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Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN)  Programs

Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) programs are for students who want to pursue a career in nursing but already have completed a Bachelor's degree in a field other than nursing. Typically, ABSN programs are rigorous courses, allowing the student to achieve a BSN degree in about 12 months. The graduate is also prepared to apply for their Registered Nursing license. Because they are accelerated courses, ABSN programs are a full-time commitment. Admission for these programs is very competitive, and students are advised to take into consideration the application requirements if they are thinking about applying to an ABSN program.

Typical application requirements include:

  • Bachelor's degree in any field other than nursing
  • Minimum cumulative and science GPA's (will vary by school)
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Volunteer or paid health care experience

*Most schools will also require certain prerequisite courses be taken in order to apply. These will vary by school, and students are strongly encouraged to research the prerequisite courses required by their prospective schools and seek advising.

Pacific Northwest ABSN Programs

Idaho State University

Northern Arizona University 

Oregon Health and Science University

Samuel Merritt University

University of Washington


Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Programs

MSN programs are for students who want to pursue a career in nursing and are majoring in/ have already completed a bachelor's degree in nursing. 

MSN schools in/near PNW:

Idaho State University

Seattle University 

Seattle Pacific University

University of Washington (Master of Nursing degree)

Washington State University


Entry Level MSN (ELMSN) Programs

Entry Level MSN (ELMSN) Programs are designed for students who have a bachelor's degree in a non-nursing field to gain RN licensure and an MSN degree. They are considered direct entry, meaning that you do not have to have already earned your RN to apply. ELMSN programs typically span 2-4 years, and are a good choice for students who decide to shift career paths and enter a nursing program after they have completed their bachelor's degree in a non-nursing field. 

ELMSN programs:

Azusa Pacific University - Azusa, CA

Pacific Lutheran University - Tacoma, WA

Samuel Merritt University - Oakland, CA

The University of Arizona - Tucson, AZ

University of Hawaii at Manoa - Honolulu, HI

Northeastern University - Boston, MA

University of California - Los Angeles, CA


Nurse Practitioner (ARNP) Programs

Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners (ARNP's) are for students who want extended nursing education and experience and know with certainty that they want to become a nurse. Nurse practitioners can either have a Master's or Doctorate degree, and on average have about ten years of nursing experience before they enter their practitionership.  ARNP's are qualified to diagnose medical problems, order treatments, prescribe medications, and make referrals. Nurse practitioners are different from physicians assistants in that they work independently from doctors. 

How to become an ARNP:

  • Obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from an accredited University
  • Become a Registered Nurse (RN) 
  • Complete a Masters degree program that trains Nurse Practitioners (NP degree - can take 2-4 years to complete). You can also earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree
  • Pass the National Board Certifying Exam 
  • Apply for additional credentials at the state and federal level


Admission requirements for schools with ARPN training are much like the requirements for MSN schools (see above), since many of the ARPN training programs are MSN programs with a Nurse Practitioner pathway. Students are encouraged to research the admission requirements and prerequisites for specific schools they are interested in and to seek advising early in their undergraduate career.  

Schools with ARNP training in/near PNW:

Idaho State University - DNP degree

Northern Arizona University - Post-Master Family Nurse Practitioner Certificate

Samuel Merritt University - MSN degree

Seattle University - MSN degree

Seattle Pacific University - MSN degree

University of Washington - DNP degree

Washington State University - DNP degree



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