Becoming a Nurse with a Biology Degree in 6 Steps

Becoming a nurse with a biology degree consists of a six-step process: research accelerated nursing programs, complete any requirements, apply, graduate, pass the NCLEX, get licensed, and start you first job. Your prior biology degree sets you up to start a nursing career soon.

nurse holding glass petri dish trays

If you’re wondering what’s to come after your biology degree — you may want to consider a different career path. Luckily, your biology degree has provided an excellent foundation for a stable and rewarding career in the healthcare industry. If you’re looking for a fulfilling, in-demand career, becoming a nurse with a biology degree may be for you.

Regardless of your reason for wanting a change, you can turn your biology degree into a career you love. Through Concordia University’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program, you have the opportunity to pursue a career in nursing and graduate in as few as 16 months.

Read on to discover the six-step pathway that will make becoming a nurse with a biology degree possible.

1. Research Accelerated Nursing Programs

The first step for switching from biology to nursing is to start researching to find the nursing program that’s right for you. Here are a few characteristics to look for in the ideal nursing program:

woman sitting at desk thinking

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BSN Degree

While it’s possible to become a registered nurse with an Associate Degree of Nursing (ADN), if you aspire for career growth and job stability, earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree is the smart move. If you envision yourself moving into advanced nursing practice, administration or teaching one day, you will need a BSN or higher degree. A BSN will also provide better compensation, more job options, improved patient outcomes and a more favorable long-term career outlook.

Accelerated Format

Another consideration you should make when switching from biology to nursing is whether the program is accelerated. While traditional BSN programs require four years of education, students with a prior biology degree can opt for the faster path, an accelerated program that takes between one and two years.

Accelerated programs leverage your prior college credits to fulfill the general education requirements for a bachelor’s degree. That means you’ll get to jump right into a nursing-focused curriculum from the first semester.

Multiple Start Dates

Accelerated BSN programs, like ours at Concordia St. Paul in Minnesota and Oregon, may also offer multiple start dates per year, which can help you start sooner. Fortunately, Concordia University’s accelerated BSN has three class starts each year (January, May and September).

Mix of Online and In-Person Learning

While many nursing programs take place completely in-person, programs that offer a mix of online and in-person experiences provide greater accessibility. At Concordia St. Paul, you’ll learn foundational nursing content through online courses. Then you’ll complete in-person skills labs and clinical learning experiences, helping you develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes you’ll need as a professional nurse.

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2. Complete Admissions Requirements and Prerequisites

Nursing programs have a variety of ABSN requirements, and these depend on the school. Common requirements include GPA, previous academic degrees, prerequisite completion and relevant health care certification and experience. However, schools may consider additional factors, such as life experiences, passion for nursing and ability to work hard to achieve goals.

Bear in mind that as a biology major, you may have already fulfilled many of the ABSN requirements and prerequisite courses, which makes it possible to start nursing school sooner.

ABSN Requirements for Concordia St. Paul

The admissions requirements for the ABSN program at Concordia include:

  • 54 non-nursing college credits or a non-nursing bachelor’s degree.
  • Completion of the required prerequisite courses with a C or higher within the time limit.
  • Hold a cumulative college GPA of 3.00.
  • Hold a 3.0 GPA of combined science prerequisites (microbiology, human anatomy and physiology I and II and chemistry for health sciences).
  • Pass the ATI Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) exam with a score of at least 65% within a year prior to your applying to the program (two attempts allowed per year).
  • Demonstrate English language proficiency.

Prerequisites for Biology Majors

You may not know it yet, but your biology degree has already paved the path to your nursing school success. The courses you’ve previously taken could be applied toward your Concordia University nursing degree.

Having all the required ABSN prerequisites can allow you to start sooner — preparing you to get to the hands-on nursing skills sooner as well. However, in this fast, yet rigorous path to becoming a nurse, quality is not compromised for speed.

Although our ABSN program continues to remain intellectually challenging, don’t be frightened. Your existing biology degree makes it more likely that you’ll succeed. Your knowledge of biology, chemistry, anatomy and pharmacology should help you adapt well to the nursing curriculum. As a result, you might be able to place most of your focus on understanding more in-depth nursing practices and how to connect with patients on a personal level.

Having an existing biology degree also provides insight into applying problem-solving techniques — one of the most crucial skills needed in the nursing field.

3. Apply to Nursing School

Once you’re in your final semester of prerequisites, you’ll be able to apply for the ABSN program. Your admissions counselor will guide you through the process and remind you of the application deadline. Be sure you submit the online application as well as any supplemental documents like transcripts before the deadline. Our admissions committee uses a rolling admissions process, so you’ll hear back about the admissions decision shortly after submitting your application.

4. Graduate with Your BSN

Once you get into nursing school, the hard work will begin. However, with an accelerated BSN program like ours at Concordia, nursing school doesn’t last four years. Rather it’ll take as few as 16 months of devoted studying to earn your degree.

The ABSN program at Concordia St. Paul incorporates a hybrid learning model, composed of online classes, in-person skills labs, and clinical learning experiences. Because of the fast pace, success will require hard work and commitment, so it’s important to stay focused on your studies. Thankfully, your prior biology degree sets you up with a strong foundation of knowledge and study habits that will be to your advantage in nursing school.

Concordia St. Paul ABSN students working in sim lab

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5. Pass the NCLEX and Get Licensed

After graduating with a BSN degree, the final step of how to become a nurse with a biology degree is to apply for registered nursing licensure and pass the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX-RN®). This exam is a compilation of all you’ve learned in nursing school, and you’ll need to pass in order to become licensed as a nurse.

CSP prepares you for the NCLEX-RN from the very first semester. You will have tutorials, practice questions, additional resources, and proctored assessments that are similar to the content on the licensure exam. Each semester you will prepare to be successful.

6. Start Your First Nursing Job

Once you pass the NCLEX and meet any other requirements of your state’s board of nursing, you’ll be able to receive your registered nurse license. With your license in hand, it’s time to begin your nursing career! All the hard work will pay off when you get to start a career you’ll love.

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Seize the Chance to Start Now!

The healthcare career you’ve always dreamed of is waiting for you. Now that you know how to become a nurse with a biology degree, take advantage of Concordia University’s ABSN program so you can become an in-demand, BSN-educated nurse in as few as 16 months. With a prior biology degree, you’re in a prime place to start your nursing journey soon!

If you’re ready to put your hard-earned biology degree to new use, take the first step by filling out our online form, and an ABSN admissions counselor will reach out to you with the next step.