For registered nurses (RNs) aspiring to take the fast track to advanced nursing education, accelerated MSN programs offer an attractive option. These programs condense the curriculum without compromising on quality, allowing nurses to advance their careers quickly. This article will delve into ten options for accelerated MSN programs across the United States, each offering a rapid and efficient route to an MSN degree.

Admissions Requirements for Accelerated MSN Programs

Before diving into the Top 10 Short-length MSN programs offered this year, it’s important to know whether or not you qualify for admission. This will ensure that you don’t spend unwarranted time, energy, and money applying to MSN programs that you aren’t eligible for. While every school has a unique set of admissions requirements, here are a few of the more common ones you’ll see:

  • Bachelor’s degree: Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in a field other than nursing.
  • GPA: A minimum GPA requirement is often set by the program. This GPA requirement can vary but is usually around 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Prerequisite courses: Some programs require applicants to have completed certain prerequisite courses in areas such as anatomy, physiology, microbiology, and statistics. These courses are typically necessary to ensure that students have a strong foundation in the sciences before entering the nursing program.
  • Personal statement or essay: Many programs require applicants to submit a personal statement or essay that outlines their reasons for pursuing a career in nursing, their goals, and why they are interested in the specific MSN program.
  • RN licensure: While this varies by program, most accelerated MSN programs are designed for individuals who are already registered nurses (RNs). These programs will usually require applicants to hold an active RN license in the state where the program is based.

1. Texas A&M University

Length: 10 Months (31 Credits)

Texas A&M University’s 10-month MSN program based in College Station, Texas, is a beacon for RNs eager to fast-track their education. This accelerated Nursing Administration program focuses on comprehensive nursing education, ensuring that students receive a thorough grounding in advanced nursing concepts while expediting their journey to an MSN degree.

This ACEN-accredited program is offered online and leads to viable careers in the healthcare industry including nursing positions at clinics, hospitals, summer camps, or even in the the insurance industry. It’s also worth mentioning that Texas A&M University’s accelerated MSN program also has less rigid admissions requirements than other similar programs including a minimum required GPA of 2.7.

2. Vanderbilt University

Length: 12 Months (35 Credits)

Vanderbilt University offers a one-year MSN program designed for nurses with a need for speed. Despite its accelerated nature, the program retains the high standards associated with Vanderbilt’s esteemed nursing education. The institution itself has been in existence for over 100 years.

Students enrolled in Vanderbilt’s accelerated MSN program will find flexibility through the online curriculum. Clinicals are able to be completed in the student’s home state which means a smoother application process for students without Tennessee licensure. Upon graduation, students can expect to be eligible for a variety of higher-level nursing positions.

3. University of North Carolina Wilmington

Length: 12 Months (36 Credits)

The University of North Carolina Wilmington’s 12-month Online MSN Nursing program in Wilmington, North Carolina, is a swift path to advanced nursing credentials. RNs can elevate their careers efficiently while benefiting from the program’s commitment to quality nursing education.

This is an especially lucrative program for students who want to enter into a specialization as UNC Wilmington currently offers these specialized tracks:

  • Clinical Nurse Educator
  • Nursing Consultant
  • Research Nurse Educator
  • Nursing Education Specialist

4. University of Alabama at Huntsville

Length: 12 Months (varrying credits)

Another great accelerated MSN program for nurses looking to take on a specific area of focus is offered by the University of Alabama at Huntsville. Students enrolled in this program can specialize in:

  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Nursing Administration
  • Nursing Education

If you’re looking for flexible learning options, the nursing administration and nursing education tracks are both available online. If you’re interested in UAH’s adult-gerontology nurse practitioner or family nurse practitioner options, you’ll be required to complete in-person clinicals in Alabama and hold a current license in Alabama.

5. Northeastern State University

Length: 12 Months (32 Credits)

Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, not only offers one of the fastest MSN programs in the country, it also offers one of the most affordable. With their program, you can get your MSN in as little as 12 months for only $11,852.80. This is an exceptionally accessible program that offers a quick and easy way to move up in your career.

NSU’s MSN curriculum is offered 100% online, but you will need to fulfill 200 hours of field training before graduation. If you’re looking to specialize, NSU offers three specializations:

  • Nurse Informatics
  • Nursing Administration
  • Nursing Education

6. University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley

Length: 12 Months (varrying credits)

The University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley offers an efficient 12-month MSN program. This program empowers RNs to advance their nursing careers rapidly and significantly impact the field through their rigorous coursework. This program is located in Edinburg, Texas, though there are a few opportunities for online classes if you decide to specialize in either nursing education or nursing administration. UT Rio Grande Valley also offers opportunities for specialization as a family nurse practitioner. Regardless if your program is online or in-person, you will be required to be licensed as a nurse in Texas to enroll.

7. National University

Length: 12 Months (varying credits)

In San Diego, California, National University offers a 12-month MSN program designed for RNs seeking a quick and efficient route to advanced nursing credentials. The program is known for its convenience and commitment to excellence.

Most students enrolled in this ACEN-accredited program will be eligible to take their classes online, with some specializations being required to make on-campus visits periodically throughout the year. Specializations include Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. To apply, you’ll need a current California license as all tracks enable students to become practitioners.

8. Weber State University

Length: 12 Months (31-34 Credits)

Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, features a 12-month MSN program that ensures RNs can swiftly advance their nursing education. As a student enrolled in WSU’s MSN program, you’ll be looking at about a 12-year commitment with all classes being held online.

Weber State University’s 12-month MSN program is a fusion of speed and quality. It provides a well-rounded nursing education, equipping graduates with the knowledge and skills needed for advanced practice roles. The program maintains a strong emphasis on clinical competence and nursing leadership. Specializations include nursing education and nursing management and leadership.

9. Wilmington University

Length: 12 Months (36 Credits)

Wilmington University, based in Wilmington, Delaware, provides a one-year MSN program tailored for RNs seeking to specialize in one of four unique specializations:

  • Executive
  • Educator
  • Legal Nurse Consultant
  • Public Health

Wilmington University’s 12-month MSN program reflects a commitment to producing nurse leaders who can drive positive change in healthcare. The curriculum covers advanced nursing concepts, leadership, and evidence-based practice, ensuring graduates are well-prepared for the challenges of the modern healthcare environment. One unique aspect that sets WU’s accelerated MSN program apart is the dual-credit option. By enrolling in WU’s MSN program, students can immediately enter into WU’s DNP programs and transfer 6 of their credits in the process.

Lastly, students who are on a tight budget in addition to their tight schedule will be happy to learn about WU’s low tuition costs. For a total of $18,864, you’ll have your entire MSN degree paid off so you can worry less about paying off your debt and look forward to a higher income with your new degree.

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