Are you thinking about becoming a nurse? Have you ever considered a fast-track or accelerated program? If you’re looking for a nursing program, you’ll be happy to know that there are accelerated options. These programs can get you through the basics of nursing school in as little as 16 months. At this point, you may be wondering how this is possible. Will I still become a registered nurse at the end of the program?
The short answer is yes – provided that you complete all your program and nursing requirements. Elmhurst University, an accredited school, has a fast-track nursing program that’s top in the field. Moreover, it offers students the chance to study at their own pace, build peer relationships in new ways, and still get the education they need for success as a nurse.
There are a couple of great reasons to consider an accelerated degree. For one, time is precious. So, if you want to get into the field quickly and start making money, this type of accelerated program makes sense. You might start your career in nursing much sooner than you ever imagined! Let’s dive in and explore the reasons why a fast-track nursing program might be right for you.
What is an accelerated degree program?
An accelerated degree program is a unique program offered by some universities. It allows students to graduate faster than standard programs allow. Open to undergraduate students, these programs may enable them to finish their degree much more quickly than the standard four years. Some accelerated degree programs offer online courses, while others are only available in a traditional classroom setting.
You can find accelerated degree programs in a variety of fields. For instance, business, computer science, education, and nursing programs exist. Each degree program offers its own requirements, such as GPA requirements, credits needed to graduate, and the courses that students must take. Most accelerated degree programs offer assistance with financial aid. Others might also provide scholarships or tuition discounts for students who qualify.
Why are there accelerated degree programs?
Schools create accelerated degree programs for students seeking to finish their undergraduate degrees faster than the standard timeline. We live in rapidly evolving times. As a result, everything moves more quickly. When students graduate high school or are early in their careers, they want to start earning money as soon as possible. Fast-track programs allow that to happen. Furthermore, for people who want a career change, an accelerated program will enable them to transition more quickly. As people know, it can be tough to change careers. However, a fast-track program allows you to do this more easily.
Why nursing is well-suited for a fast-track program
At this point, you may be wondering why nursing is well-suited for a fast-track program. One short answer is that nursing is a hands-on profession. So, you’re expected to get to work – and treat patients – as soon as you graduate. Therefore, an accelerated program gets you used to work at the speed of a career in nursing. Furthermore, you can’t get a nursing license or certification while in school. So, if you want to work in a hospital setting or private practice, you need to complete your education as quickly as possible. Many people enter the profession working within healthcare settings. An accelerated program is the best way to do what you’re called to do: treat patients. So, if you want to get into your field quickly, then exploring a fast-track nursing program is an excellent option.
How do accelerated programs work?
For starters, specific education programs vary from one to the next. So, let’s focus on the generalities of fast-track programs. Students who qualify for an accelerated program complete their degree in less time than a traditional program. Some accelerated degree programs have strict admissions requirements.
Therefore, eligible students should always keep an eye on admission requirements. Also, students may have to take extra credits each semester, depending on the program. Or, they may take summer classes to finish their degree on time. Some accelerated degree programs may offer online courses. However, others may require you to attend traditional school settings. Again, each program is different, so it’s vital to take the time to explore the differences.
Benefits of a fast-track nursing program
The main benefit of a fast-track nursing program is that it can get you out into the field quickly. Of course, you’ll also earn a paycheck faster. So, if your ultimate goal is to work as an RN, then this can be a significant advantage. Even if you plan on going for advanced degrees later in your career, being an APRN can give you an edge in the job market. Employers may see you as being more determined and eager to start working.
A fast-track nursing program can also help you set yourself up for success. When you complete the program rapidly, you’ll still be surrounded by students from traditional programs. However, you have other skillsets they might not have. For instance, you may have an online learning experience. So, you’re used to technology and fast change. This allows you to hone your skills for keeping pace with rapidly changing healthcare and nursing developments.
- You know that you want to work as an RN
You don’t always have to be completely certain that you’re headed for a career as an RN, but most of the time, you are more confident than not that this is what you want to do. If you know that nursing is your profession, then a fast-track nursing program may be a good fit. As we mentioned, it allows you to start your desired career. Also, of course, you’ll begin earning money as a nurse. In fact, depending on where you live, you may discover that your salary is higher than the average American. Also, if you know that you want to be an RN, there’s simply no time like the present to get started.
- You don’t want to be in school for years
Many people simply don’t want to spend years studying nursing. They may have more pressing priorities, such as starting a family. Others may have hectic work schedules or other commitments and simply aren’t willing to choose the length of time that a traditional program requires. If you fall into one of these camps, then a fast-track program is perfect for you. An accelerated or fast-track program offers you the most precious commodity: time. As we know, time is the one thing that we never get back once we lose it. So, a fast-track program allows you to start your dreams as a nurse now and not years from now.
- You want to get started treating patients
If you’re genuinely passionate about helping patients, you may want to start doing it as quickly as possible. So, there are few better ways to start your career than to complete a fast-track program. It will allow you to get out into the field faster than you imagined. Working as a nurse will enable you to make a difference in people’s lives every day. Getting started sooner allows you to gain valuable experience and skills you can use throughout your career.
How you know if a fast-track program is right for you
If you’re interested in a fast-track nursing program, it’s essential to consider a few things. For one, traditional nursing programs are common, but accelerated ABSN degrees are rarer. Still, if you want to become an RN, you can find a fast-track program that works. You should also think about how you would feel as a student in a fast-track program. For instance, you may have to retake specific general education courses in a traditional program. Is this something that you want to do? In a fast-track ABSN program, your focus is typically and exclusively on nursing theory, practice and clinical work.
How to prepare for an accelerated degree
Accelerated degree programs allow students to finish their undergraduate degrees faster than the standard four-year timeline. These accelerated programs typically take between one and two years to complete. Also, you may take classes during the summer or throughout a shortened school year instead of attending classes in a traditional university year. As discussed, these accelerated degree programs are perfect for students wanting to graduate sooner with a bachelor’s degree. However, accelerated degree programs also benefit employers. For example, they allow qualified and highly trained nurses to enter the field faster. In the following section, we’ll discuss how to prepare and make the most of your fast-track degree program.
Five powerful tactics to make the most of your fast-track degree program
Fast-track degree programs are designed to make students eligible for graduate school sooner. They’re rigorous but condensed versions of traditional four-year programs. In reality, fast-track programs aren’t for everyone. Some people don’t thrive with the intense nature of an accelerated program. However, some people enjoy the challenge of an intense and demanding program that requires a high level of student dedication.
For example, you may have to be immersed in studies over long hours in an accelerated program. Also, you may have multiple assignments due at the same time. However, if you think that this is a program for you, don’t worry. We will provide you with great tactics to ensure that you’re ready. So, let’s explore five powerful tactics to help you make the most of your experience. These tips will give you a clear vision of your future career path.
- Make a strategic plan for your degree
As fast-track programs are condensed, making a strategic plan for your degree is essential. Ask yourself the following questions. What are you passionate about in healthcare? Which subjects are you drawn to studying? What career paths could you see yourself working in nursing? What is your ultimate career goal? What skills do you need to acquire to achieve your goal? Answering these questions gives you a high-level understanding of what you want to achieve. Next, start looking at universities and exploring programs. See what degrees get offered in traditional versus accelerated programs. Doing so allows you to make an informed decision. It’s essential to be honest with yourself as you explore. If you find that you may lack specific skills or requirements, make a plan to address them.
- Learn the ins and outs of your university
The more that you know about your university, the better equipped you are to make the most of your experience. So, take the time to learn about the school’s policies, procedures and resources. Also, you should learn about the history of your university, its mission and its core values. It’s essential to familiarize yourself with your university’s culture so that it’s easier to navigate your classes and program work. Additionally, you should become familiar with the school’s resources. Does it offer a lot of resources for student support? Tutoring services? Career and professional development workshops? Are there any special seminars or panels scheduled? Finally, think about ways that you can get involved on campus. If there are clubs or organizations you want to join, make sure to join them early. If events are happening on campus, attend them. The more involved you are, the more opportunities you’ll have to develop your skills and network with people in your field. It will also make your online or campus experience more enriching.
- Prioritize the classes and programs that best suit you
As you prepare for your fast-track nursing degree program, look at the schools’ requirements. Also, take a close look at the core subject area classes. Remember, these classes prepare you for your future career in the most direct manner possible. The classes will give you the most skills and experience to apply in the real world. Do you see any differences from one program to the next? If so, which curriculum better serves your needs? If you’re unsure, ask an advisor or professor which classes or programs may be better suited for you. In other words, don’t be afraid to speak to recruitment departments. Whenever possible, see if you can speak to current students or graduates. By taking time to talk to these people, you have a much better chance of making an informed decision.
- Be selective with electives and enrichment programs
If your program has electives, then explore those classes. As university students know, electives are beneficial because they allow you to explore your interests. Also, they help you expand your skills and knowledge further and perhaps even focus your specialty on nursing. In reality, electives make you a more well-rounded person and help you stand out during job interviews. Depending on your chosen school and program, you may also have the chance to participate in an enrichment program. For instance, you may attend a nursing school that offers part of your clinical learning in another city. Consider taking enrichment programs if offered. They provide you with richer and broader skills.
- Utilize campus and online resources
There are many great websites and apps out there that can enrich your nursing school experience. Moreover, the nursing program you choose likely has campus and online resources. It’s essential to take advantage of the resources available to you. Sure, it can be easy to overlook the resources available to you online. However, the students who have the best success take advantage of resources. Also, some fast-track degree programs are designed around a cohort model. This means that you’ll study with a specific group of students throughout your program. This model is beneficial because it allows you to rely on others going through the same experience and program.
A challenging path
If you’re interested in a career as a nurse, you’ll find several accelerated nursing options. Accelerated degree programs are designed for students who want to graduate with a bachelor’s degree sooner. As a result, students who qualify for a fast-track nursing program have to complete their degree in less time than is typical within a traditional program. However, it benefits students who want to move along in their careers and start earning money. However, it’s not only beneficial for students – it’s also great for employers as there’s a nursing shortage.
These programs can get you through the basics of nursing school in as little as 16 months. So, if you’re confident that nursing is your career path, then a fast-track nursing program may just be the ticket. Still, a fast-track degree program is challenging, and the reality is that it’s not a path for everyone.
So, if you choose to do it, it’s vital to prepare. For example, one of the best things you could do is make a strategic plan for your degree. Also, you could learn the ins and outs of your university and utilize campus and online resources. These things, and more, will equip you to succeed as a fast-track student. Ultimately, they will help you start a fantastic career as a nurse treating patients and playing a critical role in society.