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How to Become an RN with a Biology Degree in 5 Steps

Earn a BSN in 12 months

Did you know that if you studied biology in college, you could leverage that education to earn a BSN in as few as 12 months? It’s true, and the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program at the University of St. Thomas Houston (ABSN@UST) makes it possible. This post will show you step-by-step how you can become an RN with a biology degree.

1. Verify Your Eligibility

Anyone with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree and a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 is eligible for our ABSN program. But before an applicant can start the program, he or she must satisfy a series of prerequisite requirements that involve nursing-specific and core courses.

Nursing-Specific CoursesMinimum Grade Requirements
Human Anatomy and Physiology IB-
Human Anatomy and Physiology IIB-
MicrobiologyB-
Algebra or StatisticsC

In addition to these courses, you should also have a grade C or better in our core curriculum requirement courses (humanities, social, and behavioral sciences).

You, as a biology undergraduate, have a unique advantage over those who don’t come from a natural science background. There’s a good chance you’ve already completed most, if not all, of these prerequisites. Thus, you can begin the program sooner than someone who previously studied marketing or accounting, etc. However, the only way to know if the credits you have are eligible for transfer is to speak with our admissions team.

student in science lab using microscope

2. Begin the Enrollment Process

Once you’ve spoken to admissions and determined you’re a good fit for our ABSN program, you and your admissions counselor will develop an academic plan that targets your preferred nursing school start date. We enroll ABSN students three times a year — January, May and August.

If there are any prerequisites you need to take, your counselor will help you register for these courses in a timeframe that aligns with your start date. Also, you must complete all five components of the HESI Admission Assessment exam, earning a score of 80 or higher in each area.

From there, your admissions counselor will see to it that you submit the most competitive ABSN program application possible.

3. Start Nursing School

University of St. Thomas nursing student using computer

Once you begin the full-time, three-semester ABSN program, you’ll complete a rigorous blend of 14 online courses. Eight of these courses include hands-on nursing labs and clinical experiences in diverse areas of nursing practice — a total of 58 credit hours.

By having a biology degree, you’ll the ABSN curriculum than someone from a liberal arts background, especially when it comes to skills application. Why? Because nurses need to understand the processes associated with human physiology, which are precisely what biology teaches. Plus, nurses use biology daily to make informed decisions about patient care management.

Online Coursework

Delivered via an interactive e-Learning platform, the online accelerated nursing courses teach you the fundamentals and theories of the profession anytime, anywhere. While this does bring a level of flexibility to the rigors of nursing school, you’re still required to meet the assignment deadlines set forth by your professors.

Hand-on Nursing Labs

You’ll take the core concepts you studied online and learn how to apply them during your nursing skills and simulation labs. These regularly scheduled labs, which take place at our ABSN program site, provide a contextual platform for you to hone your skills without the fear of harming an actual patient. In other words, it’s a controlled setting where it’s OK to make and correct mistakes.

Our nursing labs, which mimic the clinical environment, feature hospital equipment, task trainers, full-body medical manikins and advanced simulation technology to prepare you for the next stage of learning — clinical rotations.

Two ABSN students working with simulation manikins

Clinical Rotations

As an ABSN student, your supervised clinical practice hours begin early in the second semester. While we can’t guarantee where your clinicals will take place, you can rest assured you’ll learn among some of the best doctors and nurses throughout the greater Houston area.

Your clinical rotations will introduce you to patients across the healthcare continuum in specialty areas that include adult health, community health, mental health, obstetrics and pediatrics.

As part of your clinicals, you’ll complete a nursing capstone with a preceptor during the final semester. Taking place in a concentrated area of practice, this mentorship serves to help you make the transition from student to professional.

4. Pass the NCLEX

Our ABSN curriculum prepares you to sit for the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX-RN®) with confidence. This nationwide exam serves as a safeguard to ensure every nursing school graduate can safely practice as an entry-level nurse.

As an ABSN program graduate, you must register with Pearson VUE (designated testing vendor) to take the exam. You also need to submit a licensure application to the nursing regulatory body in the state for which you plan to practice. So once you pass the NCLEX, you can legally practice nursing in the state.

If you become licensed in Texas but then decide to take a job in another state, the transfer of your nursing license to another state may not be as daunting as you think. Texas is part of the Nurse Licensure Compact, so if you obtain your RN license here, your license is valid in all the other compact states. You’ll find half the states in this country are part of the compact, including all the states surrounding Texas.

University of St. Thomas nursing students in skills lab

5. Secure Employment

While not a guarantee, it’s common for ABSN students to receive an offer of employment during their clinicals (pending their passing of the NCLEX). That’s why it’s important to always put your best foot forward during your clinicals and network with as many healthcare professionals as you can.

However, if you’re not extended an offer while in nursing school, there are plenty of opportunities that await you in the Lone Star state. CareerOneStop.org projects nursing employment in Texas will grow 24% between 2016 and 2026. And as of 2019, the median salary for nurses in the Houston metro area is $80,640.

Ready to Become an RN Using Your Biology Degree?

If you’re interested in using your biology degree to accelerate into the nursing, contact our admissions team today! We’re currently enrolling for our Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 ABSN program terms.

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