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Traditional vs. Accelerated BSN: Which is Right for You?

Posted by Jessica Stensrud, revised by Sara Giboney Thursday, Mar. 23, 2023

Traditional vs. Accelerated BSN Which is Right for You

Becoming a nurse means you’ll have a rewarding and meaningful career that allows you to make a difference in people’s lives.

Nursing is also one of the most in-demand careers, which means you’re more likely to find a job after getting your nursing degree.

If you've decided that nursing is the right career path, your next step is to choose a program.

A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) typically has two pathways: traditional and accelerated

At Nebraska Methodist College (NMC), students can pursue a BSN through either of these programs. 

While the pace of NMC’s traditional BSN is what you'd expect in a four-year setting, the college's accelerated population-based nursing program puts students on the fast track to their new nursing careers. 

Through the ACE program, which is for students who have already earned a previous associate or bachelor's degree, students can earn their BSN in just 12 months.

Read more: Is a Nursing Degree Right For You?

Here are a few questions to ask yourself when choosing a degree program:

Is a BSN or ADN better?

An Associate of Science in Nursing typically takes two years to complete, and you’ll be prepared to take the NCLEX exam and become a registered nurse.

ADN-prepared nurses are typically more focused on technical, clinical tasks, while BSN-prepared nurses are more likely to take on leadership roles. 

Most employers strongly prefer BSN graduates, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

How much time will I have to commit to nursing school? 

Regardless of the program you choose, earning your BSN degree requires a significant time commitment in terms of attending class, studying course materials and participating in clinical experiences. 

However, the ACE program requires a greater day-to-day time commitment than the traditional BSN, because of its fast pace. Therefore, students in the ACE program should prepare to devote hours comparable to a full-time job for the 12 months of the program.

Accelerated BSN programs accommodate students who have enough college credits required for admission. NMC requires an associate or bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, with 39 to 63 credit hours of prerequisite criteria and encourages students to have had success in previous math and science coursework.

While a traditional BSN program takes four years to complete, students can expect to have more free time than they would in the ACE program. 

Traditional BSN programs are for students without college experience and only require a high school diploma. 

Read more: Should I be a Nurse? Four Things to Consider

Can I have a job while I earn my degree?

While students in the traditional BSN program can have jobs outside the classroom, NMC recommends that students in the ACE program don’t have a job because of the commitment the program requires.

Only you know what your time management skills are like. If you can balance a demanding curriculum through the ACE program with a part-time work schedule, this is entirely up to you.

What Kind of Learner am I?

Both programs require students to have strong learning skills, but if you can assimilate and demonstrate new knowledge and skills at a quickly, the ACE program might be right for you.

If you can't wait to become a nurse and already meet the criteria needed for the ACE program or have a non-nursing bachelor's degree, an ACE program will be the quickest path for your career. 

However, a traditional BSN will be best for you if you work, have family obligations and don't have any college credits. 

Read more: What to Know Before Becoming a Nurse

What does Nebraska Methodist College offer?

At NMC, you can choose between the traditional and accelerated BSN paths.

Whichever program you choose, you’ll have support through academic coaching, counseling, study groups, test prep groups and peer-to-peer tutoring. 

Students at NMC experience a holistic culture of caring with a 14:1 student-faculty ratio. You’ll learn in our state-of-the-art laboratories and by working in clinical settings, which will prepare you to pass your licensure exam. In 2021, 95.27% of NMC students passed their NCLEX exams.

Graduates of the ACE program are ready to quickly enter the nursing field with job titles such as nurse manager, nursing director, public health nurse and registered nurse.

The traditional BSN program takes four years to complete and has three semesters of general education courses and five semesters of nursing skills and clinical classes. 

You can apply to either program online. In addition to the online application, you’ll submit your high school or college transcripts, a program awareness questionnaire and a written statement. 

Contact our admissions team at (402) 354-7200 or with questions or for more information.

Is nursing right for you? Download NMC’s nursing career guide to learn more.

Topics: healthcare education, nursing, transfer students, bsn