List of 5 Best Online Accelerated Nursing Degree Programs

Robust demand for registered nurses today is happening across the country. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that demand for RNs will increase by 16% by 2024 – much faster than average.

As more nurses are needed, it is only natural that more universities are providing nursing degrees to meet the rising demand for more nursing professionals. As a result, there are more options to earn your master of science in nursing (MSN) today.

Some of those universities offer accelerated programs so that you can earn your degree faster. There also are accelerated programs where you can earn your bachelor’s and master’s in nursing in the same program. Still others offer the option of earning your MSN and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) in the same program and in less time.

The best accelerated nursing degree programs include these five:

#1 University of Cincinnati

The University of Cincinnati offers its accelerated pathways for those who earned a bachelor’s in another field but want to become an RN, and then earn their MSN degree.

The BSN to MSN program online has two phases that feature RN, pre-licensure classes initially, and then master’s coursework in such specialties as nurse practitioner or nurse midwife.

The pre-licensure phase to become an RN takes place over four semesters. This phase features a combination of coursework and clinical rotations that can be completed in your area. Students at the end of this phase obtain their BSN, and then continue into the MSN curriculum.

Most nursing specialty areas for the MSN require work experience. This requires nurses in the MSN program to go to school part time and work in a nursing position in a hospital. The length of time depends upon the specialty. After fulfilling work requirements, the student earns their MSN, and takes the national certification exam for their specialty.

More Info

  • Campus: Cincinnati, Ohio; online
  • Type: Non Profit
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Per Credit Hour: $640
  • GRE Required: No
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 48 months
  • On Campus Requirements: No
  • Programs Offered: BSN to MSN

#2 University of South Alabama

The University of South Alabama offers an online, accelerated BSN/MSN nursing program for students who have a bachelor’s degree in another field, and are not currently RNs. Students are admitted two times per year, in January and July.

Students in this program need to complete a year of preprofessional classes that are prerequisites for entering the nursing and professional part of the program. They will follow the same curriculum path in the first 12 months as bachelor of science in nursing students. The professional component normally takes five semesters to complete, but this program requires it to be completed in just 12 months.

After 12 months of study in the bachelor’s program, students receive their BSN degree, and are ready to take their NCLEX-RN exam. After passing the exam, students then may proceed with the MSN part of the program.

More Info

  • Campus: Mobile, Alabama; online
  • Type: Non Profit
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Per Credit Hour: $485 in state; $970 out of state
  • GRE Required: No
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 36 months
  • On Campus Requirements: No
  • Programs Offered: Direct entry BSN to MSN

#3 Frontier University

Frontier Nursing University offers an MSN to DNP program that allows qualifying students to earn both their graduate and postgraduate nursing degree in less time than if you were to take the two programs separately. Once you have completed the core requirements of your nursing specialty – such as nurse practitioner or nurse midwife – you receive your MSN degree. After you complete your national certification examination, you can either begin to practice, or you can move into the 19 credit hour, companion DNP curriculum. Students may do so without having to apply again.

After students finish the MSN program, the DNP can be completed usually in only nine months, rather than the normal two or three years for doing the program separately.

The MSN/DNP program requires students to visit the campus twice during the program. The clinical practicums can be completed in your home area. A total of 675 clinical hours is required for the MSN degree, and 360 hours for the DNP degree.

More Info

  • Campus: Hyden, Kentucky; online
  • Type: Non Profit
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Per Credit Hour: $46,895 total cost for both programs
  • GRE Required: No
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 48 months
  • On Campus Requirements: Yes
  • Programs Offered: MSN/DNP

#4 Chamberlain University

Chamberlain University offers an RN to BSN to MSN online degree program. This program is made for current RNs with a diploma or an associate’s degree in nursing who want to earn their BSN and MSN together. This program can save you at least 18 months off of the time it would take to earn both degrees separately.

Students in this accredited nursing program begin with the RN to BSN coursework, and then move into the MSN work. At this point, you will choose from the following tracks:

  • Nurse practitioner
  • Healthcare policy
  • Informatics
  • Educator
  • Executive

When you are close to finishing your BSN online, you may then apply for admission into the MSN program. Some of your required courses in this accelerated program are:

  • RN Health Assessment
  • Transitions in Professional Nursing
  • Statistics for Decision Making
  • RN Community Health Nursing
  • RN Information Systems in Healthcare
  • Healthcare Policy
  • Foundational Nursing Concepts and Applications
  • Advanced Research Methods for Evidence Based Practice

More Info

  • Campus: Downers Grove, Illinois; online
  • Type: Non Profit
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Per Credit Hour: Total cost for both programs is approximately $50,000 to $60,000, depending upon specialty
  • GRE Required: No
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 48 months
  • On Campus Requirements: No
  • Programs Offered: RN to BSN to MSN

#5 Southern New Hampshire University

SNHU offers an online RN to MSN program that is suited for the experienced nurse with a diploma or associate’s degree. You may earn both your BSN and MSN degree without stopping. Students find that earning both degrees in this way can save them four to six months of time, as well as the expense.

After you have been accepted into the RN to MSN program, you take two BSN courses right away at a master’s level that will eliminate the need to take two other classes.

Required courses in this accelerated nursing program online are:

  • Healthcare Management and Finance
  • Scholarly Inquiry
  • Information Management and Patient Care Technologies
  • Patient Assessment and Health Literacy
  • Systems Leadership for Continuous Quality
  • Pathophysiology for Nurses

More Info

  • Campus: Manchester, New Hampshire; online
  • Type: Non Profit
  • Accreditation: New England Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Per Credit Hour: $320 per credit hour
  • GRE Required: No
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 36 months
  • On Campus Requirements: No
  • Programs Offered: RN to MSN

Disclaimer

Our editorial staff determined the ranking for the above schools by considering the following ranking factors:

  • School accreditation
  • Program accreditation
  • Curriculum quality
  • Flexibility of online course delivery
  • Specialties available
  • Institution reputation

References