How to Become a Nurse with a Biology Degree in 5 Steps

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Are you wondering how to become a nurse with a biology degree? The ABSN program at University of St. Thomas Houston can help you make the shift. Read about your next steps in moving from a biology degree to nursing with UST.

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Do you already have a bachelor’s degree in biology, and are now interested in switching your career path to nursing? Perhaps an extra four years in school for an additional degree seems daunting.

The good news is that the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program at University of St. Thomas Houston can provide you with an opportunity to pursue nursing without starting over. In fact, a biology degree is an excellent stepping-off point for nursing, and there is a good chance you have a head start over other ABSN candidates.

If you studied biology in college, you could leverage that education to earn a BSN in as few as 12 months instead of four years. The ABSN program at University of St. Thomas Houston makes it possible. This post will show you step-by-step how to become a nurse 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. For the applicant to start the ABSN program, they 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-
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).

As a biology undergraduate, you 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.

To find out if the credits you have are eligible for transfer from your biology degree to nursing, learn more about the process and speak with our admissions team.

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 and walk with you through the process and details involved in how to become a nurse with a biology degree:

  • Choose your preferred start date. We enroll ABSN students three times a year — January, May and August.
  • Register for any necessary prerequisites in a timeframe that aligns with your start date.
  • 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 assist you in your efforts to submit materials and present yourself as the most competitive ABSN program applicant possible.

3. Start Nursing School

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 understand the ABSN curriculum more easily than someone from a liberal arts background, especially when it comes to skills application.

Nurses use biology daily to make informed decisions about patient care management. Biology teaches the processes associated with human physiology, which nurses learn and apply to their work. This allows for a smooth transition from a biology degree to nursing.

person sitting down with a laptop and writing in journal

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.

Hands-on Nursing Skills and Simulation 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. As you likely learned in your biology courses, labs are 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.

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’ll learn among some of the best doctors and nurses at top healthcare providers throughout the greater Houston area.

Your clinical rotations will introduce you to patients across the healthcare continuum, offering opportunities to learn and observe in specialty areas that could 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.

two UST ABSN students in sim lab

4. Pass the NCLEX-RN® Exam

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. If you obtain your RN license here, your license is valid in all the other compact states.

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. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, the unmet need for nurses is expected to rise from 3.1% to 5.7% between 2023 and 2032. As of 2023, the median salary for RNs is $77,600 per year while the median salary for those with a biology undergraduate degree sits at $65,000. This 12-month career shift can provide you with many opportunities in the Houston area and beyond.

Ready to Become an RN Using Your Biology Degree?

UST ABSN student standing outside

If you’re interested in learning more about how to become a nurse with a biology degree, contact our admissions team today! We enroll ABSN students three times a year — January, May and August, so you’re never far away from enrollment dates.