Becoming a Nurse with a Non-Nursing Bachelor’s Degree: 7 Steps

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There are seven steps for becoming a nurse with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree or 60+ college credits: Determine your why for nursing, choose an ABSN program, complete your prerequisites, and apply. Then earn your degree, pass the NCLEX, and get licensed. Now you’re ready to begin your nursing career.

two CTX ABSN students using medical tools

Is your dream to become a nurse? There is a tremendous need for new nurses across the country. If you already have a bachelor’s degree or college experience in another discipline and want to know the steps for becoming a nurse with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree or at least 60 non-nursing college credits, you’re in the right place. The good news is you don’t have to start from square one!

The Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) track at Concordia University Texas (CTX) offers you the opportunity to make the career change to nursing. You can leverage your previous college credits to earn a BSN in as few as 16 months.

Below we’ll discuss the seven steps of becoming a nurse with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree or at least 60 non-nursing college credits. Now is the perfect time to become a nurse.

1. Determine Your Why for Nursing

Before deciding to attend nursing school, it’s a good idea to think about why you are motivated to become a nurse. After all, nursing school will take a lot of hard work and dedication, so you want to be sure of your decision before you begin.

A great way to get inspired about your career in nursing is to spend time in a patient care setting. You can do this by volunteering with patients, working as a nursing assistant, or being a companion for nursing home residents, to name a few. These roles will give you a taste of a clinical setting and help you see whether you’re cut out to work in patient care.

The Perks of Being a Nurse

Nurses choose their career for unique reasons, but one common thread for most nurses is the ability to make a difference and help people every day. That provides immense purpose to your work, and it truly becomes a life calling.

In addition, nursing can provide you a great career; whether you’re seeking fair pay, stability, or a meaningful career, nursing has you covered. A few of the advantages of choosing nursing as a career, especially if you have a BSN, include:

  • Job security
  • Competitive wages
  • Flexible work schedules
  • Many specialty choices
  • Job satisfaction
  • Career growth opportunities
CTX nursing students standing in simulation lab

2. Choose a Nursing Program

Now that you’re confident in your decision to become a nurse, the next step of becoming a nurse with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree is to choose the right program and submit your application. There is no shortage of accelerated nursing programs in the United States. Finding the right nursing school can set your career on the right track and help you achieve your goals.

So, what are some of the factors to consider when choosing a nursing program? We’ll discuss what you should look for to find the school that’s right for you.

BSN Degree Program

The first question when looking at programs is, which nursing degree should you get? There are several options, such as an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), and even advanced degree options like a masters or doctorate degree.

When becoming a registered nurse, a BSN is the preferred degree for most RNs in the U.S. A bachelor’s degree sets you up for a long-term nursing career, and it’s also ideal if you choose to earn an advanced degree later.

CTX ABSN students looking at lab supplies

Why is a BSN degree important for nursing? See 11 reasons a BSN is the obvious choice.

Accreditation and Approval

If you’re looking to enroll in a quality ABSN track, make sure the program has national accreditation and is in good standing with its state board of nursing. If you’re looking to apply to ABSN@CTX, you’ll find that our nursing track is approved by the Texas Board of Nursing and accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Enrollment Capacity

Running a nursing program takes a lot of resources, so many schools have limited spots available. At CTX, the ABSN track can accommodate a greater number of students annually by offering three start dates per year — January, May, and August. Because our curriculum is hybrid, we can accommodate more students while ensuring students receive high-quality clinical and lab experiences.

Program Length

Another consideration is how much time you want to spend earning your degree. While traditional BSN programs take four years to complete, an accelerated program can be completed in between one and two years. Therefore, if you’re eligible for an ABSN, this track will help you optimize your time and finish as soon as possible.

3. Complete Prerequisites and Apply

If you aim for becoming a nurse with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, you’ll want to ensure you meet program requirements before applying. Completing the required prerequisites and meeting the other admissions requirements gives you the best chance of getting accepted.

Once you inquire about admission to the ABSN track, we will assign you a dedicated admissions counselor who will answer any questions you have about applying, determine your eligibility, assist you with planning how you’ll complete prerequisites, and guide you on submitting your application.

nursing student working with simulation manikin

ABSN@CTX Admissions Requirements

Students looking to enroll in the ABSN track at CTX must meet the following admissions criteria:

  • Transfer applicants: at least 60 non-nursing college credits, cumulative GPA of 3.0.
  • Second-degree students: non-nursing bachelor’s degree, cumulative GPA of 3.0.
  • Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS VI): Must take within three years of enrollment to the nursing program and receive a score of 67% or higher (no more than two attempts are allowed within year to achieve minimum score).
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 in prerequisite natural science courses.
  • Completion of each prerequisite course with a “C” grade or higher.
Nursing school prerequisites - woman studying with book and laptop

Want to know more about completing prerequisites? View our nursing prerequisite guide for the ABSN track.

4. Earn Your BSN Degree

Once you’ve chosen a nursing program and have been accepted, the hard work of earning your degree begins. The process of becoming a nurse with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree will challenge you, but it will be worth it in the end when you get to graduate with a BSN in as few as 16 months.

How Does the Accelerated BSN Track Work?

The ABSN track at CTX is designed for people who want to make the career change to nursing. Because you can apply your college coursework toward the general education requirements, the ABSN coursework is composed of nursing-specific material.

Our accelerated BSN comprises 63 credit hours over four 16-week semesters and includes concepts such as cultural diversity, spiritual care, ethics, and evidence-based practice. ABSN@CTX follows a blended learning model made up of three main components: online coursework, hands-on nursing skills and simulation labs, and in-person clinical rotations.

Online Coursework

Our online nursing courses focus on nursing theory and fundamentals. With our accelerated nursing track, you don’t have to be present in a classroom or study at a specific time. You have the freedom to complete your nursing theory coursework anywhere you like at the time of day that’s best for you.

Online learning for nursing programs is here to stay.

Learn more about the advantages of choosing an online-based nursing program in Texas.

Skills and Simulation Labs

In addition to online coursework, the ABSN track at CTX includes hands-on skills and simulation labs. These labs are held in our facilities in Dallas and Austin, Texas, which mimic real clinical environments. All labs take place under the watchful eye of our faculty.

Both skills and simulation labs allow students the opportunity to apply the nursing concepts they’ve learned in a supportive environment while building the confidence necessary for clinical rotations.

Clinical Rotations

ABSN@CTX partners with healthcare facilities within the greater Austin and Dallas areas to provide clinical placements in which students work with registered nurses and nursing faculty to provide hands-on patient care under supervision.

Clinical experiences provide students with exposure many specialties, such as:

  • Adult Health
  • Newborn and NICU
  • Pediatrics
  • Intensive Care
  • Global/Community Health
Step into the shoes of an RN - hospital hallway

Learn more about why clinical placements are important for your nursing education.

5. Pass the NCLEX and Get Licensed

Thankfully, in an accelerated BSN program like the ABSN track at CTX, your nursing school curriculum is short-lived, finishing in 16 months. Once you get through your studies and have that diploma in hand, your next priority is passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) so you can receive your nursing license and begin your nursing career.

The NCLEX is a challenging exam that takes significant preparation. That’s because the questions are written for you to choose the best answer, even when there may be multiple correct answers. CTX students begin incorporating NCLEX studying into their routine during their first semester of nursing school. Then after graduation, they are prepared to spend one to two months studying full-time before taking the NCLEX.

ctx nursing student helping a patient

Once you pass the NCLEX, you’ll be eligible to receive the nursing license from the state where you’re planning to work. With your license in hand, you’ve got everything you need to start working as a nurse.

6. Start Your Career

Once you have a BSN, you’ve passed the NCLEX, and you have your registered nursing license, you’re ready to begin your career. You’ll be eligible for a position in a hospital, clinic, or community nursing role.

As you complete your nursing clinicals, think about which specialties stand out to you. Where do you feel the most at home? Which patients do you connect with the most? This will help you determine where you want to specialize as a nurse, and then you can seek positions in the areas that interest you.

Nurse with stethoscope in NICU

What specialties are available as a nurse? Check out 21 nursing specialties in demand.

7. Progress Your Career

Maybe your end goal is to work as a bedside nurse, but you may want to advance your career further. If so, your BSN puts you in the prime position to do that. You have endless options for ways you can grow throughout your career, clinically and otherwise.

For example, you can enter a management role, such as a nurse manager or healthcare administrator. You could pursue advanced certifications in a competitive nursing specialty. You can even pursue an advanced degree and become a nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist, nurse midwife, or nurse educator. Your first nursing job is the door to a fruitful nursing career with endless opportunity.

Become a nurse practitioner. Opportunity awaits. - CTX nurse in lab coat

Interested in becoming a nurse practitioner? Learn the steps to get you there.

Learn More About ABSN@CTX Today

You should now have a sense of the process of becoming a nurse with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree or prior college experience. Concordia University Texas is here to help you achieve your nursing goals. If you have at least 60 non-nursing college credits or a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, you may be eligible for the Accelerated BSN track at CTX.

CTX ABSN student in purple scrubs

If you’re ready to take the next step toward your future in nursing, contact us today by filling out our online form. Our admissions counselors are happy to help you get started!