How long does it take to earn a BSN degree? That is among the first questions you are probably asking yourself as you decide on a path toward a new career as a nurse. The answer is, it depends. Traditional BSN pathways can take up to four years. However, now there are accelerated tracks that exist for people who want to change career paths without having to start from scratch.
One accelerated nursing school option is Concordia University Texas’ Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) track in Austin. Tracks, like this one, build upon your existing college credits (in this case a minimum of 60 college credits or non-nursing degree) so you can graduate and enter the workforce sooner.
How does ABSN@CTX work?
Concordia’s ABSN track differs from traditional BSN programs in three significant ways. First, it offers an online component. Second, it puts your existing non-nursing education to work so you can become a nurse in as few as 16-months. Third, instead of offering one start per year as most traditional programs do, Concordia’s ABSN track offers three start dates (January, May, and August) so you can begin your nursing education when it works best for you.
Concordia University Texas’ ABSN track is split into three parts: online nursing theory coursework, hands-on skills and simulation labs, and clinical experiences at some of the best healthcare facilities in the Austin area. This blended education model provides you with all of the skills you need to become a high-quality nurse so you can graduate career-ready, prepared to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), which you must successfully pass before you can practice as a registered nurse.
Keep in mind that because Concordia University’s ABSN track includes online and on-site learning, you must live in or near Austin, Texas in order to enroll.
What ABSN Graduates Say About the Blended Learning Model.
“The online portion worked for me. I have kids, and this is my second degree, so I enjoyed having control over my online coursework. Instead of showing up for class, I was able to attend class according to my schedule.” – Carlee, Class of 2018
“I recall performing a task, during skills lab, where my fingers didn’t move how I wanted. After a couple of times practicing, I was able to refine my skill and gain the confidence I needed.” – Ann Marie, Class of 2018
“Being a student nurse in the hospital was exciting because I was able to help out with the different procedures and learn directly from experienced nurses.” – Darrel, Class of 2018
What are the qualifications?
We’ve gone through how Concordia’s Accelerated BSN track works, but now it’s time to determine if you are qualified to enroll. After all, having a minimum of 60 credits or a non-nursing bachelor degree is only one part of the admissions requirements.
In order to apply to Concordia’s ABSN track, you must:
- Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 in the prerequisite natural science courses.
- Have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 (only if you are a transfer applicant).
- Have a personal essay describing why you seek a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Concordia.
- Have three recommendation forms from professional sources, i.e., faculty member, supervisor, etc.
- Complete the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS VI) within one year of beginning the ABSN track with a score of 75 or above.
- Submit a letter stating that you are eligible for readmission into the track (only if you have been in a previous nursing program).
How soon can I begin?
How soon you can start Concordia’s ABSN track depends on the number of prerequisite courses you will need to complete. If you possess a non-nursing bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution, then you may have to complete some or all of the following prerequisite courses with a grade of “C” or above:
- Chemistry I with Lab
- Microbiology with Lab
- Human Anatomy & Physiology I with Lab
- Human Anatomy & Physiology II with Lab
- Intro to Statistics
- Lifespan Development
- Medical Spanish for Healthcare Professionals
What to know more? Read our related post about nursing prerequisites and required courses.
If you do not hold a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution and are applying to the ABSN track with the minimum transferrable credits (60), then you may have to complete the Concordia Common Experience (CORE) Courses, which consist of:
- Academic Research and Writing
- Fundamentals of Communication
- Fine Arts
- US History
- Introduction to Literature
- Introduction to Psychology
Your previous education can help speed things up during the admissions process. For example, if you’ve already taken microbiology with a lab, you won’t have to retake it. Why? Because, at Concordia, there is no expiration date on science prerequisites.
The same goes for all the other prerequisite courses. If your admissions counselor verifies the credits as transferrable, then there’s a good chance you have the opportunity to start the ABSN track quicker than most.
In addition to the prerequisites listed above, you will also be required to take Concordia’s distinctive courses.
- New Testament
- Old Testament
- Life and Leadership
- Leadership Theory and Practice
“These courses are not strictly nursing-related, they’re more leadership oriented,” says Darrell, Class of 2018. “A big thing at Concordia is Christian leadership, and that’s incorporated in the beginning,” he says.
How many credits do I need to graduate?
After transferring your credits and successfully completing the required prerequisites and distinctive courses, now you can begin the nursing course curriculum that initiates the ABSN track.
During Concordia University’s ABSN track, you will complete 64 credit hours. Those credit hours are divided into four, 16-week, full-time semesters that include a mix of online coursework, hands-on labs, and in-hospital clinical rotations (the blended learning model, as described above).
- Adult Health Nursing I Skills – 2 credits
- Adult Health I Theory – 5 credits
- Adult Health Nursing I Practicum – 5 credits
- Professionalism in Nursing – 3 credits
- Pharmacology for Nurses I – 2 credits
Total: 17 credit hours
- Adult Health Theory II – 3 credits
- Adult Health II Practicum – 3 credits
- Adult Health II Skills – 2 credits
- Pharmacology for Nurses II – 2 credits
- Maternal Newborn Theory -3 Credits
- Maternal Newborn Practicum and Simulation – 2 Credits
Total: 15 credit hours
- Adult Health III Practicum – 3credits
- Adult Health III Theory – 3 credits
- Nursing Leadership and Management – 3 credits
- Child & Family Nursing Theory – 3 credits
- Child & Family Nursing Practicum and Simulation – 2 credits
Total: 14 credit hours
- Community & Global Health Practicum – 2 credits
- Transition into Practice – 2 credits
- Leadership and Career Capstone -1 credit
- Capstone Simulation & Practicum – 3 credits
- NCLEX Preparation and Review – 2 credits
- Adult Health III Theory – 2 credits
- Nursing Research – 3 credits
Total: 18 credit hours
What happens after I graduate?
After you successfully complete the 64 credit hours and graduate with your bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree, you will then need to take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). This comprehensive test calculates your critical-thinking skills and ensures that you have the essential knowledge and skills to care for patients in the most effective way.
Throughout your ABSN education, your instructors will spend a lot of time teaching you how to answer NCLEX related questions. This not only helps you feel prepared when taking the licensure exam, but it gives you the path to enter the nursing profession with confidence.
How do I get started?
Now that you have a good understanding of how long it takes to earn a BSN through Concordia University’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) track, it’s time to make a move. Contact an admissions counselor and find out how you can begin your accelerated nursing school journey.