The nursing school waiting lists at technical and vocational schools, community colleges, and state universities are long – very long! Some of them have waiting lists that are three or four years long. And those that don’t you’ll be competing against hundreds of other hopeful, well-qualified candidates vying for just a handful of slots in comparison to the number of students applying.
Why do these popular institutions have such long nursing school waiting lists? For starters, these institutions provide a low-cost, high-quality pathway to a career in nursing. They are also much cheaper than private nursing schools and most online nursing schools. As a result, they are the most attractive option for potential nursing students.
Combine all that with the fact that colleges and universities nationwide are faced with a shortage of nursing teachers, you have waiting lists to get into traditional ADN and BSN nursing programs that are only getting longer and longer.
So should you just give up? Of course not! Here are three ways to avoid the dreaded nursing school waiting list so you can get that nursing degree sooner than later:
Alternative 1: Get your LPN first and then complete a LPN to RN program online, while you are working as an LPN.
- You can apply right away. You do not need to wait to complete the prerequisites that you would need before you can apply to a program which offers an Associate’s Degree in Nursing.
- You only need a high school diploma or a GED, and you need the ability to pass the English and Math sections on whatever type of admissions test is required by the LPN school you are applying to.
- Many of these schools give the NET test or the National League for Nursing Tests. The LPN school will very likely sell a test prep book; it is highly recommended that you buy, study and master this book before taking the test.
- LPN programs have much shorter waiting lists. Many vocational schools and technical schools offer LPN programs.
- Once you become an LPN, if you want to progress to an RN degree, you WILL have to take all of those prerequisites before you can get into an LPN to RN program. However, once you get your LPN license, you take those courses online or at a local community college while you are working and earning a salary. In many cases, you may be able to get your place of employment to pay for some or all of your classes.
Alternative 2: Accelerated Second Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Nursing
If you already have a bachelor’s degree and are considering a second career in nursing, the accelerated Second Degree in Nursing may be for you and a great way to avoid nursing school waiting lists. They generally run from one to two years and are quite intense. You do not even want to think about working while in these programs; many of the programs require that you sign an agreement not to work while in the program. You must have completed your nursing school prerequisites before you can attend, but you probably have a number of those from your previous bachelor’s degree.
These programs are generally expensive – $20,000 to $40,000 – but a bachelor’s degree of science at any four-year university would cost as much or more, and you will have your degree and be earning a living much faster with an accelerated second degree program. Here is a list of Accelerated Second BSN Degree in Nursing programs.
Alternative 3: Pay more, get in sooner, graduate faster. In other words, explore the private nursing school options.
The “career colleges” such as Galen College and Keiser University are great alternatives to traditional nursing schools because you can get in sooner and graduate faster. The downfall to these private nursing schools is that you’ll pay more but for some the added expense might be worth it to avoid the dreaded nursing school waiting list.