative to request more information. Contact us today to get started!

The Ultimate Nursing School Admissions Checklist

Ready for nursing school but stressed about applying? We recommend downloading our free admissions checklist to learn the important ins and outs of applying to accelerated nursing school.

The ultimate nursing school admissions checklist