How to Transition from a BS in Biology to Nursing

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Have you already earned your Bachelor of Science in biology degree (BS), and now you have decided to take your career path in a new direction? You could go from a BS in biology to nursing without spending another four years in college. By applying to an accelerated Bachelor of Science in nursing track that allows you to leverage your degree, you can enter the field in less than two years.

Closeup of woman in lab using a petri dish

If you want to transform your biology degree into a nursing career, a great way to start is through an accelerated nursing program. Concordia University Texas offers a 16-month Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) track in Austin and Dallas. The ABSN track allows you to transition from a BS in biology to nursing in as few as 16 months, upon successful completion of prerequisite courses.

We’ll discuss the path of switching from biology to nursing and show how you can earn your BSN degree sooner.

1. Choose a Nursing Program and Connect with Admissions

The first way to change from a BS in biology to a BSN in nursing is to choose the right program for your goals. While you can choose from a variety of nursing degrees, we recommend you choose a program that offers a BSN, as this will likely provide more opportunities than an associate degree.

CTX ABSN student in purple scrubs

Other considerations when choosing a nursing program include:

  • Accreditation and state approval: Ensure the program is both accredited and approved.
  • Admissions requirements: Ensure you meet the program qualifications.
  • Availability of a hybrid online track: Online learning offers greater flexibility.
  • Length of curriculum: A shorter, accelerated program will help you graduate sooner.
  • Multiple start dates each year: This will help you start earning your degree earlier.
  • Quality of clinical and lab experiences: Hands-on learning is key with nursing.

The ABSN track at CTX offers three start dates each year — in January, May, and August — meaning you may be able to start the 16-month curriculum sooner. Our students learn through a combination of online classes and interactive labs, and clinical rotations. If you have at least 60 college credits or a prior non-nursing bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, you may be eligible for the ABSN track.

2. Finish Your Prerequisites and Apply

Your bachelor’s degree in biology has given you a great start in your nursing education. Science courses you’ve already passed may satisfy most, if not all, of the ABSN prerequisites.

Plus, given the fact that science prerequisites don’t currently expire at Concordia, you don’t have to worry about how long ago you took classes like organic chemistry, anatomy and physiology or microbiology. To confirm which college credits are transferable, get in touch with an admissions counselor.

Nursing school prerequisites - woman studying with book and laptop

Learn more about what nursing prerequisites you’ll need before starting the accelerated nursing track.

3. Earn a BSN

Once you’re admitted into nursing school, the next step is putting in the work to earn your degree. CTX's ABSN track is challenging, and it’ll require dedication, but because it’s accelerated, you’ll get through it in less time than with a traditional program.

How the ABSN Track Works at Concordia

Concordia’s ABSN track incorporates online learning, on-site labs, and clinical rotations at top area hospitals and healthcare facilities so you can gain all the experience you need to graduate career-ready. Since biology plays an important role in nursing, your existing degree gives you a head start with the ABSN curriculum.

If you still need to complete a few of the required prerequisites, your admissions counselor will help you determine the fastest way for getting them done and work with you to pinpoint your preferred ABSN track start date (January, May or August). Concordia University Texas offers prerequisite courses online in eight-week increments.

4. Pass the NCLEX and Get Licensed

After earning your degree, the last major checkpoint of transitioning into your career in nursing is passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN®). First, you’ll need to apply for your nursing license in the state where you’ll work, and then you’ll get approval to take the NCLEX.

The NCLEX is the culmination of all you’ve learned in nursing school, and it generally requires studying for one to two months after graduation. At Concordia, we are committed to preparing our students to sit for the exam, and we incorporate NCLEX-style questions into exams throughout the curriculum.

Once you pass the exam, you’ll receive your license and be ready to start your new career as a nurse.

5. Start Your First Nursing Job

It’s finally time to find your first nursing job. With your BSN and RN license, you’ll be poised to apply for myriad inpatient or outpatient nursing positions. If you made connections with other nurses during clinical rotations, you may be able to use that network to help you in the job-seeking process.

ABSN student working in sim lab

Why Make the Change from a Biology to Nursing?

After making the transition from a BS in biology to a BSN in nursing, you’ll be on track for a fulfilling career. Concordia's ABSN will provide you with leadership and management skills in organization, communication and advocacy — making you an ideal candidate for many more career opportunities both inside and outside of the hospital setting.

A few of your many career options include:

Inside the Hospital:

  • Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse: Work with premature and sick infants born with a variety of problems, including congenital disabilities, infection and complications of prematurity.
  • Medical-Surgical Nurse: Provide pre- and post-operative teaching, care for patients in the recovery room, and monitor patients on the surgical floor for complications.
  • Quality Improvement Coordinator: Work with hospital/clinic healthcare executives to develop, maintain and implement health plans to achieve goals.

Outside the Hospital:

  • Forensic Nurse: Investigate sexual and physical assault crimes as well as accidental deaths. You will review cases of elder, domestic and child abuse and oftentimes work in the court system.
  • Public Health Nurse: Provide critical healthcare services to low-income and rural communities. You will perform health screenings and provide health education within city health departments, federal health organizations, county health departments and mobile healthcare services.
  • Flight Nurse: Administer comprehensive critical care for diverse patients on airplanes and helicopters. You will care for patients in emergency situations and be trained to make decisions quickly.
Nursing Beyond the Bedside: 7 Alternative Careers for You to Consider

Discover more alternative nursing specialties beyond the bedside.

The clinical skills and experience you gain from Concordia University Texas’s ABSN track will provide you with a broad scope of practice. This will give you the versatility to shape your nursing career as you go.

Leadership Opportunities

Earning a BSN also provides you with ample room for career growth. According to the American Association of Colleges in Nursing (AACN), nurse leaders recognize the unique value of nurses who hold a BSN degree.

As patient care becomes more complex, nurse leaders are standing together and advocating for a rise in the number of BSN nurses in all clinical settings. They believe that education impacts and improves the quality of patient outcomes – and they’re right.

The AACN cites several studies showing that having more nurses with BSN degrees results in reduced patient mortality and failure-to-rescue rates. Studies also show that nurses with BSNs tend to have higher job satisfaction levels than registered nurses who do not have a bachelor’s degree.

Healthcare employers will see the dedication and quality care that Concordia nurses provide. Not only do they count on you to move into leadership roles, but they expect you to mentor the next generation of RNs.

Transform Your BS in Biology to Nursing

Your biology degree has already provided you with a strong foundation for your nursing education, so what are you waiting for? Through Concordia’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing track, earn your BSN in as few as 16 months.

To learn more, contact an admissions counselor today.